A recipient of gaslighting develops negative beliefs that impact self-esteem.
“Gaslighting” has become a recognized term in our culture for psychological coercion and manipulation by one toward another. When someone is subjected over and over to being coerced by words or actions that target their thoughts, feelings, and perception, it’s almost impossible for “self-gaslighting” not to take hold as well.
By internalizing the false accusations of the gaslighter, you begin the painful process of doubting yourself—a process that negatively impacts your perception of the world, self-esteem, and personal identity. To dismantle self-gaslighting, you need to start by recognizing the coercive tactics of the gaslighter.
Gaslighting abuse can take place in work settings, within families, and in personal relationships—particularly with intimate partners. The gaslighter is almost always highly narcissistic and lacking in empathy.
The purpose of gaslighting is to achieve power and control over a victim by causing him or her to develop self-doubt and in doing so, become more complacent. In working with individuals who experience gaslighting in the realm of intimate partner abuse, it’s the most prevalent of coercive tactics to overpower the other.
Monopolization of perception is a term used by psychologist Albert Biderman in his chart of coercion that identified ways that American prisoners of war were brainwashed into complacency (Biderman, 1957). But actually, monopolization of perception is similar, if not the same, and a more useful description of what actually is taking place in gaslighting.
The gaslighter always draws attention to themselves and their reality.