Gaslighting is something I had never heard of, until it happened to me… or rather, until a long while after it happened to me. When it happens, it’s hard to recognise.
On Wikipedia, gaslighting is described as:
a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception and sanity. This might range from a simple denial that something happened or was said, to a full and detailed fabrication of entire events, conversations, arguments, days, weeks.
The name comes from the 1944 movie, Gaslight in which Ingrid Bergman’s character is tormented by her partner, played by Charles Boyer – things disappearing or moving, and gaslights dimming and brightening for no apparent reason – hence the name.
Gaslighting is something used in many, many abusive relationships. It can make you think you’re going mad; you doubt everything you think, everything you say, everything you think you might have said or done. You begin to believe that entire conversations happened differently, or not at all. It is this, more than any physical abuse, that causes lasting damage.
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