Bipolar and Relationships: When I Experienced Gaslighting
Bipolar and relationships can be difficult for various reasons, one being a partner using bipolar disorder as a way to maintain control in the relationship. I'd like to share my experience with gaslighting and the signs to be aware of in your present or future relationships.
If you're not familiar with the term, "gaslighting," it came from the 1944 movie "Gaslight," starring Ingrid Berman. It's a form of manipulation, an abuse tactic, that causes an individual to question themselves, their memory of things and in the case of mental health, their condition.
Gaslighting in a Previous Relationship
"Am I crazy?" I asked my best friend that question the morning after a relationship, filled with mental abuse, finally came to a dramatic end. She replied with tears in her eyes, "No Hannah, you are not crazy at all!" (Read Gaslighting: Designed to Destroy Your Sanity)
The relationship was rocky from start to finish, but the passive manipulation slowly increased over time. The first incident in which gaslighting was evident was when I accused my ex of lying about spending time with a specific girl when he went to the beach for a trip. His behavior and lack of communication suggested lying, if not cheating was involved.
When I confronted him, he defended himself by suggesting that my bipolar condition was ruining our relationship. Conveying the idea that I made up situations like this in my head and my mood disorder was causing a delusional way of thinking. I felt guilty and insecure, until two nights later I heard his phone ring with a text from the girl I mentioned in our argument. As I scanned the previous messages, I found that I was right about everything and had the proof in my hand.
The situation I laid out was entirely justified, and I realized he was using my mental health condition to cover up his lies. After he begged me to stay with tears in his eyes, I regrettably decided to give it another chance. The gaslighting increased and at the end our relationship, he put me in a situation where my bipolar disorder was used against me and jeopardized my future. An incident that will be revealed in a future post or video, being that I am not ready to talk about it publicly.
Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship
Signs of gaslighting in a relationship can be visible and not so obvious. Look for these subtle and not-so-subtle signs of gaslighting as it pertains to your mental health:
- when you feel like you are questioning everything you say or do in fear that it will be used against you.
- when your memory and mental state is repeatedly examined by your partner.
In my previous relationship, my ex-boyfriend would try to justify his actions and divert the conversation to confuse me. These are signs to be very aware of, especially when you live with bipolar disorder. Go with your instincts and communicate your concern to a close friend, relative or therapist. A major part of managing my mental health is surrounding myself with honest and positive people. In my next relationship, if signs of gaslighting are even slightly present, I know to end it immediately.
Have you experienced gaslighting in a relationship? Please share your experience or do a response video and send it into info@ healthyplace.com.
Blum, H. (2017, July 25). Bipolar and Relationships: When I Experienced Gaslighting, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/living-with-bipolar-blog/bipolar-and-relationships-when-i-experienced-gaslighting