The phenomenon of gaslighting got its name from the classical play “Gaslight” (and the film adaptations which followed it), in which a young wife is slowly driven to doubt her sanity by her husband and his clever manipulation. Today, the term “gaslighting” refers to a form of abuse and manipulation which can rear its head in any relationship (romantic or not).
Like in the original story, gaslighting takes place when one partner intentionally makes the other person in the relationship feel like they are losing their mind, their self-respect, and their sense of self.
Gaslighting is a very dangerous form of psychological abuse. It can be extremely subtle and may by its very nature cause the victim to distrust their judgement. Combined with the fact that abusers often appear charming to people outside the relationship, this may cause the victim to truly believe they are imagining the abuse and remain silent. This is why Dr. Valeria and I decided to create an episode dedicated to this subject.
In Episode 29 of the Get Sex Smart podcast we discuss gaslighting (including an actual real-life example of it, which served as inspiration for this episode). Tune in to learn about some of the potential motivations behind gaslighting; tell-tale signs that it might be happening to you; some early red flags; what to do if you’re being gaslit but feel you should ignore it; and how to free yourself from this type of abuse.
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