Gaslighting is a tactic of behavior in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works a lot better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting. It is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn’t realize how much they’ve been brainwashed. In the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.
People that gaslight use the following techniques:
1. They tell you blatant lies.
You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
You know they said they would do something…you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
They know how important your kids are to you, they know how important your identity is to you. So that is one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you did a disservice by having those children. They will tell you that if only you weren’t _____________, you’d be a worthy person. They attack the foundation of your being.
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