What Is Gaslighting and How Does It Work?

Are you wondering what gaslighting is and if you’ve experienced it? Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser tries to make the victim question their reality and memories. This can be done through manipulation and lying to the victim. There are several examples of gaslighting highlighted by Forbes. Keep reading to learn more.

What is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a victim’s mind, leading them to question their memory, perception, and sanity. It manipulates someone into questioning their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The abuser will often deny doing or saying things the victim remembers clearly, question the victim’s memory or intelligence, or blame the victim for causing the abuse. The goal is to make the victim feel like they’re going crazy or that they’re not good enough so that they will become more compliant and easier to control.

There are several common tactics used in gaslighting:

Denial: The abuser will deny doing or saying anything wrong, even when there is evidence to the contrary. They may also claim that the victim imagines things or makes them up.

Diminution: The abuser will trivialize the victim’s experiences or feelings, often by making light of them or brushing them off as unimportant.

Projection: The abuser will accuse the victim of doing what they are guilty of; for example, if the abuser regularly yells at the victim, they may accuse the victim of being loud and aggressive.

Rationalization: The abuser will attempt to justify their abusive behavior by offering up a series of excuses or reasons why it was necessary or justified. They may also blame the victim for provoking them to act out angrily.

How can you deal with a partner who uses gaslighting tactics on you?

If you’re in a relationship with someone who uses gaslighting tactics on you, it’s important to realize that what’s happening is not your fault. You are not crazy. And you are not alone. There are ways to deal with gaslighting behavior safely and effectively. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t try to change the abuser’s behavior yourself; this is impossible and will only lead to frustration on your part.
  • Set boundaries for the amount of contact you have with the abuser and stick to them firmly.
  • Seek out support from friends, family members, therapy groups, or any other resources available to you. Talking about what’s happening can help you feel less alone and more empowered.
  • Document everything that happens in your relationship; this can be helpful if you need to seek outside help down the road.

How can you protect yourself from gaslighting?


The person who is gaslighting will often use tactics like denial, contradiction, and diversion to make the victim question their thoughts, memories, and experiences. Gaslighting can be subtle and insidious, making it difficult for the victim to realize they are being manipulated.

There are some ways that you can protect yourself from gaslighting. First, it’s important to be aware of the signs that you may be experiencing gaslighting. If you feel like your thoughts or perceptions are constantly being questioned by someone else, if you feel like you can’t trust your memory or judgment, or if you feel like everything always seems to be your fault, then these are all red flags that you may be a victim of gaslighting.

If you suspect you’re being gaslighted, it’s important to stand up for yourself and speak out against the manipulation. Don’t allow the person gaslighting you to control your thoughts and emotions. Talk to trusted friends or family members about what’s happening and ask for their support. You may also want to consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who can help you deal with the effects of gaslighting and regain your sense of self-confidence and trust in yourself.

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