“Gaslighting: A form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity [1].”

Gas light was a 1938 play written by Patrick Hamilton [2]. The term gaslighting came into use from the plot behind the play. A man involved in criminal activities was desperate to keep things away from his wife’s knowledge. He used an insane form of psychological manipulation to deceive her into thinking that she’s going crazy for suspecting him.

The idea of gaslighting is that a person manipulates another so much that obvious facts and plain truths begin to seem like figments of the imagination. The emotional abuse is so strong that you become unsure whether to be angry or unconcerned at their shortcomings. Gaslighters can tell a person that the sun is colored blue and make them believe the yellow color is as a result of their own mental failure.

People who are being gaslit are almost never aware of the reality. People manipulate others this way when they’re trying to remain in total control or to cover their tracks. Gaslighting can make a person dealing with an abusive partner to sit tight and hold on for dear life. They doubt their own instincts and perceptions, no matter how clear-as-day these may be. Gaslighters take time to build solid walls around their forts of manipulation, so much that the victim has no escape route.

Here’s how to know if you are being gaslit [3]:

They are amazing at denying plain truths

Gaslighters will deny the most obvious fact until you begin to doubt its credibility. This character makes a relationship difficult because they’ll never accept they are wrong. At some point, you may begin to feel like you’re the one with the problem. You’ll stop complaining or accusing them of anything because you’re tired of being the nagging one. This is just as a mind game they’ve played on you. They’ve dutifully denied every allegation leveled against them, and you’ve begun to think there’s something wrong with you for noticing things that aren’t true (or things that are permanently said not to be true).

They manipulate your physical surroundings

Gaslighters can go as far as changing the time while their partners are asleep, resetting the alarm clock, throwing away the mail, thrashing the house to make it look like a burglary, and several other silly activities they’ll engage in to toy with a person’s mind. Things like this will muddle the evidence their partner may have had. They’ll go to any ridiculous lengths to look innocent.

You’ll begin to question yourself, your sanity, your sense of reasoning and perception, your friends, and even your eyes and ears.

Gaslighters may even convince you to go checked out at the hospital. They could go as far as making up a disease and feeding it to your head that you’re sick. They’ll pass off all your suspicions on the “presence of the illness”. They’ll make you soup and massage your feet. Prop your bed up with pillows and sit beside you, creating a perfect sick-person scenario to assist the manipulation.

They’ll pick fights and wear you down physically and emotionally

Gaslighters love to argue. They’ll argue about everything, down to the fact that the time was 6:00 pm when they came home and not 10:00 pm, which it obviously was. They’ll argue so much that you’ll eventually become exhausted and drained. The next time something annoying happens, you’ll just stomach it because you don’t have the energy to get into a fight you’ll end up losing.

They may be nice sometimes just to throw you off balance

You will never get to know their true nature because once in a while, they’ll bring you flowers, chocolate, buy you a game box, make you a surprise dinner, or plan a romantic date at an expensive restaurant. They’ll chip in sweetness once in a while. This will make you loathe to calling them out on their shortcomings and wrongdoings.

They can take things to the next level by involving your family

They’ll tell your parents that you’re behaving questionably, defame you in front of your friends, speak ill of you to your co-workers, and they won’t always do it behind your back. They are doing this so you’ll have no support system. There’ll be no one to stand by you and support you when everyone thinks you need help. They have to be in total charge of your life, your mental capacity, and even the thoughts of other people who’d fight for you.

If everything above sounds familiar, walk.

It’s not your fault if you’ve been put in this situation. Gaslighters are miserable people. They’ll suck you dry of every ounce of emotional strength in you. If you discover that you’ve been put in this horrible situation, it’s time to leave that relationship. These people are totally toxic. Don’t even try to get into a verbal discussion or an argument with them. They may light you up again. Take time to heal yourself, regain your strength, and forget the ordeal.

It’s just one of those things about life.


  1. Gaslighting. Wikipedia
  2. Gas Light. Wikipedia
  3. Gaslighting: a mind game that abusers use to make their victims feel crazy, Mystical Raven, November 18, 2017
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