Unraveling Gaslighting and Other Manipulative Schemes


"Like a sinister fog, gaslighting engulfs the mind, leaving it shrouded in doubt and vulnerable to manipulation."

by Michael Corthell

'Gaslighting' is a cunning tactic used by individuals or entities to exert control over others, causing the victims to doubt their own reasoning and perception of reality. Its effectiveness is more significant than one might imagine. Any person can fall prey to 'gaslighting', and it is a commonly employed technique by abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. The process is insidious, gradually dimming the victim's awareness, much like slowly reducing the intensity of a light, until they are unaware of the extent to which they've been manipulated.

A classic illustration of 'gaslighting' can be seen in the movie "Gaslight" (1944), where a man manipulates his wife to the point of making her believe she is going insane. The primary tactic used in 'gaslighting' is the outright fabrication of lies, rendering the victim less capable of utilizing reason and critical thinking. The 'gaslighter' skillfully weaves a powerful web of delusion, ensnaring the victim within its intricate threads.

'Gaslighting' is a manipulative tactic that goes beyond the boundaries of ordinary propaganda. It deliberately intertwines falsehoods with seemingly credible and acceptable facts, aiming to warp people's sense of reality and sow doubt in their own memories of past events. This psychological maneuver is highly dangerous and has often been linked to abusive dynamics in personal relationships. However, alarmingly, it is now being observed on a much larger scale, impacting society at large.

Here are the highlights:

The 'gaslighter' (narcissist, abuser) will:

1. Tell you extraordinary blatant lies(very often the 'Big Lie'over and over).
2. Deny they ever said something, even when you have proof(even video).
3. Use what is near and dear to you as ammunition against you.
4. Wear you down over time.
5. Use actions that do not match their words.
6. Throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you(flowery praise).
7. Understand fully that confusion weakens people.
8. Project their own shortcomings and sins on you.
9. Try to align people against you.
10. Tell you or others that you are crazy.
11. Tell you everyone else is a liar but them.
12. Call you derogatory names. (Crooked Johnny, Lyin' Lorretta etc)

One of the primary concerns people often ponder is whether "gaslighters" are consciously aware of their manipulative behavior or if they engage in it unknowingly. The answer to this question can be both affirmative and negative. However, for the purpose of this discussion, the focus will be on those who purposefully manipulate others, specifically, the narcissist.

Within the propaganda continuum, "gaslighting" stands out as one of the most dangerous aspects because it can be inherent in the personality of authoritarians. Those with an authoritarian personality tend to see things in absolute terms, viewing them as either entirely right or completely wrong. When a "narcissist gaslighter" perceives themselves as faultless and everyone else as the problem, this is referred to as having an ego-syntonic personality. Convincing ego-syntonic gaslighters to seek treatment can be exceptionally challenging, as they firmly believe there is nothing wrong with them.

However, it is important to note that some individuals may engage in gaslighting behavior without consciously realizing it. In such cases, they may inadvertently receive a "reward" when their victim becomes more dependent on them, thus perpetuating the cycle of manipulation. Additionally, gaslighters thrive in environments where there are no checks and balances, where they face no consequences for their actions. For instance, in the context of a cult leader or dictator, anyone daring to expose the leader's unfair treatment of followers might be exiled or even killed. This fear prevents further followers from speaking out, ultimately aiding the gaslighter's objective of fostering dependency and control.

In conclusion, gaslighting remains a potent tool employed by manipulative individuals, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Understanding the various forms it can take is crucial in recognizing and addressing this harmful behavior.


Gaslighting: Abuse That Makes You Question Reality