What is and what are some examples of gaslighting

What is and what are some examples of gaslighting

what are some examples of gaslighting

Do you know what is and what are some examples of gaslighting?

This week, Merriam-Webster, a publisher of dictionaries, revealed its word of the year, which it said was motivated by the current era of disinformation and manipulation.

It’s called gaslighting.

Merriam-Webster says that “gaslighting” is the act or habit of intentionally misleading someone for one’s own gain. “It creates confusion and mistrust,” the dictionary says. Gaslighting search volume increased by 1740% in 2022, and interest remained high all year.

I agree with Merriam-Webster’s “word of the year” choice for 2022. As the owner of a small business, a coach, a direct response copywriter, and an email marketer, I know firsthand how common this trick has become in both personal and business life.

But what are some examples of gaslighting? How can you know whether you are a victim? And perhaps most crucially, how can you defend yourself? Let’s examine it. 

What is gaslighting?


The term “gaslighting” originates from a 1938 drama of the same name (and later, a movie). The story’s main character is a husband who tries to convince his wife that she is losing her mind. As a result, the husband frequently dims the house’s gas lights out of sight of his wife. When his wife becomes disturbed by this, he claims that she is the problem and the lights are not dimming.

Merriam-Webster defines gaslighting as the “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”

The dictionary publisher says that “gaslighting” has come to mean “the act or practice of intentionally lying to someone, especially for one’s own benefit.”

What are some examples of gaslighting?


So how might someone gaslight you as an online marketer, freelancer, or small business owner?

Here are a few illustrations.

Your referrals and clients make commitments that they break.

For example, they will promise to join you or pay you once they have money. Then, after a while, they will find another reason not to fulfill their commitment. 

They change the subject or divert attention. 

For example, when trying to catch someone breaking a promise, gaslighters often try to divert attention or change the subject.

To make the broken promise seem less significant to you, they may try to draw attention to other issues they face that prohibit them from keeping their word or other ways they have benefited you.

They tell lies.

When the main character in the movie Gaslight expresses her worry about the dwindling gaslights to her husband, he tells her she imagines it.

Similarly, gaslighters have little trouble changing the situation and covering up their actions. When they were caught, they would try to cover their tracks and make you think the whole thing was in your head.

They falsify the truth.

Sometimes a gaslighter will misrepresent a situation without actually lying about it.

Today, for example, many businesses have long payment terms, like 60 or 90 days. If you disagree, they will say that “everyone does it” since it’s how business is done in the modern world, despite many other companies paying on much better terms.

They use ultimatums to persuade you to take action.

In talks, gaslighters frequently issue ultimatums or tell you that the transaction is off the table until you decide within the next day, hour, or even minute.

But this is a way to force you to make a decision you might regret later. If someone tries to take advantage of you by putting pressure on you to make a big decision quickly, they are trying to exploit you.

There are numerous other methods that someone may attempt to trick you in the business world; these are just a few. For instance, to control your thoughts and feelings, gaslighters may try to shift the blame, guilt trip you, deny you said certain things, minimize your feelings, or employ various other strategies.

How to protect yourself from this phenomenon

what are some examples of gaslighting

Gaslighting is an example of the “bad side” of emotional intelligence when people use their knowledge and understanding of emotions to manipulate others.

But never forget that information is power. You build a self-defense mechanism, an “emotional alarm system,” as you get more adept at recognizing when and how other people are attempting to manipulate and gaslight you. When your alarm goes off, you should exercise caution and avoid dealing with that person in the future. If that’s not possible or practical, you can limit how much you talk to them and come up with a plan that won’t put you in danger.

Buy yourself some time the next time you suspect someone is gaslighting you. Then, once your emotions have subsided, make an effort to look at the situation objectively. You could even consult a reliable friend or mentor for their opinion.

And keep in mind that improving your emotional intelligence is the best defense against its evil uses.

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