Posted in life, psychology

What is Gaslighting

In my previous post, we talked about manipulation and sampled the character of Jin Mu from Alchemy of Souls. Fact check, we meet a gaslighter in real life sometimes unaware of it, and so before falling to their trap let me show you ways to spot a gaslighter.

Gaslighting is a colloquialism, loosely defined as making someone question their own reality. The term derives from the title of the 1944 film – Gaslight. The term may also be used to describe a person (a “gaslighter”) who presents a false narrative to another group or person, thereby leading them to doubt their perceptions and become misled, disoriented or distressed.

Wikipedia

Gaslighting is a favorite tool of a toxic person. It is a form of abuse and psychological control. A gaslighter will start with small lies, eventually misinformation increases overtime. Anyone can be a victim of a gaslighting and the most effective gaslighter is the hardest to detect.

Gaslighting can appear in various ways. Here are examples or techniques they use (from Medical News Today);

  • Countering: This is when someone questions a person’s memory or recall. They may say, “Are you sure about that? You have a bad memory,” or “I think you are just forgetful.”
  • Withholding: Pretending they do not understand the conversation, or refusing to listen, to make a person doubt themselves. For example, they might say, “Now you are just confusing me,” or “I do not know what you are talking about.”
  • Trivializing: This occurs when a person belittles or disregards how someone else feels. They may accuse them of being “too sensitive” or overreacting in response to valid and reasonable concerns.
  • Denial: Refusing to take responsibility for their actions. They may do this by pretending to forget what happened, saying they did not do it, or blaming their behavior on someone else.
  • Diverting: With this technique, a person changes the focus of a discussion by questioning the other person’s credibility. A great tactic and often use by personalities to divert the attention from them.
  • Stereotyping: A person may intentionally use negative stereotypes about someone’s gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, or age to gaslight them. For example, they may say that no one will believe a woman if she reports abuse.

From the examples listed, you maybe able to detect a gaslighter. As a disclaimer, this behavior becomes toxic based on intentions. And we may accidentally use the phrases sampled above without really intending to gaslight someone. It’s all in the intention or motives of a person.

It is different from Manipulation though. Manipulation is a key part of gaslighting, it’s a common tactic. Can be used in marketing strategies, politics, institutions, etc. But gaslighter, they are very rare and much more toxic.


Gaslighting can be psychologically devastating. According to Psychology Today, it violates trust, upends a person’s view that people are generally good, and can make them suspicious of everyone who is close to them. Falling victim to a gaslighter also erodes a person’s trust in themselves and may make a victim never want to be part of a relationship again.

There are ways to protect yourself from this form of abuse. First to simply gather evidence, write journals, take photos, etc. and use them as your proof. You may also talk to someone trustworthy and if needed, leave that toxic relationship.

Author:

Mitch founded Chocolate Chimney year 2009 that made artisanal and decorated cakes and cookies loved by Filipinos. She was a young entrepreneur when SM SVI (supermarket) invited her to consign with them and paved way to her business putting up 5 stalls in prime SM Supermarket branches in Metro Manila. She is also passionate about Endometriosis, Adenomyosis, Family and Health. Received Certification in Nutrition and Health from Wageningen University, Introduction to Psychology, Managing Emotions from Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence, and Emotional and Social Intelligence by UC Davis. Currently studying Graphic Design under California Institute of Arts as her first love - Art <3 사랑

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