Gaslighting is so terrible because most times, you don’t even realize what’s going on.
After the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play, Gas Light, the term gaslighting came into global use . The play depicts victimization through false information and psychological manipulation. The intent is always to make the victim doubt their own memory and perception. It portrays a man who uses psychological deceit to convince his wife that she has gone crazy, all in a bid to cover his criminal tracks.
A proper definition has gaslighting to mean, “A form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity .”
Gaslighting deals with psychological manipulation so strong that a person begins to doubt the reality and truth he knows.
People in positions of power, authority, and respect will always find it easy to manipulate others. Most people who refuse to walk away from abusive relationships can be described as being gaslighted sometimes. They feel they’re the problem, and they are always quick to forgive their partners for lashing out.
Are you being gaslighted?
Here are 11 of the foremost manipulation techniques these deceivers use on their unfortunate victims. If you notice your partner displaying any one of these behaviors, you’re being manipulated .
They deny everything at all times
Gaslighters will literally deny every accusation leveled against them, no matter how concrete the evidence is. They’ll never accept that they’ve done something wrong. At first, you’ll find this annoying and it may cause a few fights. After this stage, you’ll find yourself hanging onto every word they say as they deny and evade. Human beings are naturally inclined to get accustomed to patterns. Gaslighters will deny so much, you’ll begin to believe every word they say. When the evidence is contradictory, you’ll start to question your own sanity and not their credibility.
They are gifted liars
Gaslighters are so good at fabricating lies, obvious truths pale in comparison. From telling a tiny lie about where they were at 6:00 pm to fabricating an entire story to throw you off suspicion, gaslighters will lie so much that you’ll stop doubting them. Instead, you’ll begin to doubt your memory. If you were formerly certain that you saw your partner kissing another person at a restaurant, you’ll begin to wonder if your eyes were just playing tricks on you.
They drain your energy
Gaslighters like to argue a lot. They argue excessively and never let up or concede defeat. A normal person would find this incredibly exhausting. Even in the face of the truth, a gaslighter will argue, evade, and confuse. This is just a tactic to wear you out and make you give up. In subsequent situations, you’ll find yourself conceding defeat without arguing at all. You’re already too drained for the emotional stress. You’ll begin to accept everything they say, and soon, your perceptions will become thwarted.
They can’t always be the evil ones
Gaslighters can’t have their plans thwarted by a semblance of good reasoning in you. When a person is being constantly treated badly, they’ll be wise enough to know that something is wrong. People reason better when a course of behavior towards them is stable and unchanging.
Unfortunately, gaslighters won’t allow this. They’ll mix in the bad with the good. They’ll show you love, kindness, and even romance, along with all the emotional abuse and manipulation. This can get so bad that your memory will begin to twitch. You’ll begin to believe them and feel terrible when they falsely put the blame on you.
They’ll surround themselves with people who’ll worsen the situation
This is a very strong tactic after they’ve painted you the villain. Gaslighters are smart, and they know they have to keep you doubting your own perception of the truth. They’ll surround themselves with people who applaud their actions and words, strengthening your belief in the fact that you’re the one with the problem. A time will come when you’ll create a new value system based on their twisted, sick lies and awful behavior.
They bank on your inadequacies
Gaslighters always try to deflect the argument from themselves. They’ll find a bad habit or shortcoming of yours to use against you during arguments. They bring up the fact that you’re the alcoholic who can’t seem to get it together, you’re the one hooked on drugs, or you’re the one who is financially dependent in the relationship. They do this so much that you’re always on the defensive, forgetting the main issue at hand. You’ll become scared of calling them out of their wrongs, and you’ll wonder at some point if they’re really the cause of the problems or it’s all you.
They paint everyone else as liars
Gaslighters will immediately proclaim any point made against them as a lie. It doesn’t matter who it’s coming from or how credible the source is. It just has to be a lie if it doesn’t agree with what they’re saying. This will happen so much that you’ll begin to accept that truly, your points are false. When something goes a long way to prove that you’re right, you’ll doubt your sanity and normalcy.
They attack your worth and identity
A gaslighter will paint everything that’s tied to you black; your family, your job, your mode of dressing, your accent, your education, your friends, and your tastes. Virtually everything about you is worthless in their sight. They’ll try to devalue you, down to the deepest roots of your humanity. This is just a tactic to make you feel less of yourself. They want you to feel lucky that someone as awesome as them has the time for someone as messed up as you.
They thrive in your confusion
A gaslighter will go to any lengths to get you confused about what is real and what is not. You’ll find yourself doubting everything, down to the point of hating your own identity. This makes them happy because in that state of mind, they can do whatever they want and you won’t have the sanity to challenge them or argue.
Their actions and words don’t match up
This behavior sometimes makes you want to pull your hair and scream like a Neanderthal. What is it with this person? They’ll say one thing while they’re obviously doing the exact opposite. Questioning their suspicious actions and being placated by their sweet words will definitely leave you in a constant haze of confusion and self-doubt.
They’ll destroy your reputation publicly
This may not always be done in your presence, but a gaslighting partner has no trouble defaming you before others. They can speak ill of you to your own friends and the friends you two share in common, your family, coworkers, and even mere acquaintances. This makes it easy for them to manipulate you. When you discuss your problems with your own people, they’ll rule in favor of the gaslighter. When everyone you trust thinks you’re the one at fault, you’ll begin to doubt your own perception of everything.
According to Good Therapy, the effects of gaslighting can persist even when the relationship is over. The victim will continue to doubt all their perceptions and their ability to make decisions. This can make them spiral into anxiety. The constant emotional attack will take a toll on their self-esteem, which can lead to long-term depression .