“Gaslighting”: One of the Most Dangerous Forms of Mental Manipulation We All Deal With

The universe can be a funny place sometimes. I’ve been doing a lot of research about a form of mental abuse that a lot of us are not only susceptible to, but actually deal with every single day. It is one of those things that we don’t even realize is happening to us, we just see the results: self-doubt, diminished self-esteem, and reduced self-worth. The world has a way of beating even the best of us down from time to time but this specific form of manipulation is one that can be identified and removed from our day-to-day existence.
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Back in 1938, there was a play called “Gas Light” that was later adapted into a movie in 1944. In the story, a husband works diligently to convince his wife and their acquaintances that she is insane by making very small and subtle changes to their environment. When the wife would point out the changes, the husband convinced her that she was wrong about the changes and that she was crazy. Slowly but surely, the wife starts to give in to the self-doubt created by those subtle changes, namely a gas lamp that the husband keeps dimming, hence the term “gaslighting”.
The Science of Hypnosis


In the play, the key was the husband’s ability to alter the wife’s perception of reality. She saw the lamp as being dimmer and the husband assures her that it is not. He made he doubt her perception, and therefore her reality. It is a form of mental abuse that people too often don’t even realize what is happening to them. For the perpetrator, the ability to control the victim’s own perceptions of themselves and the things around them allows them to control the victim themselves. In reality, it happens every single day. It’s all around us. How many advertisements do you see that claim that using their product will somehow enhance your life? That’s a mild form of gaslighting. You are made to think that some aspect of you or your life is incomplete. You are made to DOUBT yourself. Further, you are made to think that whatever product is being peddled is the solution to what is supposedly lacking in your life.


The specific situation that inspired this article involved one of the most beautiful and amazing women I have ever known dealing with a break up from a man that never deserved to be with her in the first place. I explained to her that there are people in our lives who will try to break us down to be on their level . So, what is the answer to gaslighting?


I’ll tell you now, the same thing I told her:
You see, my friend, there are people in this world who will look at a unicorn and think to themselves, “woah, that is a unicorn, which is something I will never be.” They will try to convince you, the unicorn, that you are just an average horse like them with a weird growth on your head that you should probably get checked out by some kind of medical professional that deals with head growths. They will try to steal your magic and make you as dull and ordinary as the plain, old horses that they are. Because they need you to be a plain, old horse like they are, just to bring you down to their level…
The Secrets Behind The Science Of Persuasion

As we’ve established: you are not just a plain,old horse. You are not a fast race horse. You aren’t even one of those fancy British horses that those chicks in those hot pant/knee-high boot getups use to jump over stuff…


By Justin Gammill EMAIL AUTHOR

As a full-time Texan and a part-time mountain man, Justin believes that a man does not grow a beard, but that a beard grows a man…whatever that means. Facebook: Justin Gammill Author   Web:The Next Thirty Years.com

Thanks to Iheartintelligence.com for this post  and featured image

13 thoughts on ““Gaslighting”: One of the Most Dangerous Forms of Mental Manipulation We All Deal With

  • May 27, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Don’t forget it’s in the workplace, too. I was recently forced to leave my job by a series of people like this. My last boss wouldn’t share needed information and somehow I always got portrayed as the poor ignorant one, even though I had much more experience than anyone else. I thought I was over the worst of it, 3 months later, but called about picking up a piece of equipment I’d inadvertently left, and the reply brought up a bunch of negative connotations again. A reminder that the more space the better with negative energy, and the importance of protecting my own energy

  • May 24, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Well said, especially the part about culpability. I grew up Catholic, and we used that word a lot. In my opinion, what my ex did was malevolent and should be classified as a mortal sin. He knew what he was doing and he did it to control and manipulate me. It started very early in our 40+ year-marriage but I didn’t know what to call it. It took me decades to wake up to what he was doing. Plus, it gets worse with time.
    If you see the signs early, run as fast as you can. These people do not change.

  • May 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I finally saw the light after 43 years of marriage. A few years before that I had started looking at my ex’s behavior as opposed to his words and started realizing something was very wrong. I read a lot of books, went to therapy, and filed for divorce last year. It is finally over, except the part where no one in the family believes what happened (the last, final gaslighting was terrible). It turned out that my ex was living a double life – straight married man and promiscuous gay man. It is truly mind-blowing.
    Good luck with moving forward. I can say, after eight months of living alone, that I have no regrets about leaving him at this time of life. I don’t want to be alone, I would love to find a good man to spend the rest of my life with, but I could not live another minute with the man I married so very long ago. I believe he is a malignant narcissist and probably a sociopath.

  • May 18, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    I have lived this for nearly 40 years and am only now trying to find the strength to break free.

  • May 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I know exactly how this feels unfortunately both my daughters do as well.

  • May 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I have always been a victim of mental manipulation throughout my teens. The best way to cope up with such a horror is to avoid people who alter your sense of perception. I am more happy and content than ever before. Thanks for bringing this topic into lights.

  • May 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Stonewalling. Another from of abuse. Combined with gaslighting, treacherous. I thought I was dealing with a mental disability but after having read some of the information on both these topics I can now see I’ve been in a manipulative relationship. It’s quietly been eating away my soul for 5 years and now I’m trying to muster strength to get out.

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you and that is truth, though I wouldn’t have put it the same way, I am possibly the strongest women in the world that I know, I come from a long line of very strong women, and I have two grown up daughters, and I am proud to say they are as strong as me. BUT, people find a way to put you down, I have found it doesn’t matter, how pretty you are, how smart you are, they will still put you down, because they cant be as good as you, and trust me you cant’ really fix it, . See you just did it, made an idea of me , in your head, so really, ?

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    As sad as this sounds… I’m glad there is a word for it because I was starting to think I was going crazy. But it’s a real thing. Glad I know now, sad I didn’t know before. Too late now, I’ve already been made out to be the crazy one.

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    If someone in your life, say, a partner, starts in with something about a quirk and is attaching some form of psychological label to it, you might be well-served to suspect gas-lighting. A personality trait or a quirk is NOT a condition. It’s part of you being the unique YOU that you are. I’ve been dealing with someone who does that crap and deep down, I picked up on it right away but failed to recognize the severity of the manipulation until I’d gone through several years of BS and sorrow. Gas lighting, intended or not, is destructive and has no redeeming values at all (unless you’re in covert service but that’s a different matter) and it is best that a person create as much distance as possible and seek help if needed. Look up the legal term “culpability”, as it describes intent/guilty mind of the offender/aggressor and might give a clearer view on the level of evil associated with the person who is gas-lighting you. Hope that helps.

  • May 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    As did myself and my family Ken.

  • May 3, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Thank you. All of this is true. I lived it.

  • April 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I have experienced this and was not aware of the mental manipulation that was being used to control me along with keeping me down. I finally broke free from this situation and began the long process of healing…
    Unfortunately my daughter has & is experiencing the same thing. ..it hurts me to watch her go through this. I am trying to support as best as possible but , she is still coping with fresh hurts….her spirit is broken. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront. It not known as much as it should be as a form of abuse & needs to be.

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