Dear Carolyn:

My husband moves my keys around the house. I know where I left them, but he says, “No, you didn’t leave them there. I didn’t move the keys.” He also moves other things around like my favorite coffee cup and my cell phone. He then says I am “crazy” when I cannot find these items. I stay home and I feel powerless. He controls the money. I know he is doing these things. What do I do?


Carolyn Answers:

Run, baby, run! You need to get out of this situation if the totality of the circumstances is like the brief scenario you describe. You may be the victim of gaslighting. Gaslighting is a tragic tactic in which a person, such as your husband, to gain power over you, makes you question your reality. There was a movie called Gaslight in 1944 where a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is crazy.

Psychologists use the term “gaslighting.” Gaslighting is a problem of manipulation, according to many psychologists.

You may think you are wrong and apologize. You become more anxious and less confident than you were before. Take the first step and seek a good psychologist who understands gaslighting as a form of domestic violence. Then take the second step of finding a job to make yourself more independent financially.

Gaslighters are usually not aware of what they are doing. Few will ever acknowledge that they are gaslighting. In other words, your husband is not likely to change.



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