Thoughts About ‘Gaslighting’
My prediction is, that the word of the year 2017 will be ‘GASLIGHTING’.
No other word is saturating the collective spaces of what goes for news and political satire like this one. I take credit for my part on spreading it. Simply because I have been ‘gaslighted’ extensively. For years now. At one point, it crossed my path, as it is a known term in Psychology. Of course I looked it up, to find out, that its origin stems from the 1940 MGM movie “GASLIGHT” — linked to below (just in case You never saw it before).
Allow me to condense it with my own words. ‘Gaslighting’ is the attempt to make people believe something that does not exist and effects them negatively. In the movie, a husband is hellbent on driving his wife (she owns all the money) insane. He does this by first rearranging, or removing things that have their specific location. When the wife asks what had happened to the stuff, he alleges that there was nothing like that ever.
Now, sometimes, gaslighting can happen involuntarily, like in a relationship with someone who suffers from some sort of memory loss. Happened to me more than once with different folks. Best example would be, that You just went to the store and bought a jar of pickles that You place in the fridge. After some time, You like to have a chilled pickle and You find out, that the lid was opened. It wasn’t when You bought it, because You check for that — having bought stuff some idiot had opened in the store to help her/himself to a free pickle, before.
You ask the person You live with “Excuse me, did You open the pickles, per chance?” “No.” “Are You sure?” (that’s a stupid question of course, since You know that there is nobody else around, and You didn’t do it, for the simple reason that it is still the same day and You have not been sleeping one night in which You — without knowing it — could have sleep walked to the fridge to open that jar and take out a cucumber).
Therefor, gaslighting refers to the intentional creation of a situation, in which the person that created this situation, categorically denies to be responsible for it. The tricky part is, that it actually only works with people who trust the perpetrator. Absent You trusting somebody else, gaslighting won’t work, for the reason that You wouldn’t believe anything You are told about this situation.
When it comes to trust, relationships are fertile grounds for gaslighting, knowing and unbeknownst. Could You be together with someone You don’t trust? I don’t think so either. While it is very revealing and entertaining to watch the movie, the real McCoy takes place among friends. Friends are people You generally trust, for the same reasons You need to trust a partner. If You can’t trust Your friend, You don’t have a friend. Traditionally and historically, friends become that because You trust them. Ideally, and quite often, You can entrust them with You life. And no, I won’t go into the cultural differences of countries, that have a different take on friendship-either in a positive, or negative way. Only that much, that I have been traveling in countries, where friendship is at the top of all relationships, where friendship is akin to the love for Your Grandma and Mother together. Sacred.
But since I live in a country that invented the abuse of the term for the sole purpose of commercialization, ‘friendship’ does not seem to have the same value as in countries where true friendship is indeed sacred. For that reason, I focus on those places where ‘friendship’ means next to nothing, if not the fact, that You are supposed to stuff for free, that others are charging You for. Having worked a variety of interesting vocations, one recurring circumstance gave all of those vocations a sour taste: that You are always supposed to do things for these ‘friends’ for free, or for less money than for regular patrons.
Those ‘friends’ seem also to possess a proclivity to gaslight You and gaslighting can take many different forms. It is sort of reminiscent of ‘shape-shifting’. Gaslighting can have its motive in either what You do to others, or what You don’t do to others. Example: a ‘friends comes and asks You to look at her/his car. Something is wrong. You find out what it is, and take care of it. You give Your ‘friend’ the invoice and she/he explains that she/he does not have the money right now, she/he needs to go to the ATM first — only to not return. Since it is Your ‘friend’, You refrain to get all riled up about it, but You are enervated that she/he does not make an effort to pay.
Then You run into a real friend and that one tells You, that the person You fixed the car of, tells others, that she/he does not pay, because You did a lousy job. The next time You see this friend, she/he apologizes for not having been able to come by earlier to pay the ticket, but wants to do that now. Good for You, that You were told about the ‘behind-Your-back’ slander pertaining Your work. You won’t be susceptible to the gaslighting of Your ‘friend’, knowing the truth.
Unfortunately for all people, a number of politicians must have watched the movie “Gaslight’, too. They liked the idea as well as the execution and the movie must had become the standard work for all aspiring politicians. After all, this movie has been around for 77 years — enough time to make it into Psychology and into the daily political business.
Here are popular areas for gaslighting:
- Public Office
- Law Enforcement
- Government Agencies
It is important to remember, that gaslighting only works, when You trust whatever entity that resorts to it for any contemptible reason.
Now for some good examples for gaslighting:
- “Change You can Believe In”
- ‘Fake News”
- “This will make You look younger.”
- “Give Money to the Movement”
- “This car just came in and it will sell very quickly.”
- “The house is in a great neighborhood and close to the next shopping mall.”
- “You have to work hard to achieve anything in life.”
- “The dress looks really good on You.”
- “This investment is foolproof and will get You a 30% return.”
- “Mission Accomplished.”
You can be reassured that I do not want You to give up trusting anybody, but it helps to not trust the obvious Gaslighting Masters of the Universe:
- Public Relations — The politically correct term for propaganda
- Government — it never has Your interest at heart. It does not have a heart.
- Media — Committed exclusively to the owners of the World.
- People that want something for free.
- Corporations — Unless You are a shareholder. And then some.
- Churches — Making You pay for assisting You to get to heaven, when the time comes.
- Mortgage companies — these actually use endless tapes of the movie in their training programs.
- Insurance companies — We’re sorry, but Your loss is of course not covered, but You might want to cover that with a higher premium for the future.
The truth though is that gaslighting has destroyed many lives up to the victims committing suicide. It has devastating effects on society via the emotional abuse by the government. We have the highest suicide rate ever in the Western Hemisphere for a very good reason.
So, by all means, if You haven’t done so already, watch the movie and observe the principle behind the emotional abuse.
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Mahalo nui loa! (Thank You very much!)