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I think gaslighting is a pressure tactic that is especially successful on the person with the high level of conformity.  It is related to groupthink although here the group can be represented by a single "influential other". It is often used by cults and psychopaths. The latter discover this technique intuitively without previous training and apply it basing their tactic on their reading of the person as susceptible.

During the 1950s, Solomon Asch conducted and published a series of laboratory experiments that demonstrated the degree to which an individual's own opinions are influenced by those of a majority group. Together, these experiments are recognized as the Asch conformity experiments or the Asch Paradigm.

Male college students participated in a simple “perceptual” task. In reality, all but one of the participants were "confederates" (i.e., actors), and the true focus of the study was about how the remaining student (i.e., the real participant or mark) would react to the confederates' behavior.

Each participant was placed in a room with seven "confederates". Confederates knew the true aim of the experiment, but were introduced as participants to the "real" participant. Participants were shown a card with a line on it, followed by a card with three lines on it (lines labeled A, B and C, respectively). Participants were then asked to say aloud, which line (i.e., A, B or C) matched the line on the first card in length. Each line question was called a "trial". Prior to the experiment, all confederates were given specific instructions on how they should respond to each trial. Specifically, they were told to unanimously give the correct response or unanimously give the incorrect response. The group sat in a manner so that the real participant was always the last to respond (i.e., the real participant sat towards the end of a table). For the first two trials, the participant would feel at ease in the experiment, as he and the confederates gave the obvious, correct answer. On the third trial, the confederates would all give the same wrong answer, placing the participant in a dilemma.

There were 18 trials in total and the confederates answered incorrectly for 12 of them. These 12 were known as the "critical trials". The aim was to see whether the real participant would change his answer and respond in the same way as the confederates, despite it being the wrong answer. Once the experiment was completed, the "real" participant was individually interviewed; towards the end of the interview, the participant was debriefed about the true purpose of the study. Participants' responses to interview questions were a valuable component of Asch's study because it gave him a glimpse of the psychological aspects of the experimental situation. It also provided Asch with information about individual differences among participants.

Solomon Asch's experiment also had a control condition where there were no confederates, only a "real participant". This meant that one participant answered to all 18 trials without the group of confederates present and with only the experimenter in the room. In total, there were 50 "real" participants that took part in the experimental condition and 37 participants in the control condition.

All results are based on participants' responses to critical trials. In the control group, with no pressure to conform to confederates, the error rate was less than 1%. An examination of all critical trials in the experimental group revealed that one-third of all responses were incorrect. These incorrect responses often matched the incorrect response of the majority group (i.e., confederates). Overall, in the experimental group, 75% of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question while only 25% never gave an incorrect response.

Through analysis of participants' interview responses, Asch discovered that there were vast individual differences in reaction to the experimental situation. Thus, interview data revealed that participants who did not conform to the majority group and thus, remained "independent" from the group, reacted to the experiment in particular ways. Some reacted with "confidence" in their perception and experience. That is, despite experiencing conflict between their idea of the obvious answer and the groups incorrect answer, they stuck with the answer that was based on their own perception. Others were "withdrawn", suggesting that they stuck with their perception without experiencing conflict as those in the confidence group. Some participants also exhibited "doubt". This meant that they experienced great doubt and tension but nonetheless stuck with their correct responses because they felt a need to adequately take part in the task.

Moreover, interview data with participants that did conform to the majority group on at least one-half or more of the trials, and thus, "yielded" to the group also exhibited certain reactions to the experiment. Some participants reacted with a "distortion of perception". These participants (very few) conformed on nearly all trials and actually believed that the confederates incorrect answers were true. They were never aware that the majority gave incorrect answers. Other participants exhibited a "distortion of judgment" (most belonged to this category). This meant that participants got to a point where they realized that they must be wrong and that the majority must be right, leading them to answer with the majority. These individuals lacked confidence and were very doubtful. Lastly, participants exhibited a "distortion of action", suggesting that they knew what the correct answer was, but conformed with the majority group simply because they didn't want to seem inferior.

Asch provided a descriptive account of a subject that remained "independent" and another that "yielded". After disclosing the true nature of the experiment, the "independent" subject said that he felt happy and relieved and added, "I do not deny that at times I had the feeling: 'to go with it, I'll go along with the rest'.(page 182)" At the other end of the spectrum, one "yielding" subject (who conformed in 11 of 12 critical trials) said, "I suspected about the middle – but tried to push it out of my mind."(page 182) Asch points out that although the "yielding" subject was suspicious, he was not able to reinstate his confidence and go against the majority. Overall, across all of his papers published, Asch found the same results – participants conformed to the majority group in about one-third of all critical trials.

In his 1951 experiment and subsequent studies, Asch wanted to further his investigation of conformity by examining whether slight changes in participants' environments would lead to different results. He had the following experimental variations: Presence of a true partner.

Asch examined whether the presence of a "true partner" influenced level of conformity.  This partner was also a "real" participant or another actor that was told to give the correct response to each question. This decreased the level of conformity, especially when the partner was instructed to give correct responses. Asch also examined whether the removal of a partner (that he instructed to give correct answers) halfway through the experiment would influence the participants' level of conformity. He found that there was a low level of conformity during the first half of the experiment. However, once the partner left the room, the level of conformity increased dramatically. Asch also examined whether decreasing or increasing the majority size had an influence on participants' level of conformity.  It was discovered that the smaller the size of the opposing group (confederates), the lower the level of conformity, and by simply increasing the opposing group to two or three persons, the level of conformity increased substantially. However, an opposing group beyond three persons (e.g., four, five six etc.) did not increase conformity.

Asch wanted to know whether altering participants' method of responding would have an influence on their level of conformity. He constructed an experiment whereby all confederates verbalized their responses aloud and only the "real" participant was allowed to respond in writing. He discovered that conformity significantly decreased when shifting from public to written responses.

The Asch conformity experiments are often interpreted as evidence for the power of a group pressure conformity and normative social influence, where normative influences is the willingness to conform publicly to attain social reward and avoid social punishment.  From this perspective the results are viewed as a striking example of people publicly endorsing the group response despite knowing full well that they were endorsing an incorrect response.

The conformity demonstrated in Asch experiments is problematic for social comparison theory.  Social comparison theory suggests that when seeking to validate opinions and abilities people will first turn to direct observation. If direct observation is ineffective or not available then people will then turn to comparable others for validation. In other words, social comparison theory predicts that when physical reality testing yields uncertainty, social reality testing will arise. The Asch conformity experiments demonstrate that uncertainty can arise as an outcome of social reality testing. More broadly, this inconsistency has been used to support the position that the theoretical distinction between social reality testing and physical reality testing is untenable.

From Wikipedia:

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.[1] Instances may range simply 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 "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations(see Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 film Gaslight). The term is now also used in clinical and research literature.[2][3]

The term derives from the 1938 stage play Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the United States), and the 1940 and 1944 film adaptations. The plot concerns a husband who attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment, and subsequently insisting that she is mistaken or misremembering when she points out these changes. The title stems from the dimming of the house's gas lights which happens when the husband is using the gas lights in the attic while searching there for hidden treasure. The wife accurately notices the dimming lights, but the husband insists she is imagining.

The term "gaslighting" has been used colloquially since at least the late 1970s to describe efforts to manipulate someone's sense of reality. In a 1980 book on child sex abuse, Florence Rush summarized George Cukor's 1944 film version of Gas Light, and writes, "even today the word [gaslight] is used to describe an attempt to destroy another's perception of reality".[4] The term was further popularized in Victor Santoro's 1994 book Gaslighting: How to Drive Your Enemies Crazy, which outlines ostensibly legal tactics the reader might use to annoy others.

The 2000 Steely Dan album Two Against Nature includes a song entitled "Gaslighting Abbie". Musicians Walter Becker and Donald Fagen acknowledged that the lyrics were inspired by the Gas Light film featuring Charles Boyer.[5]


Psychologist Martha Stout states that sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.[6] Jacobson and Gottman report that some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners, even flatly denying that they have been violent.[3]

Psychologists Gertrude Gass and William C. Nichols use the term "gaslighting" to describe a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity: "Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the women's reactions. [...] The gaslighting behaviors of the husband provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations."[7]

Gaslighting can also occur in parent-child relationships, with either parent or child (or both) lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions.[8] Furthermore, gaslighting has been observed between patients and staff in inpatient psychiatric facilities.[9]

Some of Sigmund Freud's conduct has been characterized as gaslighting. Regarding case of Sergei Pankejeff (nicknamed "Wolf Man" due to a dream of wolves that he and Freud discussed extensively), Dorpat[2] wrote, "Freud brought relentless pressure on the Wolfman to accept and to confirm Freud's reconstructions and formulations."


In an influential 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 painful and potentially painful mental conflicts'.[10]

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 can be 'a very complex, highly structured configuration which encompasses contributions from many elements of the psychic apparatus'.[10]


With respect to women in particular, Hilde Lindemann argued that "in gaslighting cases...ability to resist depends on her ability to trust her own judgements."[11] Establishing "counterstories" to that of the gaslighter may help the victim re-acquire or even for the first time "acquire ordinary levels of free agency".[11]

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Old News ;-)

[Aug 07, 2019] Gaslighting the World; America in the Hurricane's Eye.

Notable quotes:
"... "a form of psychological manipulation in which a person 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, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief." ..."
"... The 1944 film with Ingrid Bergman is quite brilliant. It sort of defines the worst thing that one human being can do to another, short of killing them. ..."
Aug 07, 2019 |

I figured that since 'gaslighting' is a relatively new term, and although I already had a general idea what it meant from context, it would be best to look it up. I was surprised to learn the concept of ' gaslighting ' has been around since 1938.

"a form of psychological manipulation in which a person 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, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief."

In America's case, gaslighting – like charity – begins at home, and the full force of US government efforts to convince the skeptical that America is more powerful and influential than ever, is still kicking ass and taking names, is felt by Americans.

yalensis August 1, 2019 at 4:17 pm

The 1944 film with Ingrid Bergman is quite brilliant. It sort of defines the worst thing that one human being can do to another, short of killing them.

[May 31, 2017] Gaslighting State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism

May 31, 2017 |
The psychological term "Gaslighting" comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instil in their victim's mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.

Gaslighting as an abuser's modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.

Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim. It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim's subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious "hard disk" and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk. Put more simply, it is brainwashing.

" Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate." ~ Alex Myles

Three Stages of Gaslighting

Exceptionalism or Narcissism?


We are currently seeing the transformation of US exceptionalism into an abusive Narcissism .

[Dec 18, 2016] Gaslighting An insidious form of emotional abuse -- Science of the Spirit --

Notable quotes:
"... Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy. ..."
"... Why was I off that day? ..."
Dec 18, 2016 |
Gaslighting: An insidious form of emotional abuse Julie Naftulin
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00 UTC Once in a while, it's normal to have a fleeting moment where you question your own sanity, like when you're severely sleep deprived or stressed out . But if a relationship leaves you constantly second-guessing your own instincts and feelings, you may be a victim of a sophisticated form of emotional abuse : gaslighting. Like other types of abuse, gaslighting can happen in all sorts of relationships, including personal, romantic, and professional.

Ben Michaelis, PhD, a New York City-based clinical psychologist, has worked with victims of gaslighting. For one of his patients-we'll call her Marie-the gaslighting began when her husband shouted another woman's name during sex. When she tried to discuss the incident with him, he flatly denied what he'd said and told Marie she was hearing things. Marie figured she must have had too much to drink. But then the lying continued: Marie's husband would change his alibi constantly , and when Marie questioned him, he'd say she was acting delusional. It wasn't until almost a year later when Marie realized her husband had been hiding an affair the whole time.

"[Gaslighting] is like someone saying the sky is green over and over again, and at first you'll be like 'no, no,'" says Gail Saltz, MD a psychiatrist and host of the podcast The Power of Different . "Then over time the person starts to manipulate you into saying 'I guess I can't really see what color the sky is.' It's just this sense of unreality."

Acknowledging you're a victim of gaslighting like Marie did can be tricky at first, says Michaelis, who is the author of Your Next Big Thing: 10 Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy. "Initially, if someone is insisting on a reality that is different from your own, you'll think, Why was I off that day? Was I tired? " As the gaslighting continues, victims begin to question themselves and their judgment more and more. Michaelis says this can go on for months or even years before they realize they're being gaslighted. "People who experience gaslighting may show obsessive-compulsive symptoms because they want to constantly check themselves and recheck themselves," says Dr. Michaelis. The confidence-depleting nature of gaslighting could contribute to increased anxiety in many or all aspects of a victim's life, not only in the relationship. Many gaslighting victims berate themselves or feel the need to apologize all the time, explains Dr. Saltz.

Gaslighting can manifest in a workplace environment as well. "Your boss may use gaslighting to hide a mistake or cover up information they didn't mean to share," says Michaelis. "It can also be a passive-aggressive gesture used among peers who are competing."

If you realize you're being gaslighted, the first thing you need to recognize is that a gaslighter may not be conscious of the effects of their actions, especially if they have issues with being wrong or out of control. In this case, confronting the gaslighter could work. Michaelis suggests conducting all conversations you have with the gaslighter in a recorded format, like through email or text. Then, when gaslighting occurs, tell the person what they originally said. "If they continue do deny what they said, you can supply the recorded evidence so they have a concrete understanding of what happened," says Michaelis. This method works best when confronting a friend or partner.

In professional relationships, Michaelis suggests reaching out to a third party, like human resources, which can make the confrontation more objective. You can take this route in your personal relationships as well by enlisting a friend or family member to help. "If you find it happening to you, be thoughtful of the person's motivations," Michaelis says. "They don't usually do it out of pure ill-will. It usually correlates with trying to cover something up, so first try to repair the relationship if it's worth it."

If confrontation fails and ending the relationship is an option, Dr. Saltz recommends doing so. Michaelis agrees: "All relationships are changeable. Maybe not immediately, but they are changeable or severable if need be ," he says.

If you have to stick it out with a gaslighter, though, try to boost your confidence with the support of good friends. "If you're having a hard time changing the situation, they can bolster your reality otherwise," says Michaelis. In a work environment, you should also be wary of what information you share with a gaslighter . Michaelis suggests withholding personal life details with a gaslighting co-worker or boss to protect yourself from emotional abuse in the office.

No matter which method you choose, it's important to take control of reality again, says Dr. Saltz. This involves setting limits that stop gaslighting attempts in their tracks . For example, if your boss calls you overly sensitive when you ask, "Why won't you let me work on big company projects?" demand true feedback rather than accepting blame on your character. "It's holding the line for what you're wanting to achieve," Dr. Saltz says, "and not buying into accusations intended to knock down self-confidence."
Comment: Many psychiatric professionals agree that even strong, intelligent, confident, and stable people can become vulnerable to this form of emotional manipulation. Intelligence and emotions are not the same thing and a gaslighters' key maneuver is to prey on emotion rather than intelligence. Gaslighting is a specific, conscious, deliberate tactic of manipulation and control.

[Mar 15, 2013] What is gaslighting by Shannon Firth

Many thinks to Shannon Firth for putting a new interesting touch on the topic.

February 5, 2013 | The Week

In Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain plays "Maya," a CIA officer who, at one point, treats a detainee to a sumptuous dinner to reward him for sharing critical information that she says saved American lives. The thing is, the detainee doesn't remember telling his captors anything. But weak in mind and body, after several sleepless days and nights of torture, he accepts what Maya says as the truth. This is gaslighting.

The term itself was popularized by the 1944 film Gaslight, an adaptation of the 1939 play Angel Street. In the film, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, "Gregory," played by Boyer, maintains that a gaslight his wife "Paula" (Bergman) sees growing dim then brightening is in fact steady. This small deception is followed by countless others. Paula initially protests her husband's accusations about her "forgetfulness," but in time she questions her every action and memory. In reality, her husband Gregory is plotting to have her committed to an asylum so that he can take her inheritance.

In the book Gaslighting, the Double Whammy, Interrogation and Other Methods of Covert Control in Psychotherapy and Analysis, the late forensic psychiatrist Theodore Dorpat defines gaslighting as a situation in which one individual "attempts to exert control over the feelings, thoughts or activities of another." According to Dorpat, the gaslighting behavior itself is covert - neither "directly hostile" nor "intimidating."

"In order to be effective, 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," writes Dorpat.

In every gaslighting situation there must be a gaslighter, the agent of the abuse, and a gaslightee, his or her target. "Over time you [the gaslightee] begin to feel like you don't know your own mind or you don't know your own reality. Worse than that, you've allowed someone else to define it for you," says Dr. Robin Stern, author of The Gaslight Effect and a research scientist at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

In the 2001 French film Amelie, the film's namesake conceives a plan to gaslight a neighborhood grocer for bullying a mentally challenged employee. First, she sneaks inside the grocer's home. Then she replaces his slippers with duplicates in a smaller size, reverses door handles with knobs and swaps his toothpaste with foot cream. In a final triumphant act, she resets the speed dial button on the grocer's telephone to dial a psychiatric institution instead of his mother's home.

Of course, more subtle and prosaic instances of gaslighting abound. In a typical example, one friend makes another friend wait for over an hour every time they meet for drinks. When the person waiting shows that he or she is upset, the tardy friend asks how someone can be so sensitive.

When gaslightees defend their own feelings or character they are dismissed by their gaslighters as crazy, irrational, or uptight. "It's like a magic trick, a sleight of hand. Let me focus your attention here rather than there," Stern told me. "Maybe you are sensitive, but what does that have to do with the other person being late?"

The first stage in gaslighting is disbelief. At this point, a gaslightee views any disagreement as minor, silly, or forgettable. In the second stage, defense, the gaslightee has begun to second-guess himself. The third stage is depression. The gaslightee actually wants to prove the gaslighter right. Then at least he or she can find a way to earn the approval of the gaslighter.

In Stern's experience, the gaslightees are more often women and the gaslighters are frequently, but not always, men. "The women rather than saying 'you can't talk to me like that' will try harder. 'Let me make that meatloaf again. Let me put my outfit together again.'"

Common signs of the gaslight effect are feeling bewildered or confused, suffering from fitful sleep or nightmares, and an inability to remember the particulars of situations involving the gaslighter. Avoiding speaking about a particular relationship with other friends and feeling a loss of happiness are also strong indicators of a gaslighting relationship.

At the core of the worst cases is the idea that individuals feel respect, love, or admiration for their gaslighters. "When we idealize the gaslighter - when we want to see him as the love of our life, an admirable boss, or a wonderful parent - then we have even more difficulty sticking to our own sense of reality," says Stern.

The more conscious gaslighting victims are of these power plays in their early stages, the easier it is to disengage or even to end that relationship. Each case is different, but the first and most important step is to stop trying to gain the gaslighter's approval.


Check out the blog, Love Fraud. It is filled with horror stories of sociopaths who "gaslighted" their victims and mentally raped and pillaged them. Because that's what sociopaths do. And they can't change.


This sounds a lot like the premise behind "negging", the tactic used by "pick-up artists" utilizing the book 'The Game'. Inflict damage to a woman's self-esteem so that she'll feel compelled to prove her worth by sleeping with the guy who's subtly insulting her.

Another bitter cynic

As there are those comfortable with being manipulative and deceitful, there are those of us comfortable with being "gaslighted." My very close, best friend all through high school did this to me. Years of confusion, befuddlement and depression. Hooray for outside circumstances separating us after HS.

It's taken me decades to work out what was wrong. The real closer was when recently running into him, he *sort of* apologized for being so awful to so many close friends. It was like an explosion in my head, "IT WASN'T ME! I KNEW IT! WHAT A DICK!"

Sad thing is, I don't think he really wanted to be such an awful person. A family promoting alcoholism for generations certainly took it's toll. Smart guy, damaged goods.

Nearing the end of that time my fiance was doing same thing, much more pronounced though. I was learning the signs though, and we fortunately fell apart.

Michael Britt

Isn't a good example of this found in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation? I know this is really old, but...there was an episode in which Captain Picard was captured by the Cardasians who were interrogating him in a room with 4 lights and they asked him how many lights there were. He said 4 and they insisted that there were 5. This went on and on throughout the episode. I think their goal was to get Picard to not trust his own senses.

Damascus Steele

I see this type of scenario played everyday with families and communities. Separating the strong of mind and the weak. It takes its toll on the poor and less educated. A lot of distrust emerges.

Especially when you find that the facts you thought you knew since you were directly involved and witnessed in a reputable institution were all staged and untrue for their benefit. Now I believe nothing I hear and only 50% of what I see.

Gaslighting - Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Gaslighting is a strange-sounding term which refers to the way in which abusers such as Narcissistic Mothers lie to you, by word or deed, intentionally or not intentionally, to convince you that your version of reality is not right.

The phrase comes from the 1940's film Gaslight, in which an abusive husband deliberately dims the gaslights in the house, but when his wife comments on it he tells her she's imagining it, that the lights never dimmed at all.

Gaslighting is one of the most insiduous, viscious, nasty and effective forms of emotional and psychological abuse.

It can make the victim feel as if she's going crazy. If your perceptions of reality are constantly denied, and above all, denied by your mother, the person you look up to and who you think knows everything, it is very, very head-wrecking and crazy-making. (This is why I called my book You're Not Crazy, because that's so essential to know.)

This gaslighting can be done deliberately, as in the example from the film above, in order to make you go crazy. Malignant Narcissists would be prone to doing this.

Or the crazy-making can just be a side-effect and the gaslighting is done in order to preserve the Narcissistic Mother's vision of herself as perfect, without her actually having to do any of the hard stuff that would make her perfect.

I wrote about my wedding and how my mother never gave me any compliment, but swears blind, shouting it, that she did. This is gaslighting.

She didn't deliberately say to me on the day, "Pity you look so ugly," and then deny it - that would be the act of a Malignant Narcissist.

But she was too self-absorbed and self-centred to say anything nice to me AND she was too convinced of her own wonderful motherness to even entertain the possibility that she wouldn't have said anything nice to me, so she re-wrote history to make that that she did.

It's impossible for non-narcissists to get into the mind of narcissists, so I have no idea if this is right: But my best guess is that in her mind it's a case of: "A wonderful mother would have told her daughter she looked lovely, and I am a wonderful mother, therefore I would have/must have said it, and if Danu says differently she must be mistaken".

Gaslighting is also insiduous because so many of a Narcissistic Mother's cruelties are small ones. Any particular example of them can be dismissed as just a thoughtless word, and we're all thoughtless sometimes.

But her cruelties add up to death by a thousand cuts, and if you're trying to reason with her (which, don't bother doing. But until you realise this ...) and you're using previous examples of the same cruelty in an attempt to show a pattern - well, it won't work because she will simply deny that the previous examples happened.

Another form of gaslighting is the denial of your right to be upset. In this case the Narcissist might accept that the situation happened, but will invalidate you by vehemently denying that there was anything untoward about it, or any valid reason to get upset.

You might like to check out our Narcissistic Mother-English Dictionary for (a sometimes funny) look at what Narcissistic Mothers actually mean when they say things.

You might aso find the film/movie Gaslight to be interesting. It clearly (and chillingly) shows exactly how gaslighting works.

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