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Gaslighting: 5 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Manipulation

An Effective Tactic Using Emotional Manipulation To Gain Power and Dominance

Gaslighting is a psychological phenomenon where a gaslighter manipulates their victim to the point that they question their own sanity. Gaslighting at its core is a form of emotional abuse that slowly cracks down their victim’s ability to make sound judgment. In a sense, gaslighting warps a victim’s reality by bending their memory and perception of events.


“Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over, but had me believing it was always something that I’d done”- Gotye. Somebody that I Used to Know


Anyone can be a victim of gaslighting. It is commonly observed in abusive family relationships, romantic relationship, toxic friendship and even professional relationship. Abuse isn’t just limited to physical, that is why it is important to determine the type of relationship you have to avoid future problems. Because even though the relationship is over the after effects of trauma will still persist.

Here are 5 signs of Gaslighting:

  1. They blatantly lie

Gaslighters are charming individuals. They exude confidence and assertiveness, and they speak with compassion that makes everything they say believable. However, when you confront them with a truth and have evidence to back it up, they will blatantly lie to your face to disprove your claim. They will do anything to make you believe that they are right and you are not. Gaslighters are not above using your own fears and insecurities against you just to make a point.

  1. They make you feel doubtful about yourself

Masters of twisting words and ideas, gaslighters feed on the inner doubt of their victims. Gaslighters will claim to know you better than yourself. They will take every opportunity to know more about your likes, dislikes, fears and aspirations. And once they have enough to hold over your head, they will use the information they know about you to make sure that they have control over you including your fears and things that you consider important.

  1. They will question your sanity

It may seem that gaslighters have selective amnesia. In fact, this is a common technique used by gaslighters to make you question your own memory and perception. Gaslighters will often make promises and then claim there were never any promises made to begin with. In arguments, they will counter and deflect valid points and assert that they are right all the time. They will attack your idea in a way that makes you question your own argument. They will tell you that you are overreacting, being too sensitive or you’re being hormonal when you’re anything but. Overtime, this will shift your mindset and you will begin to accept that they are right even if they are not.

  1. They will blame you and make you do things you don’t want to

They often have vices including drugs and infidelity. However, they will deny having them and in turn, they will accuse you of doing them. They may come out as paranoid and protective but at its core, gaslighters are projecting their wrong doings to you so that you will be distracted from seeing their behavior. Furthermore, they will make you do things you don’t normally do such as lying to your friends. For some, the brainwashing is already too great that they fail to see the wrongness of their actions because all they want is to please their abuser.

  1. They will silence and isolate you

The gaslighters will do everything they can to hold on to the power they have over you. Consequently, they will go out of their way to make sure that everyone thinks that you’re crazy to discredit your please of help and think of you as a liar. Gaslighters will also aligning everyone against you while gaslighters making you believe that everyone else cannot be trusted. As a result, this makes the gaslighter the center of your reality where they can do no wrong and their word is law.


Just like any psychological abuse, the scars from the trauma after leaving an abusive relationship is oftentimes long lasting. This is the reason why some people have trust issues. Some people will have difficulties adjusting to the environment and will be distrustful of people around them. That is why if you think that you are a victim of gaslighting or any abuse in general, seek help immediately.


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Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘gaslighting'”.. Retrieved 20 April 2016

Dorpat, Theo. L. (1994). “On the double whammy and gaslighting”. Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy. 11 (1): 91–96. INIST:4017777

11 Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/here-there-and-everywhere/201701/11-signs-gaslighting-in-relationship

You’re Not Going Crazy: 15 Signs You’re a Victim of Gaslighting https://lonerwolf.com/gaslighting/

Gaslighting Definition, Techniques and Being Gaslighted http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted/#sthash.twpjkrKl.dpuf

Are You Being Gaslighted? https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/power-in-relationships/200905/are-you-being-gaslighted

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Written by Khole

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My name is Khole. I mainly focus on Human Relations, Clinical and Abnormal Psychology as well as Psychological Research. My perspective is a combination of Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Gestalt.


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  1. It took me 40 years to mount an exit even with a counselor’s help. This is so thorough yet digestible. I recognize every component. Thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this info.
    I ‘ve been going trough this , for the last month or so..at my work place , but just couldn’t put my finger on it.
    Talking about it with my cooworkers , we are fuuly aware the something is awfully wrong in my nosses approach but now we know exactly wath is .
    Unbelieble to realize trough what lenght wouuld a company go to harase there the employees.
    Thanks again for sharing this info.

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Gaslighting: 5 Signs of Emotional Abuse and Manipulation