What Is Gaslighting, How To Save Yourself From Getting Gaslighted By Others?

Term gaslighting is used to describe the form of emotional manipulation by making him believe the wrong thing is right or that they have gone delusional and insane to enslave or get rid of another person for personal benefit.

Emotional manipulation by people around us is not a rare phenomenon. Every day we get to know victims of emotional manipulation done by partners, spouses, guardians, bosses, political leaders, spiritual leaders, and friends or family members in our surroundings or get to hear news from acquaintances, or news from print or digital media. People especially those who are deprived and or sensitive can easily get gaslighted by others, especially by narcissists or anyone. Both men and women can equally become the victims of gaslighting.

Gaslighting always has a power gradient between perpetrator and victim i.e. is done by a person in power to a person who is weak. Gaslighter is always in the dominant position over others.

So you must know in detail about this phenomenon of emotional manipulation to save yourself from becoming the victim of it.

Continue reading to know more…

What Do You Mean By Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is consciously manipulating or controlling someone emotionally and or psychologically to make him/her believe that what you are telling is the only truth and not what they perceive over a longer period of time. The manipulator makes the victim believe things that aren’t in existence for personal gain.

As per Meriam Webster Gaslighting is defined as the Emotional or psychological manipulation of a person for a longer period of time in such a way that he (the victim) will question the validity and sanity of his own thoughts, Perception of reality, and Perceptions of memories. This leads victims to confusion, loss of self-respect and loss of confidence, uncertainty toward one’s emotional and or mental stability, decision making, and tend to become totally dependent on the perpetrator for even trivial decisions.

As per the Cambridge Dictionary Gaslighting is defined as, the act of tricking or controlling someone by making them believe things that are not in existence especially making victims believe they are mentally ill or unstable.

History Of Origin Of Term “Gaslighting”.

The origin of the term gaslighting is quite interesting. It is derived from the name “GASLIGHT” a theater play from 1938. In his play, a woman’s husband uses different tricks on her to make her believe that she has gone insane.

He deliberately dims the Gaslights that present inside the house every day but makes his wife believe that the light inside the house is not dim but rather are in perfect brightness and she is delusional and confused. And there must be some problem with her sanity of thoughts. He does this purposefully to prove that she has gone insane to make her property his own.

Later the movie inspired by this play was released in 1944 with the same name directed by George Cukor and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The movie became so much so hit that the word Gaslighting became a commonly used word among people.

Later Marium-Webster and Cambridge dictionaries officially included this word in the dictionary with the meaning of purposefully manipulation someone psychologically and emotionally over a longer period of time for personal gain.

Mechanism Of Gaslighting?

The person who is emotionally sensitive or gullible or who lacks self-esteem can easily fall prey to the one who is cold blooded or narcissistic. It is usually done to enslave, take advantage of, emotionally humiliate, and get rid of the victim.

The perpetrator incepts the thought of something into the mind of a victim over a longer period of time like for months or years of the situation that doesn’t exist. He gradually tricks them into believing that the situation he is dictating is only true and that what the victim believes is nothing but a delusion. 

This makes them believe that what they perceive is all false and they must be mentally or emotionally unstable and can’t trust the self-instinct.

After some day’s victim starts questioning his beliefs, instincts, and sanity of his mind and thinks that he is not capable of making decisions. They become dependent on the perpetrator for even the smallest decision of life so that, often victims don’t even realize the other person is taking advantage of them or they are getting used to or become too confused and weak to raise their voice.

Gaslighter may use one or more of the following techniques to gaslight the victim,

1. Denial: –

They deny their deeds such as the gaslighter may deny their actions what they have said in the past or their mistakes constantly and confidently over the period of time which makes the victim believe their memories or doubt the sanity of their mind.

2. Blaming: –

They play the blame game on the victim. They blame the victim for every single problem and mistake even for that mistake done by themselves so much so that after some time victims start believing that they are at fault and start losing self-importance and start blaming themselves for all the problems and shortfalls in life.

3. Belittling: –

They constantly belittle the victim. Gaslighter may use phrases like “You are good for nothing”, “You can’t do it”, “ You have gone crazy”, “You are insane”, “ You are an idiot”, “You don’t know anything”, “You are too dumb to take a decision” on so on…

Due to continuous belittling by the gaslighter, the victim loses self-belief and self-confidence. Victims started to believe that they were crazy, dumb, and unimportant. This method is commonly used by romantic partners, colleagues, and guardians.

4. Misinformation: –

Gaslighter often tries to keep victims in too dark for longer periods of time by providing misinformation or by keeping them sub-informed to make them confused and in doubt as we saw in GASLIGHT play. This trick is often used by bosses or priests.

5. Shifting power gradient: –

Gaslighters always try to keep the power gradient toward them by making the victim powerless. To achieve this, they may isolate the victim, ignore them for days and months, cut off their contact with friends and families, make them housebound, cut off their source of money, and make other people believe that the victim is not sane to do intellectual or responsible tasks.

6. Victimizing for dishonesty: –

This is common in romantic relationships. One of the partners is dishonest and constantly keeps on cheating but rather than accepting the mistake they blame the other partner for being disloyal and cheating. They do this to hide their dishonest behavior. After some time, the honest partner feels like they are the problem and doubts themselves. 

Who Are Prone To Become Victim Of Gaslighting?

The most commonly found examples of Gaslitings are between spouses, Parents and children, Romantic partners, Bosses, and employees, and sometimes between friends and elderly relatives with children.

The spouse who is emotionally sensitive or highly dependent on other partners financially and emotionally or extra submissive in the relationship is more prone to get gaslighted by the other spouse and vice versa. People who follow their mass leader or religious preacher blindly.   

If you are in a toxic relationship, then you are most likely to get gaslighted by your partner. People who battle tough childhood, battle with fear of abandonment, suffer from PTSD, don’t have support from family, especially parents, don’t have any recognizable father figure, or who are immature and do not have social awareness have a high chance of getting gaslighted.

You may also like to read,

1. 8 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Matters More Than Intelligence Quotient.

2. 9 Hacks To Counter Social Anxiety While In Social Situations And Networking Events.

How To Identify If You Are a Victim Of Gaslighting Or Not And How To Get Out Of It?

There is no road map to identify whether you are being gaslighted. It is either self realization or realization by other persons such as family members or friends.

1.You can crosscheck your beliefs and thoughts to know whether it is normal or not If you are doubtful about your beliefs or perceptions crosscheck it with the person whom you trust or if possible try to crosscheck with more than one person.

2.Gut feelings are our inner voice. Though what may be your beliefs about something if nothing works trust your gut feelings and act according.

3.Your close friends and your parents are good at detecting fake people in your life you can always take their advice if you think you are being gaslighted.

4.If you are lucky others will tell you about how the perpetrator is manipulating you, your duty is to fact-check and act according.

5.If you suspect gaslighting try to maintain the record books. Try to record each and every doubtful incident as it is secretly and in your spare time do fact checks.

6.If nothing works visit the therapists and take advice from them

Effects Of Gaslighting On Psychology?

Gaslighting can severely affect the mental health of the victim. It will cause them confusion, loss of trust in themselves, self-doubt, loss of self worth, dependency, fearfulness, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disease.

How to avoid being gaslighted?

Until now you must have understood the basic concept of gaslighting so it will become easy for you to identify.

Always keep at least a few family members in the loop. Keep your close friend informed. If you sense any manipulation confront it right away or discuss it with your parents. Or seek professional help.


Gaslighting is a cruel form of manipulation. Which can destroy a victim’s life completely. It can happen any time anywhere even with our loved ones or with us. taking it lightly is not feasible. It is so secretive and gradual process that it often goes unnoticed by other people and by victims.

We should be vigilant about gaslighting. this can save someone’s life from getting used and taken advantage of.

What is Gaslighting?

Quietly and slowly manipulating someone emotionally and psychologically to take advantage of or to use someone or to get rid of the person for personal benefit.

What are the examples of gaslighting?

Gaslighter may use phrases like “You are good for nothing”, “You can’t do it”, “ You have gone crazy”, “You are insane”, “ You are an idiot”, “You don’t know anything”, “You are too dumb to take a decision” on so on…

Why is gaslighting bad?

Gaslighting can severely affect the mental health of the victim. It will cause them confusion, loss of trust in themselves, self-doubt, loss of self worth, dependency, fearfulness, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disease.