What is Gaslighting?

The Psych Talk

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique and form of emotional abuse. The abusers make the victim question their memory, perception and sanity. It is a technique often used by sociopaths and narcissists. The abuser’s ultimate goal is to make their victim second guess their every choice and question their sanity, making them more dependent on the abuser. A tactic which further degrades a target’s self-esteem is for the abuser to ignore, then attend to, then ignore the victim again, so that the victim lowers their personal bar for what constitutes affection and perceives themselves as less worthy of affection.

Signs of gaslighting include:

  1. Withholding information from victim;
  2. Countering information to fit the abuser’s perspective;
  3. Discounting information;
  4. Verbal abuse, usually in the form of jokes;
  5. Blocking and diverting the victim’s attention from outside sources;
  6. Trivializing the victim’s worth; and,
  7. Undermining victim by gradually weakening them and their thought process

Some examples of gaslighting are:

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