Gaslighting will make you question your perception of reality. It can make you feel so unsure of yourself that you'll not only doubt your version of events--you'll absorb the gaslighter's version as if it's real.
Read on for gaslighting quotes to hear how experts define and describe gaslighting.
What's in This Post
|Gaslighter and Gaslighting Definitions|
|Who Uses Gaslighting?|
|Why Gaslighters Gaslight|
Gaslighter and Gaslighting Definitions
Here's a simple succinct gaslighter definition and broader explanations and definitions of gaslighting:
1. "Gaslighting is mind control to make victims doubt their reality."
--Tracy A. Malone
2. "Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation and emotional abuse.
The Gaslighter avoids responsibility for their toxic behavior by lying and denying and making you question facts, your memory, and your feelings.
Basically, the Gaslighter makes you feel crazy and confused."
3. "In terms of gaslighting, I define it as “to implant false and/or distorted narratives that are specially designed or formulated to manipulate a person into a destructive web of deception, loss of control, and the surrender of personal freedom and beliefs of self-worth, self-value, self-esteem, and productivity.”
4. "Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another person’s reality by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person.”
--Dr. Robin Stern
Who Uses Gaslighting?
Abusive people use gaslighting in many different situations from one-on-one to one-on-the-masses. As you're reading these quotes, remember that the goals of abuse are to control, demean, or punish. This is true of partner abuse, abuse at work, and abuse by leaders.
5. “Gaslighting, brainwashing, cults, hostage situations, and totalitarian propaganda have a common basis.
They use similar techniques to confuse, intimidate, and disempower people. These methods are used by abusers of all kinds for the purpose of controlling other people, and promoting the abusers’ interests.”
--Linda Hatch, PhD
6. “Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victims an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion, to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment.
The techniques used in “Gaslighting” by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.
The intention is to, in a systematic way, target the victim’s mental equilibrium, self confidence, and self esteem so that they are no longer able to function in an independent way, giving the narcissist full control over the victim.”
7. "Gaslighting, at its core, is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgments.
Essentially, a Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful or destructive words and actions in their favor, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you.
This is often done by making you feel “overly sensitive,” “paranoid,” “mentally unstable,” “silly,” “unhinged,” and many other sensations which cause you to doubt yourself."
8. Preston Ni, author of How to Successfully Handle Gaslighters & Stop Psychological Bullying, talks about 7 stages of gaslighting that are breathtakingly familiar to anyone that has been the victim of narcissistic gaslighting:
- Lie and exaggerate.
- Escalate when challenged.
- Wear out the victim.
- Form codependent relationships.
- Give false hope.
- Dominate and control.
Why Gaslighters Gaslight
While I believe that there are several possible motivations driving the gaslighter's behavior (see my post What is Gaslighting Emotional Abuse? for my list of what the gaslighter has to gain from their manipulations), Dr. Henry Cloud speaks to one set of motivators.
9. “Someone who gaslights you is trying to talk you out of your experience to alleviate their shame and responsibility to an issue. It’s a tool to control and manipulate you.”
--Dr. Henry Cloud
To Learn More
I talk more about the subject in this post: What is Gaslighting Emotional Abuse?
- Ann Silvers