What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is an insidious form of manipulation and control, which derives its name from a 1938 play, Gas Light, and a film adaptation starring Ingrid Bergman. The victims of gaslighting are misled and forced to doubt what they know to be true, even about themselves. Victims end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, the gaslighter’s manipulations grow more complex and potent, making them difficult for the victim to avoid.
Gaslighting can occur in personal or professional relationships, and gaslighters target their victims where it hurts: their sense of identity and self-worth. Gaslighters are often charming at first in order to lure their victims. They may have personality disorders — narcissism is particularly common. Gaslighters also have a tendency to present one face to their victim and another to the rest of the world, leading the victim to assume that no one will believe they are being gaslighted.