The term “gaslighting” refers to the manipulation of someone, by psychological means, into questioning their own reality, perception, or sanity. The term originated from the 1938 play (and 1944 film adaptation) Gaslight, where the protagonist’s husband slowly manipulates her into believing she’s going mad.
Gaslighting usually takes place in relationships and social interactions where there is a power imbalance. A person experiencing gaslighting may become confused, withdrawn, or anxious and they may not realize the behavior is abusive.
Here are some common gaslighting phrases:
“You need help.”
“You’re just crazy.”
“It was just a joke.”
“You’re just insecure/jealous.”
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You’re just being paranoid.”
“You’re imagining things.”
“That never happened.”
“You’re just overthinking it.”
People experiencing gaslighting often find it challenging to trust themselves. Gaslighting is abusive, it can wreak havoc on the mind, and it’s damaging to relationships.