Gaslighting is a cruel and manipulative form of emotional abuse. The term comes from a 1938 play. In the play, a husband leads his wife along a convoluted path of deception and lies. To have her inheritance to himself, he needs his wife out of the picture, locked into what was then called an insane asylum. To convince her that she is indeed crazy, he plays mind games, such as turning down the gas lamps in the house and convincing her that she’s imagining or forgetting things. The play was so chilling that the title became synonymous with abusive behaviour that seeks to control someone fully and completely, essentially making him/ her a puppet.
Is someone in your life trying to control you by sneakily and insidiously making you question your own thoughts and perceptions? Because it happens so gradually, you might not realize what’s going on. A few things to watch for:
- Do you think someone is lying to you, but when you mention it, the person turns the lies on you?
- Do you find yourself questioning yourself often?
- Do you feel that you have no control in the relationship?
- Do you feel like you’re slowly losing your mind?
Gaslighting is harmful. Find at least one person you trust and begin to share what you’re experiencing.