If you aren’t familiar with the term it comes from a 1944 MGM movie called Gaslight. In it Ingrid Bergman is being “gaslighted” by her husband played by Charles Boyer. Her husband wants her expensive jewelry. In order to get it and get rid of her, he makes the gas lights flicker when he is out of the house. When she tells him about it, he accuses of her overreacting, of imagining it, of being…crazy.
While gaslighting is fun to use in a book, what is scary is that the technique is so common that psychatrists now use it to describe certain relationships. These are usually male/female in which one mentally abuses the other. Apparently it is quite common.
One partner, usually the male, gives false information to the female to make her doubt her own reality. She feels him pulling away. He assures her she is imagining things. She sees him being overly friendly with another woman and asks about it. He says she is overreacting, that she’s too sensitive, that she’s…crazy.
This continues, making the woman doubt herself. It erodes her confidence. She really does wonder if she is losing her mind. She loses the strong person she used to be, becomes depressed and things spiral down from there.
If you are interested in learning more about gaslighting as it pertains to relationships, checkout this article in Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/power-in-relationships/200905/are-you-being-gaslighted
Have you or someone you’ve known been “gaslighted?”