Gas Lighting: 3 Things Social Media Won't Tell You

Updated on March 29, 2019
Ashley Marie Rile profile image

Ashley is a 2016 graduate of NVTHS. With a passion for writing, Ashley currently shares her poetry with the world.

If you have been on social media in the last week, you may have come across the trending hashtag #gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a concept that has been engulfed in our society since the dawn of civilization. This manipulation tactic has been (and still is) used in relationships, mainstream media culture, and (the largest forms) government & politics.

People all over the internet have been both misusing the term as well misunderstanding the concept when applying it to either their lives, or the life and situations of others.

In this article I will go more into-depth on the three things that you need to know about gaslighting, but before I do, let's get a better understanding of what gaslighting is.

What is Gas Lighting?

Manipulation has been used even in the Renaissance era during the time of "The Father of Manipulation" himself, Niccolò Machiavelli. Machiavelli was known for his uncanny ability to manipulate his peers and use psychological tactics (like gaslighting) to warp the perception of those around him.This is where the term "Machiavellianism" comes from.

The term "gaslighting" itself comes from the 1938 British play "Gas Light" where a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy using various tricks which leads her to question her perceptions of reality. "Gas Light" was made into a movie both in the years 1940 and 1944.

According to wikipedia, gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that plants seeds of doubt into another person's mind, causing them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

Examples of Gas Lighting

Blocking & Diverting
Withholding
Countering
Forgetting & Denial
"I'm not going through that again."
"I'm not listening to that crap again."
"Think back to when you didn't remember things correctly the last time."
"What are you talking about?"
"I don't know where you got that from."
"You're just trying to confuse me."
"You thought that the last time and you were wrong."
"I don't have to take anymore of this."
"You're hurting me on purpose.""
"You're crazy."
"That never happened."
"You're are making this all up."
Experiences of gas lighting may vary.

1. You Aren't Crazy

Gaslighters are known for using these manipulation techniques because they want for us to feel crazy. They want for us to question our perceptions of things and to be afraid of confronting them with any topic at all for fear they are in the "wrong" about or don't "remember" the situation correctly.

Gas lighters will say everything and anything that they can to get into your head, especially if they know you are vulnerable.

2. Gas Lighting is a Form of Abuse

Gaslighting is still a form of abuse. It is a tactic that is used to make victims question the instincts that they have trusted using their entire lives and making them unsure of anything anymore. Gaslighting makes it very likely that victims will fall for and believe anything that the perpetrator will tell them, regardless as to their own experience of the situation.Gaslighting often precedes other types of emotional along with physical abuse because the victim of gaslighting is more likely to remain in other abusive situations as well.

3. You Are Not Alone

As difficult as it is to recognize in the moment, you are not alone. Chances are that the person who has gaslighted you, has also gaslighted many others in their lifetime as well. In most gaslighting cases, the perpetrator is fully aware of what they are doing and the reason why people gaslight, is because they desire the sense of power over a person.This need for domination may actually stem from a past history of narcissism, antisocial personality, or other psychological issues. And like most cases of abuse, gaslighting is about control.

I can only hope that with the examples that I have provided you with today, they will at least help you identify some of the signs and instances of gaslighting in your own life or past. Recognizing emotional abuse and the behaviors of others is the first step toward combating its harmful effects.

Always remember: No one in this world has the right to manipulate you in such a way, regardless of the type of relationship you have with the person. It is time for you to finally stop blaming yourself for other people's selfish intentions.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Ashley Riley

    Comments

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      • Ashley Marie Rile profile imageAUTHOR

        Ashley Riley 

        3 weeks ago from Ayer, Massachusetts

        Thank you, Dora, for taking the time to read my article!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks for explaining this tactic and for counseling against tolerating it. Very helpful!

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