Gaslighting

Silent Hammer

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. Sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics; they consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.

Gaslighting had a colloquial origin in a 1938 play ‘Gas Light,’ but the term has also been used in clinical and research literature. The play and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations, concern a husband who attempts to drive his wife mad by manipulating small elements of their environment, and insisting that she is mistaken or misremembering when she points out these changes. The title stems from the husband’s subtle dimming of the house’s gas lights, which she accurately notices and which the husband insists she’s imagining.

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