‘I was just convinced it was silly’
find yourself apologising to your partner, you are having trouble making simple decisions and find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses for your partner.”
Seann Walsh has since spoken out on Strictly: It Takes Two and denied his four-year girlfriend Rebecca’s claims. He said: “It’s important for me to say the people who know me the most and that love me, they know I am not the person I am being portrayed as.”
It is possible that a man does not even realise he is gaslighting his partner.
Psychologist Stephanie Sarkis said: “Even when a person is practising gaslighting behaviour without being consciously aware of it, they may get a ‘pay-off’ when their victim becomes more dependent on them.
“Even if a gaslighter is not aware of their manipulative behaviour, that does not make it acceptable. It is still pathological and it is still their responsibility.
“Some realise they are doing it. It is a strategy they have studied. Others gaslight in order to feel some sense of control in their own lives.”
If you are worried you could be a victim visit womensaid.org.uk or call the Freephone 24/7 National Domestic Violence Helpline, run by Women’s Aid with Refuge, on 0808 2000 247. SHARON now realises her ex-husband covered up his cheating using gaslighting.
The 40-year-old was so moved by Rebecca Humphries’ statement, she messaged her online to show support.
Sharon said: “I thought ‘good on her, I wish I’d done that’.
“When my story all came out, my mum said you should’ve told us. But at the time I was just convinced I was being silly.
“I know now it is the classic gaslight thing. The negative, then the positive. Exactly the same as what Rebecca said about Seann.
“It was, ‘I love you, I want a family, I want kids with you’. Then the next day’s, ‘You’re crazy’.”
Sharon met her ex in 2001, when she was 23. The relationship progressed quickly and she moved in after a few months.
In December 2010 they got engaged. But within months she learned he had been messaging another woman.
Sharon said: “It was messages like, ‘I saw you today, I want to give you a hug’. Nothing too over the top, but for me that was enough. I thought, ‘This shouldn’t be happening’. But he told me he had no feelings for her – it was just messages – so I forgave him.”
They married in 2012 but Sharon still felt something was wrong.
Her man began going out without her, and dressing differently. When she asked about it he told her it was in her head.
She said: “I kept saying, ‘What are you up to? There’s something not right’, but it was, ‘No, you’re crazy’.”
They split when Sharon caught him sending messages to another woman, talking about their future together.
She said: “Six years down the line I can say, if you think you’re in a relationship like this, go with your gut. You know you’re not stupid – believe in yourself.”
■ DENIAL: Seann Walsh with dance partner Katya Jones