Gaslighting: A Serious Form of Abuse

Phurden Lepcha
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A person's perception of reality, feeling of self-worth, and sense of autonomy are all undermined by the poisonous and manipulative psychological abuse known as gaslighting. Gaslighting is a common practise in interpersonal interactions, the workplace, and even in social settings. It was given its name from the 1944 film "Gaslight," in which a husband tricks his wife into questioning her senses. The perniciousness of gaslighting, its effects on victims, typical perpetrator strategies, and techniques to identify and stop this harmful form of abuse are all covered in this article.

Gaslighting: A Serious Form of Abuse

An infographics of Gaslighting

I. Recognizing Gaslighting 


When someone intentionally manipulates the victim's reality, perceptions, and memories, it is known as gaslighting and is a kind of emotional and psychological abuse. This trickery is used to subjugate the victim and establish domination over them.

The Mechanisms Behind Gaslighting

The abuser uses cunning and persistent methods to erode the victim's faith in their intelligence, feelings, and experiences. The victim gradually starts to question their own sanity and feels reliant on the abuser for approval and making decisions.

II. Identifying Gaslighting Techniques

 Putting down and denying:

The victim begins to doubt their memory and judgement when the gaslighter repeatedly refutes the occurrence of events or changes specifics of prior encounters. They could also minimize the victim's emotions or dismiss them as unjustified or overblown.

Egregious falsehoods and contradictions:

Gaslighters frequently tell outright lies or retract previous claims, leaving the victim perplexed and doubtful. The victim is exposed and confused by the information's continual changing.


The abuser makes the victim believe they are the ones with issues by projecting their shortcomings and undesirable characteristics onto them. By using this technique, the gaslighter can escape taking responsibility and trick the victim into thinking they are to blame.

Alienation and Isolation:

Gaslighters cut off the victim from their social networks in an effort to make them more reliant on the abuser. The abuser might have more influence and control over the victim's thoughts and behaviours by establishing a controlled atmosphere. 

Creating Perplexity:

When arguing, the gaslighter may purposefully stir up conflicting feelings or alter the subject to keep the victim off balance. The goal of this tactic is to cause the victim to doubt both their emotional reactions and their perception of reality.

III. Victims' Experiences

Cost in terms of psychology and emotion:

Victims of gaslighting experience anxiety, depression, and emotional exhaustion. Their mental health is negatively impacted by the ongoing self-doubt and uncertainty, which causes a drop in self-esteem and self-confidence.

Dependence on the Offender:

As the victim's confidence is gradually diminished by the gaslighter, the victim becomes more dependent on the abuser for approval and guidance, which feeds the abuse cycle. Consequences for physical health Gaslighting can lead to stress, emotional distress, and physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and persistent exhaustion.

4. Identifying and avoiding Gaslighting Learn for Yourself

Recognizing and dealing with the abuse requires a thorough understanding of the symptoms and strategies of gaslighting. Victims are more equipped to escape the cycle of manipulation when they are informed.

Seek assistance:

Gaslighting victims should seek professional assistance from therapists or counsellors, as well as confide in dependable friends and family members. In order to help victims rebuild self-confidence and mental stability, support systems are crucial.

Keeping records:

Recording instances and discussions can assist victims in validating their experiences and thwarting the abuser's attempts to twist the truth.

Establish Limits:

Setting up boundaries with the gaslighter is crucial for safeguarding one's mental and emotional well. It could be important for self-preservation to cut off communication or end the relationship.

Boost Your Self-Confidence:

Rebuilding one's self-esteem and independence requires engaging in self-care rituals, learning self-compassion, and seeking internal validation.


Psychological abuse such as gaslighting is hazardous and common and can have terrible effects on the victims. The first step in escaping the cycle of manipulation is to become aware of the warning signs and gaslighting tactics. Victims can take back control of their lives and safeguard themselves against the negative effects of gaslighting by getting support, creating boundaries, and regaining their confidence. To combat gaslighting, society must work together to increase awareness and build a climate in which victims can recover and thrive.

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