How Gaslighting Sows the Discomfiting Seeds of Doubt Through Lying, Misdirection and Denial

In an enlightened episode of the PBS Digital Studios series Braincraft, host Vanessa Hill helps to define the widely used psychological term of “gaslighting”. The term originated from a 1938 British play by Patrick Hamilton aptly entitled Gas Light. The play and subsequent films of the same name revolve around a sinister husband who embarks on a strategy to convince his wife that she is going mad in order to obtain have access to her inherited wealth. The underhanded tactics he used were that of persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying to sow the seeds of doubt in her mind. Because the gas lights in the film play such a big part in the misdirection, the term “gaslighting” became a verb encompassing the very methods that were utilized in the story. Hill also notes how to extricate oneself from such a relationship in which gaslighting tactics are being employed

Stopping gas lighting isn’t easy but you can start by taking these steps. Pay careful attention to your own experience. Instead of doubting yourself, ask the opinion of a third person and check in with them regularly. When stuck in a problematic relationship, seek help from a therapist and note that not everyone gaslights intentionally be aware of your own behaviors as well as those of others. Human relationships can be strange and treacherous but if you know what red flags to look for you can try to avoid falling into some traps