Juvenile red tailed hawk with clean and pristine feathers

Tuesday, January 24, 2017


photograph by Matt Mahurin

My wife and I were having a conversation over dinner last night when she suggested that somebody or other was gaslighting. "Gaslighting," I said, "I'm unfamiliar with the term." She suggested that I look it up.

Now I pride myself on a having a pretty broad vocabulary. I admit to being pained at being one-upped by my spouse, articulate and wise as she is.

The only gaslighting I personally remember involved a zippo lighter and an old pair of bluejeans at an infamous motel room in Glendale that I will leave for others to recount.

So what exactly is gaslighting?

I looked it up. Thought I was pretty worldly but think this one slipped by me. Wikipedia has an even better definition. Says it is a favorite tool of narcissists and sociopaths. And most everybody is familiar with it apparently but me.

Clinical psychologists suggest that one's will to resist the manipulation is related to one's ability to trust in their own judgement.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the targets, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gas Light, a 1938 play and 1944 film, and has been used in clinical and research literature.
I predict that this word is going to soar in our new post truth, alternate fact, drumpfian reality. Wish I could put money on it.

Learn something new every day!


Jon Harwood said...

At least we know the sort of gas Trump uses for his lamps.

Anonymous said...

well we have replaced one huge narcissist for a new one where is the change