Gas lighting. A psychological tactic that means to change a person’s reality.
To be gas lighted is to be brainwashed, spellbound by something your eyes are unable to see. Gas lighting is a psychological manoeuvre that creeps in through the back door and eventually holds you hostage. You can’t see anything, you just feel unsure, afraid, alone, worthless, subservient. The list is endless. But uncertainty of reality sits at the top. Insecurity follows in.
To be brainwashed is where your mental state is ambushed and the truths are rewritten. You no longer exist as a human being in your own right; you have now become someone else’s possession. Your feelings are not yours! Your mind is not authentically yours.
Here’s how it works.
You always place your keys on the kitchen window sill. It’s a habit you’ve formed for months, your keys had a place where you could always find them. But recently you’ve become more stressed but unable to pin point why you’re stressed. Then one day, you go to the kitchen window and they’re not there? You’re searching and searching but you can’t find them. Your husband/wife or partner then helps you look for them and you find them in the kitchen drawer. But you checked the kitchen drawer first (as that’s where the back door key is kept) and they weren’t there?
The first doubt creeps in and/or you internally give yourself a negative quote.
You brush it off and tell yourself to be more vigilant next time? You apologise and thank your partner and carry on with your day, thinking nothing about the keys.
Next time it happens, you can’t find your keys and this time, your partner isn’t helping you look for them! Either he’s not interested or he’s busy? You finally find them in your jacket pocket? You’re puzzled why they would be there? But you tell yourself it’s an easy mistake because you’ve been quite stressed out lately. You internally tell yourself something negative again.
The next time it happens, your partner decides to help you find them and announces they were on the window, in the corner?
How odd? You were sure you checked the whole window, and certain they weren’t there? This pattern then repeats itself over time, until eventually you openly admit to your partner that you’re terrible with your keys? He agrees, and adds something on top of your sabotaging talk like – ‘you keep doing that. You need to get a grip woman. Or, ‘yeah you’re useless like that. You even forget to pick up my prescription every fortnight, I have to keep reminding you!
You’ve now successfully implanted a negative belief about yourself. And, you’re less likely to challenge him/her because you have actually lost your keys on a number of occasions. You think the truth of the situation is that your become quite scattered with your possessions. A negative imprint is planted in your psyche.
Now read again and ask yourself why the keys showed up (where you left them) when your partner helped you? But other times he wasn’t interested in helping you? Why were the keys mysteriously moving from a habitual place, to somewhere that you’d be unlikely to look but an obvious place to lose them?
Does this explain how self-doubt begins the slow boil of gas lighting?
It’s only the beginning of the brainwashing. But, the most insidious of psychological strategies of them all. It starts really small, but eventfully layers upon layers of doubt creep in to your mind. Before long, you’re a shadow of your former self and have successfully become a serving slave to a sinister master.
The game of opposites is now in effect.
The predator now has you unbalanced in your mind. You’re starting to doubt your own judgement. By moving objects that are real and then replacing them, you’re now feeling off balance, you just can’t verbalise these strange, niggling feelings of insecurity.
The stage is now set for level two in the game.
Idealisation and devalue in equal measure.
He says. “I want to take you out to dinner. Do something special together.” He employs charm, charisma and deception by proxy. “Wear the backless dress I bought you. You look so sexy in that outfit,” he smiles and gives you a look of lust and passion. “We can go to the bistro on the high street.”
You submit easily as your now believing he is charming and deliciously attractive. He is now back to the person you know again, considerate, appreciative and complimentary. Bombarding your ego with flattery and feel good hormones flood your body.
Then during the day you will be bombarded with amorous texts of devotion and loving gestures. Telling you everything you want to hear. You submit because, for once, he’s telling the truth about you. How amazing you are, how beautiful you are. Validating everything that is you. How he’d be nothing without you. You believe it because deep down its true. He is nothing without you. He’s an empty vessel and needs to feed of your spirit. You talk a couple of times on the phone; he says he booked the table for seven. Then he sends a text reminding you to wear the black dress he bought you.
A flash of doubt crosses your mind, “I thought he said backless dress” but you’re not sure now. You brush it aside. Because you can’t trust your judgement and you rely on his text!
You wear the black dress.
Level two in full swing. This happens consistently for however long it takes to takeover full power of your mind. Once a series of these episodes have been cemented in the duration of the relationship. You’re mind has been fully brain washed and the next stage of the game applies.
Power through fear
Once you’ve completed level one and two, the next passage is implanting FEAR. Your weakness is your poor judgement and it’s now become the predator’s biggest asset to controlling you. It usually begins with an argument or debate that gets heated. He’s envious of something you did and now he needs to be reassured of your devotion. The ego tricks of the mind come in to play. You reassure him, but it doesn’t work. He needs to see that he has the upper hand.
The banging down of objects to make you flinch now starts occurring at something you said. Furniture starts getting punched due to something that made him jealous. You start being shoved or pushed out of his way. A slap to calm you down when you’re getting hysterical trying to justify yourself. You may experience harder physical blows like a punch or being grabbed forcefully. He needs to hear you’re still totally committed to him and this validates his fantasy that he is gaining more power and control.
Defence mechanisms to protect you ego now start engaging and you’re repressing your emotions to console his. You rationalise this as a one off incident. You justify the anger as it was something you did! You placate the predator and tell him you’re sorry for looking at the waiter. For upsetting him so much, you can’t bear to watch the human suffering from a small misunderstanding. You express your love for him, telling him he’s all you think about. He’s your world.
He’s now employing the blame and deflect strategy. He says. “I get so angry seeing other men lusting at you!” Or “I didn’t mean to lose my temper… I don’t keep what came over me… I’m just so protective of you… You’re like my little diamond that I don’t want anyone to steal away from me… God I would kill for you… You’re so precious to me”. Trap two – your precious to him. You will get this loaded with convincing emotion, pinching the bridge of his nose to hold back tears. It can never be his fault. Never will be his fault. A lesson you will learn in time. You now start to believe you made him angry. It was your fault he got angry. Yes he accepts your apology and calm is restored
Re read the last statement he made and drop the ‘for’ because that’s what he means. “God I would kill you”. But you don’t hear this as the verbal word is powerful and the mind games are in full swing. However, believe this, in time, he will repeat these words with a chilling, menacing tone, laced with a venomous glare.
This is all part of the game. “Know your place woman”. Is the underlying motivation behind the action?
“Do not challenge me. I am Man! I am God!”