Gaslighting: A Form of Psychological Manipulation

Phurden Lepcha
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In order to create doubt and uncertainty in their victim's mind, the abuser uses the psychological manipulation technique known as gaslighting. The abuser does this by denying reality, making the victim question their own memories, perceptions, and sanity. Gaslighting can be a very effective way to control and manipulate someone, because it can make the victim feel like they are crazy or that they cannot trust themselves.

Gaslighting: A Form of Psychological Manipulation

Infographics with icons: Gaslighting word concepts green banner, Manipulative method, Power tactic 

The play Gaslight, which took place in 1938, is where the phrase "gaslighting" first appeared. In that play, a husband tricks his wife into thinking that she is losing her mind. The husband does this by dimming the gaslights in their home and then denying that he has done so. The wife eventually starts to believe that she is imagining things, and she becomes increasingly paranoid and unstable.
Gaslighting can take many different forms, but some common examples include:

Denying reality:

Despite abundant proof to the contrary, the abuser continues to deny that something has occurred. For example, the abuser might deny that they said or did something that the victim remembers clearly. Making the victim question their memories. The abuser suggests that the victim is misremembering something, or that they are making things up altogether. This can make the victim start to doubt their own sanity.

Trivializing the victim's feelings:

The abuser minimizes the victim's feelings, making them seem insignificant or unimportant. This can make the victim feel like their feelings are not valid, and that they should not trust their own judgment.

Manipulating the victim's environment:

The abuser may try to control the victim's environment in order to make them feel more confused and disoriented. For example, the abuser might move furniture around in the victim's home, or change the victim's routine without telling them.
Gaslighting can have a devastating impact on the victim's mental health. It can cause the victim to feel isolated, confused, and anxious. It can also make the victim question their own self-worth. If you are experiencing gaslighting, it is important to seek help from a therapist or counselor. They can help you to understand what is happening, and to develop coping mechanisms.

How to Respond to Gaslighting

If you are being gaslit, it is important to remember that you are not crazy. The abuser is the one who is manipulating you. There are a few things you can do to respond to gaslighting:

Document what is happening:

Keep a journal of the gaslighting incidents, including what was said or done, and how it made you feel. This will help you to remember what happened, and to see the patterns of abuse.

Set Boundaries:

Make it clear to the abuser that their actions will not be accepted. Tell them that you will not engage in conversations with them if they deny reality or try to make you question your own memories.

Seek support:

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about what is happening. They can offer you support and advice.

Gaslighting is a serious form of abuse, and it is important to take steps to protect yourself. If you are being gaslit, please know that you are not alone. There are people who can help you.

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