Gaslighting is the main tactic used by perpetrators to manipulate victims to distort their sense of reality. According to Shahida Arabi, a bestselling author on topics of narcissistic abuse in an article on Psych Central, gaslighting is a tactic used by abusers to make their victims question their version of reality and the abuse they are experiencing, with the abuser attacking the victim’s sanity and character. In doing this, they aim to also make friends and family question the sanity of the victim. If they are successful, the victim is left with no support base, alone and vulnerable, exactly where the abuser wants them.
The aim with this is to allow the perpetrator to continue abusing the victim and go undetected.
Therefore, understanding gaslighting and how to identify it is critical. Arabi says that when the abuser gaslights their target, the popular phrases used by the abuser include;
- You’re crazy/you have mental health issues/you need help.
- You’re just insecure and jealous.
- You’re too sensitive/you’re overreacting.
- It was just a joke. You have no sense of humor.
For the in-depth article where Arabi explains in detail each of the above phrases and more, click here.