Gaslighting is the manipulation by psychological means of a person (or group) which causes them to doubt themselves, their capabilities or their sense of reality.
Examples may include (but are not limited to):
- A manager criticising an individual’s work, then later denying they had done so
- An individual being made to feel that their opinions, concerns, thoughts and feelings are incorrect or lack validity
- Someone insisting an individual said or did things they know they didn’t do
- Someone denying or scoffing at an individual’s recollection of events
- Someone calling an individual “too sensitive” when they express their needs or concerns
- Someone expressing doubts to others about an individual’s feelings, behaviour, and state of mind
A person who is the subject of gaslighting may be likely to struggle to understand what is occurring, especially initially. Typically, the person experiencing gaslighting cannot ‘put their finger on the problem’. They believe they are imagining things, feel undermined, excluded and their confidence and productivity levels may suffer.