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Ingrid Bergman in the film Gaslight The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in the stage play Gas Light ,  and the film adaptations released in and He further uses the lights in the sealed-off attic to secretly search for jewels belonging to a woman whom he has murdered.
He makes loud noises as he searches, including talking to himself. The wife repeatedly asks her husband to confirm her perceptions about the dimming lights, noises and voices, but in defiance of reality, he keeps insisting that the lights are the same and instead it is she who is going insane.
The term has been used to describe such behaviour in psychoanalytic literature since the s. It can be either conscious or unconscious, and is carried out covertly such that the resulting emotional abuse is not overtly abusive. The authors explored a variety of reasons why the victims may have "a tendency to incorporate and assimilate what others externalize and project onto them", and concluded that gaslighting may be "a very complex highly structured configuration which encompasses contributions from many elements of the psychic apparatus".
It becomes destructive when the victim as well identifies with the contents of the "transfer" what has been projected. These effects however are cancelled when the victim becomes capable of disbelieving and disidentifying with the negative introjects that result from projective identification.
In personality disorders[ edit ] Sociopaths  and narcissists  frequently use gaslighting tactics to abuse and undermine their victims. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores , break laws and exploit others, but typically also are convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their own perceptions. I was just joking! You must have been dreaming. Evans considers it necessary to understand the warning signs in order to begin the process of healing from it.
The abuser may hide things from the victim and cover up what they have done. Instead of feeling ashamed, the abuser may convince the victim to doubt their own beliefs about the situation and turn the blame on themselves. The abuser feels the need to change something about the victim. Whether it be the way the victim dresses or acts, they want the victim to mold into their fantasy.
If the victim does not comply, the abuser may convince the victim that he or she is in fact not good enough. The abuser may want to fully control and have power over the victim. The abuser gets pleasure from knowing the victim is being fully controlled by them.
The sexist norm of self-doubt, in all its forms, prepares us for just that. Establishment of "counterstories" may help the victim reacquire "ordinary levels of free agency". Maternal gaslighting of daughters has received particular attention. But severe narcissists stay true to form, responding to any confrontation with drama followed by deflection and a focus on your shortcomings.
Gaslighting comes directly from blending modern communications, marketing, and advertising techniques with long-standing methods of propaganda. They were simply waiting to be discovered by those with sufficient ambition and psychological makeup to use them. While Russian operatives were active in Crimea , Russian officials continually denied their presence and manipulated the distrust of political groups in their favor.
In fact, I would never dream of saying "X"" had brought new notability to the term. The perpetrator may divert conversations to perceived faults or wrongs. The mystery and psychological thriller film The Girl on the Train explored the direct effects gaslighting had on the protagonist Rachel.
Rachel suffered from severe depression and alcoholism. When Rachel would black out drunk, he consistently told her that she had done terrible things that she was incapable of remembering. The story concerned the emotional abuse of Helen Archer by her partner and later husband, Rob Titchener, over the course of two years, and caused much public discussion about the phenomenon.
Books by Victor Santoro
Gaslighting: How to Drive Your Enemies Crazy
GASLIGHTING VICTOR SANTORO PDF