Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or thing, in order to obtain more power, makes a victim question their existence. It works much more useful than you may think.
Anyone is sensitive to Gaslighting, and it is also a common method of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders.
It is performed slowly, so the victim doesn’t understand how much they’ve been influenced. For example, in the film Gaslight (1944), a man manages his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.
How Gaslighting typically use the following methods:
They tell obvious lies.
You know it’s also an obvious lie. Yet they are showing you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so loud? Because they’re setting up a model. Once they tell you a tremendous lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is right. Saving you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.
They doubt they ever said something, even though you have evidence.
You understand they also said they would do something; you recognize you heard it. But they gone and out deny it. It makes you start searching your reality – maybe they never said that thing. And the longer they do this, the more you ask your reality and start receiving theirs.
They use what is near and dear to you as resources.
They know how valuable your kids are to you, and they also understand how valuable your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they hit. If you have children, they tell you that you should not have had those children.
They wear you down over time.
This is one of the secret things about Gaslighting – it is done slowly, over time. A tale here, a lie there, a sarcastic comment every so often…and then it begins ramping up. Even the most famous, most self-aware people can be absorbed into Gaslighting – it is that powerful. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” relationship: The heat is set up slowly, so the frog never understands what’s occurring to it.
Their actions do not match their words.
When dealing with a person or thing that gaslights, look at what they are preparing rather than what they are telling. What they are saying means nothing; it is just chatting. What they are creating is the issue.
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They start in positive support to confuse you.
This person or entity that is casting you down, telling you that you don’t have power, is now recommending you for something you did. This adds an added sense of apprehension. If you are thinking they are not so dangerous then you are wrong. This is a deliberate attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your existence. Also, look at what you were approved for; it is apparently something that helped the gaslighter.
They know confusion weakens people.
Gaslighters also know that somebody like having a sense of confidence and normalcy. Their goal is to remove this and make you continually question everything. And also humans’ natural inclination is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel calmer—and that happens to be the gas lighter.
They are a pill user or a cheater, yet they are continually accusing you of that. This is made so often that you begin trying to protect yourself and are diverted from the gas lighter’s own way.
They try to align people against you.
Gaslighters are leaders at managing and finding the people they know will stand by them no interest what—and they use these people toward you. They will make remarks such as, “This person understands that you’re not right,” or “
This person understands you’re worthless too.” Keep in mind it also does not mean that these people really said these things. A gaslighter is a perpetual liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic, it does you feel like you don’t understand who to trust or turn to—and that points you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s specifically what they want: Solitude gives them more control.
They tell you everyone else is a liar.
By telling you that everyone more (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you challenge your reality. You’ve never known someone with the courage to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a guidance technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “right” information—which isn’t correct knowledge at all.
The more you are informed of these techniques, the quicker you can also recognize them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.