Manipulation Technique – Gaslighting was a Top Google Search in 2022

Manipulation Technique – Gaslighting was a Top Google Search in 2022

By Susan Ibitz, Human Behavior Hacker, susan@humanbehaviorlab.com.

In 2022, searches on the web for gaslighting increased by 1740%. The term “gaslighting” refers to psychological manipulation in which the offender makes the target question their vision of reality and doubt their judgement and actions.

 

Gaslight: The Movie

Gaslighting comes from the 1944 movie “Gas Light,” which was based on the 1938 play, in which the protagonist’s husband steals some of her family jewelry without her knowledge, leading her to believe that all is in her head. Thank you, Hollywood!

 

Gaslighting is a Manipulation Technique 

The action-reaction effect states that when one generates, the other one reacts. It is like Jiu-Jitsu, the art of paralyzing and disabling an opponent by using their strengths and weaknesses. In layman’s terms, you must allow the other person to be in control.

In order to correct this, let’s review some examples and terms to help you understand and maybe modify this. As well as understanding the consequences of not acting against this.

 

How Much Does This Cost the Economy?

More than $220 billion has been wasted in the United States alone due to toxic work environments. Anxiety now affects performance when someone is experiencing gaslighting or other toxic personalities.

This causes a range of mental performance and health issues. Work-related depression, stress, and anxiety afflicted 822,000 workers in 2020-21. Also, 50% of all work-related sickness was caused by stress, anxiety, or depression.

It is imperative to note that working in an unhealthy work environment can have negative impacts, such as a lack of motivation, depression, fatigue, anxiety, burnout, and stress-induced illness.

 

Signs that a Person is a Gaslighter:

  • Detachment and lack of empathy.
  • Asking questions all the time, but not sharing. Afterwards this information ends up with the wrong person and is not told as it happened.
  • Tendency to criticize and discredit others.
  • Manipulative behavior.
  • Saying something about you to other people, then implying it wasn’t said and the person who is informing you about the criticizing is jealous or lying.
  • Modifying facts in front of others or behind your back.
  • Attributing to you a problem that they have. With this, they can imply that you are mirroring them, and make you look like crazy in front of others.
  • Telling your friends that you are not well, and that he/she is trying to help you. This way they dismantle any comment or situation in which you complain about the gaslighter. (That’s manipulation 101.)
  • Denial of facts, actions, and conversations.

 

If This is Happening to You

When someone is being gaslighted, they may experience extreme mental disorientation and anger, leading them to react defensively by trying to argue with the person who is doing the gaslighting. When the abused person believes that the abuser is telling the truth, she/he sinks into a deep depression, accepts the abuse as inevitable, and gives into the abuser’s control.

Your superpower is: When you realize you have been manipulated, the gaslighter loses control.

  • The first step to getting away is to get help from a professional who can help you figure out how the abuser is controlling you.
  • Avoid provoking the manipulative individual into an argument about who is right and who is wrong.
  • Emphasize reconnecting with loved ones.
  • Make sure you have conversations in front of others if you can’t cut ties with the person.
  • Keep all the communication by email or text.
  • Learn to say “No.” Or alternatively, “Let me think about it,” or “Let’s talk to XY about this before I do it.”

If you are a victim of gaslighting or think you are, get help. Identifying the problem is 50% of the solution. Look for support groups if you can’t afford professional help. Get friends that can help you vent without adding gasoline to the fire. You need to have a clear idea of how to act, and not react.

Don’t share this situation at work until you are sure you can trust this person. If you need to go to HR to make a complaint, make sure to have proof in writing that this situation happened or that it happened in front of someone else.

Do not attack the person gaslighting you, keep calm, short explanations. Do not justify yourself, and do not make a story or exaggerate the situation in any way. Remember this is manipulation and they use any weak spot you have against you.

Don’t answer questions they don’t ask, meaning stick to the question the other person is asking. Most people look guilty when oversharing or talking too much. If you are in a situation where you can’t get away from this person, don’t let them get under your skin. The best way to drive someone crazy is ignore them, be patient and wait.

Good luck.

 

 

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