Many people have been victims of gaslighting without even being aware of it. You may have been a victim of it as well. How would you know? How can you tell you’re being gaslighted? Firstly, let’s go over what gaslighting really is and then you will be able to determine if this is something you have been a victim of.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a pervasive and highly-effective manipulation tactic used by most narcissists, meant to manipulate you by psychological means into questioning your own sanity. It is pure brainwashing. In addition to toxic narcissists, many abusers and cult leaders use this tactic, not to mention dictators. They do it slowly and subtly – so it kind of sneaks up on you before you realize it’s happening.
Read more: Gaslighting, Comprehensively Defined
Why is it called “gaslighting” anyway?
There was a movie in 1944 called Gaslight in which a man used this tactic on his wife to the point that she thought she really was losing her sanity. Let’s now go over some examples of gaslighting.
Even smart people can be gaslighted, despite popular opinion.
Narcissists seem to have the ability to gaslight even the most intelligent people. Learn more in this video.
This video offers 78 examples of gaslighting by toxic narcissists.
In this video, I’ll explain 10 things toxic narcissists typically say while gaslighting you.
And here are a few more examples of gaslighting for you.
1. Gaslighters Are Liars
Anyone who is gaslighting a victim is excellent at lying and they will also deny that they had ever said something even if you can prove them wrong. An example of this is a girl at high school who was bullying another student viciously. And one day she was nice to the other student, and once this kept continuing the student asked her why she was all of a sudden being nice. The bully denied that she did anything wrong and made the student look crazy for accusing her of bullying. She said she would never do such a thing, even though it happened.
2. Anyone Or Anything That Is Special To You Is Used As Ammunition
If someone is gaslighting you, they might use your prized possessions or those who you love and care about as ammunition. This can also apply if you worked hard to achieve a high-status career role. For instance, someone is one of the best surgeons around. However, someone who is gaslighting them would tell them that they have no business being the best surgeon around, let alone being one at all.
They would go over the surgeon’s negative traits to the point that the would make the surgeon question his or her worth. That can easily cause them to lose confidence in what they do which can be quite dangerous for them and their patients if they allow the gaslighter to continue.
3. Gaslighters Use A Variety Of Tactics To Wear People Down
Gaslighters actively and intentionally confuse their victims in some pretty terrible ways. They might cut you down and build you up in the same day – and then tear you down again. And while they might come out with an unexpected positive point (think of this like a “crumb of affection”), they will often alternate this with outrageous accusations toward you with no logical reason.
For instance, let’s say a man has been gaslighting his wife for a while. He puts her down constantly, to the point that she is so used to it that she almost doesn’t notice…but one day, he starts praising her for the delicious dinners she cooks. This might make her start to think he really is not so bad. She starts to relax and feel almost happy. She even tells him how much better she’s feeling lately. His response is odd, but positive. Now, she’s floating on air. But then, out of the blue, he begins to accuse her of cheating on him (which she never has). This is leaving her confused and worn down, and fearful he will end up doing something worse.
How to Deal with Gaslighting
If you struggle with cognitive dissonance after gaslighting, try the anchoring technique explained in this video.
If you are dealing with anyone who has been gaslighting you, these are the signs and examples. The best thing to do is to get these people out of your life and you will need some professional help with doing so safely. Not sure? Take our gaslighting test.