Why the Narcissist uses Gaslighting and How to Deal with it

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What is Gas lighting?
Gas lighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the target and delegitimise the target’s belief (wikipedia.org).

The term was taken from a 1944 film by the same name, about a woman whose husband manipulates her into believing that she is going insane. In the movie, the woman’s possessions would go missing and the husband would tell her she removed them, however she had no recollection of doing so, she would hear footsteps coming from upstairs and the gaslight dim and brighten but her husband would claim it was her imagination. He continued to gaslight her as his plan was to have her declared insane and committed to an asylum.

Gas lighting is a tactic that the narcissist and manipulative abusers use to cause you to question your sanity and reality, its also used to break down your will to fight and resist. You’re left doubting and questioning and wondering about your own perception of situations and circumstances. The narcissist purposely denies things they have done, and makes out like you are going crazy. He does this so convincingly, you almost begin to believe that you’re wrong, and he is right. It starts of little by little, one small thing here, another there. Gas lighting is designed to break you down mentally to the point where you cannot trust your own judgement or reasoning. You’re always confused and you’re always second guessing yourself (did I get it wrong…is he right…am I going crazy?). Gaslighting occurs in relationships, in the workplace etc.

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Why do Narcissists do this and what are the effects?
Its all about control, just about everything the narcissist does is about controlling you. They want to control the way you think, the way you talk, who you associate with – your whole life. It’s a power trip for them. They want to fill you with shame and guilt.
They’re jealous of you, and hate all that is good about you and your character. Deep down inside they know there’s something wrong with them (they just don’t want to admit it)and they’re not willing to change and be better human beings. They know they can’t be like you so they want to break you down, make you crazy( “I can never be as good as you – so I will destroy you!”). They want to mess you up so that you’ll be of no use to anybody when they’ve finished with you.
Gas lighting is also a way of protecting themselves against feelings of shame which is what they try to avoid at all costs. They don’t want to carry the shame of being wrong so they want to project the fact that they are wrong on to you ( I’m not wrong, you are, I’ve not made a mistake, you have made a mistake).

Gaslighting destroys your self confidence, and self esteem, you’re always thinking everything’s your fault. You’re overly sensitive and anxious and people who are close to you will have noticed the change in you. Even you yourself will know that something is not right, but you won’t be able to identify what it is.

My Experience with Gaslighting
The Narcissist in my life would discuss some issue with me and decide a course of action, (of course he would not carry it out) then because he hadn’t done anything the following week, he would deny we ever had a discussion or came to any decision. He mostly does this to cover up his inaction. I’m left wondering whether we actually did decide or had the discussion.
I was accused of not doing things properly and generally made to feel like I was crap, it really affected my self confidence and self esteem, which I’m only just recovering from. The funny thing is , when he was left to do the same tasks, he was worse than I was. When I pointed this out to him, he claimed that he never insinuated that I was not good at my job, that it was my imagination or I was lying.
He would tell me some thing very personal about his childhood and then when in conversations with him, I would bring it up, he would adamantly claim he never told that, it must be my imagination because that was definitely not true and he never told me anything like that. That was when I realised he was lying (I didn’t realise it was gaslighting at the time) because there is no way I would have imagined the details of his life like that. It’s just crazy and so devious how they behave, it just reveals how mentally messed up they are.

It got to the point where everything that went wrong in any situation, I was at fault. I was supposed to have done this or this and I would question whether we had a discussion about it, and he would give the time and place we discussed it. And I would have no idea what he was talking about! Sometimes he would go on a rant and say things like, ‘ do you think that you are good, well, you’re not because you did this or that”. He made me question myself, my character.
I didn’t realise all this until I read about gas lighting, then I realised I wasn’t going mad and that it was all him.

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How to protect yourself from Gaslighting
Here are some tips to deal with and protect yourself from gaslighting:

Just understand and realise that it’s not about you at all. There is nothing wrong with you and everything wrong with them. They’re the ones who are mentally and emotionally unbalanced and they’re trying their best to mess you up too.
If you’re in a situation where you’re feeling confused or unsure about details of certain discussions/ events, or you have no recollection at all ( and you know you have a good memory) then you’re probably being gaslighted. Trust your intuition. Don’t accept what the other person is saying as absolute truth unless it can be proven.
If you’re in a relationship with the person, if it is a friend, you should consider cutting all ties with that person at least for your own peace of mind. You should really think about whether you want such a toxic person in your life- a person who makes you feel like you’re going crazy. If the person is your boss or co-workers you should also seriously consider whether you want to continue working in that environment, find out if you can transfer to another department or team.
If possible, try to keep a record of any private conversations in a diary . With the narcissist in my family, I make sure I record conversations with him on my phone, just for private use, of course(ideally you are required to inform a third party if you’re recording them) just so I can refer back to the conversation again if I’m in doubt.
Don’t argue with them, that’s what they love and you’ll never change their perspective. They are master manipulators, you’ll never win an argument with them. They live in their own little world where they are always right and everyone else is always wrong. Just get as far away from them as possible.

8 ways a Narcissist behaves like a Child

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If you are or have been in a relationship with a narcissist you will have noticed that they behave very much like children. In many ways, narcissists process information and the world around them the way children do. The reason behind this is because at a certain age (probably between ages 0-6) their emotional development was stunted and they never matured with appropriate emotional intelligence. This was probably often to do with some trauma suffered through neglect or abuse. So they were never able to mature emotionally.

Here are the following ways that Narcissists behave like children:
1. Toddlers and babies are unable to take care of their emotional and physical needs. They cry and act up if their needs are not met. Babies will cry and will not stop, if they’re hungry, angry or uncomfortable, they don’t care if you’re busy, or you’re sick, they want attention right now. Babies lack empathy and compassion because they have not the emotional capability to discern/understand this and act on it. This is the same with a narcissist. They want their needs met now, just like children, they don’t care whether you’re busy or unavailable or sick. Narcissists do not recognise, understand or consider other people’s needs, only their own, just like little children.

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2. Children are proficient liars. They can be caught red handed with chocolate all over their mouth and they will flat out lie that they never took the chocolate or that their sibling/friend made them do it. The narcissist will do the same thing. Narcissists are pathological liars, they will lie to get what they want and also to avoid blame at all costs. Sometimes their lies are so blatantly obvious, but with a poker face they will convince you that they are telling the truth. They will lie, even when the truth would be make them look better.
3. Children love being the centre of attention and can became very jealous if they feel attention is on another child. That’s why parents when they’re having another baby are encouraged to engage their child in the process so they do not feel jealous of the newborn baby. Children believe and behave as if the whole world revolves around them and everyone has to fit into their world and their world view. They view the world as one dimensional and believe that their parents/caregivers are extensions of themselves. This is the same with narcissists, they believe that their partners are extensions of themselves and not separate individuals with their own needs and feelings. Narcissists are attention whores and and have an obsessive need to be acknowledged at all times.

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4. Smear campaigns, gas lighting (lying), flying monkeys are all behaviour that children display in the playground. They scheme and manipulate friends to stop talking to someone they don’t like at that particular time. Children engage in manipulation, blame shifting, projection, entitlement, etc in order to survive and interact with their world because emotional intelligence in a child hasn’t developed and neither has a narcs. Narcissists, of course are masters of these tactics, as they have never grown out of it.
5. Children are naturally impulsive and will do things without thinking about the consequences, they will do things they feel good about. Narcissists are the same, they exhibit very reckless behaviour, they will do things that make them feel good regardless of the consequences, irrespective of the feelings of others. They often display a total disregard for social laws and morality and have no respect for boundaries.
6. Children will sulk or go into tantrums if they don’t get want they want. Narcissists will do the same, I’ve actually seen a narcissist jump up and down in a rage and go into a hissy fit! Absolutely hilarious if it wasn’t so disturbing!

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7. Children are great at creating and inventing fairytale stories about themselves, with imaginary friends and worlds, they do get quite engrossed in it. Narcissists whole life is a fantasy, a false reality, they are delusional, and their whole life is a fabrication of which they are the lead actor/hero, which again is very much like children.
8. Young children can’t tell, the difference between wants and needs. The child believes that he needs some chocolate but really he just desires or wants some chocolate. They narcissist cannot tell the difference between want and need, and just like children, they get very angry when they don’t get what they want. They erupt into a rage when they believe that their needs have not been provided for. They cannot wait for something, they have to have it immediately whether they can afford it or not. They want instant gratification just like a child and are often involved in ‘get rich quick’ schemes. Children will take things that are not theirs and claim it as their own, narcissists will do the same. Narcissists don’t understand boundaries either just like children.

Narcissists are simply unable to view the world as normal people do. Like a child, no matter how much you logically explain there is no boogie man in the closet, they will still have that fear (delusion of reality). This the way a narcs mind works. The difference between the narcissist and a child is that a child will grow out of these childish stages and acquire emotional intelligence. The narcissist never does. So basically, narcissist are just toddlers in adult bodies. They are like emotional toddlers living in an complicated adult world they cannot relate to.