Gaslighting happens every day and in every environment, whether it be work, the media, school or at home. According to an article published on Psychology Today, by professor and author Preston Ni, “gaslighting can be defined as a combination of brainwashing, psychological bullying, and emotional abuse for domination and control.” He says that “in our contemporary society where disinformation, “alternative facts,” divisiveness, and narcissism are prevalent, gaslighting is often utilized in business, politics, media, at the workplace, and in personal relationships.”
Below are a few common manipulative and controlling tactics of gaslighters
- Chronic Lying
Gaslighters tell lies about their target knowing that the more they repeat the lie, the more it will be accepted. Preston Ni says that the “most common and strident trait of gaslighting is the invention of a false narrative by the gaslighter, which they utilise to brainwash, attack, belittle, discredit, and/or disempower their victim(s).” The gaslighter’s assertions are never based on fact or proof, but rather accusations and blatant lies with the aim “to stay on the offensive, seize the conversation, and dictate the relationship.” The aim with these lies is to take the focus off the gaslighter’s “significant weaknesses, flaws, and inadequacies, which the gaslighter is deeply afraid of exposing.”
- Debilitate the victim
While the gaslighter continuously targets his victim with incessant abuse and character assassinations, the victim eventually becomes numb, because they’re “so tired or afraid of defending themselves, that they “freeze” psychologically and tolerate abuse.”
- Make false promises
When the victim starts retracting from the gaslighter, the gaslighter “will occasionally dangle false hope in front of their victims—promising to reduce the harsh treatment or hinting that things will eventually get better.” The aim of this is to get the victim to let their guard down so that the gaslighter can attack again and so that the victim can tolerate more abuse.
For more tactics click here to read the full article.