Navigating a divorce can be incredibly difficult and emotional. On top of the stress of separating from your spouse and settling custody, child support, and property disputes, gaslighting can make divorce significantly more taxing. This term has become more common in recent years, but what does it mean, and how does it manifest during divorce? To find out, read on.
What Is Gaslighting?
The term "gaslighting" comes from the 1944 film “Gaslight,” in which a man manipulates his wife into thinking she is going insane. According to the American Psychological Association, gaslighting is when one person manipulates another into questioning their own sanity or perception of reality. It often involves lying or denying factual information, in order to gain power and control over someone.
How Gaslighting Affects Divorce
Gaslighting can have severe impacts on individuals and families, especially during divorce. It can cause self-doubt and trigger feelings of anxiety, mania, and depression. Each of these things can make it difficult to negotiate custodial arrangements, secure child support and alimony, or even file for divorce in the first place.
How to Identify Gaslighting
Gaslighting takes many forms, but there are some telltale indicators.
When a person gaslights another, it could involve:
- Denying something they have previously said or done, despite evidence of it happening.
- Blaming a victim for their feelings of confusion, anxiety, or depression.
- Ridiculing or making fun of a victim because of their memory or perception of an event.
- Undermining other people's opinion of the victim, or even isolating them from friends or family.
What You Should do If You Are Being Gaslit
If you believe you are experiencing gaslighting, seeking professional help can be crucial. A licensed therapist can provide a safe environment for you to process emotions and thoughts. They can help you identify when you are being gaslit and provide strategies for coping with this form of emotional abuse.
Additionally, the assistance of a trusted family law attorney is beneficial. At Sullivan Law & Associates, we can help you file for divorce and navigate its processes. Our team can stand up for you in court and fight aggressively for your rights. In situations where it is necessary, we can also file for protective orders such as a domestic violence restraining order (DRVO) or automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO).
Unfortunately, gaslighting often accompanies other forms of physical and emotional abuse. If you have been a victim of any kind of abuse, you have resources. Reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or visit their website to live chat with someone who can assist you. Human Options, Interval House, and Laura’s House are other organizations that offer or can connect you with crisis support, shelter, and counseling.
Trusted Family Law Attorneys in Newport Beach
Our team at Sullivan Law & Associates would be glad to advocate for you in your divorce and see that your rights are protected. If you have questions about our services and what we can offer, do not hesitate to contact us.
You can give us a call at (949) 565-2793 or reach out to us online.