What does gaslighting mean? Well, gaslighting is a term used in the psychological community. And what the actual term means is some form of psychological manipulation. To gaslight someone is to use a pattern of behavior to deceive or manipulate them into doubting their sanity. Victims usually question their memory and perceptions as a result of psychological destabilization. Let's try that again, destabilization thank you.
Gaslighting tactics are frequently adopted by sociopaths, narcissists, and abusive partners in relationships. Ultimately it's a tool which is used to make the victim become dependent on the abuser and to deflect their own guilt. The term gaslighting originates from a 1938 play "Gas Light" by Patrick Hamilton. In the play which I believe became a movie, a husband convinces his wife that she's gone insane. It begins when he starts disappearing from the apartment at random times. Then as the play unfolds it is revealed to the audience that he has in fact murdered the lady who lives upstairs in the apartment block and is stealing her jewels. While he visits the upstairs apartment he switches on the lights which dim the lights in his own apartment beneath. When his wife notices and questions the event her husband dismisses her and says she's mistaken. Over time she starts believing that she's imagined it all thanks to her husband's calculated and systematic actions and responses.
So 10 ways to see if you're being gaslighted in some kind of situation, if you're being manipulated for someone else's greater needs and deeds in order to hurt you.
They tell blatant lies. When someone's trying to gaslight you they will tell you blatant lies. Like you'll see them texting someone you know they shouldn't be texting and you see that they're texting them, you see the name and you call them on that. And they'll know that you've seen it but they will tell you that they're not actually texting that person even though you've seen that person's name and picture pop up on their own telephone. And they know you've seen it they'll tell you they're texting someone else. They will blatantly lie to you in your face. They will do it with a straight face because they're setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie they're not sure if anything that they say if you're gonna take is true. So they build you up with these small lies until they get to the bigger lies. Like, "The baby's yours."
They deny ever saying something even though you have the proof. They deny a conversation even though you pull out the text message in front of them or the e-mail in front of them or the recording in front of them. Or you give them a time and date when you had this conversation they will deny ever having it with you. They'll blame their memory. You know, they said it but they out and out deny it. It makes you question your own reality. Maybe you never said that, maybe you never said that thing. Maybe they never said that thing maybe you're just misthinking it. And the more that they do this and the more you accept that reality you're bypassing your reality and you're accepting their reality. To quote this lunatic I once know, "it's almost like being in the funfair with the crazy mirrors."
They'll use what's near and dear to you as ammunition. And perhaps that will be other relationships you have with other people they'll try and destroy them. Perhaps they will try and come into your world your work world, the things that you do, your community and they will try and infiltrate that. And after they have infiltrated they'll start to use those things they get from that world your world that they've come and infiltrated from you as ammunition. Or other people that care a lot for you, they'll use that as ammunition to try and get to you. In today's day and age maybe that will be nasty hashtags on Instagram or pictures like that on Facebook. They'll know how important the other people are to you. And if they can't get to you they'll get to you by getting to those people because they realize how important your identity is to you.
So that will be one of the first things they'll attack. If you have kids they'll attack the kids. If you have other friends in your life other great people in your life that supported you they'll attack them. They'll tell you well, "Oh, I love you and accept you if only that person wasn't in your life anymore. If only you moved here or moved out. Or did this then you'd be a good person. I'll live with you forever and love you." Their goal is to essentially attack the real foundation of your being and your harmony.
They'll wear you down over time. They'll wear you down. This is one of the most insidious things about gaslighting. It's done gradually over time. A little lie here, a little lie here, "Oh, no I'm not texting this person." Even though they're texting them. "Oh, no, you know, I've never cuddled anyone else." But they're cuddling somebody else. "I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you." While they intentionally hurt you, while they intentionally say things and spread lies and gossip about you. It goes on and on and on, but it starts small, it starts small. "Oh I'm only coming to this event because I know that I shouldn't come to this event because it's your event. But I just wanna go for my own professional... you know, my own professional development but I won't cause a scene or cause any trouble." They'll start small but they'll build up, and build up, and build up. And if you're really really great you might see those cracks to begin with, but most people won't until eventually that whole show has been totally cracked. Even the smartest brightest most self-aware people will get caught, will get conned by these two types of people, will get worked by these type of people and these kind of tactics that they use. It's the old frog in a frying pan metaphor. You know, like you put a frog in a frying pan. The frog's sitting there and you start to turn the heat up percentage, by percentage, by percentage, over time, to eventually that frog doesn't know that they're being boiled alive. They'll start to do little things but over time when you look back you'll see all the terrible things that they did but by that point it's too late.
Because they've stolen your championship belt. They have worked their way into your office into your community that was your community. Turned everyone else against you with their own narrative. It's a very cunning, very sneaky, very snide, technique they do because they're very weak willed people. But they'll use these techniques because they often realize if they're very direct about it you'd be able to see and stand up and act accordingly. So they have to go into that weak world. They can...you know, in that life you can take a weak action or you can take a strong action. They'll take a weak but cunning action nevertheless.
Their actions do not match their words in the relationship. They'll tell you they love you but they won't show you they love you. They'll put a whole bunch of verbal chutzpah in some people when it comes to adapting their behaviors they won't. "Oh yeah, I'll try and do better, I'll try and be a better person. I'll try and be a kinder person to you to change my problems in my life, to change my attitudes, my behaviors against you which are toxic." But they won't actually do anything, they won't actually change any of these things. But they'll prepare an awful lot of lip service to it. When dealing with someone who is trying to gaslight you look at what they're doing rather than what they're saying. What they're saying means nothing, it's just talk. Watch what they're actually doing over time. Because what they're doing is the issue.
They throw in positive reinforcement to try and confuse you. What these people will do is their behavior will almost seem somewhat bipolar at times where they'll say and do a lot of mean, nasty, toxic things. But then they'll throw positive things like, "I love you," like "you're my soulmate," like "you're amazing, I could never live without you. You're very smart." But yet it's a calculated attempt to keep you off kilter again to question your reality if you...what your thinking is actually what's happening here or if it's all just in your head. And when they do praise you they're probably praising you for something to serve the gaslighter, for someone to serve them. Perhaps it was a gift that you got, perhaps it's something you learned and you gave it to them for free because of the bigness of your heart. But it benefited them, perhaps it was a place for them to work out an office of some kind, but it benefited them.
They'll try and keep you in a confused state as in they love you, they don't love you. You're together, you're not together. You're the best in the world and now you're a piece of shit. They wanna be with you, they don't wanna be with you. They don't know what they want, they have no purpose, now they have complete purpose. Or they're very depressed, and now they're very happy. They know that their own confusion in their world when they project that, it weakens other people. So they try to keep you off-kilter with this kind of confusion. So you're not sure. It's almost like a Ferris wheel. You're not sure which end is up which end is down when you've been on it too long. You don't know if it's day or if it's night. Because when you are confused you tend to look at the thing that seems to be the most stable at that moment. Whether that be a relationship or a person even if they're completely unstable and have massive issues with bipolar and an incredible manipulator that looks very shiny and sparkly but underneath it, they're just an ugly cesspit, a hole, a void that when anyone spends any real amount of time, say more than a week, day in and day and night with that person they want out. Whether that's their children, whether it's their "friends," whether that's their partner. When someone is truly with them, not the surface version of those, because everyone can be great on the surface. But when they're with them for any length of time underneath the surface in the matrix usually gets exposed after about four or five to seven days, it's hard to fake at that point, then you see them for who they are and in reality when other people see that who they are and their ugliness they don't wanna be around them anymore.
They project. They're the cheater or the drug user, yet they'll accuse you of taking drugs or cheating. They lie but they accuse you of lying. They don't change the things about themselves but they accuse you of not changing. They withhold items of yours but they accuse you of withholding items of theirs. They call the police on you whether they did that or not but they'll say they did and perhaps you should've called the police on them multiple times. They'll project, project, and project like a mirror, yet they'll consistently accuse you of doing the very things that they're doing day in and day night. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself thinking that you're filled with guilt, thinking that you're in the wrong. When really you're just becoming distracted by the gaslighter's own behavior. It's just like sleight of hand, but I call it sleight of mind. When a magician is doing something here with the right hand but the real trick is happening with the left hand but you're not looking at it.
They try to align people against you. On their social media, on their friends they'll try to victimize themselves to get a groundswell of support, to frame you up as being the bad person, the guilty party. They might do this if they work in an environment where you work an office. They might tell tales about you to try and get you taken out of your office, taken out of your community, a work community that you lived in that you perhaps invited them to. But they'll align people. They'll try to align people against you to build up their own team to make their own narrative stronger. Because they're weak people, they can't come at you head on. They're weak people hence why they do these ploys, they're very, very weak. You can be weak or strong in life. They're weak, but they're cunning. Gaslighters use people, they use you. And gaslighters will use terms like, "That person knows you're useless, that person knows you're using them too. That person will leave you too. That person doesn't love you either." Now keep in mind, it doesn't actually mean that those people said any of those things because you see a gaslighter is a consistent liar. The gaslighter uses his tactic and it makes you feel like you can't like or trust anyone. Which consistently leads you back to that particular person who's gaslighting you. That's exactly what they want, they want control, they want you to themselves. They want complete control of you and your mind.
They'll tell other people that you're crazy or your wrong, or you're a bad person, or you're abusive. And this is one of the most effective tools a gaslighter will use because it's dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is actually the abusive person. The shiny person over there is actually the abusive person who's out of their mind who's out of control. It's actually a really masterful technique what they do. But sometimes....
They'll project a fake vulnerability, they'll project fake weakness. It's not the vulnerability what a normal person would do like myself or another good person where you'll just be like, "Hey, I'm not sure how this is gonna go, I feel a bit beaten down, I know I'll get back. But today has not been the easiest day." Not stuff like that but they'll project a vulnerability and they'll do it and they'll do it in a very staged way. And perhaps there's....after you know, a verbal encounter they'll call the police when they know they weren't in any danger whatsoever. But they want it on the record, they wanna stage something. So they have something to hang their hats on later on when they bring a case to you. And perhaps not necessary a court of law but with their friends or even that's called the police on them. They'll post pictures on social media of sorrowful things, perhaps they'll be sorrowful quotes that will be up there to get attention. They are also attention seekers from their friends or at least who they think their friends are. Gaslighters never really have any great friends not beneath the surface because it's all surface level. All their friendships are really on surface levels. As I mentioned, when people really get to know these people it's hard to maintain an act for about seven days straight living with somebody. They typically lose their friends and typically people leave their life even their children in some cases.
But they'll project and this is the massive work of a gaslighter. This is the massive work. They'll project this vulnerability but they're not vulnerable at all, they're actually pulling all the strings. They're manipulating this whole event and they may even realize they don't have the physical ability to go one on one with you. And perhaps if it's an honest interaction of calculated forte and critical discussion they don't have that ability either. So what they'll do is they'll use lies, they'll use deceit, they'll use a distance, they'll use perceived weaknesses they have, a vulnerability to get a groundswell of support to be there. Again in their real life social media, they'll tell friends people of this story and that story about how bad a person you are, what you did. So when they do get found out for all of the crimes that they have committed the emotional crimes, the physical crimes, legal crimes, they've got this back story that backs them up, "Well, no, no, it's not me, it's not it's not my fault." The gaslighter. I'm the gaslighter now, "It's not my fault because remember when this person did that that. And I told you they did this and I posted that picture of that." That's just a narrative they've been spinning for a long time, a back story because they're very very cunning. It's hard to gaslight people when you're not cunning, very very cunning almost like a super villain. Almost like a Lex Luthor or a Joker. Very very cunning. If only they could use those same skills, those same abilities for good perhaps they could change the world and change their situation. But instead of building the biggest building in the city they're tearing down all the other beautiful buildings out there.
So those are 10 ways to spot if you're being gaslighted. Number one, they're gonna tell blatant lies about you. Number two, they're gonna deny saying or doing something even though you present them with proof. Number three, they're gonna use what's near and dear to you for ammunition. Number four, they're gonna weigh you down over time. Number five, their actions do not match their words. Number six, they throw positive reinforcement to confuse you. Number seven, they know confusion weakens you. Number eight, big one, they project. Number nine, they align or turn or alienate people against you. Number 10, they'll tell other people that you're a bad person, that you're an abuser, that you're crazy. And number 11, they'll frame themselves up in such a way that it appears that they are the victim of this narrative.
So be very very careful out there. There are some ways to spot these people. Now of course, in all situations any kind of relationships, you might get one or two of these things happen, that's okay. But I think on that list of eleven things if you can count out four, five, six, anything above four, then you're probably not in a healthy relationship and you need to get out of there as soon as you can and leave that gaslighter there. Because we know they're gonna eventually....eventually they're gonna get found out and just be left as a sad lonely person. But you must take your light away from that darkness and do your work, and your mission away from that toxic horrible environment. And as they get their dues in.... and knowingly somewhere along the line, the karma or karmic [SP], if you will, boomerang hits him in the ass and then they see their life for what it was which is merely a sorrowful black and white movie from the 1930s. It's certainly no "Wizard of Oz."
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Luke Michael Howard CH