The Gaslight Effect
How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life
Are You Being Gaslighted?
Your husband crosses the line in his flirtations with another woman at a dinner party. When you confront him, he asks you to stop being insecure and controlling. After a long argument, you apologize for giving him a hard time.
Your boss backed you on a project when you met privately in his office, and you went full steam ahead. But at a large gathering of staff—including yours—he suddenly changes his tune and publicly criticizes your poor judgment. When you tell him your concerns for how this will affect your authority, he tells you that the project was ill-conceived and you’ll have to be more careful in the future. You begin to question your competence.
Your mother belittles your clothes, your job, your friends, and your boyfriend. But instead of fighting back as your friends encourage you to do, you tell them that your mother is often right and that a mature person should be able to take a little criticism.
If you think things like this can’t happen to you, think again. Gaslighting is when someone wants you to do what you know you shouldn’t and to believe the unbelieveable. It can happen to you and it probably already has.
How do we know? If you consider answering “yes” to even one of the following questions, you’ve probably been gaslighted:
Does your opinion of yourself change according to approval or disapproval from your spouse?
When your boss praises you, do you feel as if you could conquer the world?
Do you dread having small things go wrong at home—buying the wrong brand of toothpaste, not having dinner ready on time, a mistaken appointment written on the calendar?
Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is difficult to recognize and even harder to break free from. That’s because it plays into one of our worst fears—of being abandoned—and many of our deepest needs: to be understood, appreciated, and loved. In this groundbreaking guide, the prominent therapist Dr. Robin Stern shows how the Gaslight Effect works and tells you how to:
Turn up your Gaslight Radar, so you know when a relationship is headed for trouble
Determine whether you are enabling a gaslighter
Recognize the Three Stages of Gaslighting: Disbelief, Defense, and Depression
Refuse to be gaslighted by using the Five Rules for Turning Off the Gas
Develop your own “Gaslight Barometer” so you can decide which relationships can be saved—and which you have to walk away from
Learn how to Gasproof Your Life so that you’ll never again choose another gaslighting relationship
- Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony, May 2007
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