Gaslighting During a Divorce

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Gaslighting During a Divorce
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 3/21/2022

BLOGPOST_GaslightingDuringDivorce03212022_s.jpgGaslighting involves several techniques employed by one spouse to undermine the other partner’s memory, confidence, and ultimately their divorce case. This form of emotional and psychological manipulation may be longstanding within the relationship, or it may be a new tool to create discord during divorce. Either way, if you are being gaslit during a divorce, having proper representation from an experienced family law attorney will help ensure your interests are protected.

What is Gaslighting?

Are you sure? That’s not what happened. You’re crazy! These types of statements both countering and denying a spouse’s memory are just the beginning. Gaslighting involves the manipulation of information to make one partner question their own reality. It can be more. Once the facts are questioned, then the abuser begins to substitute their own facts to create a new narrative.

Questioning the victim’s memory also leads to a refusal to engage in conversation. The best way to defend their gaslighting is to merely ignore the partner’s concerns. This often creates feelings of isolation and leads to reduced self-confidence. Gaslighting also involves diversion. Perhaps instead of ignoring the victim, the abuser will merely change the subject or begin their own emotional cry to avoid detection.

Examples of Gaslighting in Divorce

John and Betty are getting divorce. John has been the primary breadwinner employed at a big tech firm, and Betty has been a stay-at-home mom for nearly a decade. Here are some common examples of gaslighting one might experience during a divorce:

  1. John refuses to provide Betty with information about the household finances to limit his payments to Betty. By withholding crucial financial documentation, Betty might not know that she is being financially harmed by John.

  2. John suddenly begins taking a more active role in the kids’ lives. He starts taking pictures of his major responsibilities and outings with the children. He uses this new evidence to create a false narrative about his parenting style.

  3. John and Betty are discussing their post-divorce budgets. Once the topics of child and spousal support arises, John begins to show distress about his ability to live if he is forced to pay the necessary support to Betty.

  4. John gets angry and yells each time Betty brings up issues important to the divorce. Betty shuts down to avoid a fight.

Moving Forward in a Gaslit Divorce

Gaslighting is difficult to overcome without the assistance of others because the victim often does not realize there is an issue. Even once gaslighting is identified, the abuser often turns towards other tactics – like refusing to cooperate or exaggerating emotions – to win their battles. Working with an effective mental health counselor is always a good step. If the victim recognizes the abuse and takes steps to fortify their own memory and confidence, the gaslighting will not be as effective.

Hiring an experienced legal team is a must to handle an abusive divorce. Instead of being alone in the process, the victim has an advocate capable of putting down their foot. False facts mean little when your family law attorney is able to present the truth and argue in reality. If you are being gaslit, contact the family law attorneys at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell, PS. We offer free telephone case evaluations and are dedicated to helping our clients escape abusive marriages.

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