Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. The gaslighter, rather than obviously abusing a person, controls them by manipulation and distortion of facts regarding their circumstances. This confuses and disorients the target person, causing them to question their own rationality. Any form of emotional abuse is difficult to handle. However, being gaslighted is particularly testing as the abuse is underhanded and difficult to identify.
As with any other kind of abuse, the person gaslighting intends to control their target individual. However, they want to do so without the later finding out.
The term ‘Gaslight’ originated from an early 1940s movie of the same name. At that time, gaslights used to be a common feature in homes.
The movie shows a husband who wants to psychologically control his young wife. He begins manipulating her surroundings. Out of the various tactics he uses, one was to make the gaslights flicker while reinforcing on his wife that the lights were burning with a steady flame. The repetitive manipulation made her question her sanity. The wife in the end realizes the behaviour pattern of the husband and succeeds in getting out of the situation.
Gaslighting may exist in close relationships or even at work. For example, the gaslighter says that they asked you to do something in the office, but you know they never asked such a thing in the first place. In order to counter such behaviour, it is important to first identify it. People who gaslight adopt certain tactics. For instance,
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