Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief.[1][2]

Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gaslight and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations, in which a man dims the gas lights in his home and then persuades his wife that she is imagining the change. The term has been used in clinical and research literature,[3][4] as well as in political commentary.[5][6]


Gaslight 1944 trailer(3)
Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film Gaslight

The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by her husband in the 1938 stage play Gaslight, known as Angel Street in the United States, and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944.[7] In the story, a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes. The original title stems from the dimming of the gas lights in the house that happened when the husband was using the gas lights in the sealed-off attic above while searching for the jewels belonging to a woman whom he had murdered. The wife correctly notices the dimming lights and discusses it with her husband, but he insists that she merely imagined a change in the level of illumination.

The term "gaslighting" has been used colloquially since the 1960s[8] to describe efforts to manipulate someone's perception of reality. The term has been used to describe such behaviour in psychoanalytic literature since the 1970s.[9] In a 1980 book on child sexual abuse, Florence Rush summarized George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) based on the play and wrote, "even today the word [gaslighting] is used to describe an attempt to destroy another's perception of reality."[10]


Sociopaths[11] and narcissists[12] 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.[11] Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.[4] Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both lying to the other and attempting to undermine perceptions.[13]

An abuser's ultimate goal is to make their victim second guess their every choice and question their sanity, making them more dependent on the abuser. A tactic which further degrades a target's self-esteem is for the abuser to ignore, then attend to, then ignore the victim again, so that the victim lowers their personal bar for what constitutes affection and perceives themselves as less worthy of affection.[14]

There are two characteristics of gaslighting: The abuser wants full control of feelings, thoughts, or actions of the victim; and the abuser discreetly emotionally abuses the victim in hostile, abusive, or coercive ways.[15]

It is necessary to understand the warning signs of gaslighting in order to fully start the healing process. Signs of gaslighting include:

  1. Withholding information from victim;
  2. Countering information to fit the abuser's perspective;
  3. Discounting information;
  4. Verbal abuse, usually in the form of jokes;
  5. Blocking and diverting the victim's attention from outside sources;
  6. Trivializing the victim's worth; and,
  7. Undermining victim by gradually weakening them and their thought process.[16]

Three most common methods of gaslighting are:

  • Hiding: 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.
  • Changing: 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.
  • Control: The abuser may want to fully control and have power over the victim. In doing so, the abuser will try to seclude them from other friends and family so only they can influence the victim's thoughts and actions. The abuser gets pleasure from knowing the victim is being fully controlled by them.[12]

According to Kate Abramson, the act of gaslighting isn't specifically tied to being sexist, although women tend to be frequent targets of gaslighting compared to men who more often engage in gaslighting.[17] Abramson explains this as a result of social conditioning, and says "it’s part of the structure of sexism that women are supposed to be less confident, to doubt our views, beliefs, reactions, and perceptions, more than men. And gaslighting is aimed at undermining someone’s views, beliefs, reactions, and perceptions. The sexist norm of self-doubt, in all its forms, prepares us for just that."[17] Abramson says that the final "stage" of gaslighting is severe, major, clinical depression.[17]

In psychiatry

Gaslighting has been observed between patients and staff in inpatient psychiatric facilities.[18]

In a 1981 article, Some Clinical Consequences of Introjection: Gaslighting, Calef and Weinshel argue that gaslighting involves the projection and introjection of psychic conflicts from the perpetrator to the victim: "this imposition is based on a very special kind of 'transfer'... of potentially painful mental conflicts."[19] The authors explore a variety of reasons why the victims may have "a tendency to incorporate and assimilate what others externalize and project onto them", and conclude that gaslighting may be "a very complex highly structured configuration which encompasses contributions from many elements of the psychic apparatus."[19] Dorpat (1994) describes this as an example of projective identification.[2]

With respect to women in particular, Hilde Lindemann says that in such cases, the victim's ability to resist the manipulation depends on "her ability to trust her own judgments". Establishment of "counterstories" may help the victim reacquire "ordinary levels of free agency".[20]

In the article "Falsifying Reality, Spawning Evil",[21] author David Shasha attempted to discover how one becomes a victim of gaslighting as he dissected the 1944 film Gaslight. According to the article, the gaslighters first choose a target that is vulnerable, mentally weak, easily defeated and manipulated. The victim's ability to defend themselves is usually minimal. In relationships, the manipulation and exploitation of the victim's honesty and love is the main concept in the process of gaslighting. Gaslighting and other methods of interpersonal control are often used by mental health professionals because they are effective for shaping the behavior of other individuals. Gaslighting depends on “first convincing the victim that his thinking is distorted and secondly persuading him that the victimizer's ideas are the correct and true ones."[22]

The main intention of the victimizer is to target the victim's mental equilibrium, self-confidence and self-esteem. It is a dangerous form of abuse because it undermines the mental stability of the victim, who becomes depressed and withdrawn and totally dependent on the abuser for their sense of reality.[23]

In politics

Maureen Dowd was one of the first to use the term in the political context.[5][24] She describes the Bill Clinton administration's use of the technique in subjecting Newt Gingrich to small indignities intended to provoke him to make public complaints that "came across as hysterical".[24][25]

In describing the prevalence of the technique in US politics of the past few decades, Bryant Welch states in his book State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind:

To say gaslighting was started by the Bushes, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Fox News, or any other extant group is not simply wrong, it also misses an important point. 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.[6]

Frida Ghitis uses the term gaslighting to describe Russia's global relations. While Russian operatives were active in Crimea, Russian officials continually denied their presence and manipulated the distrust of political groups in their favor.[26]

Journalists at the New York Times Magazine, BBC and Teen Vogue, as well as psychologists Bryant Welch, Robert Feldman and Leah McElrath, have described some of the actions of Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential election and his term as president as examples of gaslighting.[24][27][28][29][30] Ben Yagoda wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2017, that the term gaslighting had become topical again as the result of Trump's behavior, saying that Trump's "habitual tendency to say "X", and then, at some later date, indignantly declare, 'I did not say "X". In fact, I would never dream of saying "X"'" had brought new notability to the term.[5] In 2018, Amanda Carpenter published Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us tracing how the tactic started with Nixon, gained traction with Bill Clinton, and exploded under Trump.[31]

In romantic relationships

Gaslighting is often experienced in romantic relationships. The psychological manipulation may include making the victim question his or her own memory, perception, and sanity. The abuser may invalidate the victim's experiences using dismissive language: "You’re crazy. Don’t be so sensitive. Don’t be paranoid. I was just joking! ... I'm worried; I think you're not well."[17]

M. Jill Rogers and Diane R. Follingstad say that such dismissals can be detrimental to women's mental health outcomes. They describe psychological abuse as "a range of aversive behaviors that are intended to harm an individual through coercion, control, verbal abuse, monitoring, isolation, threatening, jealousy, humiliation, manipulation, treating one as an inferior, creating a hostile environment, wounding a person regarding their sexuality and/or fidelity, withholding from a partner emotionally and/or physically".[32] Although the word “gaslighting” isn't included, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that is mainly manipulation and subtle ways of blaming.

Gaslighting has been observed in some cases of marital infidelity: "Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the [victim's] reactions. [...] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some [victims] [and] suicide in some of the worst situations."[13][33] Mislabeling of reactions by therapists may happen as a result of stereotypes regarding women. Labels such as "insecure, jealous, depressed, masochistic" are examples that our society uses to call women instead of addressing the fact that they were victims of gaslighting.

In "Gaslighting: A Marital Syndrome", Gertrude Zemon Gass and William C. Nichols study extramarital affairs and their consequences on men's spouses. Gass and Nichols describe how a man may try to convince his wife that she is imagining things rather than admitting to an affair: "a wife picks up a telephone extension in her own home and accidentally overhears her husband and his girlfriend planning a tryst while he is on a business trip." His denial challenges the evidence of her senses: "I wasn't on the telephone with any girlfriend. You must have been dreaming."[33]

Rogers and Follingstand examined women's experiences with psychological abuse as a predictor of symptoms and clinical levels of depression, anxiety, and somatization, as well as suicidal ideation and life functioning. They concluded that psychological abuse affects women's mental health outcomes, but the perceived negative changes in one's traits, problematic relationship schemas, and response styles were stronger indicators of mental health outcomes than the actual abuse.[32]

In the workplace

Gaslighting in the workplace is when people do things that cause colleagues to question themselves and their actions in a way that is detrimental to their careers.[34] The victim may be excluded, made the subject of gossip, persistently discredited or questioned to destroy their confidence. The perpetrator may divert conversations to perceived faults or wrongs.[35] Gaslighting can be committed by anyone and can be especially detrimental when the perpetrator has a position of power.[36]

In fiction

As mentioned above, the name of the abuse derived from the Patrick Hamilton play Gaslight and the film adaptations released in 1940 and 1944. It depicts this type of abuse as occurring to the wife of an abuser. The 1944 American film version was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Screenplay, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for the lead star Ingrid Bergman) and Best Production Design.

Gaslighting was also the main theme in a 2016 plotline in BBC's radio soap opera The Archers. 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.[37]

The 2016 American mystery film and psychological thriller The Girl on the Train explored the direct effects that gaslighting had on Rachel, the protagonist of the story.[38] The perpetrator in the film was in fact Rachel's ex-husband Tom who was the violent abuser. 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.[39]

For several months during 2018, gaslighting was a main plotline in NBC's soap opera Days of Our Lives, as Gabby Hernandez was caught gaslighting her best friend Abigail Deveroux after Gabby was framed for a murder Abigail had committed.[40]

See also


  1. ^ "Oxford Dictionary definition of 'gaslighting'". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b Dorpat, Theo. L. (1994). "On the double whammy and gaslighting". Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy. 11 (1): 91–96. INIST:4017777. (Subscription required (help)). closed access
  3. ^ Dorpat, Theodore L. (1996). Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation, and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. Jason Aronson. ISBN 978-1-56821-828-1. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  4. ^ a b Jacobson, Neil S.; Gottman, John M. (1998-03-10). When Men Batter Women: New Insights into Ending Abusive Relationships. Simon and Schuster. pp. 129–32. ISBN 978-0-684-81447-6. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  5. ^ a b c Yagoda, Ben (2017-01-12). "How Old Is 'Gaslighting'?". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  6. ^ a b Welch, Bryant (2008-06-10). State of Confusion: Political Manipulation and the Assault on the American Mind. Macmillan. ISBN 9781429927451.
  7. ^ Larner, A.J (2016-04-28). A Dictionary of Neurological Signs. p. 139. ISBN 978-3319298214.
  8. ^ "gaslight". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) 1969 S. C. Plog Changing Perspectives in Mental Illness 83 It is also popularly believed to be possible to ‘gaslight’ a perfectly healthy person into psychosis by interpreting his own behavior to him as symptomatic of serious mental illness.
  9. ^ Shengold, Leonard L. (1979). "Child Abuse and Deprivation: Soul Murder". Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 27 (3): 533–559. doi:10.1177/000306517902700302. PMID 512287.
  10. ^ Rush, Florence (February 1992). The Best-kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children. Human Services Institute. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8306-3907-6.
  11. ^ a b Stout, Martha (2006-03-14). The Sociopath Next Door. Random House Digital. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-7679-1582-3. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  12. ^ a b Greenberg, Elinor. "Are You Being 'Gaslighted' By the Narcissist in Your Life?". Psychology Today. Sussex Publisher. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  13. ^ a b Cawthra, R.; O'Brian, G.; Hassanyeh, F. (April 1987). "'Imposed Psychosis': A Case Variant of the Gaslight Phenomenon". British Journal of Psychiatry. 150 (4): 553–56. doi:10.1192/bjp.150.4.553. PMID 3664141.
  14. ^ "7 Signs You Are a Victim of Gaslighting". Divorced moms .com (Online). 2 July 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  15. ^ Dorpat, Theodore (2007). Crimes of Punishment : America's Culture of Violence. Algora Publishing. pp. 118–30.
  16. ^ Evans, Patricia (1996). The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond (2nd ed.). Holbrook, Mass.: Adams Media Corporation.
  17. ^ a b c d Abramson, Kate (2014). "Turning up the Lights on Gaslighting". Philosophical Perspectives. 28 (1): 1–30. doi:10.1111/phpe.12046. ISSN 1520-8583.
  18. ^ Lund, C.A.; Gardiner, A.Q. (1977). "The Gaslight Phenomenon: An Institutional Variant". British Journal of Psychiatry. 131 (5): 533–34. doi:10.1192/bjp.131.5.533. PMID 588872. closed access
  19. ^ a b Weinshel, Edward M. (January 2003). Wallerstein, Robert S., ed. Commitment and Compassion in Psychoanalysis: Selected Papers of Edward M. Weinshel. Analytic Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-88163-379-5.
  20. ^ Nelson, Hilde L. (March 2001). Damaged identities, narrative repair. Cornell University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-8014-8740-8. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
  21. ^ "The American Muslim (TAM)".
  22. ^ Dorpat, Theodore L (1996). Gaslighting, The Double Whammy, Interrogation And Other Methods Of Covert Control In Psychotherapy And Analysis. Lanham: Jason Aronson, Inc.
  23. ^ Hoggan, James (2016). I'm Right And You're An Idiot.
  24. ^ a b c Gibson, Caitlin (27 January 2017). "What we talk about when we talk about Donald Trump and 'gaslighting'". The Washington Post.
  25. ^ Dowd, Maureen (November 26, 1995). "Liberties;The Gaslight Strategy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  26. ^ Ghitis, Frida. "Donald Trump is 'gaslighting' all of us". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  27. ^ Dominus, Susan (2016-09-27). "The Reverse-Gaslighting of Donald Trump". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  28. ^ Duca, Lauren (2016-12-10). "Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2017-01-23.
  29. ^ Fox, Maggie (2017-01-25). "Some Experts Say Trump Team's Falsehoods Are Classic 'Gaslighting'". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  30. ^ From 'alternative facts' to rewriting history in Trump's White House, BBC, Jon Sopel, 26 July 2018
  31. ^ Amanda Carpenter (2018). Gaslighting America: Why We Love It When Trump Lies to Us. Broadside Books. ISBN 978-0062748003.
  32. ^ a b Follingstad, Diane R.; Rogers, M. Jill (2014-08-01). "Women's Exposure to Psychological Abuse: Does That Experience Predict Mental Health Outcomes?". Journal of Family Violence. 29 (6): 595–611. doi:10.1007/s10896-014-9621-6. ISSN 1573-2851.
  33. ^ a b Gass, G.Z.; Nichols, W.C. (1988). "Gaslighting: A Marital Syndrome". Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy. 10 (1): 3–16. doi:10.1007/BF00922429. closed access
  34. ^ Portnow, K. E. (1997). "Dialogues of doubt: The psychology of self-doubt and emotional gaslighting in adult women and men".
  35. ^ "Gaslighting at work – when you think you are going crazy". 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  36. ^ "Gaslighting as a Manipulation Tactic: What It Is, Who Does It, And Why". Psychology, Therapy & Mental Health Resources. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  37. ^ Watts, Jay (5 April 2016). "The Archers domestic abuse is classic 'gaslighting' – very real, little understood". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
  38. ^ Gibson, Caitlin (2017-01-27). "What we talk about when we talk about Donald Trump and 'gaslighting'". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  39. ^ Yahr, Emily (2016-10-10). "'The Girl on the Train': Let's discuss that twisted ending". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  40. ^ "'Days of Our Lives': Will Gabi Hernandez Face Any Consequences for Her Actions?". 2018-11-17.

Further reading

External links


Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, rape, unjust practices, crimes, or other types of aggression. To these descriptions, one can also add the Kantian notion of the wrongness of using another human being as means to an end rather than as ends in themselves. Some sources describe abuse as "socially constructed", which means there may be more or less recognition of the suffering of a victim at different times and societies.

Alternative facts

"Alternative facts" was a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statement about the attendance numbers of Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Spicer would "utter a provable falsehood", Conway stated that Spicer was giving "alternative facts". Todd responded, "Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods."Conway's use of the phrase "alternative facts" for demonstrable falsehoods was widely mocked on social media and sharply criticized by journalists and media organizations, including Dan Rather, Jill Abramson, and the Public Relations Society of America. The phrase was extensively described as Orwellian. Within four days of the interview, sales of the book 1984 had increased by 9,500%, which The New York Times and others attributed to Conway's use of the phrase, making it the number-one bestseller on later defended her choice of words, defining "alternative facts" as "additional facts and alternative information".

Binyamin Appelbaum

Binyamin Appelbaum is a Washington correspondent for The New York Times. He covers the Federal Reserve and other aspects of economic policy. Appelbaum has previously worked for The Florida Times-Union, The Charlotte Observer, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post. He graduated in 2001 from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in history. He was executive editor of the student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian.

In 2007 Appelbaum was part of a team of reporters at The Charlotte Observer that helped shed light on the area's high rate of housing foreclosures and questionable sales practices by Beazer Homes USA, one of the United States' largest homebuilders. The Observer′s series led to FBI, IRS, SEC, and HUD investigations of Beazer Homes, which has since stopped making mortgage loans nationwide and stopped building homes in Charlotte, North Carolina.The series won a Gerald Loeb Award for Medium Newspapers, a George Polk Award and was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in public service.A profile of his reporting on the subprime mortgage crisis described how, well before the nation knew about the coming crisis in mortgage lending, Appelbaum "noticed a strange pattern while compiling a list of foreclosed homes in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County—clusters were concentrated in new developments. Appelbaum wondered if faulty loans were behind the trend".Appelbaum's November 8, 2018 tweet regarding the status of the term 'gaslighting' as an "actual English word" sent lookups for the word up 14,000% on, putting it on their list of trending terms.He has two siblings: Yoni Appelbaum and Avigail Appelbaum.

Dangerous Crossing

Dangerous Crossing is a 1953 black-and-white film noir mystery film, directed by Joseph M. Newman and starring Jeanne Crain and Michael Rennie, based on the 1943 play Cabin B-13 by John Dickson Carr. The plot of the film centers on the gaslighting of a female protagonist aboard a cruise vessel.


A delusion is firm and fixed belief based on inadequate grounds not amenable to rational argument or evidence to contrary, not in sync with regional, cultural and educational background. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulation, dogma, illusion, or some other misleading effects of perception.

They have been found to occur in the context of many pathological states (both general physical and mental) and are of particular diagnostic importance in psychotic disorders including schizophrenia, paraphrenia, manic episodes of bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression.

Delusional disorder

Delusional disorder is a generally rare mental illness in which the patient presents delusions, but with no accompanying prominent hallucinations, thought disorder, mood disorder, or significant flattening of affect. Delusions are a specific symptom of psychosis. Delusions can be "bizarre" or "non-bizarre" in content; non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that occur in real life, such as being harmed or poisoned. Apart from their delusions, people with delusional disorder may continue to socialize and function in a normal manner and their behavior does not necessarily generally seem odd. However, the preoccupation with delusional ideas can be disruptive to their overall lives.For the diagnosis to be made, auditory and visual hallucinations cannot be prominent, though olfactory or tactile hallucinations related to the content of the delusion may be present. The delusions cannot be due to the effects of a drug, medication, or general medical condition, and delusional disorder cannot be diagnosed in an individual previously properly diagnosed with schizophrenia. A person with delusional disorder may be high functioning in daily life. Recent and comprehensive metaanalyses of scientific studies point to an association between a deterioration in aspects of IQ in psychotic patients, in particular perceptual reasoning.According to German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, patients with delusional disorder remain coherent, sensible and reasonable. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines six subtypes of the disorder characterized as erotomanic (believes that someone is in love with them), grandiose (believes that they are the greatest, strongest, fastest, richest, or most intelligent person ever), jealous (believes that the love partner is cheating on them), persecutory (delusions that the person or someone to whom the person is close is being malevolently treated in some way), somatic (believes that they have a disease or medical condition), and mixed, i.e., having features of more than one subtype. Delusions also occur as symptoms of many other mental disorders, especially the other psychotic disorders.

The DSM-IV, and psychologists agree that personal beliefs should be evaluated with great respect to cultural and religious differences, since some cultures have widely accepted beliefs that may be considered delusional in other cultures.


The word destabilisation can be applied to a wide variety of contexts such as attempts to undermine political, military or economic power.

Ditton Junction rail crash

Ditton Junction is near Widnes on the Liverpool spur of the former London and North Western Railway. This complex junction had eight running lines and associated signal gantries. On 17 September 1912 the 17:30 Chester to Liverpool express was signalled to cross from the fast to the slow line, but the driver, Robert Hughes, age 41, from Llangwstenin, Conwy, who had little experience of the junction and had never been switched here before, misread the signals and thought he had a clear run through. The crossover had a speed limit of 15 mph but the train hit it at 60 mph. The locomotive, a 2-4-0 of the Precedent class turned on its side and travelled some distance, striking the pier of an overbridge (partially demolishing it) and breaking in two. The six carriages following ploughed over the engine and were all destroyed - forming a heap of wreckage between the station platforms. Punctured gaslighting cylinders ignited, turning the scene into an inferno. The driver, fireman and 13 passengers were killed.

Blame was attributed to the driver for not applying for a pilot at Chester. The confusing signalling at the junction was also criticised.

Gaslight (disambiguation)

Gaslight is the production of artificial light by burning gas.

Gaslight may also refer to:

Gaslighting, a form of psychological abuse

Gaslight (automobile), a defunct American automobile company (1960 – c. 1961)

Gaslighting America

Gaslighting America is a non-fiction book by Amanda Carpenter, a political commentator, writer, and former Senate staffer. The book analyzes certain public and social media strategies used by Donald J. Trump in his 2016 candidacy for U.S. President and during his current presidency. The author refers to these strategies as a type of gas lighting.

Cognitive neuroscientist Bobby Azarian has described Trump's gas lighting as using psychological manipulation to get people to question their own perceptions of reality. Azarian states this is consistent with a narcissistic personality disorder and symptoms of sociopathy. The target of gas lighting is made to doubt their own memory, perception, and reality by the subject's persistent lying, misdirection, and contradiction. When successful, gas lighting delegitimizes the victim’s beliefs by confusing and destabilizing them.

Carpenter analyzed Trump gas lighting methods and found he employs the following sequence of steps: :

Stake a Claim. Find a political issue that competitors are unwilling to approach and that the media will find sensational.

Advance and Deny. Bring the issue into public awareness without a side on it. Discuss the issue with media by speculating on what others are saying, reporting, or thinking about the issue, whether they are or not, using unverifiable sources, such as Youtube, Twitter, or internet news stories as references. Conspiracy theories are useful for presenting issues, since the lack of real evidence to support them serves only to further the deepening of the conspiracy.

Create Suspense. Announce to the media the important evidence regarding the issue will soon be revealed.

Discredit the Opponent. Attack the motives and personal character of any who criticize the raising of the issue in question, often with demeaning nicknames that attack personal attributes of the opponent.

Win. Declare victory, regardless of the circumstances. This is used to bury the issue.Some additional details of the "gaslighting" method are provided in the Appendix

In step 1, tweeting between 6 and 9 AM, especially on Saturday mornings when there is little other news, is most effective.

In step 2, stating the claim without announcing a position on it is done by statements such as, "Some people say..." and "I'm saying I don't know, nobody knows, etc." At rallies, by repeating the claimed issue to the crowd, framed by phrases such as, "I'm not going to say," I'm not allowed to say," "I want to be politically correct," "So I refuse to say," etc.

In step 4, negative terms used to attack opponents include, "loser," "sad," "weak," "dumb," "failing," "overrated," "phone," and "crazy."

In step 5, polling and other data that is contrary to his position is dismissed as "dishonest," or "rigged."In an afterword, the author provides her ideas for "fireproofing," i.e. - suggestions for countering the effects of the "gaslighting" tactics she ascribes to Donald Trump. These suggestions include letting go of the outrage to such tactics because there is no way to stop them, attempting to discern the real motive behind issues being raised, pinning down the speaker to actual sources, identifying "clickbait" headlines when they are expressed, tuning the speaker out, and seeking out bias in organizations that report "wins" for the issue's proponent.

Gothic romance film

The Gothic romance film is a Gothic film with feminine appeal. Diane Waldman wrote in Cinema Journal that Gothic films in general "permitted the articulation of feminine fear, anger, and distrust of the patriarchal order" and that such films during World War II and afterward "place an unusual emphasis on the affirmation of feminine perception, interpretation, and lived experience". Between 1940 and 1948, the Gothic romance film was prevalent in Hollywood, being produced by well-known directors and actors. The best-known films of the era were Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), and Gaslight (1944). Less well-known films were Undercurrent (1946) and Sleep, My Love (1948). Waldman describes these films' Gothic rubric: "A young inexperienced woman meets a handsome older man to whom she is alternately attracted and repelled." Other films from the decade include The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Heiress (1949).The Gothic romance films from the 1940s often contain the "Bluebeard motif", meaning that in the typical setting of the house, a certain part is either forbidden to be used or even closed off entirely. In the films, the forbidden room is a metaphor for the heroine's repressed experience, and opening the room is a cathartic moment in the film. In addition, the layout of the house in such films (as well as Gothic novels) creates "spatial disorientation [that] causes fear and an uncanny restlessness".In 2015, director Guillermo del Toro released the Gothic romance film Crimson Peak. He said past films had been "brilliantly written by women and then rendered into films by male directors who reduce the potency of the female characters". For Crimson Peak, he sought to reverse this cinematic trope.

Ideas of reference and delusions of reference

Ideas of reference and delusions of reference describe the phenomenon of an individual experiencing innocuous events or mere coincidences and believing they have strong personal significance. It is "the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own destiny", usually in a negative and hostile manner. This is not to be confused with gaslighting.

In psychiatry, delusions of reference form part of the diagnostic criteria for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, delusional disorder, bipolar disorder (during the elevated stages of mania), as well as schizotypal personality disorder. To a lesser extent, it can be a hallmark of paranoid personality disorder, as well as body dysmorphic disorder. Such symptoms can also be caused by intoxication, such as stimulants like methamphetamine.

Isolation to facilitate abuse

Isolation (physical, social or emotional) is often used to facilitate power and control over someone for an abusive purpose. This applies in many contexts such as workplace bullying, elder abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, and cults.Isolation reduces the opportunity of the abused to be rescued or escape from the abuse. It also helps disorientate the abused and makes the abused more dependent on the abuser. The degree of power and control over the abused is contingent upon the degree of his or her physical or emotional isolation.An important element of psychological control is the isolation of the victim from the outside world. Isolation includes controlling a person's social activity: who they see, who they talk to, where they go and any other method to limit their access to others. It may also include limiting what material is read. It can include insisting on knowing where they are and requiring permission for medical care. The abuser exhibits hypersensitive and reactive jealousy.Isolation can be aided by:

economic abuse thus limiting the victim's actions as they may then lack the necessary resources to resist or escape from the abuse

smearing or discrediting the abused amongst his or her community so the abused does not get help or support from others

divide and conquer

gaslighting and mind control.

Mind games

Mind games is used to define three forms of competitive human behaviors:

a largely conscious struggle for psychological one-upmanship, often employing passive–aggressive behavior to specifically demoralize or dis-empower the thinking subject, making the aggressor look superior; also referred to as power games, head games, mind fuckery or head fuckery.

the unconscious games played by people engaged in ulterior transactions of which they are not fully aware, and which transactional analysis considers to form a central element of social life all over the world.

mental exercises designed to improve the functioning of mind and/or personality; see also brain teasers or puzzles.The first known use of "mind game" is in 1963. The first known use of "head game" is in 1977.

Projective identification

Projective identification is a term introduced by Melanie Klein to describe the process whereby in a close relationship, as between mother and child, lovers, or therapist and patient, parts of the self may in unconscious fantasy be thought of as being forced into the other person.While based on Freud's concept of psychological projection, projective identification represents a step beyond. In R.D. Laing's words, "The one person does not use the other merely as a hook to hang projections on. He/she strives to find in the other, or to induce the other to become, the very embodiment of projection". Feelings which can not be consciously accessed are defensively projected into another person in order to evoke the thoughts or feelings projected.Projective identification may be used as a type of defense, a means of communicating, a primitive form of relationship, or a route to psychological change; used for ridding the self of unwanted parts or for controlling the other's body and mind.

Psychological manipulation

Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the behavior or perception of others through indirect, deceptive, or underhanded tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at another's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative and devious.

Social influence is not necessarily negative. For example, people such as friends, family and doctors, can try to persuade to change clearly unhelpful habits and behaviors. Social influence is generally perceived to be harmless when it respects the right of the influenced to accept or reject it, and is not unduly coercive. Depending on the context and motivations, social influence may constitute underhanded manipulation.

Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

Stephanie Moulton Sarkis is a psychotherapist and best-selling author. Based in Tampa, Florida, she is an American Mental Health Counselors Association Diplomate and Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent mental health counseling, and a columnist/blogger for Psychology Today and Huffington Post. In addition to being an expert on ADHD and gaslighting, she treats autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders, and writes about their impact on college performance and personal finance. Sarkis's experience with having ADHD herself is profiled in the book The Gift of Adult ADD by Lara Honos-Webb.


Strait-Jacket is a 1964 American horror-thriller film starring Joan Crawford and Diane Baker in a macabre mother and daughter tale about a series of axe-murders. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was directed and produced by William Castle, and co-produced by Dona Holloway. The screenplay was the first of two written for Castle by Robert Bloch, the second being The Night Walker (1964). Strait-Jacket marks the first big-screen appearance of Lee Majors in the uncredited role of Crawford's husband. The film's plot makes use of the psychological abuse method known as gaslighting.

Two Against Nature

Two Against Nature is the eighth studio album by Steely Dan. The album was released on February 29, 2000, by Giant Records. The album won the group four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. It marked the first Steely Dan studio album in 20 years, following 1980's Gaucho. It has been certified platinum in the United States.

Two Against Nature marked Steely Dan's first studio album for Warner Bros. Records – through a sub-label, Giant Records. The group's leaders, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, accepted all four Grammys the album won, including Album of the Year.

Related topics
Activists and
Notable suicides
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Operations and events
See also
Intermittent or partial
negative reinforcement
Other techniques
Related topics

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