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    Default Gaslighting

    What is Gaslighting?
    Inspired by the 1940 and 1944 films “Gas Light,” where a husband systematically manipulates his wife in order to make her feel crazy, the term “Gaslighting” is now commonly used to describe behaviour that is inherently manipulative.

    Gaslighting, at its core, is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgements. Essentially, a Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favour, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you.
    This is often done by making you feel “overly sensitive,” “paranoid,” “mentally unstable,” “silly,” “unhinged,” and many other sensations which cause you to doubt yourself.
    How to Know Whether Someone is Gaslighting You

    Gaslighting is so harmful because it promotes anxiety, depression, and with enough frequency in our lives, can sometimes trigger nervous breakdowns. So the question now it: are you being gaslighted? How can you know whether you’re experiencing this subtle form of manipulation in your life?
    Review the following tell-tale signs:

    1. Something is “off” about your a person in your life … but you can’t quite explain or pinpoint what.
    2. You frequently second-guess your ability to remember the details of past events.
    3. You feel confused and disorientated.
    4. You feel threatened and on-edge, but you don’t know why.
    5. You feel the need to apologize all the time for what you do or who you are.
    6. You never quite feel “good enough” and try to live up to the expectations and demands of others, even if they are unreasonable or harm you in some way.
    7. You feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, e.g. you’re neurotic or are “losing it.”
    8. You feel like you’re constantly overreacting or are too sensitive.
    9. You feel isolated, hopeless, misunderstood and depressed.
    10. You find it hard to trust your own judgement, and given a choice, you choose to believe the judgement of another.
    11. You feel scared and as though “something is terribly wrong,” but you don’t know what or why.
    12. You find it hard to make decisions.
    13. You feel as though you’re a much weaker version of yourself, and you were much more strong and confident in the past.
    14. You feel guilty for not feeling happy like you used to.
    15. You’ve become afraid of “speaking up” or expressing your emotions, so you stay silent instead.

    Tactics Used by the Gaslighter

    Gaslighters use a variety of subtle techniques to undermine your reality and portrayyou as the disturbed and messed up one.
    These include, for example:

    • Discrediting you by making other people think that you’re crazy, irrational or unstable.
    • Using a mask of confidence, assertiveness, and/or fake compassion to make you believe that you “have it all wrong.” Therefore, eventually you begin to doubt yourself and believe their version of past events.
    • Changing the subject. The gaslighter may divert the topic by asking another question, or making a statement usually directed at your thoughts, e.g. “You’re imagining things—that never happened!” “No, you’re wrong, you didn’t remember right.” “Is that another crazy idea you got from your (anyone)?”
    • Minimizing. By trivializing how you feel and what you think, the gaslighter gains more and more power over you, e.g. “Why are you being so sensitive?” “You don’t need to get angry over a little thing like that!” “I was just joking around, why are you taking things so seriously?”
    • Denial and avoidance. By refusing to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, the gaslighter causes you to doubt yourself more and more. For example, “I don’t remember that, you must have dreamt it!” “You’re lying, I never said that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re changing the subject.”
    • Twisting and reframing. When the gaslighter confidently and subtly twists and reframes what was said or done in their favour, they can cause you to second-guess yourself—especially when paired with fake compassion, making you feel as though you are “unstable,” “irrational,” and so forth. For example, “I didn’t say that, I said _____” “I didn’t beat you up Johnny, I just gave you a smack around the head—that’s what all good fathers do.” “If you remember correctly, I was actually trying to help you.”

    Abuse-related gaslighting

    Not every instance of gaslighting is as blatant as hiding items or directly denying someone’s perceptions. Most abuse includes an element of gaslighting. Abusers rarely say out loud, “I’m choosing to abuse you.”

    • A physically abusive person says, “I’m doing this for your own good. You shouldn’t provoke me.” In truth, victims do not cause abuse.
    • A sexually abusive person says, “This isn’t happening. I love you. You like it. It doesn’t hurt.” In truth, abuse is not loving behavior. Children do not ask for assault. The pain is real.
    • A ritually abusive group stages abuse so bizarre and extreme that victims do not believe their own memories. Real bloodshed and torture are combined with drugs and misdirection, adding to the sense of unreality.

    Everyday gaslighting
    Gaslighting occurs in more subtle ways as well, any time someone responds as if your reality does not exist.


    • An adult says to a crying child, “There’s no reason to be sad. Give us a nice smile.”
    • A partner says, “That’s too hard for you. I’ll do it.”
    • A friend snaps, “I’m not angry! Why are you starting a fight?”
    • After being called on a racist or sexist comment, the speaker says, “Just kidding!” or “You’re too sensitive!” or “You’re looking for reasons to be offended.”

    How to Fight Back Against Manipulation

    As with any subtle form of manipulation, the first step in freeing yourself from gaslighting is to recognize that it’s actually happeningand to determine who the abuser is. In most cases this will be pretty obvious. The next step, then, is to take a firm stand against the reality this abuser is attempting to impose on you – and that’s the hard part. When you’re in the habit of trusting someone else’s version of events above your own, it can be hard to go back to accepting what you perceive as being the truth.
    Adding to that, the nature of gaslighting means that any attempt to stand up to your abuser is likely to be written off as “another fantasy.” Your complaints are likely to be met with very convincing and logical-sounding explanations, which is why it’s extremely important to commit yourself 100% to breaking the pattern.
    Often the victim of this type of manipulation is aware of what’s happening, but the possible consequences of standing up to the effect seem less bad than “just letting it happen.” Often, if the problem is happening in a relationship, a necessary part of breaking free is steeling yourself to the fact that you have to be prepared to lose this person.Ultimately, if you’re in a situation where you feel dependent on your spouse or partner, you’ll allow them to manipulate you because you fear the alternative: being alone. But you have to ask yourself whether it’s better for you in the long term to be stuck in a manipulative relationship, or to break free and reclaim your own ability to make choices and decisions according to your own free will.
    There’s no easy solution. Breaking the pattern requires you to assert yourself as someone with a right to have an independent opinion and worldview – and if you’ve been accepting someone else’s worldview for years, it’s going to take guts to change that. In many cases, the easiest way to break free is to remove yourself from the situation altogether and get a fresh start where you can rebuild your sense of self without manipulative influences.
    It’s important to recognize in any case that the manipulation is really happening no matter what the gaslighter says, and that there are people who can help you. Turn to trusted friends, independent support networks or therapists, or other people in your work organization (preferably those higher up the chain than the person doing the gaslighting).
    Breathe into doubt
    When you notice any of these signs, allow compassion for yourself. Breathe into your truth. “I don’t know what to believe. I feel crazy.” Bring kindness to your experience of confusion and doubt.

    Keep a record
    If you have enough privacy, it can bring relief to record your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Your journal can receive your conflicting impressions without the need for certainty. If someone questions your memory, you can look back at your notes. If items mysteriously appear and disappear, you can take strategic photographs of problem areas.

    Listen within
    To rebuild self-trust and repair your reality, tune in to your internal signals with interested curiosity. In her book The Power of Focusing, Ann Weiser Cornell teaches Inner Relationship Focusing, a simple method for connecting with yourself. When you notice a sensation or emotion, you can keep it company, listening for its truth without expecting it to change.


    • “Something in me feels anxious, and I say hello to that.”
    • “My belly feels tight, and I say hello to that.”
    • “I don’t know what I feel, and I say hello to that.”

    If you feel judgmental of what you notice, you can turn your listening attention toward judgment.

    • “Something in me hates that I feel anxious, and I say hello to that.”
    • “Something in me wants my belly to relax, and I say hello to that.”
    • “Something in me says I should know what I feel, and I say hello to that.”

    As you listen inside, your vague sensations will become more clear. As parts of you feel fully heard, they will shift and heal. As you practice listening, you will regain confidence in your perceptions.
    Ignore motives
    In the movie Gaslight, Gregory’s manipulation of his wife is part of a hidden plot to find her aunt’s jewels. Sometimes gaslighting helps an abuser maintain a more sympathetic self-image as well as concealing abuse. While it is happening, gaslighting often lacks an apparent motive, which adds to the victim’s confusion and self-doubt.

    You do not have to figure out why someone is gaslighting you. You do not even have to label the behavior as gaslighting. You can simply say hello to your confusion and desire to understand.
    Seek out support









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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Thanks for this! This has to be the most insidious form of abuse because it is so subtle that it is hard to explain to people. And, women are already at a disadvantage because we are viewed as "emotional."

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    My mom does this shit.

    my mom was real abusive when I was younger. So when i bring up the stuff she did in the past she'll be like oh I NEVER did/said that. Im like bitch yes you did! Trying to make me feel like I'm a liar and crazy just cause her psycho ass doesn't want to accept responsibility/doesn't like being called out. She has also been in a ltr with a narcissist and this is common manipulation strategy amongst those types.

    Well I'll guess what ima start filming and documenting everything and you can gaslight that, bitch.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Quote Originally Posted by miss.a.p1600 View Post
    My mom does this shit.

    my mom was real abusive when I was younger. So when i bring up the stuff she did in the past she'll be like oh I NEVER did/said that. Im like bitch yes you did! Trying to make me feel like I'm a liar and crazy just cause her psycho ass doesn't want to accept responsibility/doesn't like being called out. She has also been in a ltr with a narcissist and this is common manipulation strategy amongst those types.

    Well I'll guess what ima start filming and documenting everything and you can gaslight that, bitch.
    Yup. They always say things like "Oh, you took what I said out of context" or "you are twisting my words."

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Curious as to where you found this article. I was trying to explain to a family member the concept of gaslighting but it didn't register (too close minded) so I'd like to forward this article because it's very in depth and explains well.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Let me go bk & find that, I put it up late last night.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    The "my ex gf is soooo crazy" fuckboy epidemic is one big gaslight. I was constantly told that by my abusive ex. "Omg you're so crazy!! I really think you need help" yup, not wanting your man to fuck other women in your house, forge your checks, steal your belongings, and spend all your money on drugs is SOOO crazy of me!
    And what's worse is his whole family joined in and made me question my sanity.
    I've done business with men who think I'm as silly as I look; by the time they figure out I'm not, I've done got the money and gone -Dolly Parton

    a motherfukin hustler kamikaze//I used to bus tables but now I sell my body

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Quote Originally Posted by RyanXO View Post
    Thanks for this! This has to be the most insidious form of abuse because it is so subtle that it is hard to explain to people. And, women are already at a disadvantage because we are viewed as "emotional."
    Obviously you should end all abusive relationships but aside from this truism...

    The only other advice I can give is to find people that understand its subtleties so they can help you realize you are not being crazy. Even if you don't want them to intervene at the very least have someone you can talk to, and if you can objectively explain the facts to a third party, then I guarantee you are not crazy.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Quote Originally Posted by DeathAndTaxes View Post
    Obviously you should end all abusive relationships but aside from this truism...

    The only other advice I can give is to find people that understand its subtleties so they can help you realize you are not being crazy. Even if you don't want them to intervene at the very least have someone you can talk to, and if you can objectively explain the facts to a third party, then I guarantee you are not crazy.
    This is great advice, although sticky.

    As someone who is about 3 years free from an abusive relationship that thrived on gaslighting, isolation is a major tactic. My friends who saw what was going on were just jealous and trashy concern trolls, he would say. He would find reasons to bitch about me seeing them or them coming over. Eventually I started to think "wow having friends over is so exhausting" and I began to just not reach out. And I'm sure it was exhausting dealing with me being such a wreck and dealing with a man who criticized them constantly.

    My best grounding resources came from online relationships. I was emotional enough and had the access to explain things as they happened. My ex could not affect these friends, he didn't know they even existed. My online friends would tell me "he does this shit all the time". They would take screen shots of messages and then send them to me when I was doubting my memory.

    The most notable things he did were withdraw money from my bank account and take my car overnight without asking. He would at first tell me I was wrong, he didn't take any money he didn't take my car ever. He eventually started to imply that I was blacking out and buying drugs at night with the money, and imagining him taking my car. Those were things my online friends would be like "nah dude here are all the dates he took your car and here's the total amount he's taken from your bank account since x day. You weren't on drugs, you were coherent when you told us this."


    ETA: The gaslighting on major topics was very easy to get sorted out once I had third party contacts that were in the know, but the smaller things were harder to suss and were things I was less likely to run to a facebook group or chatzy chat to complain about.

    Like I once went on a "cleaning strike" because my ex would just ruin my house and then not recognize me cleaning, and he would even tell me *I'M* the slob after he fucked my house up.

    When my house was full of his favorite fast food wrappers and random shit after 3 days, he told me I had left his random shit there for weeks and that the wrappers I was seeing were from the few times he got me food during those many weeks as well.

    Just... gaslighting tends to be so hard to understand, i mean well.. because that's the nature of it. And the gaslighting is almost never just about big things, it takes warping your entire perspective for a gaslighting abuser to really succeed at making you doubt reality. This can range from tiny things like "whose soda bottle is this, I know it isn't mine, don't you dare blame this on me" to huge things like "i never held you hostage for three days" (another thing my ex did and then made me feel crazy for believing)
    Last edited by drearea; 01-12-2017 at 08:30 PM. Reason: nuance
    "Well then it's a good thing your faith in me has no impact on how much I make." - MissEgo

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Quote Originally Posted by BambiCutie View Post
    Seriously Whirlz thank you!! I always look for these signs now, this is a major lesson. Everything has been 100% clear and reading this helps ease that pain.
    Aw, I'm glad I could help! Since getting free of my narc, I want everyone to be free & aware!

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Hmmm I just saw these behaviors in a recent thread.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    My whole family is like this. Yes, all of them. (Except kiddo.) That is why I am divorced from all of them. Freedom!!!


    P.S. I studied that film in my Women and film class and loved it.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Thank you, Whirlerz! Actually, gaslighting is the first step to breaking down one's psyche and personality. Then the victim can be "remolded" by those who gaslight them and stockholm syndrome starts to form within the victim's mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by whirlerz View Post
    What is Gaslighting?
    Inspired by the 1940 and 1944 films “Gas Light,” where a husband systematically manipulates his wife in order to make her feel crazy, the term “Gaslighting” is now commonly used to describe behaviour that is inherently manipulative.

    Gaslighting, at its core, is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgements. Essentially, a Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favour, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you.
    This is often done by making you feel “overly sensitive,” “paranoid,” “mentally unstable,” “silly,” “unhinged,” and many other sensations which cause you to doubt yourself.
    How to Know Whether Someone is Gaslighting You

    Gaslighting is so harmful because it promotes anxiety, depression, and with enough frequency in our lives, can sometimes trigger nervous breakdowns. So the question now it: are you being gaslighted? How can you know whether you’re experiencing this subtle form of manipulation in your life?
    Review the following tell-tale signs:

    1. Something is “off” about your a person in your life … but you can’t quite explain or pinpoint what.
    2. You frequently second-guess your ability to remember the details of past events.
    3. You feel confused and disorientated.
    4. You feel threatened and on-edge, but you don’t know why.
    5. You feel the need to apologize all the time for what you do or who you are.
    6. You never quite feel “good enough” and try to live up to the expectations and demands of others, even if they are unreasonable or harm you in some way.
    7. You feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, e.g. you’re neurotic or are “losing it.”
    8. You feel like you’re constantly overreacting or are too sensitive.
    9. You feel isolated, hopeless, misunderstood and depressed.
    10. You find it hard to trust your own judgement, and given a choice, you choose to believe the judgement of another.
    11. You feel scared and as though “something is terribly wrong,” but you don’t know what or why.
    12. You find it hard to make decisions.
    13. You feel as though you’re a much weaker version of yourself, and you were much more strong and confident in the past.
    14. You feel guilty for not feeling happy like you used to.
    15. You’ve become afraid of “speaking up” or expressing your emotions, so you stay silent instead.

    Tactics Used by the Gaslighter

    Gaslighters use a variety of subtle techniques to undermine your reality and portrayyou as the disturbed and messed up one.
    These include, for example:

    • Discrediting you by making other people think that you’re crazy, irrational or unstable.
    • Using a mask of confidence, assertiveness, and/or fake compassion to make you believe that you “have it all wrong.” Therefore, eventually you begin to doubt yourself and believe their version of past events.
    • Changing the subject. The gaslighter may divert the topic by asking another question, or making a statement usually directed at your thoughts, e.g. “You’re imagining things—that never happened!” “No, you’re wrong, you didn’t remember right.” “Is that another crazy idea you got from your (anyone)?”
    • Minimizing. By trivializing how you feel and what you think, the gaslighter gains more and more power over you, e.g. “Why are you being so sensitive?” “You don’t need to get angry over a little thing like that!” “I was just joking around, why are you taking things so seriously?”
    • Denial and avoidance. By refusing to acknowledge your feelings and thoughts, the gaslighter causes you to doubt yourself more and more. For example, “I don’t remember that, you must have dreamt it!” “You’re lying, I never said that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re changing the subject.”
    • Twisting and reframing. When the gaslighter confidently and subtly twists and reframes what was said or done in their favour, they can cause you to second-guess yourself—especially when paired with fake compassion, making you feel as though you are “unstable,” “irrational,” and so forth. For example, “I didn’t say that, I said _____” “I didn’t beat you up Johnny, I just gave you a smack around the head—that’s what all good fathers do.” “If you remember correctly, I was actually trying to help you.”

    Abuse-related gaslighting

    Not every instance of gaslighting is as blatant as hiding items or directly denying someone’s perceptions. Most abuse includes an element of gaslighting. Abusers rarely say out loud, “I’m choosing to abuse you.”

    • A physically abusive person says, “I’m doing this for your own good. You shouldn’t provoke me.” In truth, victims do not cause abuse.
    • A sexually abusive person says, “This isn’t happening. I love you. You like it. It doesn’t hurt.” In truth, abuse is not loving behavior. Children do not ask for assault. The pain is real.
    • A ritually abusive group stages abuse so bizarre and extreme that victims do not believe their own memories. Real bloodshed and torture are combined with drugs and misdirection, adding to the sense of unreality.

    Everyday gaslighting
    Gaslighting occurs in more subtle ways as well, any time someone responds as if your reality does not exist.


    • An adult says to a crying child, “There’s no reason to be sad. Give us a nice smile.”
    • A partner says, “That’s too hard for you. I’ll do it.”
    • A friend snaps, “I’m not angry! Why are you starting a fight?”
    • After being called on a racist or sexist comment, the speaker says, “Just kidding!” or “You’re too sensitive!” or “You’re looking for reasons to be offended.”

    How to Fight Back Against Manipulation

    As with any subtle form of manipulation, the first step in freeing yourself from gaslighting is to recognize that it’s actually happeningand to determine who the abuser is. In most cases this will be pretty obvious. The next step, then, is to take a firm stand against the reality this abuser is attempting to impose on you – and that’s the hard part. When you’re in the habit of trusting someone else’s version of events above your own, it can be hard to go back to accepting what you perceive as being the truth.
    Adding to that, the nature of gaslighting means that any attempt to stand up to your abuser is likely to be written off as “another fantasy.” Your complaints are likely to be met with very convincing and logical-sounding explanations, which is why it’s extremely important to commit yourself 100% to breaking the pattern.
    Often the victim of this type of manipulation is aware of what’s happening, but the possible consequences of standing up to the effect seem less bad than “just letting it happen.” Often, if the problem is happening in a relationship, a necessary part of breaking free is steeling yourself to the fact that you have to be prepared to lose this person.Ultimately, if you’re in a situation where you feel dependent on your spouse or partner, you’ll allow them to manipulate you because you fear the alternative: being alone. But you have to ask yourself whether it’s better for you in the long term to be stuck in a manipulative relationship, or to break free and reclaim your own ability to make choices and decisions according to your own free will.
    There’s no easy solution. Breaking the pattern requires you to assert yourself as someone with a right to have an independent opinion and worldview – and if you’ve been accepting someone else’s worldview for years, it’s going to take guts to change that. In many cases, the easiest way to break free is to remove yourself from the situation altogether and get a fresh start where you can rebuild your sense of self without manipulative influences.
    It’s important to recognize in any case that the manipulation is really happening no matter what the gaslighter says, and that there are people who can help you. Turn to trusted friends, independent support networks or therapists, or other people in your work organization (preferably those higher up the chain than the person doing the gaslighting).
    Breathe into doubt
    When you notice any of these signs, allow compassion for yourself. Breathe into your truth. “I don’t know what to believe. I feel crazy.” Bring kindness to your experience of confusion and doubt.

    Keep a record
    If you have enough privacy, it can bring relief to record your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Your journal can receive your conflicting impressions without the need for certainty. If someone questions your memory, you can look back at your notes. If items mysteriously appear and disappear, you can take strategic photographs of problem areas.

    Listen within
    To rebuild self-trust and repair your reality, tune in to your internal signals with interested curiosity. In her book The Power of Focusing, Ann Weiser Cornell teaches Inner Relationship Focusing, a simple method for connecting with yourself. When you notice a sensation or emotion, you can keep it company, listening for its truth without expecting it to change.


    • “Something in me feels anxious, and I say hello to that.”
    • “My belly feels tight, and I say hello to that.”
    • “I don’t know what I feel, and I say hello to that.”

    If you feel judgmental of what you notice, you can turn your listening attention toward judgment.

    • “Something in me hates that I feel anxious, and I say hello to that.”
    • “Something in me wants my belly to relax, and I say hello to that.”
    • “Something in me says I should know what I feel, and I say hello to that.”

    As you listen inside, your vague sensations will become more clear. As parts of you feel fully heard, they will shift and heal. As you practice listening, you will regain confidence in your perceptions.
    Ignore motives
    In the movie Gaslight, Gregory’s manipulation of his wife is part of a hidden plot to find her aunt’s jewels. Sometimes gaslighting helps an abuser maintain a more sympathetic self-image as well as concealing abuse. While it is happening, gaslighting often lacks an apparent motive, which adds to the victim’s confusion and self-doubt.

    You do not have to figure out why someone is gaslighting you. You do not even have to label the behavior as gaslighting. You can simply say hello to your confusion and desire to understand.
    Seek out support








    Wolves may lurk in every guise / Now as then, 'tis simple truth / Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth.

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    Default Re: Gaslighting

    Bump! I have been reading up on this topic and I am freaked out because I am starting to realize this is happening to me!

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