Has your coparent been consistently making you feel like you're the one that is at fault for the conflict? Are they constantly making excuses for their wrong actions and twisting your words into thinking it's all in your head?
If so, then they might be using gaslighting tactics to avoid accountability. This can be extremely harmful to your co-parenting relationship and can cause significant emotional effects.
A coparent who tends to gaslight you will often turn the incident into a blame game, attempting to make you feel guilty or mentally unstable for even questioning their behavior. It can cause you to question your own reality or memory of how the event or situation occurred. Over time, this emotional toxic cycle can weigh heavily on your self-esteem and confidence making you feel unworthy or fearful to speak up.
Gaslighting Phrases Used to Silence Someone:
That never happened: This is a complete denial of the situation. They are avoiding all accountability for the incident.
You’re too emotional: This tactic is used to deflect from what they have did. Instead, they are focusing on your reaction so you’ll feel guilty. They use this to flip the script and blame.
You are imagining things: They generally will say this in an attempt to distort the facts or the reality of the situation. Hard evidence and facts can diffuse this statement.
You’re crazy and need help: This is typically used to break down your self-esteem and make you question yourself. Often it is a self-projection of their own internal state.
I’m sorry you think I hurt you: This isn’t a sorry at all. It is a backhanded attempt at an apology but fails to take any accountability for their behavior.
You should have known how I would react: They say this when they want you to accept their poor behavior because “you should known better” than to question them.
You’re too controlling: This is a deflection method to make you look at your own behavior so they can avoid what they did. They are most likely self admitting they are wrong but shifting blame to you.
Why are you defensive all the time: They are solely focusing on your reaction to make you seem like you’re emotionally out of control, yet they probably did something that was provoking to trigger you.
Maybe that is what you heard in your head, but it’s not what I said: When this is said it is an attempt to distort your recollection of what happened. While we can all misunderstand or misinterpret things at times, this is their attempt to create confusion so you’ll question yourself and not them.
It’s your fault: They are flat out denying any account of their behavior. The blame game is their M. O.
You’re the only one who thinks there’s an issue: This is an attempt to label you as irrational. They want you to assume your thinking is flawed and that if you question them you’ll look crazy. Or, if you tell anyone else you’ll also look crazy because they want to keep you under their control.
A coparent who avoids responsibility for their actions will make things challenging for coparenting. It can often be an indication there is a personality disorder present and they are disconnected from their authentic self and value system. An emotionally abusive coparent often finds it easier to hide behind a false persona in an attempt to cover-up their shortcomings. They believe they are entitled to make or break the “rules”, however you partner cannot. If you find yourself experiencing these types of behaviors from your coparent, it may be best to seek a neutral party for guidance. An unhealthy cycle needs to be broken and transformed into a healthy dynamic that supports the needs of the children.