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Gaslighting - What To Do About It?

A psychological manipulation technique known as "gaslighting" leaves the subjects feeling confused and doubtful about themselves. This page examines the definition of gaslighting, and its consequences, and offers suggestions for getting well.

Have you ever been in a conversation where reality seemed to be twisted and stretched to fit the other person's wishes? where people reject your memories, the floor seems shaky under your feet, and you are labelled as "crazy" for your observations?

In that case, you may have been gaslighted. 

a man illustrate what gaslighting may look like - Imageby pressfoto
Emotional attack can be abusive and led to mental trauma - Image by pressfoto on Freepik

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a sort of emotional attack designed to alter the victim's perspective of reality. Lies, factual distortions, and denial fuel this deliberate process that gradually erodes rationality and trust. Gaslighting in real life is often subtle, hidden in everyday interactions, and eats away at a person's sense of self. 

According to Fuchsman (Christensen & Evans-Murray, 2021), gaslighting is “A [person who] seeks to manipulate another or others into thinking their perceptions of reality are mistaken, and for the gaslightee to believe what the manipulator claims instead.” (p.74)

On the other hand, Abramson suggests that "a gaslighter is a person who aims to destroy the possibility of disagreement by so radically undermining another person that [he/she] has nowhere to left to stand from which to disagree, no standpoint from which [their] words might constitute genuine disagreement.” (p. 10).

It seems like gaslighting is a type of action that makes the victim more like doubting their self.

According to Wittgenstein (Trächtler, 2022), two types of doubt are Theoretical doubt and Practical doubt. Wittgenstein's concept of philosophical or theoretical doubt refers to systematic questioning that occurs during scientific research. Knowledge, truth, and the validity of assertions and theories. Doubts like this are distinct from those we experience in daily life. On the other hand, Wittgenstein refers to such doubts as practical doubts, implying that they are associated with our daily lives and manifest as uncertainty or hesitancy in acting. 

To understand and identify more about gaslighting here are some typical characteristics of gaslighting that you can acknowledge in your daily life:

  • Denial

Even when faced with evidence to the contrary, the gaslighter deliberately refuses to acknowledge the conversation or incident. Their response: "You must have forgotten," or "I never said that."

  • Trificialization

The abuser downplays your emotions and worries as excessive or unimportant. They might say: “You're too sensitive,” or “Don't make it too bigYou're made to feel accountable for their actions through blame shifting. Commonly used phrases are "You made me angry" and "I wouldn't have reacted like this if you hadn't..." 

  • Lies and manipulation

The art of creating jumbled and contradictory narratives by either outright lying or discreetly falsifying facts. Anything you see or hear may cause you to question its veracity. Isolation: In an attempt to make you depend more and more on your circle of support, your gaslighter may attempt to keep you apart from your loved ones. 

an illustration of a hand with strings tied to a person figure - Image by Freepik
Gaslighter aims to emotionally manipulate - Image by Freepik

With that, we can understand how to identify gaslighting. Gaslighter - is the one that does gaslighting. (Christensen & Evans-Murray, 2021) suggest three kinds of gaslighter:

  1. Glamour Gaslighter, This gaslighter is a charmer, he or she frequently flatters and pays attention to the gaslightee, making them feel unique, wanted, and necessary. 

  2. The Good Person Gaslighter, This individual is a gaslighter because they give off the impression of being kind, helpful, approachable, and amiable to others. Anything substantial or tangible is offered by the gaslighter, even though they may be helpful with work assignments or speak angrily about other coworkers by implying improper research or academic behavior.

  3. The Intimidator Gaslighter, The gaslightee is treated with disdain and contempt by this gaslighter. The gaslighted is treated with disdain and contempt by this gaslighter. They frequently make fun of, humiliate, belittle, and minimize the gaslightee.

The Impact Of Gaslighting

When someone is coping with fear, hopelessness, or trauma from the past, gaslighting can be a very effective tactic. Because their memories and perceptions are constantly being questioned, which exacerbates pre-existing worries, they become more perplexed and self-conscious. Imagine struggling with negative beliefs or a distorted self-image, only to have your reality called into question. Suicidal thoughts and feelings may result from this, along with crippling anxiety attacks and sadness.

The impact of gaslighting can be very severe. This may cause: 

  • Self-doubt: You begin to mistrust your sense of judgment, and sanity, and recall when your reality is continuously called into question.

  • Anxiety and depression: Constant manipulation and emotional abuse hurt one's mental well-being. 

  • Loss of self-esteem: You can begin to accept the gaslighter's assessment that you are "crazy," overly sensitive, or unreliable. 

  • Relationship issues: Gaslighting has the potential to harm or even end relationships by undermining intimacy and confidence. According to (Christensen & Evans-Murray, 2021) Gaslighting is more likely in marital/romantic partnerships and violent relationships, including intimate partner abuse. 

How to Respond to Gaslighting

It's critical to get assistance if you believe you are being gaslighted. Try to communicate with someone you trust very much, and try to get professional treatment from a psychologist or therapist.

I hope that this translation will enable you to comprehend the consequences and phenomena of gaslighting. I hope you can gather the courage and support needed to get through this trying time.

Although it requires time and effort, recovery from the effects of gaslighting is achievable.

To regain control over your reality, follow these steps:

  • Acknowledge the Gaslighting

Acknowledging the manipulation is the first step toward recovery. To detect what's going on, become familiar with gaslighting and its strategies.

  • Seek Assistance

Seek understanding and affirmation from dependable family members, friends, or a therapist. Reestablishing contact with your support network might help you regain confidence and serve as an anchor for reality.

  • Mind your health

Give your health your priority by doing activities such as physical activity, meditation, and counselling. These exercises will help improve your resilience and learn how to handle the damage of gaslighting.

  • Set the boundaries

Setting up boundaries with the gaslighter is essential. Depending on the circumstances, this could entail cutting off communication or breaking up. remember how important is safety and well-being.

a stop sign to illustrate the urgency in stopping gaslighter to continue manipulate you Prioritize your mental health and practice the boundaries - Image by ElasticComputeFarm
Prioritize your mental health and practice the boundaries - Image by ElasticComputeFarm

The Victims of gaslighting are left questioning their perceptions of reality and themselves. It is a hazardous emotional abuse. Serious repercussions may ensue from it, such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety, sadness, and self-doubt.

It is possible to recover from gaslighting, but doing so will require you to recognize that you are being manipulated, get help from specialists and reliable people, put your physical and emotional health first, and establish clear boundaries with the gaslighter. Recall that assistance is available to help you through this difficult path and that you are not alone.

The gravity of gaslighting, the significance of getting help, and the likelihood of recovery are all emphasized in this conclusion. Additionally, it gives the reader a sense of empowerment and hope.

Written by Mochamad Afi Adani

Edited by Virginia Helzainka


Christensen, M., & Evans-Murray, A. (2021). Gaslighting in nursing academia: A new or established covert form of bullying? Nursing Forum56(3), 640–647.

Trächtler, J. (2022). From Doubt to Despair. Nordic Wittgenstein Review, 75–102.


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