Gaslighting is a manipulating way someone uses to control some other person by making them doubt what is real. It may look like a pretty simple tactics but its methodologies are very subtle, and thus its damage may not be recognized until it is too late. Such subtlety in its execution makes almost everyone susceptible to it. It is a well-known fact that the tactic is commonly used by narcissists in positions of power such as politicians, emperors, dictators, religious leaders, thought leaders, leaders in the corporate world and more. It’s a manipulative tactic that is slowly executed. It is done that way to not alert the intended victim of the malicious intent. So that it becomes too late to change. Its expressly depicted in the 1994 movie ”Gaslight”, where a man succeeds in convincing his wife – through this method, that she was insane.
Those who frequently use gaslight, use these 11 techniques to do so. These methods – if well known by you, can serve as telltale signs of a manipulation going on. Below are these tactics, discussed in detail.
1. They tell white lies.
Everyone at some point in their lives tells a lie. But most times it isn’t done with malicious intent in mind and fact we don’t feel good about ourselves after such acts. But for those who have mastered gaslighting as a craft, intentionally telling lies is something they savor. And these lies are usually tough to believe. In fact, as they say, such lies with a straight face, everything within you – in chorus with bulls hit meter, begin to sing high pitched alarms. And then you start to wonder why they would do that, knowing very well that you aren’t buying their snake oil stories. Well, they are not fools, they know that you are finding their stories ridiculous and hard to believe, but they keep telling them to you to keep you on your toes when it comes to them and their behaviors. See, they know that with such audacious lying, you would find it very difficult to trust them and thus will always have to second guess their every move. The goal here is still to keep you on edge. No one stays on edge too long without making silly mistakes and poor judgment. A bored person is far easier to manipulate than someone who is at peace in their lives.
2. They deny ever saying a thing, even in the presence of evidence.
They are good at making a promise, but they wouldn’t keep to their vows. And this is done on purpose. Imagine that you heard someone say something but also find the person vehemently deny ever saying it. At first, this can be very irritating and annoying too, but with the time that may lead you to start doubting your ears. Well, this all a plot to make you start questioning reality. And in replacement of what is real, you will choose what they say is real.
3. They attack the very things that give your existence meaning
It could be your talent, mission, kids and even your personality. Imagine you had kids – and knowing that they are the center of your life, they will proceed to make you feel sorry for having them. They would discount your talents as being worthless or without a y social value. Even if it had social value and you were remarkably good at what you do, they would accuse you of being obsessed with your craft and yourself alone. They will also accuse you of abandoning or neglecting them. Thus making you feel sorry for being who you are as a human being. It is cold and calculating efforts to strip you of your dignity and water down your self-confidence as a human being. All to make you increasingly unstable.
4. They are energy sapping on purpose.
Gaslighting is a very efficient model of sapping one’s energy and efforts in a relationship. It is because of its regular but potent application or execution. Little by little, they chip in this abusive and degrading statements here and there. Pricking your bag of dignity here and there till all its contents of self-confidence and self-awareness leak out of a thousand tiny holes. Before you know it, you are empty, and you don’t even know how you came to that situation. It can happen even to the best of us. It is like the proverbial frog who doesn’t realize that the gradual heating of the plan required him to leap out when he can because soon enough he won’t be able to do so. If you are a victim of gaslighting, you may brush off its early warning signs, as jabs you could handle. But remember that although that could be true, you most likely couldn’t manage all that negative energy piling up – just like the from in the pan. You need to leave when you can before you are brainwashed that there isn’t a way out of such an abusive relationship.
5. They don’t practice what they preach
When in you are in a relationship with a partner who gaslights, it could feel like you are walking a maze when you try to understand them and their motives. You have a conversation with them, and they sound like the most intelligent and caring persons. But when you live with them you see something else. They profess their love for you and yet they do things that only harm you. That is the catch in this situation. People who gaslight are best understood by watching and observing their actions. They may look like someone with the right talk, but don’t be fooled by all that grandiose fluff. See if they work the walk. That is the most precise way to tell if someone wants to gaslight you or the person is telling the truth.
6. They can show some act of kindness to throw you off their evil stench
To avoid being labeled the villain, they would sprinkle acts of kindness and affection here and there all over their terrible deeds. You discover that the partner that frequently humiliates you and says that you don’t have value can also go over the board to praise you for something you did. It is essential that you don’t fall for such trickery. They aim to also destabilize you by making you question the ability of perception to be right. They are attacking your trust in your gut judgment. If they can get you to turn away from that, then they would proceed to do even more damage knowing full well that you have been thoroughly brainwashed – without a reality of your own. But in the meantime – as they throw these inauthentic care here and there, it all plays into the plan of making themselves very unpredictable. It is making you unstable or always on edge. Humans crave stability, they know that and still want to take that sense of comfort away from you.
7. They use confusion as a weapon to make you vulnerable.
For the one who loves to gaslight, their primary means to an end is confusion. Confusion has a way of weakening human beings. In general, most human beings thrive when they have some sense of purpose and a sense of belonging. That leads to productive work and some form of social interaction or social club. This social clubs or cults all serve as agents of stability while the sense of purpose gives the feeling of direction and value to life. As you have read in early points made above, partners who gaslight, first attack your sense of worth or direction. And they do this by attacking your value system, your work or your talent. They plan to weaken you to a point where you would need to overcompensate – for the void they created, with social bonding. But the manipulation doesn’t entirely end there. Remember that while they are at it, they try to make you doubt what you perceive as reality to make much more easy to control. Weak and manipulated you could be further manipulated into thinking that the best social bond for you is with your abusive partner. So at this point, when you try to leave the abusive partner you end up running back to him/her for comfort as well. It is indeed an astoundingly brilliant idea and when it is well executed, can cause a lot of damage to the victim. If you are a victim in such a situation, then you never get to heal the wounds of the affliction.
8. They love to project their evil deeds on you.
A partner who loves to gaslight is also genius-level good at projecting. When you are in a relationship with such people, you will find out that from time to time you get accused of ridiculous activities. Activities that you don’t even tend to indulge in, it could be that your partner accused you of using and abusing drugs also though both of you know that you haven’t yet seen a gram of the said stash. They would them even suggest that even though you ”may” not be on drugs, you are sure acting or behaving like a drug addict. Being on drugs might be to fake a situation to believe but behaving like some crazy nut head can be believable – especially when it is repeated over and over again. They also accuse you of cheating, they would feign disappointment, sadness, and helplessness at your perceived injustice. They would say that you are acting like you’re already seeing someone else. The reason that you are not entirely dedicated to the relationship and you are probably distracted by other options outside. They do this so that you don’t end up seeking help outside. You find out that you are always defending yourself from accusations of things you didn’t done. It is all a ploy to keep you occupied just enough not to see that they are merely doing the things that they accuse you of doing.
9. They put the world against you
Gaslighters are very good at creating illusions. They are good at associating themselves with people who feel would okay whatever it is that they do. And then they would use opinions of such people to condemn you unjustly. They are technicians at orchestrating unfair trials. They are also good at making such trails seem just. Father was taking you down the path of uncertainty, confusion, and self-doubt. They may not even go that far; they can merely allege that someone you both respect would not be happy with the decisions you have made. They could also go further to subtly threatening to tell such a person. And so you are in constant fear and anxiety of being disgraced and shamed publicly. They do all this just to make sure that in the midst of their induced confusion you are entirely isolated from the world. Thus you can only seek comfort in them, thereby continuing the cycle of abuse.
10. They accuse you publicly of insanity
The gaslighter at this point t is using this technique to ensure that they tarnish your image in public. If they can get the public to view you as someone who isn’t capable of making a sound judgment, then that protects them from any attack that could come from exposing their evil deeds. Thus when you cry out for help, no one believes you. It is just another step to fortify their hold and control over you. They have figured out that par adventure, you break lose or their brainwashing spell they would be safe from all public criticism and instead have you chastised by the same public. They also hope that if you realize this, you won’t try to expose their wrongdoings. Alternatively, you would decide to suffer in silence in the relationship. Further taking you down the path of isolation and thus making them more powerful and in control of you.
11. They say that every other person against their philosophy is a liar
It is a pervasive step in brainwashing and manipulating people. It thrives in isolation, and to isolate you from competing ideas you are told that all other beliefs are false and lack any validity. It is often used in dictatorship regimes and terrorist strongholds during their recruiting process. The gaslighter also uses it in the relationship. By accusing friends, associates and even family members of having the ulterior motives of destroying your relationship with you, they can counter and dismiss their genuine concerns about the abuse you are going through, You have to be careful not to fall for such tricks. They are trying to isolate from everyone who truly loves and respects you. When they find a way to douse the flames of genuine complains about their abuse and you are reluctance to defend yourself, then will they continue to disrespect you at will.
It is a very vivid sign of gaslighting and manipulation. If you are aware of such warnings – and you should be since they have been discussed above in detail, then it would be easy to get away at its very beginnings.