Gaslighting or Gas Light According to Psychology

You are crazy", "You are too sensitive", "They are your imaginations" ... These phrases are part of a pattern of psychological abuse known as gaslighting or gaslighting . This type of abuse is characterized by manipulating a person to the point where the victim questions their own judgment and believes they lose their sanity. This term was coined by the film adaptation of a play, the film is titled "Gaslight" and is the story of a man who tries to convince his beloved that he "is crazy" through endless emotional manipulations.

If you want to know more about the most subtle form of abuse in psychological abuse, we recommend you read this article in which we will talk about gaslighting according to psychology. In addition, we will show you the most common signs in which it occurs so that you can detect gaslighting.

What is gaslighting in the couple: meaning and examples

We define gaslighting as a very subtle type of emotional abuse based on making the victim believe that they are not in their right mind and everything that they think, remember and perceive is within their imagination . Manipulation in gaslighting is one of its most heartbreaking characteristics, reaching the point where the victim himself comes to question his own judgment and memories of the events.

About the movie "gas light"

As we said at the beginning of this article, the translation of gaslighting is "gas light" and this name has its origin in a film adaptation of the work entitled "Gas Light". The film released in 1940 is based on the story of a man (Gregory) who tries in a subtle but deliberate way to make his wife Paula lose her mind and end up in a mental hospital to steal her jewelry.

In this case, Gregory uses several methods to make his wife question her own judgment : he moves objects around and blames Paula for losing them, he also constantly questions everything he says and comments that "she is crazy" and that "everything is his imagination." In addition, the husband also exercises this mistreatment in front of his friends, contributing to the idea that they also think that Paula is crazy.

The abuse is such that Paula begins to believe that she has real problems and that her judgment is affected by her mental instability.

40 years later, in 1980, the term gaslighting was coined to refer to two phenomena within psychological abuse in the partner :

Those who i nconscientemente confuse your partner and unstable feed their thoughts
Those individuals who consciously manipulate their partner in order to get something from that person.

Examples of gaslighting in the couple

The article published by Kate Abramson summarizes very well some of the examples and phrases that a person who exercises this type of psychological abuse can say:

  • Don't be paranoid
  • They are your imaginations
  • I was just kidding!
  • That never happened
  • I think you are exaggerating
  • I think you are not mentally well, you are not a stable person

Before commenting on the 5 signs of psychological manipulation, in psychology we want to remind you that it is important to reflect on the situation you are experiencing.

If you feel like your partner doesn't respect you, you can try talking to her about how her attitude and comments make you feel. If you can't find a solution and see that the situation remains the same, keep reading about this pattern of abuse to detect it and get out of it as soon as possible.

5 Signs of psychological manipulation

We refer to mistreatment or psychological abuse as those acts in which one person threatens the mental integrity of another. On many occasions, psychological abuse is clearly expressed in the form of insults, threats, humiliation ... However, there are other ways in which a very serious pattern of abuse can be observed.

How to detect gaslighting ?: 5 warning signs

If you want to know how to identify the phenomenon of gaslighting or gaslighting, you should pay special attention to the signs of psychological manipulation that we offer you below:

1. Deny something that you know is evident

If your partner denies an event or something he has said, it may be a symptom of gaslighting.

For example , you know that your partner commented that he did not like X movie, however, this one denies it by lying in a shameless way " I never said that! " Thus planting the seed of doubt "have I heard him wrong?" or "did I make it up?" These are some of the thoughts that may appear in your head.

2. Make comments about your mental health

Especially if you have gone through a mental disorder, the psychological abuser can use your past as a throwing weapon " remember that you are not well, you have had problems and right now you do not think clearly ", this message may resemble what the person who exercises gaslighting on you.

Note: it is important not to confuse someone who really wants to help you overcome a mental disorder with a psychological manipulator.

3. They try to align people against you

Sometimes, the person who exercises gaslighting can go a step further and involve your social circle so that you feel isolated and you really think that you have a problem.

Some of the most common comments are " your friends think the same as me " or " that person knows you are not right "

4. If someone agrees with you "he is a liar"

Normally, a person cannot control everything that other individuals tell you, so if someone in your environment cares about you and tells you that your partner is manipulating you. With great security, said partner will deny it by destroying the credibility of your friend or family member with phrases such as "don't believe him, he is lying to manipulate you."

5. It directly tells you that you are crazy

The maximum expression of gaslighting has only two words " you are crazy ". However, after multiple manipulations, this comment can end up bringing down your mental strengths until you doubt your own mental capacity.

Gaslighting or gas light at work

This phenomenon not only occurs in the couple, in the work environment there are also cases where a co-worker tries to break down the mental stability of a person through the already known "gas light" method. The objective of this abuse is usually to get your job or to make that person leave the company.

Finally, it is important to comment that the abuse known as gas light can also occur between friends and even family , so we must know how to detect the alarm signals that can help us get out of this situation.

How to get out of a situation of psychological abuse?

If you think you are suffering from gaslighting, try to seek help from people outside this emotional abuse, in this way, you can understand that your judgment is not wrong and thus regain confidence in your thoughts and ideas .

If you consider it necessary, you can also go to a therapist specialized in psychological abuse and emotional violence to help you overcome gaslighting and you can get out of a toxic relationship .