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Gaslighting: Unraveling the Twisted Web of Manipulation – Prof. Deepthi William

19 Aug 2023.


You’re being crazy!

 You’re overreacting!

I was just joking!

You made me do it!

If you loved me, you’d let me do what I want.

I’m only telling you this because I love you.

This is all your fault!

Everyone agrees with me — you’re just difficult.

These phrases are familiar and might have made you question your individuality, doubt your memory, and feel like you’re going crazy.

It’s like those “Jedi mind tricks” you see in movies, except it’s not so fun in real life! 

Welcome to the bewildering world of Gaslighting – a form of emotional manipulation that can shatter a person’s confidence and self-esteem. This blog sheds light on gaslighting, its insidious effects, and how to recognize and protect ourselves from this harmful behavior.

What is Gaslighting?

A Web of Deception: At its core, gaslighting is a form of a psychological tactic, a dark and cunning act, where one person seeks to gain control over another by distorting their reality. The gaslighter systematically undermines the victim’s confidence, memory, and perceptions, leaving them feeling confused, vulnerable, and doubting their own sanity. The gaslighter skillfully exploits insecurities, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, weaving a web of deceit to maintain power and control. It’s like a manipulative villain playing with your mind, leaving you wondering if you’ve landed in the Twilight Zone.

The term originates from a 1944 film called “Gaslight,” where a husband tricks his wife into believing she’s insane. Today, gaslighting extends beyond the silver screen, infiltrating personal relationships, workplaces, and even social interactions.

The word of the year for 2023 is “gaslighting,” which is appropriate in a time when there is so much misinformation available in the form of fake news, conspiracy theories, and online trolls.

Tactics and Techniques of the Gaslighting Puzzle: – Psychological Warfare

Gaslighting manifests in various ways, often begins subtly, making it challenging for victims to realize what’s happening. Some warning signs include:

  • Denial and Contradiction: The gaslighter denies or contradicts events or conversations, making the victim doubt their memory.
  • Blame-shifting: Gaslighters shift blame onto their victims, making them feel responsible for the gaslighter’s actions.
  • Minimization: They downplay their harmful behavior, making the victim feel their emotions are exaggerated or irrational.
  • Isolation: Gaslighters isolate their victims from friends and family, reducing external support and fostering dependency.
  • Withholding Validation: Gaslighters withhold praise or validation, leading the victim to question their worth.

Impact on Victims: -The Emotional Toll

Gaslighting is no laughing matter – it can hit you like a Death Star’s blast.

The psychological impact of gaslighting can be devastating. Victims may experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and a loss of trust in their own judgment. The gaslighter’s tactics erode the victim’s sense of self, making them feel isolated and powerless.

Over time, they may become emotionally dependent on the gaslighter, making it challenging to break free from the toxic cycle.

Breaking Free: – Empowerment and Healing

Gaslighting can wreak havoc on our mental well-being, but by recognizing its tactics and empowering ourselves, we can break free from its clutches.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

  • Trust your Intuition: Listen to your instincts and acknowledge your feelings. Don’t dismiss your emotions as invalid.
  • Document Incidents: Keep a journal of gaslighting incidents to maintain clarity and identify patterns.
  • Seek Support: Confide in trusted friends or family members who can provide a reality check and emotional support.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about gaslighting and emotional manipulation to better understand what you’re experiencing.
  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries and communicate your needs assertively. To build healthy relationships, it requires open communication, empathy, and mutual respect.
  • Offer support, validation, and a listening ear: Encourage them to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to navigate the healing process.


Gaslighting is a dangerous dance of deception that has no place in healthy relationships. By understanding its tactics, recognizing the signs, and empowering ourselves and others, we can unmask the gaslighter’s manipulative tactics. Let’s stand together to create a world where trust, respect, and empathy reign, paving the way for genuine connections and emotional well-being. Remember, you are not alone, and your reality deserves to be acknowledged, valued, and validated. Together, let’s reclaim our power, trust our truth, and foster healthy, respectful relationships where emotional manipulation has no place. Gaslighting may be a dark side power, but with conscious efforts, you can rise above it like a Skywalker!

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