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Gaslighting: Examples, Effects and How to Confront the Abuse

a person looks at someone in shock after asking what is gaslighting

Lying and manipulation are hallmarks of abusive relationships. Whether that relationship is romantic, professional, or casual, intentionally misleading someone is highly destructive to their self-esteem. Gaslighting, a form of manipulation, is common in many toxic relationships. Learning what gaslighting is can help you recognize toxic, even dangerous, behavior in your relationships. After escaping an emotionally abusive relationshipexamples of gaslighting, how to confront gaslighting, you may find mental health treatment helps to get back on your feet. 

If you or someone you know has broken free from an abusive relationship, Northpoint Recovery can help you get back on your feet. Our caring professionals can help you manage your mental health and make strides toward a healthy future. Call us at 208.486.0130 today to get started. 

What Is Gaslighting?

The term gaslighting comes from the 1944 film Gaslight, in which a man tries to make his wife believe she is losing her mind by making small changes in their home and then denying that they ever happened.

What is Gaslighting


Today, we use the term gaslighting to describe someone who tries to manipulate another person by making them question their reality. This type of emotional abuse is designed to make the victim doubt themselves and their own experiences.

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation that causes people to lose their sense of identity, perception, and worth. Gaslighting aims to make the victim question their reality and feel like they are going crazy.

Examples of Gaslighting Behavior

Gaslighting Behavior Examples

There are many different ways that someone can gaslight another person. Here are some common examples:

  • Denying that an event took place, even if there is evidence to prove it
  • Lying and contradicting what the victim knows to be true
  • Making the victim feel like they are crazy or overreacting
  • Making the victim doubt their memory and perception
  • Manipulating the victim’s environment to make them question their reality

What Are the Effects of Gaslighting?

Gaslighting can have several harmful effects on the victim. These effects can be psychological, emotional, and even physical.

Some of the most common effects of gaslighting include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Insomnia
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Memory loss
  • Social isolation
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide

The severe effects of gaslighting can put a person down a dark path and may even lead them to seek drugs or alcohol to numb their emotions. While anybody can be guilty of gaslighting, some people are more prone to lie and manipulate those around them.

Who Is Guilty of Gaslighting?

Narcissist Definition

Certain personality types tend to be more manipulative than others. People with borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and sociopaths are more likely to gaslight those around them.

Narcissists often:

  • Believe they are better than others
  • Have a sense of entitlement
  • Are extremely self-centered
  • Lack empathy for others

People with narcissistic tendencies are incredibly manipulative in their relationships with those close to them.

Gaslighting in Relationships

Gaslighting in Romantic Relationships

Abusive relationships are often characterized by gaslighting behavior. While gaslighting can happen in any relationship, it is most common in romantic relationships.

Romantic relationships affected by gaslighting may:

  • Lack communication
  • Be one-sided
  • Have a power dynamic in which one person is controlling

Gaslighting is emotional abuse. Finding resources to help break the cycle of abuse can let victims of gaslighting return to a healthy relationship.

Gaslighting at Work

Gaslighting in Work Relationships

Manipulative behavior is not limited to romantic relationships. Gaslighting can also occur in workplace relationships.

Some signs that you may be a victim of gaslighting at work include:

  • Your boss denies your accomplishments
  • You are constantly questioning your performance
  • You feel like you are always walking on eggshells
  • Your coworkers exclude you from important projects

If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is essential to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support. You may also want to consult with an HR representative or an attorney.

Breaking the Gaslighting Cycle

If you are in a gaslighting relationship, it is crucial to reach out for help. There are many resources available to help you break the cycle of abuse.

How to Stop Being Gaslighted

Here are some steps you can take to stop the gaslighting:

  • Identify the gaslighting behavior.
  • Recognize that what you are experiencing is not normal.
  • Reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support.
  • Talk to a therapist.
  • Consult with an HR representative or an attorney if the gaslighting is happening at work.

If you are in an abusive relationship, reach out to a domestic violence hotline for help. Ending a relationship with someone gaslighting you can be difficult, even seemingly impossible. It is important to remember that you can recognize what is going on around you, and you don’t have to rely on their word.

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Gaslighting- Examples, Effects and How to Confront the Abuse