Gaslighting: The Mind Game Everyone should Know About … A MUST Read!

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Unfortunately, there is a good chance that we have all been gaslighted by someone at some point in our lives, even if it was just on a small scale by someone we barely know.

| Sadly, many fall victim to it within their intimate relationships, or even in dealings with “friends” or family members.

There is also a high chance that we will have failed to spot someone was playing this insidious mind game with us and until we fully understand it, there is a high chance that it could happen again.

One of the main reasons we may not recognise it is that many of us will fail to believe those we trust and love are capable of manipulating us (it is this denial that keeps the dynamic going.) Also, the gaslighter will most likely be highly skilled at covering their tracks, keeping things subtle and being a skilled master or mistress of deception.

Gaslighting is one of the most extreme, dangerous and effective forms of emotional and psychological abuse and is mostly carried out intentionally. Gaslighting is a game of mind control and intimidation that is often used by narcissists and sociopaths as a way of controlling, confusing and debilitating someone.

The term gaslighting was coined in the 1938 play Gas Light and the film adaptions that were then created helped to enhance its popularity. In the play the husband used forms of manipulation in an attempt to drive his wife crazy, for example he deliberately dims the gaslights in the house but told his wife that she was imagining it. With the use of various tricks he tried to convince his wife that she was going insane and also that she was losing her memory.

The whole intention of gaslighting is to decrease someone’s self-esteem and self-confidence so they are unable to function in an independent manner. The person being gaslighted will eventually become so insecure that they will fail to trust their own judgment, their intuition and find themselves unable to make decisions.

Eventually the victim will become so unsure of what reality looks like that they become completely dependent on their abuser. The abuser will appear to the victim to be the only one to have a clear grip of their mind and also of what is going on around them.

The abuser will systematically and frequently withhold information and then deliberately alter facts to disorientate their victim.

They may also remove things from certain places and then deny doing so to destabilize and confuse the other person.

The abuser will refrain from mentioning specific details and then convince the other person that they had told them, so the victim thinks they are losing their memory or their mind.

The abuser will say something then ask their victim to repeat what it is they have said. When the victim repeats clearly word for word, the abuser will lie to say they haven’t said a particular word, or that they have spoken it in a different tone of voice to that of which the abuser heard.

For example, the abuser may say something angrily or aggressively, but when the victim gets upset, they will completely deny having used this tone, quickly changing their voice to a gentler and calmer tone. The abuser may then accuse their victim of deliberately trying to hear everything they say in a negative way—even though the abuser knows they deliberately wanted to appear as aggressive and negative.

Often, the abuser will want to create levels of distrust within the relationship to make the victim feel they either are cheating, or would cheat at the first opportunity. They may say things to make their victim feel insecure and jealous, for example, deliberately mentioning a certain person in a way that makes it sound as though there is more going on behind the scenes. When the victim questions this, the abuser will accuse the victim of having trust issues and this will falsely further confirm in the victim’s mind that they have serious insecurities and also, that they are extremely paranoid.

The abuser will make up very convincing lies to deliberately upset the other person and then call them names, mock them and put them down for getting upset and for overreacting. The abuser will also make light of anything that the victim feels is important to make the victim’s opinions, life-choices and thoughts seem juvenile or that they are inferior to their own. It is likely that the abuser will laugh at or sneer at their victim, but when questioned, convince their victim that they were imagining it.

Some warning signs that gaslighting is taking place:

Apologizing. A victim of gaslighting will constantly be apologizing for doing things wrong, even if they have done nothing wrong. Feeling sorry for everything means that the accountability and responsibility for all perceived wrong-doings has been claimed by one person—the victim. This ensures the perpetrator remains innocent and the victim is continuously guilty.

Can’t Make decisions. The victim will find decision making increasingly difficult, as they will feel that whatever they choose will be the wrong choice. Everything they do or say is wrong, so they feel that they are no longer capable of making rational decisions about anything, so they will leave it up to their abuser. This just gives the abuser even more power and control and prolongs the toxic dance that is taking place between the two.
 
Change. Change is not always easy to notice, since most change happens bit by bit, so the process can feel very natural in some ways. However, if the victim thinks back to who they were before the relationship and who they are now, they will probably see significant differences.

Confusion. Victims of gaslighting will often be in a constant state of bewilderment and confusion. They find it very difficult to trust their own mind, and constantly doubt their thought process. Their instinct fails to kick-in because whenever it does, it is very quickly told that it is wrong, so it becomes a silent tool that ensures the gaslighter remains on top of their game. The victim will know that there is something seriously wrong, but they will find it extremely difficult to work out what. The person being gaslighed will always be wondering if they are overly sensitive as they always feel triggered to react to the gaslighters behaviour.

Withdrawn. The one being gaslighted will become withdrawn and often reclusive as they feel so low and beaten down that they have little confidence to socialise with anyone. The victim will feel safer spending time alone than with other people, as when those around them question what is wrong, or what is happening within their relationship, the victim just will not have the answers to justify what is going on.

Due to either depression or severe anxiety, the victim will find it extremely difficult to function normally within society or even with close friends or family. The abuser at this stage has won the battle for control, as without anyone to confide in the victim will find it very difficult to work out that it is the abuser that is causing the damage. The abuser will not want anyone to figure out their game, so, they will work hard to make sure their victim becomes alienated from anyone who could offer support.

Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate.

The gaslighter wants to appear superior to the one being gaslighted. By making their victim feel completely helpless with very low self-esteem, the abuser has complete domination over them, so they are very successful in manipulating their victim to get whatever it is they want. This can range from simply having their ego stroked by feeling like they are significantly better than the person they are with, and at the extreme end to being able to gain financial, sexual or material benefits as their victim feels too emotionally and mentally weak to fight back.

There are many reasons that someone would gaslight someone else, but it is always done for personal gain.

The abuser has very little interest in their victim, other than using them for their own twisted benefit. When the victim becomes so low down that they are no longer of any great use to the gaslighter the relationship will die out. The abuser will distance themselves by ignoring their victim and using silent treatment as an intense form of emotional torture.

The victim will have no idea what to do to please or satisfy their abuser, and will often try anything to win over their abuser to regain the affection that was shown in the beginning stages. By now though, it is far too late. Any little amount of respect that the abuser had for their victim will have been completely depleted and it is very unlikely that the dynamic will change again.

The abuser will often walk away from their victim leaving them with a deep sense of frustration, shame, guilt, anger and often riddled with anxiety and depression. The victim is usually left in a vortex that they will struggle to climb out of, however, this will be compounded by a deep sense of relief that this vicious dance is over.

The abuser will walk away with a great feeling of satisfaction having won each and every battle and will move onto their next innocent victim with even more skill and experience, so they can begin this horrendous war once again.

The victim will very likely need counseling and a huge amount of support to build themselves back to a stage where they have confidence and can trust their own mind and intuition. It is imperative that the victim realises that they have been a pawn in a very nasty game so they can let go of all the blame they have placed upon themselves and become familiar with the warning signs so that they do not fall victim again.

Anyone who has come through this type of experience will feel debilitated at first, however, they will only be temporarily weakened. They will bounce back stronger than before, having learned painful but valuable lessons along the way. The most important lesson—having complete faith in their intuition. As difficult as it is to accept, there are always red flags and warning signs in the initial stages.

When these signals show up, this is when we must trust completely in our instincts and never fail to listen to what our gut feelings are telling us. Our fight or flight reactions are there for a reason—to prevent us from entering into dangerous situations. When we feel an urgency to take flight—fly.

Fly far and don’t look back.

  • Ed

    I am a 28 year old white male who was a victim of gaslighting to an at the time 23 year old black female. ( I was 26) She had convinced she wanted to be mine and have my child, so I got her pregnant, and she stayed and home while I worked. She would constantly, even though I was at my house when I wasnt working, accuse me of cheating or looking at other women. Then she began getting violent and trying to cause police to come to the house. They were called by me and had her moved to her brothers house, until it was announced she was pregnant by test and she moved bakc in. Shortly after she began getting violent and constantly rude and even tried to have me beat up in an all black neighborhood insisting to all black onlookers, that I had called her a “nigger”, which never happened it was a friend of mine who did that in an argument… So anyway she was moved back in then started to become progressively loud and threatening and violent, the police were called, but there were no marks on her only me, so they made me leave the apartment for the night. Shortly after she got a restraining order against me and got me kicked out of my own apartment. I had the landlord however change the locks and after she failed to appear to court, the order was dropped. I stilled talked to her on the phone and we would have her come over for sex occasionally, however she began talking to other guys, but she also had a man who worked in a government office who would listen to her life like a journal or notebook, and not once shame her for her horrendous acts including sleeping with married men, and attempting to extort them for money so their families will not be told. Not too long after she had an abortion, even after we together went to have an ultrasound to check the baby… it as the most devastating thing to ever happen to me. My whole world as I knew it turned upside down. I eventually even got back with her after she would call me and beg me to see her again. I hated myself for it, and it made me cry so much, but kept trying to save her from herself… to this day she contacts me, and brings up that I left her homeless and made her pay for the abortion herself, which is murder of my child…. How unGodly and digusting trash this world has become. I dont lose faith in the only thing that matters which is God almighty. I say it with pride because his power is why I am here, sane enough today to tell this sad story.

    • Brad

      Your problems would of disappeared if you didn’t do what “God Almighty” said not to do. Fornication is sinful. Have you repented of this since that time? Or was this your attitude back then as well?

      This girl sounds like a typical child of the devil. Fornicator, murderer and an evil, hateful person. Do you recognise the truth in the Scriptures where it says that “We shall not commit adultery”? Your problems wouldn’t have existed.

      Read the Scriptures and show yourself approved.

    • John Eagle Talon

      I had a similar experience I used to call a roller coaster ride through hell. The ecstacy of physical bliss bonding one to a destructive, toxic person whose demons torment both of you. THANK GOD I found Christ the WORD, my ROCK and my salvation. God bless you brother, build your life on the cornerstone which the”builders[of religionS
      w/out power] rejected. He is the WAY of perfect truth for eternal life. FOLLOW THE PATH OF THE WAY- deny yourself, embrace your sufferings for Him with the sure hope of His promise, and follow your destiny. EVERYONE HAS A DESTINY, but not everyone uses their free will to CHOOSE THE WAY>~~~

  • Me

    My dad was a sociopath and did this to me my whole life, and my mother kind of did it unintentionally due to learned behaviors I would guess.

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  • John

    I couldn’t read this article all the way through the first time. I started having a panic attack. This article hit a little too close to home. I had to go do some yoga and deep breathing and meditating, and remind myself of my current reality.

    I am safe.
    I have a fantastic relationship with myself.
    I enjoy alone time.
    I have my own inner guidance.
    I can trust my inner voice.
    I am far from bad situations.
    I am far from negative people.

    I am 35 years old. Less than a year ago, I got out of a really bad relationship. Just reading about the behavior patterns above, I started to experience that same confusion, and questioning myself. It’s like I started to experience the negativity of the relationship again. While I was in the relationship, I knew things were bad and getting worse. But sometimes I guess you don’t realize exactly how bad a situation is until you completely cut off contact so that you can have a clear head and see things more realistically.

    • Sheep Media

      And just think how much stronger and wiser you will be. And I understand those anxiety attacks. Just BREATH through it. You’ll get triggers for some time, but I promise in time you will be better for the experience. 🙂

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  • shirley

    OMG , i too had to stop while reading this, but, it has helped a lot , i am shocked now i see how i was controlled , and the shame and guilt i felt no more will bother me. I never had anxiety attacks in my life , i was left very nearly dead , it was my sons kept me going. Thanks to a great man for pointing me in this article direction. Thanks for this article.

  • Spencer Carter

    Don’t forget McGuffins. They are used to misdirect Targeted Individuals and trick them into making themselves look foolish to others. Examples include: alien abduction, drones, and secret government agencies. Don’t believe the lies. It’s organized crime folks, and they want money from you and they want you to gang stalk for them.

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