In simple terms, gaslighting is me breaking you down and making you question your basic reality.

In her book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People–and Break Free, Dr Stephanie Sarkis talks of the most common techniques that gaslighters use to break down people and make them vulnerable.

01. They tell outrageous lies deliberately.
The aim is to keep you unsure as they say it with a straight face.
Eg: Me telling you that you cancelled our dinner plans even though you know you did not do it.

02. They deny things you have proof of.
 You show me proof that in fact, I cancelled the dinner plan (a call log, perhaps). And I still deny it even though it is right there visible to both of us.
Seeing my ‘sincere indignation’, you start to wonder if perhaps I am right.

03. They target your self-esteem and weaknesses.
In a relationship, we do let our guard down and reveal intimate memories, insecurities and moments. Now imagine, I decide to use it against you.
“If only you weren’t so fat, you would have been an excellent dancer.”
“It is not your fault that people think you are stupid.”

04. The lies build up, wearing you down gradually.
It is never a single quick swipe of the sword. Multiple small stabs over a period of time as I bleed your self-confidence and reality away.
“You left the lights on.”
“You must have forgotten to text her.”
“You said you would get the milk.”
“You must have used the money to buy something.”

05. Their actions do not match their words.
Narcissists are smooth talkers, in general. That is the problem though.  What they say and what they do are two different things. So keep an eye out for whether I actually do what I claim to do.

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