The term “Gaslighting” originates from the 1938 play “Gas Light.” Gaslighting can occur in both personal and professional relationships that targets its victims’ self-identity and self-worth that seeks to gain power over them in the form of emotional, physical, or financial control. Gaslighting causes its victims to question their own realities, what they know to be true, and even recounts of their own memories as a form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims are fed false information that is sold to them as their truth leading them to doubt their own sanity and recall of memories.
Gaslighting establishes trust in the relationship early on and then begins to be dishonest on small topics that grow in volume quickly with the victim forming trust with the disclosure of personal truths that begin as the tactic of “love bombing.” The victim becomes emotionally invested in which the gaslighter affects their close relationships in which their family and friends are turned against them.
Gaslighting affects the victims view of others and of themselves. With their trust being violated, they may question the good in people and be suspicious of people’s intentions. The damage to the self is reflected in their low self-worth and self-blame for being too trusting and vulnerable.
Providers at Complete Behavioral Health assist clients who have been victims of gaslighting by utilizing cognitive restructuring to replace these distorted belief systems and thought patterns. The thought patterns allow the client to build their confidence back in themselves and increase their willingness to trust themselves and others.