Gaslighting is a technique that manipulates victims with psychological strategies into questioning their own sanity. (Examples taken from the national domestic violence hotline)

  • Withholding: the abusive partner pretends not to understand or refuses to listen. “I don’t want to hear this again” or “you’re trying to confuse me”

  • Countering: the abusive partner questions the victim’s memory of events, even when the victim remembers them accurately. “you’re wrong, you never remember things correctly”
  • Blocking/Diverting: the abusive partner changes the subject and/or questions the victim’s thoughts. “is that another crazy idea you got from {a friend}?” or “you’re imagining things”.
  • Trivializing: the abusive partner makes the victims needs or feelings unimportant. “You’re going to get angry over a little thing like that?” or “You’re too sensitive”.
  • Forgetting/Denial: the abusive partner pretends to have forgotten what occurred or denies things like promises made to the victim. “I don’t know what you are talking about” or “you’re just making stuff up”.
    Of course, this leaves the victim confuses and blaming themselves, and leaves you feeling crazy as you question your own reality.