Share: Psychology Today: What Motivates People To Gaslight

I am sharing with you today a new article I found on Psychology Today on what motivates people to gaslight. This new research reveals what drives gaslighting behaviours and this info verifies all I have learned over the past 8 years about gaslighting I saw in the workplace from toxic tenants. They try to change your reality and control you!

Getting educated on this tactic will help you no end, as it did for me.

The behaviour of totally ignoring their refusal of access they did, in writing at that, is pure gaslighting. This act was the catalyst of the situation, yet, going by their allegations, it wasn’t that act that started it but my reaction to it, that of giving From N5s and evicting them.

They make it sound as if refusing access was no big deal, but the fact that I gave them Form N5s and filed for an eviction over it, was. This is pure gaslighting!

As it says “Sharpening this intuition could literally save your life“. Once I understood that they were manipulating the facts with outright lies and monologing I became more confident and self-assured that this was what they were doing. They were twisting the facts and attempting to make it something it wasn’t.

I was gaslighted over so many things during the smear campaign against me I lost count! The main one that started it all was the imaginary “prior meeting” they claimed we had at some restaurant “sometime” in June 2016 where they claimed I went up to them and said inappropriate things.

They harped on this imaginary meeting so much starting in August 2016, at least until they saw my Reply from Human Rights (HRTO) in 2018, showing it wasn’t possible at any time that June. I sent in the Google timeline for the whole month, with pictures and receipts, showing where I was every day, disproving their claims. I proved they were lying, as no meeting occurred between us in any restaurant, ever.

Then, they decided to harp on my words and actions at the Landlord and Tenants Board hearing, not accepting that I was only repeating the words I heard said.

That is what gaslighting does to me, it made me so determined to keep clear evidence of every interaction with them, right down to the smallest detail. I even have hand-written notes!! I started wearing a body cam also in 2017 around the building while performing my job, to protect myself.

The sheet I was given in 2018 while in therapy that I share here in this post, was my “lightbulb” moment in knowing I was being gaslighted, as everything in that poster was what I was seeing. It was my wake-up call on their behaviour, online and in the HRTO process.

My Doctor then started my education on gaslighting, triangulation, and narcissism and he said that based on the documents he read that I shared with him, showed him this writer was showing narcissistic traits and that their behaviour was very toxic for me. Since 2018 I have been learning everything I could on gaslighting and how to recognize it.

It took time to absorb and learn about gaslighting but now, I can recognize it a mile away! The more research I do, the better I feel. All this research also shows me that society is becoming smarter about gaslighting!

I am grateful to see so many articles on this subject compared to when I started in 2018 and I read every one. This allows me to notice any instances of gaslighting being done, to me and others, more easily.

This post from May 5, 2021, is full of the things I found was gaslighting me! Everything in the poster above will be found in this post. Some of their acts were more overt than others, but every time they tried to minimize my statements and make them something else, it was gaslighting. Over time, I found more instances of gaslighting as well.

Learning all you can about this behaviour will help to save your mental health, as in the end, that is all that matters, YOU!

I made a folder on this tactic, as it is so insidious.


    What Motivates People to Gaslight?

    New research reveals what drives gaslighting behaviors.

    Gaslighting is now a widespread term, and recent research has started to examine the most common ways to recognize it in relationships, along with the motivations behind the behavior. Recognizing gaslighting more quickly, and understanding what drives it, allows victims a deeper understanding of this devastating interpersonal behavior.

    Avoiding responsibility

    Individuals who use gaslighting in relationships do so to avoid taking responsibility for their behaviors and to control others. In both cases, relationships are used as a means to an end, a way to receive what one wants at the expense of others’ emotions, boundaries, and, often, personal safety.

    Refusing to take responsibility for one’s behaviors can make others question the reality they’re experiencing—which is the ultimate goal of a gaslighter. Most of the time, these individuals refuse to accept responsibility for their most harmful behaviors, but skilled gaslighters also avoid taking responsibility for more everyday behavior—though the newest research suggests that most of their avoidance tactics center around taking attention away from their immature, hurtful behaviors.

    If an abusive partner can convince others to question reality about their everyday lives, it makes the path to more significant, harmful behaviors clear and easy. It’s similar to testing the waters, in an attempt to determine just how much they can get away with before they’re discovered or not believed.

    There are several forms that avoiding responsibility can take, and being able to recognize those methods can be crucial in stopping the patterns before they become too difficult to escape:

    • Refusing to say they’re sorry. Gaslighters will never apologize in a meaningful way—because, in their eyes, they are never wrong. They may superficially apologize if someone they consider important is observing, or if they feel a quick “I’m sorry” will gain them something, but a meaningful apology that identifies how they hurt you and what they will change in the future is not going to happen.
    • Blaming others for the consequences of their own behaviors. When someone is mistreated long enough, they will typically stop engaging in that relationship (if they can). When that happens to a gaslighter, they will look for any reason possible—aside from their own contributing behaviors—to explain the end of the relationship. Usually, those reasons will place blame onto other people or their victim, completely abdicating the gaslighter of any wrongdoing.
    • Playing a false victim. Anytime they don’t receive what they want out of a situation, gaslighters immediately fall into a victim stance—if you won’t work with them, you’re automatically against them. There is no middle ground, and there is no compromise. They are typically masters at playing a false victim, able to immediately convince anyone who will listen how they have been mistreated, even in the face of significant evidence to the contrary.

    Determination to control others

    Recent research also indicates that another common motivating factor for gaslighting is the ambition to exert control over others. A gaslighter is addicted to control; they often try to bend even the smallest, most inconsequential factors to their will. Though it may seem pointless to others, it’s actually part of a well-honed process they use to slowly master controlling others; by the time you realize it’s been happening to you, chances are you will be in so deep it will feel impossible to get out.

    Exerting control over others can take many forms, and for personal protection, it’s important to recognize what those can be:

    • Refusing to accept input on leisure activities. Everyone loves a well-planned surprise, but if you consistently aren’t allowed input on how to spend your free time, or your wishes are sought out and then disregarded, it’s time to look behind these patterns to determine whether they could indicate a more serious issue.
    • Threatening behaviors. If you tell someone “no” or disagree with them—and find what you receive in return are threats to harm you in some way, however small they may seem at the time, it needs to be addressed. Even if the threats are generalized—“you’ll be sorry”—or as simplistic as “you won’t enjoy the side of me you’re about to see,” they should be taken seriously. Any type of threat, veiled or overt, is a symptom of a bigger problem.
    • Controlling others’ opinions of you. Gaslighters don’t want anyone else to recognize their tactics with victims. To that end, they work very hard to sway others’ opinions of their victims, always with a negative slant. That could mean they inaccurately present themselves as being mistreated or they could chalk themselves up as “rescuing” or “saving” their victims. Anything they can do to change the way others perceive their victims is a win in their book, as it means they are in control of how another person’s character is judged—as opposed to the truth being the deciding factor.

    Recognizing gaslighting patterns can be a lifesaver

    Current research is clear that gaslighters exhibit common behavioral patterns—a key to potential victims that can help them recognize these patterns before escape has become difficult.

    Healing from an abusive, gaslighting relationship can take a lifetime, making it all the more crucial to help victims recognize the issues the minute they first occur. Sharpening this intuition could literally save your life.


    Klein, W., Li, S., & Wood, S. (2023). A qualitative analysis of gaslighting in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 30(4), 1316–1340.

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    9 Replies to “Share: Psychology Today: What Motivates People To Gaslight”

    1. Also, I think the thing with gaslighting is that it’s so subtle most people don’t realise they’re being manipulated.

      1. I find info on narcissism and their toxic traits very interesting ever since I first heard about it in 2018 from my doctor. It is so subtle at times you don’t even know it is happening. I even became aware of when I was doing it myself!
        Since I learned all this stuff, my relationships have become so much better, especially my marriage. What I learn, I teach to those around me and it helps quite a bit.

        1. That’s great, learning about stuff like narcissism is definitely eyeopening and can be helpful with our own relationships with others.

    2. Wow … gave me chills! I can relate on so many levels! Thank you for the tremendous “awakening” you have given me. Just out of curiosities sake … did you know these individuals on a personal level, or did they take that upon themselves as well? Oh, and on a brighter note … the birds are chirpin’ up a storm … it’s beautiful out! Spring has sprung and I wish you a blessed season!

      1. I find that once you learn what gaslighting is and how it is done, you become aware and always will be going forward. I have read so much on this topic and went looking for instances in my own experiences, just so I will know what to look for. I even found instances where I was gaslighting too! ): There was so much to this situation I had to learn about… Self-reflection can be brutal at times, but also very rewarding!

        The bullies I had were tenants from my last workplace, so no, I didn’t know them personally and had no interest in doing so. I worked there for 2 years before I quit out of fear. I didn’t even know the mans name for just over a year, as he wasn’t on the paperwork. They are pretending to know me by making assumptions on what I have said in the past and during the human rights applications they filed on me and the owners, as well as by stalking my social media.

        YAY!! Spring is coming here to St. John’s as well in recent days and I have been out enjoying it. Yesterday was amazing weather here with the sun shining and we have double digits coming Friday! I am so looking forward to the warmer weather!

        I hope you are having an amazing week so far!

    3. So informative and very profound “these days”. I really believe the more “we” are educated on these forms of manipulative abuse … the easier to thwart them. All this time later, I am baffled as to why ppl would exert so much energy to harming others. The conjuring of an incident that you disproved was manna for me!!! I’m sorry you had to go to such extreme lengths (not surprised sadly) to protect yourself and greatly appreciate you sharing your success and triumphant journey. Better will come from this!

      1. Thank you for your comment and I agree, the more educated society becomes over a behaviour, good will come from it. I even experienced good from this situation, as I have learned so much about human nature and what drives us to do what we do. It taught me a lot about myself too, and that is always a benefit. 🌼

        To be honest with you, I still find it hard to understand how a individual could spend so much time, money, and energy for almost 8 years on a smear campaign either… They hang on to that domain in my name for dear life, as they just don’t want me to take it for myself! 😉 Its okay, eventually it will come to an end and in the meantime, I am growing as a person and learning new things.

        I hope you had a awesome day and looking forward to begin anew today! 😁

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