What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of abuse. More specifically it is a form of emotional or psychological abuse employed by an abuser to gain or maintain control over another. The abuser manipulates their victim through an ongoing pattern of deceptive behavior that leads the victim into eventually doubting their own memory or perception. And as the victim begins to doubt themselves they become more dependent on the abuser, giving the abuser increasingly more control over the victim's thoughts and actions.

Gaslighting can occur in any relationship but most often in close relationships, especially romantic (intimate partner) relationships. Gaslighting is very powerful, especially from somebody you trust and respect. The manipulation comes slowly but consistently - gradually reframing the victim's reality to suit the abuser. Friends and family can help by providing a reality-based perspective but abusers often isolate their victims for this very reason: they don't want anybody to ruin the false narrative they have been crafting.

Gaslight (1944)

Many people were first introduced to the concept of "gaslighting" through this classic movie starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotten -- and a teenage Angela Lansbury! Before Gaslight was a film though its story was presented as a 1938 play called Gas Light - and then a 1940 British film called Gas Light (released in the U.S. as Angel Street).

The images in this gallery show gaslighting in action and are from the 1944 film version of Gaslight.

Spoiler alert: if you've not seen the movie yet be aware that most of these images will reveal critical aspects of the story.

TIP: To better understand what gaslighting looks like, watch Gaslight (1944). To better understand what gaslighting feels like, watch the movie without knowing the story.

Gaslight Game Design Contest

The 2019 Life.Love. Game Design Challenge on gaslighting has ended! The winning games: are Last Shred of Reality from Another Kind; Lamplight Hollow from Luciano Sgarbi; LED Gaslight from Naomi Norbez; and Gaslighting Under the Sea from Sam Schneider. Subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when these games about gaslighting are available.

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