Gaslighting is a term that has been in the news quite a bit recently but what is it, how can you recognise it and is it dangerous to you and your relationship?

What is gaslighting?

 Consider the following scenario:

Your partner has gone out for the evening with friends, you pop out to the shop yourself and happen see that they have in fact gone out for seemingly romantic dinner with a member of the opposite sex.  You confront your partner about this on their return home and explain that you saw them.  They respond by telling you that you are imagining things, you didn’t see anything, they have been out with their friends and if you don’t believe them you must be crazy.  You start to question yourself, did you really see them or did you imagine the whole thing?

Does this scenario sound familiar?

Gaslighting can be very difficult to recognise because the behaviour is often introduced over a long period of time.  You may be worn down and feel like there is something wrong with you, not your partner.  There are a few things to look out for.  Does your partner regularly lie to you?  Do they deny something when you have proof, like with the scenario above?  Do you feel like you are constantly second-guessing yourself?  Do you question your own mental health because of what your partner says to you?

When is it time to seek help?

This is very much personal choice.  However, if you feel that your relationship is having a negative impact on your mental health you should seek support.  In the first instance, you should speak to your GP to get support for your mental health and wellbeing.  In the longer term, if you decided that your relationship is not working you should consider taking steps to separate.  At this stage, it is important to take specialist family law advice.

I have decided that my relationship is over, what’s next?

You need to take our specialist family law advice before making any decisions that could impact on your future.  Whilst you may want to leave the family home straightaway for example, there may be unseen repercussions and it is therefore important to speak to a professional before making any choices.

We appreciate that, if you are in a destructive relationship you may feel that you need to remove yourself from the situation urgently and we are here to help.

To see how Harrogate Family Law can help you, give us a call now on 01423 594680.

Carol Jessop is an experienced family lawyer specialising in finding practical solutions to resolve complex financial arrangements, protecting assets and obtaining emergency orders to provide personal protection or prevent the removal of children.

Carol has over 30 years’ experience in family law and is recognised by her clients and peers as highly knowledgeable and compassionate.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing