Gaslighting is psychological abuse used by narcissists. “Gaslighting” by the narcissist is similar to techniques used in brainwashing and interrogation. Narcissists are masters at this technique, and to them, it is nothing but a game in which they will always be the winner. This form of abuse is hard to pinpoint, because it works by instilling confusion in their victim. If you wonder if you are being gaslighted by a narcissist, ask yourself if you have lost trust in your senses; your identity; you no longer have faith in your memory; you feel confused much of the time.
The intention of the narcissist is to use a systematic way to zone in on the victim’s mental stability, self-confidence, and self-esteem. The result is the victim is no longer able to function in an independent way. They will ask the narcissist for their permission to do normal everyday things, like getting a manicure. The narcissist accomplishes this by withholding factual information from the victim and replacing it with the way they want the information interpreted . The result is the mental balance of the victim is undermined. That is why when subjected to gaslighting long enough; the victim begins to lose their sense of their own self-worth. The victim becomes totally dependent on the narcissist for their sense of reality.
To understand how a person can become a victim of a narcissist, it is important to know that the narcissist has many faces. Different faces are needed by the narcissist as they lead the relationship through each stage. These stages are as follows:
The Idealization Stage
The Devaluation Stage
The Discard Stage
The Idealization Stage:
In the beginning, the narcissist showers the victim with attention and love. They are fun to be with and very charming. Intense bonding begins for the victim, and they honestly believe the narcissist feels the same way. The victim gets hooked by the narcissist’s grandiose praise and attention to them. These hooks create a release of endorphins, which make the victim feel euphoric. They become hooked like an addict to the high they get from the release of their own chemical endorphins. They develop strong emotional attachment to the narcissist. The victim does not realize this is all an illusion created by the narcissist. It seems more real than anything they have ever experienced before. This is the stage the narcissist determines their victim’s strengths and weaknesses which the narcissist will use to their own advantage.
The Devaluation Stage:
Overnight the narcissist can go from the idealization stage to the devaluation stage. The loving words the victim became so used to turn into criticism. The victim, is totally confused, and has no idea what is happening. They start to feel as if they are “walking on eggshells.” The victim starts to use all their energy to defend themselves. The narcissist starts the devaluation stage when their prey can no longer give them the fresh supply of positive energy they crave.
The narcissist gaslighting techniques are now at their peak. Confused the victim works harder and harder to please the narcissist in hopes of getting the relationship back to where it was, when it felt so good. They want their soul-mate back. At this stage, the victim is reduced to a shadow of their former confident self.
The Discarding Phase:
The game comes to a conclusion in this state. The narcissist is bored with the victim’s dependence on them. The narcissist now feels they have won, and the fun is over. The narcissist becomes totally indifferent to any of the needs of their victim. In effect, the victim no longer exists in the narcissist’s mind.
However, the victim is left confused and raw with emotion. The victim wants to find solutions to fix the relationship. The narcissist will resist all attempts to fix the relationship. They will torture the victim with silence. The narcissist feels the victim is now “inferior” to them. They know they drained the victim dry, and they move on to the next source of supply. However, the narcissist enjoys the undertakings of the victim to win them back because it feeds their ego.
Once discarded the victim can hardly recognize themselves anymore; they have been sucked dry, broken of spirit, and stripped of dignity. They exist in a joyless state of mind. They escape into depression.
The following are some gaslighting techniques used by the Narcissist:
· The narcissist will tell you how you are to feel and think.
· An innocent interaction that you had with another person may be blown into to something degrading by the time the narcissist twists it around.
· He tells you that your body language is suggestive to others. This makes the victim afraid of even cross their legs around other people.
· He tells the victim other people have made certain degrading references about them. He will never tell the name of the person so the victim is always in a state of confusion as to who is saying the bad things about them.
· He will tell the victim they were seen in a certain place acting inappropriately. This wears on the victim so much that if they were an extrovert before; they will become an introvert before long.
· The will say you said or did something (but for the life of you, you don’t recall it) while you were tired, asleep, or intoxicated. They will convince the victim of things such as saying that they called out another man’s name during sex.
· He will tell the victim, he discovered certain negative information about them. They may have a stellar reputation, but he will make the victim think they don’t with their convincing accusations.
· No matter what happens it will always be the victim’s fault. The narcissist will never take blame for anything and will make something up to put the blame on the victim.
· He will make the victim feel guilty about things that they have nothing to feel guilty about. Remember, they are excellent manipulators and know how to work their prey.
Warning signs that you are a victim of Gaslighting:
• Second-guessing: Because your confidence has been eroded you live in fear of making the wrong decision.
• Asking “Am I too sensitive?” You have heard over and over that you are too sensitive and you begin to believe you are. As a result, you look for approval before doing anything.
Apologizing: If you are apologizing all the time it is because the narcissist has taught you to do that. It takes the shame off of him and redirects it toward you.
• Withholding information from others: Because gaslighting is a form of abuse that can’t be explained easily to people who have never experienced it, the victim will only tell of the positive moments they share with the narcissist. They are embarrassed they have fallen victim.
• Knowing something is terribly wrong, but can’t figure out what: The goal has been reached by the narcissist when you are so confused by their on and off behavior you doubt your own reality that something is wrong. You think something is dreadfully wrong, but you can’t pinpoint it because you no longer trust your own instincts.
• Trouble making simple decisions: The narcissist has trained you well to depend on them for all decisions. The longer you are under the control even the simplest decision will become hard to make.
• You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, and more relaxed: If you feel this sense, you have lost your authentic self in trying to be what the narcissist wanted you to be in order to please him. It takes work to find yourself again, and you have to do it piece by piece. .
• You feel hopeless and joyless: If you feel hopeless and joyless because you have been discarded by the narcissist it is because you went from a loving relationship to nothing as fast as a light can be turned on and off. What you thought was reality was an illusion, and you can’t make sense of what happened. Your mind gets stuck in a loop. At this point, it will probably take professional help to heal.
Be aware of gaslighting techniques. They are a very dangerous form of emotional abuse. Gaslighting techniques can be used by the person you are in a love relationship with, by a boss, by a friend, by a parent to a child, by anyone who is more interested in using people for their own gain than in valuing the person for who they are.
Part three will be the final research of this very interesting personality disorder.