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Sat Jan 11, 2014, 09:28 AM

What is gaslighting?

This is a term I've seen come up in some discussion I've had off-site, so I figured that having the info here might benefit us, too.

The term itself was popularized by the 1944 film Gaslight, an adaptation of the 1939 play Angel Street. In the film, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, "Gregory," played by Boyer, maintains that a gaslight his wife "Paula" (Bergman) sees growing dim then brightening is in fact steady. This small deception is followed by countless others. Paula initially protests her husband's accusations about her "forgetfulness," but in time she questions her every action and memory. In reality, her husband Gregory is plotting to have her committed to an asylum so that he can take her inheritance.


Of course, more subtle and prosaic instances of gaslighting abound. In a typical example, one friend makes another friend wait for over an hour every time they meet for drinks. When the person waiting shows that he or she is upset, the tardy friend asks how someone can be so sensitive.

When gaslightees defend their own feelings or character they are dismissed by their gaslighters as crazy, irrational, or uptight. "It's like a magic trick, a sleight of hand. Let me focus your attention here rather than there," Stern told me. "Maybe you are sensitive, but what does that have to do with the other person being late?"

The first stage in gaslighting is disbelief. At this point, a gaslightee views any disagreement as minor, silly, or forgettable. In the second stage, defense, the gaslightee has begun to second-guess himself. The third stage is depression. The gaslightee actually wants to prove the gaslighter right. Then at least he or she can find a way to earn the approval of the gaslighter.

In Stern's experience, the gaslightees are more often women and the gaslighters are frequently, but not always, men. "The women rather than saying 'you can't talk to me like that' will try harder. 'Let me make that meatloaf again. Let me put my outfit together again.'"


(from: http://theweek.com/article/index/239659/what-is-gaslighting )
(more : http://counsellingresource.com/features/2011/11/08/gaslighting/ )
( http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/The_Con/gaslighting.html )

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply What is gaslighting? (Original post)
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 OP
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #1
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 #2
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #3
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 #6
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #4
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 #5
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #7
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 #8
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #9
cinnabonbon Jan 2014 #10
Tuesday Afternoon Jan 2014 #11
ismnotwasm Jan 2014 #12

Response to cinnabonbon (Original post)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 12:26 PM

1. kind of like when a married man pretends to be "single" ... and then pretends to "want" to

get divorced ... then pretends he can't because his wife is "dying"


you know = that old gag.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:26 PM

2. I suppose you can just call it manipulation.

but yeah, the guy in your example could be gaslighting his wife and mistress, if either one confronted him about the cheating and he brushed it off and blamed it on her "emotional state". When people deflect real issues and blames it on (what they believe is) a flaw in your mental health, that's gaslighting.

When I think of gaslighting I tend to think about how people react to feminism in the beginning. You know, with disbelief and the accusation that something must be wrong with you.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:41 PM

3. the intent to mislead. I think gaslighting is now recognized as a psychological term.

IIRC, Gaslight is one of my favorite movies and I did some research about the phenomenon but, this was a few years ago.

Technically, you are correct in that my example is not a classic case of gaslighting but, it does make one question what is happening to them and makes them question their reality, judgments and values.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:47 PM

6. Oooh, nice!

Do you have some links to the research you found? It sounds very interesting. I love reading about psychology.

I have to say that I'm glad we got a term for it. I think it's way too easy to brush off manipulations like that unless you sort of know there's a word for it. It makes you more aware of what is being done to you.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Original post)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:43 PM

4. Gaslighting

For other uses, see Gaslight (disambiguation).
Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film Gaslight

Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.[1] Instances may range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.

The term "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.

more at link:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:45 PM

5. Yep.

I'm sure we've all been there at one point in our lives.

Particularly survivors, unfortunately.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:48 PM

7. yep.

I can spot it a mile away. Still susceptible to it but, at least I am aware of what they are doing and choosing (or not) to play with my eyes wide open.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 01:54 PM

8. That is the most important.

that we're aware of it, I mean. There are many warning signs of abusive relationships, but being able to recognize a few of them can keep people aware.

I think I'm still susceptible to it, too. I can look back on some things and still see that I was being duped this way. Not pleasant. At least you learn a lot from it.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Reply #8)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 02:06 PM

9. The more you know the more subtle has to be the abuser. Some are really into

mind games and abusing that way.

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Response to Tuesday Afternoon (Reply #9)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 02:09 PM

10. True. I suppose it depends on how interested they are in

breaking you. Or controlling you.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 02:11 PM

11. kind of like Cat and Mouse ... sometimes they get bored with it all.

Pretty sure it is one of the signs of a sociopath which is on the rise.

Think I read somewhere that this time will be the Age of the Sociopath.

We are out of the Age of The Narcissist.

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Response to cinnabonbon (Original post)

Sat Jan 11, 2014, 02:18 PM

12. It's an asshole nt

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