Commentary: A Guide To Understanding Gaslighting

Anonymous lives in Maryland.

Gaslighting is defined in psychological terms as a specific type of manipulation where the manipulator is trying to get someone else (or a group of people) to question their own reality, memory, or perceptions. 

Image credit: Loew’s Incorporated

The term “gaslighting” actually comes from a 1938 play, “Gas Light” (which was turned into a more widely known movie in 1944, “Gaslight”), where a husband manipulates his wife to make her think she’s actually losing her sense of reality so he can commit her to a mental institution and steal her inheritance.

Robin Stern, Ph.D., author of The Gaslight Effect (Image credit: Robin Stern)

Robin Stern, Ph.D., Co-founder and Associate Director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Associate Research Scientist at the Child Study Center at Yale, and author of The Gaslight Effect says it may start with seemingly small offences. The problem is when you begin questioning your own judgement or reality, thanks to the deliberate intent of someone else.

As it snowballs you can end up in a cycle of not being able to negotiate your daily life in a way where you are clear minded. It can affect your focus, and cause one to make poor decisions.

Gaslighting happens in personal relationships. One such case for gaslighting happened in my family. I have a brother who at age 51 moved in with his parents after his home was foreclosed for nonpayment of the mortgage. Additionally, he was evicted from his home by the sheriff. To complicate matters he was involved in a nasty divorce. To help put this story into perspective this brother had been arrested multiple times for petty theft. He had multiple judgements against him for indebtedness and had his drivers license suspended for failure to pay child support. Since the time he was 18 he had been fired or terminated from more than twenty jobs. At the time he moved in with his parents he was unemployed.

Under normal circumstances a parent is usually willing to assist a child who is down on their luck or facing hard times. A wise mature parent usually establishes parameters and timelines in a situation such as this. As days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years my brother became comfortable in his living arrangement with his parents. As time progressed and years went by, he found ways to exploit his situation. My brother found ways to exploit my parents’ assets and bank accounts. He took full advantage of our parents’ failing cognitive skills and declining health.

Dr. Stern explains there usually tends to be a power dynamic when gaslighting happens. The manipulator holds enough power that the target of gaslighting is terrified to change the relationship or step out of the gaslighting dynamic because of the threat of losing that relationship.

If it is happening by someone you love and care about, you’re going to want to believe the other person and the gas lighter may use that against you, explains Darlene Lancer JD MFT, a marriage and family therapist in private practice and author of Codependency for Dummies.

Darlene Lancer, JD MFT and author of Codependency for Dummies (Image credit: Darlene Lancer)

Lancer explains that many people, as targets of gaslighting, change their perception in order to avoid having conflict. Many times, the gas lighter does not even realize the impact of their gaslighting. In the case of my mother and the false stories told about me by my brother in the presence of her friends, my mother would hang her head and remain silent.

In this case my brother was a desperate man. You have heard the phrase desperate people do desperate things. He was desperate. His gaslighting included telling false stories about me to his mother and to anyone who would listen. These false and persistent stories escalated and intensified for almost 10 years. This was the period during which he lived with my parents. During this time, he never sought employment. After my father died, his false stories escalated to the extent he had created a false narrative about me. The narrative was so exaggerated that I would compare it to the Big Lie, a technique used to create false narratives often used by governments to deceive its people.

Sadly, when I would call or visit my mother, she would confront me with crazy, false accusations that were baseless and untrue. These stories were the result of many years of gaslighting by my brother.

Ultimately, gaslighting was used by my brother to persuade my mother to rewrite her will and trust. My brother was successful in cheating me out of half of my inheritance totaling one million dollars. I contested this change but the judge was not familiar with the technique of gaslighting nor was it allowed as proof for creating undue influence.

Sadly, gaslighting happens in the shadows and is difficult to prove. Today, we see gaslighting in full display. From the moment President Trump descended down the escalator and announced his intention to run for president, he became the target of gaslighting. Russian collusion, inappropriate phone calls, false quid pro quo accusations, racism accusations, and tax evasion accusations were used to create a massive false narrative. This false narrative was likely created by the deep state, who feared his presidency threatened to expose the massive corruption within our country.

Now we see the largest most colossal gaslight ever. We the American people are told repeatedly by the main stream media, the deep state politicians, and deep state leaders, there was no election tampering. No fraud, no significant evidence. This is the BIG LIE 4.0.

Desperate people do desperate things. Desperate politicians and leaders do desperate things. Gaslighting is a huge tool in their plan to create and control the narrative.

References:

  1. Main image credit: Ben Garrison
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_Light
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslight_(1944_film)
  4. https://robinstern.com/
  5. https://darlenelancer.com/
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie
  7. https://warplanner.blogspot.com/2016/08/gas-lighting.html

Author: The MoCo Conservative

The MoCo Conservative blog and podcast provide a voice for the not-so-silent majority and disenfranchised voters in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Our goal is to aggregate published Conservative content written by residents of the Beltway and beyond. Our blog and podcasts cover a variety of topics and responses from concerned citizens, both anonymous and named, who are directly impacted by the reckless policies put forth by those in positions of authority.

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