Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realise how much they've been brainwashed.
Gaslighters typically use the following techniques:
They tell blatant lies.
They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
They wear you down over time.
Their actions do not match their words.
They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
They know confusion weakens people.
They try to align people against you.
They tell you or others that you are crazy.
They tell you everyone else is a liar.
Gaslighting tends to happen very gradually in a relationship; in fact, the abusive partner’s actions may seem like just a harmless misunderstanding at first.
Over time, however, these abusive behaviours continue, and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated and depressed, while losing all sense of what is actually happening.
Then, the victim may start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.
The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter's trap. No matter which way you look at it, gaslighting is a malicious act. It aims to degrade someone’s mind in such a way as to make them vulnerable to another’s control or suggestion.
It can only be described as a weapon because it causes so much psychological and emotional damage. It is a clear form of psychological abuse and a violation of the victim’s love and respect.