> "People aren’t born gaslighters like they are born
> introverts or extroverts. A gaslighter is a
> student of social learning. They witness it, feel
> the effects of it, or stumble upon it and see that
> it is a potent tool. It’s a cognitive strategy for
> self-regulation and co-regulation. To be frank, it
> Quoted from Gaslighting Explained - see below:
> This is a meaty, article, full of user friendly
> information - and a checklist.
> A few items are quoted - read full article to get
> full benefits.
> Gaslighting, explained
> 2018 was the year of gaslighting. Here’s how it
> works — and how to shut it down.
> By Robin Stern Dec 19, 2018, 10:30am EST
> First Person
> Vox's home for compelling, provocative narrative
> es called “We’ll Leave the Gaslight On,” dedicated
> to the lies of politicians.
In the vernacular, the phrase “to gaslight”
> refers to the act of undermining another person’s
> reality by denying facts, the environment around
> them, or their feelings. Targets of gaslighting
> are manipulated into turning against their
> cognition, their emotions, and who they
> fundamentally are as people.
> If a wife tells her husband that he is shirking
> child care responsibilities and he responds by
> refusing to acknowledge that it’s even happening,
> he is gaslighting her.
> ...Most of us have been gaslighted at some point
> in our lives, making it important to learn how to
> spot the technique, shut it down, and minimize the
> psychological impact on our daily lives. When left
> unexamined, gaslighting can have a devastating and
> long-term impact on our emotional, psychological,
> and sometimes physical well-being.
> I’m a licensed psychoanalyst and the associate
> director of the Yale Center for Emotional
> Intelligence, and over the years, I have spoken
> with hundreds of people experiencing gaslighting
> in their personal lives. It’s why I coined the
> term “gaslight effect” in my 2007 book, referring
> to the long-term consequences of experiencing
> repeated gaslighting over time.
Gaslighting in interpersonal relationships
> often develops or builds on an existing power
> dynamic. While it’s most common in romantic
> settings, gaslighting can happen in any kind of
> relationship where one person is so important to
> the other that they don’t want to take the chance
> of upsetting or losing them, such as a boss,
> friend, sibling, or parent. Gaslighting happens in
> relationships where there is an unequal power
> dynamic and the target has given the gaslighter
> power and often their respect.
The question remains, though: How does
> someone become a gaslighter? How can you spot when
> it happens to you? And once you identify it, how
> do you deal with it?
Undermining a partner’s emotions and
> feelings is a way to deny their reality.
> Continuous invalidity of how the other partner
> feels about a situation is just as effective as
> saying their perceptions are wrong. The emotional
> chopping away during those moments has the effect
> of convincing the other person that they could be
> imagining or “making up” scenarios that don’t
> exist, when in all reality, what that person is
> feeling or experiencing is real.
> As Matthew Zawadzki, PhD, noted in his 2014
> article on the topic, gaslighting techniques
> “radically undermine another person that she has
> nowhere left to stand from which to disagree, no
> standpoint from which her words might constitute
> genuine disagreement.”
> To get the answers to all these questions read the
> full article.
> How do you recognize that gaslighting is
> Take a look at the list below. If any part of the
> list resonates with you, you may be involved in a
> gaslighting relationship and need to look further.
> You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” many times
> per day.
> You often feel confused and even crazy in the
> You’re always apologizing.
> You can’t understand why you aren’t happier.
> You frequently make excuses for your partner’s
> You know something is wrong but you just don’t
> know what.
> You start lying to avoid put-downs and reality
> You have trouble making simple decisions.
> You wonder if you are good enough.
> While all of these symptoms can occur with anxiety
> disorders, depression, or low self-esteem, the
> difference with gaslighting is that there is
> another person or group that’s actively engaged in
> trying to make you second-guess what you know is
> If you don’t typically experience these feelings
> with other people but do with one particular
, then you might be a victim of
> (Corboy note: This explains why the most abusive
> types not only gaslight us but aim to isolate us
> from outside relationships which validate the
> accuracy of our perception. The worst gaslighters
> seek to achieve total monopoly, total control over
> your relationships, seeking to isolate you. In the
> worst cases, you become so ashamed that you drop
> drop away from family, friends and outside
> interests, hoping to placate your abuser. This is
> where a relationship becomes the same as a cult -
> cult leaders do the same thing - monopolize your
> loyalty and attention.)
> Some common phrases you might hear from your
> gaslighter are:
> You’re so sensitive!
> You know that’s just because you are so insecure.
> Stop acting crazy. Or: You sound crazy, you know
> that, don’t you?
> You are just paranoid.
> You just love trying to throw me off track.
> I was just joking!
> You are making that up.
> It’s no big deal.
> You’re imagining things.
> You’re overreacting.
> You are always so dramatic.
> Don’t get so worked up.
> That never happened.
> You know you don’t remember things clearly.
> There’s no pattern. Or: You are seeing a pattern
> that is not there.
> You’re hysterical.
> There you go again, you are so ungrateful.
> Nobody believes you, why should I?
> What to do if you’re getting gaslighted.
> Here are steps that have helped my patients and my
> friends over the past two decades:
1) Identify the problem. Recognizing the
> problem is the first step. Name what is going on
> between you and your spouse, friend, family
> member, colleague, or boss.
> (Identifying the problem may require
> recognizing you are in a cultic organization. -
> 2) Sort out truth from distortion. Write down your
> conversation in a journal so you can take an
> objective look at it. Where is the conversation
> veering off from reality into the other person’s
> view? Then after you look at the dialogue, write
> down how you felt. Look for signs of repeated
> denial of your experience.
> (If you are in a cult, this requires independant
> research - learning full facts about the leader
> and group. A tip off that stuff is hidden from you
> is when you are told to use only group approved
> music, videos, and literature, avoid the internet,
> and have been told why former members must be
> 3) Figure out if you are in a power struggle with
> your partner. If you find yourself having the same
> conversation over and over again and can’t seem to
> convince them to acknowledge your point of view,
> you might be getting gaslighted.
> 4) Engage in a mental exercise to encourage a
> mindset shift: Visualize yourself without the
> relationship or continuing it at much more of a
> distance. Importantly, cast the vision in a
> positive light, even if it causes you to feel
> anxiety. Think down the road when you will have
> your own reality, social support, and integrity.
> Corboy note: If you find yourself wishfully
> imagining that the other person has died, or has
> retired, this signals the relationship is
> burdensome. If you find you are glad when you have
> an illness and can cancel a session with the
> person or avoid going in to work with the
> difficult boss, this signals you want distance -
> need distance. Happy people do not enjoy being
> 5) Give yourself permission to feel all your
> feelings. Accept and acknowledge that what you
> feel is okay. I recommend tracking your feelings.
> Consider trying the Mood Meter app that Marc
> Brackett and I developed at the Yale Center for
> Emotional Intelligence; it’s an easy way to
> facilitate your learning about your emotions and
> track your patterns, allowing you to learn what
> triggers your feelings and gives helpful
> strategies to shift your moods.
> 6) Give yourself the okay to give something up.
> Part of what makes it painful and challenging to
> leave a gaslight relationship is that the
> gaslighter may be the one “someone” you have
> committed to, such as your best friend, your mom,
> your sister or brother. It’s okay to walk away
> from toxicity, regardless of the source.
> Corboy: Ask yourself if the abuser has
> convinced you that they are your only acceptable
> option, that no one else is expert enough,
> affordable enough, that you are too stupid or
> crazy to be wanted by anyone else.
> 7) Talk to your close friends. Ask them if you
> seem like yourself and do a reality check on your
> spouse’s behavior. Ask them to be brutally honest.
> (Corboy: This is why cult leaders and the very
> worst abusers find ways to isolate you from your
> family and keep you from forming friendships
> outside the relationship. If you are totally on
> your own, write a description of what you are
> going through. Make an appointment with a social
> worker or therapist, have them read it and then
> ask them what they think)
> 8) Focus on feelings instead of right and wrong.
> It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to be right
> or spend endless hours ruminating about who’s
> right*. But determining who is right and wrong is
> less important than how you feel — if your
> conversation leaves you feeling bad or
> second-guessing yourself, that’s what you need to
> pay attention to. Having a sense of psychological
> and emotional well-being in a relationship is more
> important than who is right or wrong in any
> Corboy: endless hours ruminating will exhaust
> you, get you depressed, and if you do this near
> bedtime, will disrupt your ability to get a sound
> nights sleep.
> 9) Remember that you can’t control anyone’s
> opinion, even if you are right. You may never get
> your friend or your boss or your partner to agree
> that you aren’t too sensitive or too controlling
> or too anything. You need to let go of trying, as
> maddening as this can be. The only person whose
> opinion you can control is your own.
> 10) Have compassion for yourself. This is really
> hard even when you are not in a compromising
> dynamic. But when you are not feeling confident
> and strong, it’s even harder to give yourself the
> benefit of the doubt, kindness, and love. It will
> be a healing influence and help you move forward
> in your decision making. Now is a time for
> Gaslighting is not the same as sensitivity
> It’s important to separate gaslighting from
> genuine disagreement, which is common, and even
> important, in relationships. Not every conflict
> involves gaslighting, and, of course, there are
> healthy and helpful ways to resolve conflicts.
> Gaslighting is distinct because only one of you is
> listening and considering the other’s perspective
> and someone is negating your perception, insisting
> that you are wrong or telling you your emotional
> reaction is crazy/ dysfunctional in some way.
> Nor are victims of gaslighting just being overly
> sensitive. People can be more susceptible to
> emotional harm than others for a variety of
> reasons, but gaslighting isn’t about individual
> personality differences. It’s about knocking one’s
> understanding of reality off balance.
> Robin Stern, PhD, is the associate director of the
> Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence where she
> works every day to make the world a more equitable
> and compassionate place for all. Robin is also
> psychoanalyst with three decades of experience
> treating individuals and couples. She is a Yale
> Public Voices fellow whose work is frequently
> published in popular media outlets, and she serves
> on the Advisory Board of UN Women for Peace, Think
> Equal, Crisis Text Line, and I’ll Go First.
Corboy, thanks. this is so valuable it is wroth quoting again and again.