Domestic and family violence – Gaslighting: like a puppet on a string

domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence takes many forms, which can include psychological manipulation. Perpetrators attempt to pull the strings — manipulating their partners to gain power and control.

A partner who is using manipulation as a form of control can cause you to doubt yourself, often to a point where you no longer trust your own judgement, so causing dependency on that partner.

What is gaslighting?

Manipulation by psychological means is a technique of control often referred to as gaslighting. A partner who is gaslighting therefore undermines your sense of reality by denying facts and sowing seeds of uncertainty.

They will tell lies, distort facts and also belittle their victim.

Often, you don’t even notice it happening, because the perpetrator appears to behave in a loving manner, acting as though they are the only person able to love you despite your ‘quirks’.

Meanwhile, they undermine your self-esteem and self-worth.

Social isolation is a key factor in gaslighting because the perpetrator cannot risk another person bringing you back to reality. Therefore, they will often contrive to cause you to distrust friends and relatives.

The perpetrator often also conjures up an alternative reality to gain power and control.

Speaking honestly to someone you trust can be the first step to resolving the situation.

A friend, relative, doctor or counsellor may also help you to seek clarity in your relationship if you feel unable to make decisions or form an opinion without guidance from a partner.

In a healthy relationship, no one pulls the strings.  A healthy relationship is not about power and control. It is about an equal balance where both partners are freely able to state their opinions and make their decisions. Above all, everyone deserves a healthy relationship where they feel loved, supported, and safe.

If you or someone you know is at risk of domestic and family violence:

Find more information about what a healthy relationship looks like at

Talk to a friend or family member you can trust.

Talk to a counsellor.

Develop a safety plan to protect yourself. Search ‘safety plan’ at for information.

Get in touch with a LGBTI Police Liaison Officer by calling PoliceLink on 131 444.

There are dedicated officers around the state and PoliceLink will identify a liaison officer in your area.

Support for all Queenslanders identifying as female is available from the DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

Support for all Queenslanders identifying as male is available on the DVConnect Mensline on 1800 600 636 (9 am to midnight, seven days a week).

Call Diverse Voices on 1800 184 527 (3 pm to midnight, seven days a week).

Diverse Voices is a peer to peer phone and internet counselling service focused on the diverse voices that make up our communities.

In an emergency call Triple Zero (000) and ask for the Police.

Thanks to our brand partner: Queensland Government

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