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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:57 PM

Gaslighting: from partners to politicians - how to avoid becoming avictim

Gaslighting: from partners to politicians – how to avoid becoming a victim

August 14, 2019 8.25am EDT

 Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol - The Conversation



Gaslighting typically refers to intimate relationships. It’s a way of controlling someone by creating false narratives – for example, that they are irrational or crazy. If such lies are repeated constantly, victims may get confused and start believing there really is something wrong with them. Confusion, diversion, distraction and disinformation can similarly be used to gaslight an entire society. So how can you tell if you are being gaslighted, and how do you avoid it in the first place?

Most people around us act in good faith. We cooperate with each other in conversations by conforming to norms such as honesty and relevance. We tell the truth and we do not mention irrelevancies without good reason. When people violate those maxims, we normally doubt their sincerity or honesty. But in gaslighting, lying is used in combination with persistent denial, misdirection and contradiction in a way that can make us doubt ourselves instead.

While politicians have always tried to divert attention from issues they consider threatening or uncomfortable, more than 10,000 claims during the Trump presidency have been judged to be false or misleading. This puts Trump – and many other leaders – in conflict with the cooperative normsthat make society work.

When confusion, diversion, distraction and disinformation are ramped up so they become an omnipresent pollutant of public debate, we may end up losing faith in the very possibility of truthful discussion – or in our own views.


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Reply Gaslighting: from partners to politicians - how to avoid becoming avictim (Original post)
applegrove Aug 14 OP
no_hypocrisy Aug 15 #1

Response to applegrove (Original post)

Thu Aug 15, 2019, 08:07 AM

1. My father was a big gaslighter.

My mother deferred. My siblings deferred. I pushed back and was made a pariah in my own family by our father. While I suffered, it was the healthiest, the sanest thing I could have done.

My father was controlling and an authoritarian and gaslighting was one technique he used to keep dissent and independence to a minimum.

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