Gaslighting: you think You do!

Once my friend met a guy. He suggested sex. The friend refused. And away: the guy started to convince her that she is inadequate and doesn't understand her luck. That after 5 years, it no-one will look. So this guy nobly sacrificed his time and body to give the rapidly fading girl another chance to feel desirable, at least for one night." He wanted to make it look like the girlfriend should be grateful to him.

This clumsy attempt to manipulate it may seem funny when she does outside. Everyone understands that the guy just wanted sex here and now. What this girl will be divorced in 5 years, he was not worried about.



Well, what of it?

Gaslighting is not so simple. Man himself is appointed to the role of "adequate", and you — in the role of "psychotic" may be a family member, colleague or partner. We do not expect from them such. But remember, how many times have you insisted on talking nasty or unfair things, and in answer to his "how can you stop it!" you heard:

— Why do you react? Normally all the same. Your nerves are not in order.

— Well, what of it, I'm just kidding. Don't take things so seriously.

— Look at yourself in the mirror, you disheveled and red with anger. Truth hurts?

That up to this point, the source hour, day or for many weeks I punched you in the brain with their statements or actions, he prefers not to mention. As a result, you eating about the same thought: "am I really overreacting? The man is just trying to open my eyes to the situation?" And you strenuously to prove that you are good. "Working on myself", without considering whether or not you "always so dramatic".


Are you ashamed of your emotions and forget that nasty "jokes" (actually barbs of varying degrees of disguise), you can be offended, and angry. And that, in principle, not be ashamed to have their own opinions and preferences that differ from the opinions and preferences of colleagues, husband, svekrov or parents. Well-spoken words "no offense" and say it's for your own good" does not mean that the person is an indulgence for the uttering nasty things to your address.


In the movie "Gaslight" 1944, the man trying to keep his mind on his wife. He wants to convince the woman herself, and all the surroundings that she is mentally ill. In the end it turns out that the husband himself fabricates the signs of madness, pursuing its own goals.

The psychological term "gaslighting", which received the name thanks to this film became widely used since the 1960-ies. It means doubt about the adequacy of the interlocutor, as well as the denial of his emotions. Manipulators deny including the events actually took place (e.g., their own aggression).


Manipulator *as if* acts in your interests. And looks so genuinely hurt. Well, can not close people to do it on purpose? And he really may not be clearly defined plan is like "a little gaslighting every day for a couple months, in the end, she lost faith in himself and become obedient to my will". Manipulation may be unconscious. Such a person is "just" a very important control. He doesn't always notice that the relationship is becoming destructive. It is important that you realized in time where you can have all these "really you're not mad at me, you're tired."


When gaslighting manipulator it is important to change not only the external behavior of the victim, but also her worldview. It is necessary that the victim believed it right.


It is possible to allocate 3 stages through which a victim of gaslighting:


  • Person understands that behaves ridiculously, but continues to argue for hours that can't be right or wrong in principle about your feelings, about your opinion on any issue. At this stage the confidence is still present, but she already doubted.
  • The first person thinks about the point of view of the manipulator, and then trying desperately to convey to him my position. To be understood and well received seems incredibly important. An unconscious person believes that a victory in a dispute with the manipulator prove that he deserves love and respect. (Spoiler: skilled manipulator who knows all your pain points and know how to cleverly distort the true facts, it is impossible to beat him at his favorite game. But you can stop playing with it.)
  • One thinks, "What's wrong with me?". The point of view of the manipulator is perceived as normal, lost the ability to make their own judgments.
The first two stages can take years before to go in the third.


Yes, you just zazhralis!Gaslighting, as well as other types of manipulations, often seen in families. For example, you complain that baby screams a lot and does not sleep, nor rest in peace (it's not so rare situation). And the relatives readily answer that in the old days families were large, and there was no washing machines, no nappies, no other modern amenities. But if all women are somehow raised in a ten children, while you can't manage one.

The message is: "actually you're not exhausted, you just zazhralis". Instead of receiving little help or sympathy, you are to blame for their fatigue, and their "weakness" compared to supertensile from the past. And toil to prove that you really are not worthless, and good. Your nerves and lack of sleep the child becomes more restless, more nervous than you and don't know how to get out of this vicious circle.

Manipulation can come from a group of individuals (not relatives) — for example, friends, neighbors or colleagues. A real incident that happened with my friend: ambiance convinced the young woman that her boyfriend is all right, and did not adequately perceive what is happening to it. She, hard-hearted cynic who doesn't appreciate a sincere guy who to her with all my heart. And all the alarm bells — a figment of her imagination. And that generally it would be time to marry.

None of the advisers said to her: "If his behavior is disturbing you so already in the honeymoon period, it's worth thinking whether you need all these relations. Everybody said, "Oh, look how much he loves you! Marry him and don't make up". Married "genuine guy" has proven to be a textbook emotional abuser, and the girl got a lot of psychological and everyday problems. Now she understands why it was important to trust your opinion.

We asked psychologist Anna Chehova to answer questions related to the situation of gaslighting.


Who can become a victim of gaslighting?Victim of gaslighting is almost always the woman who has problems with confidence, self-esteem and sense of boundaries. Usually, before the relationship with a specific person she manifested a strong dependence on the opinion of others. If a woman is sensitive to criticisms and compliments, often hesitates in making any decisions, regularly doubts the correctness is warning signs.

While the victim of gaslighting can be not only a woman with severe victimization. In trouble often, and get quite successful socially, surrounded by friends of the fair sex, which superficially all is well. But if a woman somewhere inside there is a wormhole of self-doubt (e.g., in their femininity), the skilled manipulator can use it for "manipulation" of beliefs: "But you're not too good you know? Remember, you said yourself that women's intuition is not about you?"

Compounding the problem is the sense of boundaries. If it is developed well enough, then a woman, even tormented by doubt, maybe in time to stop the manipulator: "I don't want to discuss this topic!" But if she is difficult, he may continue his actions.


Where does the uncertainty about the adequacy of their own feelings and actions?Just today I was talking with a friend about the syndrome of learnt helplessness. If a person is repeatedly given to understand that his actions a little that depends, it gradually becomes accustomed to the fact that in the relationship with reality he is just a doll. And all the successes and failures of his life is not by effort, but only life's circumstances.

The behavior of women in situations of gaslighting is also reminiscent of this syndrome. If a child over and over again the people around them convince her of the wrongness, problems with thinking, inadequate assessment of the surrounding, gradually she gets used to the idea that he could not fully trust myself. And such case is not uncommon. Often begins with parents who throw a temper "fool!" "clumsy!", "crybaby!". These seem to be fairly innocuous phrase already set the girl on what she assesses their behavior as "wrong", "stupid".

If the tendency of girls to reverie or emotionalism become the subject of ridicule adults, or peers, she makes sure that her "something is wrong". Even when she finds friends with similar temperament, this "something wrong" is a grain in the mind, which then gives the opportunity for manipulation.

Self-doubt is a very complex thing. A woman can be a wonderful professional who will not spend on chaff in the working field, but she will sit here is "something wrong" in personal life, creativity, friendships. Experienced manipulator just undermines this uncertainty as a bad tooth, making it the permanent background of the relationship, and she begins to take the form of doubt in their reactions and assessments of reality.

Be aware of yourself and your emotions! Should not betray itself for the sake of another person and alter his personality for the sake of keeping a shaky relationship or to please someone else's picture of the world.


P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©

Join us in Facebook , Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki



See also

New and interesting