Gaslighting: The Flexible Psychological Manipulation
Gaslighting someone long enough, and severely enough,
results in this happening to the target's mind.
At least, it feels that way!
Gaslighting–From Prank to Rank!
When “gaslighting” first came across my perceptual horizon, I was baffled, for the only thing which came to mind was the Victorian gaslight, yet this clearly wasn't that. Obviously, it referred to some sort of psychological tactic. Turns out I was right, for it derives from the cruel mental things done by Charles Boyer, the husband to his wife, Ingrid Bergman in the 1944 wartime film “Gaslight” in an effort to make her insane and prevent her from discovering his dark secret. What precipitated this post was that gaslighting was the basis of a recent episode of the hit show Blue Bloods. But instead of just her husband messing with her head, she also had his mistress to deal with, and the two went so far with it that the mistress became a faux marriage counselor the husband had found. Unsurprisingly, the marriage counselor, after seemingly listening attentively in several sessions, recommended divorce. Things got worse from there! But what I didn't expect in writing this was that it would reveal gaslighting also applied directly to me-on an enormous scale spanning most of my life.
Recognizing and dealing with gaslighting is hard enough when you're neurotypical, but what if you aren't and perhaps never were? This only makes gaslighting that much harder to deal with and the target that much more vulnerable. This is why, over and over again, we see things like this done to those least well positioned to protect themselves. Should you ever wind up in a group home, never sign over your Social Security Payee status because the owners tried to convince you that weren't fit to handle your own financial affairs.
Knew a lady who'd been through CIA-induced hell who did this, and the, ahem, generous recipients of her money allowed her only funds for cell phone, cigarettes and lady things. If she didn't do what they wanted, then she found herself looking bad and jonesing for smokes. Gaslighting can likewise be used by greedy would be heirs also, being a great way to make a case for mental incompetence, paving the way to vast wealth not otherwise obtainable from the person until after death.
Gaslighting can be something done as a prank, harassment, torment or even to induce what most of us would call a nervous breakdown or death. But it all revolves around the victim's perceptions and their manipulation by the gaslighter.
Let's start with a classic–moving or hiding someone's keys, but while still there to produce them quickly should, say, an emergency occur. Here, it is a harmless prank, one at best, barring a a tightly wound target, mildly and briefly annoying. There could be a mini-campaign of such incidents, say, as hazing for a fraternity or sorority. It could be used as an excuse to punish, as in messing up a perfectly made bed or disorganizing someone's footlocker, both known tactics employed by sadistic drill instructors for centuries.
Gaslighting can be used to hide something sensitive. During World War II, security measures for the first US first jet, the Bell P-59A Airacomet, included having the pilot wear a gorilla suit and smoke a cigar! Who would buy a tale of a plane with no prop (revealing the TOP SECRET item to be hidden, jet propulsion) with such a pilot? The story then becomes crazy on its face and doesn't get told. How many times have credible UFO witnesses who had rock solid accounts of structured objects behaving in impossible ways been told they saw Venus, a meteor, a flock of birds or even glowing swamp gas?
It can be used to wear down a person the government views as a threat, through inducing voices and sometimes hallucinations in the mind of the victim. Electronic torture which can not only negatively impact perception but the target's very ability to live! The system has been rigged not only to gainsay such claims, but to set up the victim for psychiatric ward treatment, possibly lifelong committal. Did you know that the APA (American Psychiatric Association), whose DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) details what is and isn't normalcy, is long under the control of the arch conspirators of Skull and Bones, resulting, among other things, in the replacement of the damning MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), resulting from external trauma (Trauma Based Conditioning), with the far safer DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), which is nebulous as to source. Obviously, justifiable concerns about being followed, the phone tapped, having the car tampered with, threats, electronic harassment and more–when they're all happening–become a case showing paranoia is present, right? Everyone has a breaking point, and gaslighting is a prime tool to induce the mind to snap. It can also make the target suicidal, which can be fatal.
But gaslighting can also be used to systematically mislead and sell programs and initiatives profoundly damaging to the people of a nation, all while the pols and pundits emphatically and many times over assure them, knowing full well they're lying, that it's for the people's benefit. A prime example of this was the first Gulf War where, after cavalcade of songs and dances as to why we were involved, the truth emerged. Ultimately, Bush Senior flat out said: “It's about the oil.”
This discussion is by no means exhaustive, but it should serve to provide a working awareness of gaslighting and what it can do. It should also serve as a warning to would be and active users of it for malicious purposes, for if detected, you could find yourselves on the receiving end of pent up and justifiable wrath, potentially resulting in ruin, hospitalization or death!