gaslighting meaning and examples

Relationship Health: Gaslighting Meaning and Examples

Gaslighting can be devastating to the unsuspecting victim who begins to question or doubt themselves. It is a perpetual cycle that the abuser drives for the purpose of controlling the victim.

Gaslighting is a method of emotional and psychological abuse where the abuser tries to convince the victim that they are losing their mind and the abusers’ prey to question their judgment. Gaslighters are experts in the art of manipulation, and their goal is to gain control over the victim.

In most cases, the abuser and the victim are in a relationship, usually a romantic one. Abusers like to control others and have people go against each other. They shift the blame onto others and do not accept responsibility for their actions. Watch your back and read on for your safety.

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What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is when an abuser makes their victim question their sanity or reality. The abuser creates a false narrative and makes the victim doubt themselves or lowers their self-esteem. Gaslighting typically occurs in romantic relationships.

Many people who gaslight others have a narcissistic personality disorder. They use psychological or emotional abuse to exert their power over the victim. When the victim engages with the abuser, they are often left wondering if something is wrong with them.

This self-doubt is because the abuser will take advantage of any weaknesses in the victim, which is usually for the abusers’ benefit. The abusers’ goal is to control the victim and make them feel helpless and dependent on the toxic relationship.

What's the Difference Between Lying and Gaslighting?

Gaslighting and lying are both similar in that they are negative behaviors, but other than that, they are entirely different. Gaslighting is when an abuser makes their victim question their perception of reality. The abusers’ objective is to gain control over the person.

An abuser gaslighting their victim will often lie and make up stories. If the abuser gets caught in a lie, they will often become overly defensive or even aggressive enough to get the victim to believe them. There is a fine line between gaslighting and lying

Lying is when someone either makes something up or denies the truth to someone else, even though they know exactly what the truth is. Gaslighting involves blaming, confusing, and shaming someone, while when someone is lying, they just simply are not telling the truth.

How do You Tell if Someone is Gaslighting You?

The most effective gaslighters tend to have narcissistic personality traits. The goal of the gaslighter is to ruin the victim’s mental stability while keeping them in an unhealthy relationship. Gaslighting can happen to the best of us.

If someone is in a relationship where the abuser is gaslighting them, it is not the victim’s fault. It does not mean that the victim is stupid or naive. If you are in a relationship and question whether you are being gaslighted, there are some indicators to watch out for to know for sure. 

Some of the common signs of gaslighting include the following:

  • Feeling like you are going insane
  • Having trouble making decisions
  • Making excuses for the abuser’s behavior
  • Feeling low self-worth
  • Feeling like your weaknesses are being used against you
  • Apologizing all the time
  • The abuser separates you from friends or family
  • The abuser shifts blame to make you feel responsible

Someone either lies to conceal information or protect themselves. Abusers gaslight to control someone to the point that the person does not know the truth.

gaslighting meaning and examples - info

3 Examples of Gaslighting

The actual term “gaslighter” came from a movie from 1944 called “Gaslight.” The main character in the film manipulates his wife into believing that she is crazy and needs help.

He gets her to question her perception of reality and schemes to commit her to a mental institution.

The purpose of his deranged plan is to steal from her. The following are examples of gaslighting and how the abuser psychologically and emotionally damages the victim.

They "Love Bomb" You

A relationship with a gaslighter may start well, as they tend to get their victim to succumb to their charms, which is why it is often hard for the person to get out of the relationship.

It is a tactic called “love bombing.” The sooner the victim falls in love, the sooner the abuser can begin to reel in their prey.

Love bombing occurs when the victim is exposed to the abuser’s so-called tender side, even though it is all part of their manipulation. They will smother the victim with affection. It may be through various trinkets and gifts.

They may also be open and intimate to gain the victim’s trust and admiration as part of their ruse. The abuser pretends to be sensitive and caring. They may be very attentive and seem good with intimacy, even sexually.

The victim often feels that they have found the love of their life. When the relationship begins to take an abusive turn, the victim makes excuses for the abuser and eagerly awaits the time when the abuser will inevitably “make it up to them” by lavishing them with gifts and extra affection.

It may seem very flattering at first. However, this becomes a vicious cycle in which the abuser says or does something to hurt the victim carelessly, and then when the victim expresses their hurt, the abuser goes all out and makes the victim feel loved and safe with them once again.

The making-up part of the cycle often makes the victim feel special and compels them to continue with the relationship. The problem is that the abuser has ulterior motives. The abuser is successful in keeping a significant secret.

The secret is that they want control over the victim. The relationship becomes a way for the abuser to exert power over someone. The other person is more of a target to the abuser, as opposed to someone they love and respect.

People who love bomb tend to be unfaithful and erratic. Their behavior indicates that they do indeed have something to apologize for. Most love bombers are total narcissists with only their ulterior motives in mind.

The “love bombing” really has nothing to do with love at all. The abuser needs reassurance that they can use, abuse, and control the victim, and the unhealthy patterns and relationship will continue.

The influence that the abuser has over the other person reinforces their power over them and makes them feel as if they are the ones in charge. Love bombers often resume their duplicitous acts and abusive behavior once they know they have the victim’s forgiveness.

Some of the warning signs of love bombing include the following:

  • Unhealthy dependency on the abuser
  • Feelings of flattery when the abuser “makes it up” to the victim
  • The intimacy that makes the victim forget the bad parts
  • Making up excuses for the abuser

Love bombing may feel and appear to be genuine, especially at first. However, it is a tactic used by the abuser to make the victim remain in the unhealthy relationship and keep them from realizing that the behavior is toxic.

They Gain Control Over You

A gaslighter will often twist the victim’s words to control them mentally. Over time, the abuser’s psychological manipulations become more cunning and complex, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth.

Gaslighters need to be in control of the situation. They like to feel powerful. Some of the main tactics an abuser imposes on the victim include the following:

  • Constant blaming
  • Intimidation
  • Denial of responsibility
  • Claiming that the abuse is “no big deal.”
  • Endless criticism
  • Taking credit for the victim’s accomplishments

The abuser feels powerful when they break the victim’s spirit. They feel in control of the person because they know that they can devalue them and lower their sense of self-worth.

Narcissistic abusers diminish the victim’s self-esteem as a way to establish and reaffirm their power. They manipulate the victim’s mind and destroy their sense of identity.

Some abusers even use threats and cultivate fear to control their victims. They may threaten to take something from the victim that they care about as a way of keeping control over them.

Gaslighters will also get control by focusing on your flaws. They throw your insecurities in your face and take advantage of your weaknesses.

The narcissist calls attention to the victim’s flaws by manipulating them into thinking that everything is their fault, especially when it comes to the relationship. They may convince the victim that they are overreacting, losing their minds, or that they are the ones ruining the relationship.

When narcissists feel they may be losing control over the victim, they will often react with anger and make the victim feel like they are doing something wrong. The victim may even begin to feel guilty for not giving in to the narcissist allowing themselves to be controlled.

The abuser will sometimes become dramatic and may even lash out with an over-the-top outburst to express their disappointment in the victim. It becomes difficult for the victim to understand that the guilt they may be feeling comes from the unreasonable demands of the abuser.

When an abuser gaslights, it is used to trick the victim and make them feel like they do not remember things correctly or their judgment is off. Gaslighting allows the abuser to control the victim by controlling their mind.

They Make You Question Your Sanity

There are even some abusers that get their victim to question their sanity; as the abuser stages it, it appears that the victim has a mental issue. The victim is sometimes committed to a psychiatric institution.

Many gaslighters will succeed at turning others against the victim, even their friends, and family. The abuser will do this by framing the victim, telling people that the victim is either lying or delusional. They are exceptionally skilled at deflection and making the victim look like the abuser.

The fact that the narcissist will get the victim to question their sanity means that the narcissist is also creating problems that would not be there if not for their influence. They merely force them to question their competence under the guise of “helping” the victim.

This process can sometimes be referred to as “brainwashing” the victim, making the victim feel destabilized and weak. Many narcissists react with severe anger if they feel that they are failing at controlling their prey.

Sometimes other relationships will suffer, as the victim is forced to be cut off from other healthy relationships, allowing themselves to get sucked into the self-absorbed fantasies that the abuser has concerning the role that the target plays in the relationship.

The narcissist often makes the victim lose their sense of self, as they are experts at turning the tables. The victim begins to lose themselves in the abusive relationship.

What is Narcissistic Gaslighting?

Narcissistic gaslighting is a manipulative technique that involves abusing the victim and lying to them. The most frequent technique that a narcissistic abuser uses when gaslighting is making their victim feel like they are losing their mind.

Narcissistic gaslighters prey on the victims’ weaknesses. The victim often feels that their perception of reality is unreal or imagined, making them feel helpless. Some of the behaviors exhibited will help you tell if you are being gaslighted include the following:

  • The abuser says things but then denies ever saying them
  • The abuser never admits their mistakes, forcing you to take the blame
  • The abuser tells you that you are crazy or overreacting
  • The abuser gets defensive or aggressive when caught in a lie
  • The abuser does not reciprocate kindness or respect
  • A false representation of who they are and embellishments

Abusers who gaslight their victims typically have narcissistic personality disorder. A sociopath lacks empathy for others, does not consider their feelings or rights, and only cares about what benefits them. 

How to Recover from Narcissistic Abuse

The article explains that some people who have been victims of narcissistic abuse would prefer to get help online there are many virtual narcissistic abuse recovery programs.

The following gives you a little detail about these courses and how they can help abuse survivors.

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program

This program is offered to help heal the victim and teach them how to recover from gaslighting and narcissistic abuse. The Gold Package is $295, while the Silver Package is $195. These packages include the following:

  • Ten freedom healing modules
  • Workbook
  • Videos
  • Exercises
  • Meditations
  • Lifetime access to the website’s support forum

The forum will unite the victims of narcissistic abuse, which makes people feel that they are not alone. Seeing other people’s stories and relating to other survivors goes a long way to helping the victim recover.

The Understanding Narcissism Summit

This website gives the victim the chance to work through the trauma of the abuse and create healthy relationships. You pay $397 for lifetime access to twenty recorded sessions with the following:

  • Mental health experts
  • Psychologists
  • Spiritual teachers
  • High school student

The abuse survivor learns to recognize narcissistic abuse in others and communicate more effectively. The program promotes self-awareness.

Take Back Your Life: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program

This program is a little different, as an actual survivor of narcissistic abuse teaches it. This course includes the following:

  • Nine video lectures
  • Two articles
  • Lifetime access
  • Five downloads
  • Course certificate

This course also covers financial abuse. It is an aspect of family violence.

The Healing Trauma Summit

This program focuses on childhood trauma. It tackles difficult symptoms, including panic attacks and flashbacks. This program costs $397, and there are over twenty hours of insights in this program. The abuse survivor will learn strength and how to rebuild intimacy. 

Final Thoughts

Gaslighting is a part of narcissistic abuse, which harms the mind and drains the victim’s spirit. If you or a friend are a target of gaslighting or narcissistic abuse, many programs provoke healing and help survivors see the truth and the light.