I would suspect that if you are aware of gas lighting then you’re aware of how most abusers use it to try to get out of trouble and to try to flip the script so that you’re the one that is on defense. They try to make it so that they never have to feel that shame and they never have to be the bad guy.
They can be the perpetual victim and they can always be the one telling the sob story for the sympathy hit, or they can be the justified avenger that finally had enough. In all cases you’re the bad guy and they are the good guy but, it’s petty enough and childish enough that it doesn’t really effect you, despite the annoyance of someone denying what you know to be true.
True gaslighting is much more insidious than that. If you’re truly the target of someone with real malintent in mind then this person will sadistically try to break you down mentally and emotionally with the ultimate goal of complete control over you and for some malignants, their goal may be for you to committing suicide.
It sounds harsh I know, but to these individuals there is nothing more impressive and ego inflating that being able to drive someone to the point of suicide and not leave a mark or a speck of evidence.
The aggressor will have the patience of a psychopath predator waiting for their prey in the dark without a sound or a breath to disturb or alert you. This gaslighting will be subtle and consistent and it will be aimed at destabilizing you to the point that you are uncertain where you stand on anything.
How They Do It
They will be consistent and they will be relentless with denying your reality. Whatever happened they will go down a list of typical things that a sociopath would say to invalidate your and to try to turn it into something else. They will tell you that you are delusional. That is a big one that they love as a go-to statement.
They will talk circles around you randomly jumping from topic to another topic while blaming the topic jumps on ADD or ADHD, it will provide you with no cohesion or flow in the conversation and it will typically happen the moment that you’re starting to get firm on your position or starting to corner them on some aspect of the lie. They will smart about this though and jump to another topic and will leave the other one alone for a while.
They use a couple of principles that are espoused quite loudly as a means of causing you to doubt yourself.
The first is that they’ll constantly remind you of studies or of things they have read that state memories change, that we can remember false things, that trauma changes the brain and changes our memories and how we perceived events due to that.
They will pour on all of the scientific or logical reasons even going so far as suggesting early onset dementia just to get that seed of doubt started in your mind.
They want you to logically be aware and logically think that it is quite normal and quite an everyday occurrence for people to misremember something or to have changed the memory into something else.
They want you to normalize that information which make it easier to mold your memories if you accept the notion that you likely do not remember some things correctly and that some of your memories could be wrong. It makes it so you subconsciously accept that your memory is flawed.
Then, they will work hard on creating circumstances which shock you with these ‘aha!’ moments where you are dead wrong on something which will leave you stunned and leave you recalling the fact that memories are malleable.
They will try to cluster a few of these situations together and may even fabricate or setup the dominoes so you walk into a situation that was designed to prove you wrong by making you think one thing when the reality was another.
All of these things are 100% meant to add to the notion that your memory is not as static as you think. Once you have that seed of doubt then you’ll see a switch back to that initial topic with the rewrite in hand.
On top of all of that, they also know that time is not on your side. Time weakens memories, it weakens how strong the memories are and our conviction to the severity of those memories.
They know that it will water down with time and you’ll become less and less attached to those memories which again will allow them to be accessed and for you to be less defensive about them accessing those memories.
They will push you with exhaustion. You’ll be worn out and tired when they approach you with the rewrite because we tend to be more agreeable and less willing to fight over details when we are tired.
Things we might have held them to or corrected them on we will let slide for sake of saving ourselves from an argument but each time that we do this with a detail we start to allow that history to be rewritten. Sure we know in that moment what the truth is, and we can tell ourselves ‘yeah, but we know the truth’ but it isn’t that easy.
Our subconscious works against us and our subconscious stores these memories. Our subconscious believes whatever it is that we tell it so if let that lie slide in that one details then our subconscious will be more receptive to it the more often we hear it. After that detail has slid by two or three times we may believe that detail to be true and it over writes the fact of the matter.
Little by little they will bring this issue or this event up and they will continue to change details in it waiting as time goes on and for your memories fade. If you decide to dig in and fight it out over some detail they will either talk in circles saying the same thing again but repetitiously minutely retelling the story but with an important detail or two out.
The repetition and the injection of their new story parts, the omission of the old story parts and you start to get a evolving event that you will start to remember differently than it had happened and you won’t even know that it is the case.
Further to that, they will utilize your fighting fatigue. They know that if they drag the fight on long enough over enough days there will be a point that you’ll be so tired of fighting about it you’ll be in a greater likelihood to either accept their explanation of the event or accept that they were innocent in whatever the issue was or that you were actually the one responsible for whatever the event was.
Now, the really insidious ones will also utilize their friends to gaslight you by telling you in random conversations that they facts are different than what you remember.
They’ll joke about you being delusional and they will say things that will make you start to question yourself — you may even have thrown at you a statement like ‘if everyone else is saying the same thing then don’t you find it odd how you’re the only one that blames everyone else or you’re the only one who believes this other thing to be true?’
When you have a organized and motivated group that is intent on erasing an event from the public consciousness you’ll see that this ability is quite effective to actually have people think that serious events were actually minor coincidences.
They will work on you over a period of a year even slowly chipping away at what you know to be reality calling you a pathological liar to isolate you and calling you delusional or insane nonstop until that moment when they hit you just in the right spot and you ask yourself….’am I really the problem here?’ and then boom — they got you.