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Gaslighting is a special, awful kind of emotional abuse that leaves you feeling like you're dumb, or crazy, or making things up — all because a partner is manipulating you, and making you doubt your own sanity.

This sort of abuse is unfortunately common, and women often don't know they're in a gaslighting situation until they read about someone in a similar situation, or hear the word for the first time.

He almost never opened up about anything personal in 6 months, but near the end I got tidbits about his mom and some of his exes.

None of it sounded good—mostly a series of women who made him feel terrible.

You fear betrayal and therefore find it difficult to trust this person.

You fear (and rightly so) becoming vulnerable to a person who may only use that vulnerability as a weapon.

Why would you want to open your heart again and risk being hurt?

Let’s say you’ve entered another relationship and things are going great. You feel relieved to discover that the abusive personality of your ex had nothing to do with your taste in partners. Maybe the abuse didn’t start with your ex – it may have begun in your childhood.

Either way, someone at some point deeply hurt you and betrayed your trust.

I told him I try to be genuine in all conversations, but he would call me a liar, and if I would just stop lying, we could be happy.""I didn't consciously realize it was bad until about a year into the relationship. We'd been fighting so frequently and extremely during the move, I wasn't able to keep a job for months. He was extremely romantic when I first met him — trips and fancy dinners, very attentive and endearing. I would laugh it off, knowing I didn't feel like that yet.

I'd moved to a new state with him, lost touch with four of my best friends, and was feeling suicidal when I brought myself to therapy behind his back. I would wake up and not know what to do with myself — clean up after him? "Once we took an at-home IQ test together, and when we switched tests to grade each other's, I saw that he changed a few answers on mine so that I got a lower score than he did.

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