Psychology Today: How to Shine a Light on Gaslighting and Turn It Off

I have come to see that it takes great strength and resilience to navigate gaslighting. I have found solace and support through reading articles on Psychology Today. This platform provides a wealth of knowledge and insights into various psychological aspects, helping individuals like myself in their personal growth and recovery.

Gaslighting, indeed, is a harmful trait that can deeply affect one’s self-esteem, perception, and overall well-being. It involves manipulative tactics aimed at distorting your reality, making you doubt your own experiences, thoughts, and emotions. It is very insidious…

I have come to see that I kept a journal since I was 12 years old for this very reason, so no one could gaslight my personal experiences into something else. Even back then, I was determined to ensure my memories were intact and correct as I saw them at the time. I still keep a journal, tho it is digital these days., along with the myriad of other websites toxic tenants operate, has consistently exhibited a disturbing pattern of gaslighting, both presently and historically. The contents found within these platforms are meticulously crafted with the sole purpose of perpetuating a manipulative narrative, pushing the boundaries of reality to question and distort the truth. It is where adult bullies pretend to know me.

Their posts, meticulously designed to further their gaslighting agenda, go to such lengths as to claim unfounded knowledge of my deepest motivations. That was very confusing, as how could tenants from my workplace pretend to know me so intimately to write what they have?

At its core, gaslighting is an insidious form of psychological manipulation that seeks to invalidate one’s perceptions, emotions, and experiences. And, without a doubt, embodies this nefarious technique with shocking precision. By distorting reality, they hope to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of unsuspecting individuals, fostering an atmosphere of confusion and self-doubt.

One can hardly navigate through the labyrinthine corridors of without being inundated with a relentless barrage of deceitful content, aimed at skewing the truth in their favour. It is a profound mishmash of carefully twisted truths, half-truths, and outright lies, artfully constructed to undermine the credibility of those named within.

Perhaps most concerning is their audacious claim to possess an encyclopedic knowledge of my own thoughts and intentions. By purporting to understand the inner workings of my mind, they disempower me and assert their dominance over the narrative, all while exacerbating the distress and confusion experienced. That is their intention!

The scale at which and its affiliated websites partake in gaslighting is staggering. With their vast network of interconnected platforms, they have managed to amplify their manipulative tactics, ensnaring countless unsuspecting individuals in the web of deceit they spread about me. It is a grim reminder of the potency and far-reaching consequences of gaslighting in our increasingly connected world.

In light of this disconcerting reality, it becomes crucial to recognize and expose the insidious nature of and its gaslighting endeavours. Only through an informed and discerning public can we hope to dismantle this toxic web of deception, protecting ourselves and others from being ensnared in their tangled web of distorted reality. They are anonymous administrators claiming to know me on a very intimate level that we all know is impossible.

Recognizing gaslighting behaviour is vital in breaking free from its damaging effects. By educating yourself and staying informed about this psychological phenomenon, you are equipping yourself with the tools to identify and confront gaslighting, not only in your external environment but also within your own mind.

The more you immerse yourself in reading about gaslighting, the better equipped you become to identify its subtle nuances and tactics. Knowledge empowers you to reclaim your truth, assert your boundaries, and protect your mental and emotional well-being.

By understanding the tactics employed by gaslighters, you can cultivate a stronger sense of self and develop strategies to counteract their manipulative behaviour.

Reading about gaslighting also helps you develop greater self-awareness, enabling you to identify any internalized self-doubt or negative self-talk resulting from past experiences. By gaining this insight, you can actively work towards silencing the gaslighting within your own mind. Remember, you have the power to rewrite your narrative and replace self-critical thoughts with self-compassion and self-belief.

It is important to acknowledge that recovery from bullying and gaslighting takes time and support. Surrounding yourself with positive influences, such as insightful articles and resources, is a crucial step in your healing journey.

However, don’t hesitate to seek additional support from trusted friends, family members, or even professional therapists who can provide guidance and validation. Therapy started my education, as they gave me the words and terms to research!

As you continue to educate yourself about gaslighting and the impact it has had on your life, remember to also focus on self-care and self-empowerment. Engage in activities that bring you joy, nurture your physical and emotional well-being, and remind yourself of your inherent worth. Self-care acts as a shield, protecting you from the toxic influence of gaslighting and fostering a strong sense of self.

In conclusion, my commitment to reading articles on Psychology Today and learning about gaslighting is an empowering step toward my recovery. By arming myself with knowledge, I am taking control of my own narrative and breaking free from the toxic cycle created by toxic tenants from my last workplace.

I am not alone in this journey, and with the right support, inner strength, and insights gained from my readings, I will continue to grow, heal, and thrive.

How to Shine a Light on Gaslighting and Turn It Off

Understanding the motivations and tactics of gaslighters reduces bad outcomes.

Posted December 22, 2023 |  Reviewed by Tyler Woods


  • Gaslighting is a repetitive pattern of manipulation.
  • Gaslighting is a form of coercive control.
  • Learn methods to help you respond if you feel you’re being gaslighted.

The term “gaslighting” arises from the play and film of the same name in which a man seeks to take over his wife’s inheritance by convincing her she is delusional. Gaslighting is a form of psychological violence that, in its worst forms, is an insidious type of coercive control that is equally as harmful as physical abuse, according to Evan Stark, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University Schools of Public Affairs and Medicine. Further, gaslighting isn’t limited to domestic, gender-based relationships.

In a political context, gaslighting can be described as a manipulation of the perceptions of others for personal gain. Many of the behaviors that come to light in the original play and film, Gaslight, also apply to gaslighting the public. Gaslighting is a repetitive pattern of manipulation that isolates its targets from support because they struggle to explain what’s going on.

In June 2023, Klein, Li, and Wood, from the psychology department of the University of Toronto, conducted a qualitative analysis of survey responses from 65 gaslighting victims. They pinpoint two motivations for gaslighting: avoiding accountability for assorted harmful behaviors and undermining the identities of others to control their behavior.

Insults and Accusations

Klein et al. find that perpetrators of gaslighting across the board employ insults and accusations of being crazy, overly sensitive, stupid, selfish, and even ridicule physical appearance, which shows up in a political context as attempts to denigrate their target’s accomplishments, intentions, and competence. It may even take the form of rewriting or denying history to discredit where credit is due. It is used to induce others to “go along to get along.” It can be directed at political colleagues and rivals to induce conformity and compliance or toward the public to propel a political agenda.

Gaslighters are master discrediters, who use malicious put-downs, name-calling, or profiling to smear reputations and dehumanize opponents, fueling others to “pile on.”

“They’re designed to make others perceive you as deficient,” says Melissa Hamilton, PhD., a criminologist at the University of Surrey, U.K., “thus regulating relationships by turning constituents and colleagues against you.”

Gaslighters seek to restrict the autonomy of their victims by fabricating lies and telling them their colleagues don’t like them, so they become isolated from social support. Gaslighters may seek to influence access to appointments and assignments, and cut off access to benefits such as healthcare.

According to Hamilton, if physical, emotional, or financial threats don’t work as desired, a coercive controller may use threats. The controller may monitor, or claim to monitor, the activity of opponents by telling them that they and their families and pets are being watched, to instill fear of harm to loved ones. This can look like something as benign as engaging with family members and asking seemingly harmless, but carefully nuanced, questions about their activities, whereabouts, and interests, or making comments implying awareness of family or pet activities and whereabouts.

Confrontation and Conflict

When confronted, gaslighters suggest their challenger is making it up, change the subject, or divert attention elsewhere.

“The victims may come to an ‘understanding’ that if they do not comply with their perpetrators’ demands or desires,” Hamilton says, “then they may face significant consequences.”

Klein, Li, and Wood studied victims of romantic relationship gaslighting, but the psychological aftermath of gaslighting may be similar for politicians and the public. These researchers report that victims of gaslighting feel a diminished sense of self, increased guardedness, and increased mistrust of others.

Coercive control is a strategic form of ongoing oppression used to instill fear. It has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 2015 but is not considered illegal in the United States unless it accompanies an otherwise illegal act. However, there are ways that those who wish to quell this form of malevolence or are victims of gaslighting or other forms of coercive control can address it.

Responding to Gaslighting

  • Don’t get rattled. Stay calm. Responding in distress can feed gaslighters’ attempts to manipulate.
  • Know and document facts and speak the truth when it is misrepresented.
  • Don’t be alone with a gaslighter. Someone using gaslighting tactics has a harder time manipulating multiple people.
  • Speak up about the harassment calmly and confidently. Calling out criticism and insults demonstrates a refusal to accept the behavior. Making others aware of the abuse may disincentivize gaslighters.
  • Don’t get drawn into conflict. Instead, say something like, “It seems we remember things differently.” Change the subject or leave the room.
  • Spend time with supporters and loved ones. Maintain communication with support systems. Make sure to give family and friends contact information and check in often.

An understanding of how gaslighting shows up in different contexts and how to turn it down can reduce some of its negative impacts.


Klein, W., Li, S., & Wood, S. (2023). A Qualitative Analysis of Gaslighting in Romantic Relationships. Toronto, Ca. Department of Psychology, University of Toronto.

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