Advanced psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist CLAIRE GASKIN sees clients in Essex and in London’s Harley Street.

If you have a problem you’d like Claire’s advice with, email

For more details on Claire’s work, visit


I have been with my current partner for about five years and literally thought he was the man of my dreams.

But I suddenly realised recently that I have no real friends any more and don’t see my family and it is because of him.

I suspect he is having an affair but when I confronted him with this not so long ago I ended up doubting myself and feeling like I was going mad.

We moved to what he convinced me was our ‘dream home’ together about a year ago in a village quite a distance from my family and I rarely go out now.

When I do he calls me or texts me over and over and grills me about where I have been.

If I say I am going to leave he threatens to hurt himself and what was once fun and all consuming now feels suffocating and scary.

The fact he says he wants me all to himself is starting to wear thin.

But where do I turn ? I have allowed him to separate me from all those who could have helped including some who warned me in the beginning but I ignored because I thought they were jealous.

CLAIRE SAYS: When we become romantically involved with someone it is very easy to become infatuated and all-consumed.

It may be that’s what happened in your relationship at the start but, nonetheless, what you describe now is abusive.

A healthy relationship is supportive and allows both partners the freedom to pursue other activities outside of it.

However, as well as being bullied and harassed, you have become isolated, a strategy often used by an abusive partner to exert power and control.

Your partner’s threat to hurt himself is another controlling tactic.

And feeling like you’re going mad, in discussing your suspicions of infidelity with him, are worrying indicators of ‘gaslighting’.

Named after the 1938 play, Gas Light, it’s an insidious form of manipulation, where the abuser makes the victim question their perception, memory and beliefs.

If you feel suffocated and scared then it’s time to leave.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your friends and family, no matter what’s happened.

I’m sure they will be relieved to hear from you and quick to rally round.

You can also get in touch with Women’s Aid to find support in your local area. Ring them on: 0808 2000 247 or visit: