What is the Purpose of Gaslighting?

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

What is the Purpose of GaslightingGaslighting Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group creates the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and disinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Once in this state the criminal can then more easily control the victim for their own purposes. Instances can range from the denial by a scammer that a scam has occurred, to belittling the victim's emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim's confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings.?

A SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Insight into the Psychology of ScamsPsychology Of Scams Psychology Of Scams is the study of the psychological or emotional effects of scams or financial fraud on victims of these crimes. It helps victims to better understand the impact of scams on them personally or on others. To find the SCARS articles on the Psychology of Scams, use the search option to enter the term and find them.

Find Real ScammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. & Fake Stolen Photos On ScamsONLINE.org
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What Is Gaslighting

Why Do Scammers GaslightGaslight Gaslight or Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group creates the seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment. It may evoke changes in them such as cognitive dissonance or low self-esteem, rendering the victim additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction, and disinformation, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's beliefs. Once in this state the criminal can then more easily control the victim for their own purposes. Instances can range from the denial by a scammer that a scam has occurred, to belittling the victim's emotions and feelings, to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The goal of gaslighting is to gradually undermine the victim's confidence in their own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from delusion, thereby rendering the individual or group pathologically dependent on the gaslighter for their thinking and feelings. Victims?

Online social engineeringSocial Engineering Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. It is used as a type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, it differs from a traditional "con" in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme. It has also been defined as "any act that influences a person to take any action that may or may not be in their best interests." scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. rely heavily on the technique of “Gaslighting” to hold and manipulate its victims.

However, gaslighting is one of the most pervasive psychological techniques in use the world over! Understanding its purpose and the effects that it has on its victims can help us recognize its practitioners and help victims recognized when they are being gaslit!

According to Healthline.com:

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that’s seen in abusive relationships. It’s the act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories, and the events occurring around them. A victim of gaslighting can be pushed so far that they question their own sanity.

The term “gaslighting” comes from a play and subsequent movie called “Gaslight.” In the movie, the devious husband, played by Charles Boyer, manipulates and torments his wife, played by Ingrid Bergman, to convince her she’s going mad.

Gaslighting, whether intentional or not, is a form of manipulation. Gaslighting can happen in many types of relationships, including those with bosses, friends, and parents. But one of the most devastating forms of gaslighting is when it occurs in a relationship between a couple.

Signs of Gaslighting

According to Robin Stern, Ph.D., author of the book “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life,” signs that you are a victim of gaslighting include:

  • no longer feeling like the person you used to be
  • being more anxious and less confident than you used to be
  • often wondering if you’re being too sensitive
  • feeling like everything you do is wrong
  • always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong
  • apologizing often
  • having a sense that something’s wrong, but being unable to identify what it is
  • often questioning whether your response to your partner is appropriate (e.g., wondering if you were too unreasonable or not loving enough)
  • making excuses for your partner’s behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams.
  • avoiding giving information to friends or family members to avoid confrontation about your partner
  • feeling isolated from friends and family
  • finding it increasingly hard to make decisions
  • feeling hopeless and taking little or no pleasure in activities you used to enjoy

Now let’s look at the world we live in daily!

In the instance of socially engineered cybercrimeCybercrime Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks. gaslighting is mostly as described above. However, gaslighting is far more common than just with cybercrimesCybercrimes Cybercrime is a crime related to technology, computers, and the Internet. Typical cybercrime are performed by a computer against a computer, or by a hacker using software to attack computers or networks., it impacts us almost every minute of every day that we are awake!

Gaslighting in the Workplace

In the workplace, a gaslighter can be a negative manager, a scheming coworker, a prejudiced workgroup, a disgruntled customer/client, or a smearing business competitor.

Workplace gaslighting can also be the result of systemic, institutional bias, or negative media and social media coverage. A gaslighter may target and victimize groups as well as individuals.

According to Psychology Today, the following four attributes often distinguish workplace gaslighting from other types of challenges on the job:

  • The difficult work situation is based on persistent individual, group, or institutional bias and negativity, rather than solid proof, strong facts, established cases, and/or proven data.
  • The difficult work environment creates a negative/unfavorable narrative about the gaslit individual (contrary to evidence) and damages the gaslightee’s personal or professional reputation.
  • The mistreatment persists over a period of time, despite a clear track record of the gaslightee’s positive collaboration, contributions, and accomplishments.
  • When approached on the matter, the gaslighter typically denies mistreatment and can become defensive, contentious, dismissive, and/or evasive. Instead of using verification and facts to problem-solve, the gaslighter may escalate and become more aggressive, or stonewall and become more passive-aggressive.

Marketing & Politics

You can see how criminals and evildoers can use gaslighting to change perceptions and behaviors and actions, but think about what it really does to individuals and by extension to a population or group.

Gaslighting stifles discussion and decent because it attacks conviction and surety of a person’s knowledge and beliefs.

Ironically, science can be used to gaslight as well. The tobacco industry used gaslighting techniques (and still does) to promote smoking! Countless fringe medical businesses do exactly the same. They make the consumer uncertain of their own knowledge in an effort to get them to either consider buying or using a product, or at the very least not to try to convince others of how it might be bad, immoral, or unhealthy.

Yet, once a person is gaslit, the fake belief can be spread by them like a virusVirus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program.. Look at vaccines as an example. We all know that there are risks in any medication – humans are nto all the same and it is totally true that people react differently. But that does not negate the value of vaccines. Anti-Vaxers gaslight each other to reinforce their anti-science beliefs.

The amount of gaslighting in product marketing is nothing short of stunning. Marketing claims, negative comparisons, unsubstantiated benefits – these are all potential gaslighting. How can you know that a claim is not gaslighting? There will be confirmable verifiable facts – it really is that simple.

We have just been through a unique experience in our political lives, where two parties and candidates went to war to try to win the hearts and minds of the American populace. And gaslighting was right there at the heart of at least one party’s principal toolsets in helping force an outcome in their favor.

In exploring this we can see not only how it was used to manipulate an election, but how it is used everywhere else. Unfortunately, this article cannot go into the depth that would be needed for a full exploration, so many of the issues and concepts have to be limited, but hopefully, this will be enough to open your eyes and get you looking at what is being done to you.

What Does Gaslighting Really Do?

As has been said, gaslighting’s real underlying purpose is to get a person to doubt their convictions, certainty, and beliefs. It aims to turn an active certain person into an uncertain passive person. By doing this, it wants to convince you that you are wrong, that you should fear, and that everyone that thinks like you is the problem.

In politics, there are two approaches that were taken this time out. 1) Hate Trump and We know best. or 2) We are all in this together to make America Great Again. These seem to have been the core themes of each side. Of course, there is much more hype that is thrown out to support each position, but these two seem to be the essence.

Of course, for purposes of this discussion, these are simplified down to the two central themes to help you recognize the difference (even if you disagree with one of them), and see how gaslighting was employed.

Gaslighting never deploys positive messaging, it always approaches the individual to instill uncertainty and fear. Gaslighting never develops loyalty and community (except through fear), it drives wedges and separation and victimhood. Gaslighting has to tear down an individual in order to manipulate and control them.

This statement is true of all gaslighting, whether it is in a scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime -  is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., a marketing campaign, a sales pitch, a narcissistic boss, a criminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues.’s defense, or a dangerous politician.

Gaslighting never aspires to a person’s existing higher ideals. It aspires to tear down the individual to force-feed them with the gaslighter’s ideals and objectives.

Not everything negative is gaslighting. There are real dangers in the world. For example, when the oil industry and the automakers were pushing leaded gasoline on the world they were gaslighting. But when the lone scientist on the side of reason decried the dangers that of leaded gas, that was not. So in that case the negativity was not gaslighting, the apparent positivity was because it served to undermine the acceptance of lead as a danger to us all.

This brings to mind global warming. The problem here is that there is a political motive behind the movement for climate accords, and by definition, it means there is another agenda. Right now it is almost impossible to know which side is gaslighting, so the best option is to wait for the proof, not what some say is proof, but what is real recognizable proof. There appears no dispute that the climate is changing, just what the cause is. So let’s ignore this topic for now.

Of the world’s major ideologies, gaslighting is an essential part of most of the dictatorial ones. From fundamentalism to communism, they all depend on a small cadre of elites that tell the populace what they should believe, who their enemies are, and the population is sufficiently uncertain that they go along with it. In the end, the populations choose ignorance rather than doing the work to know the truth. Ignorance and gaslighting go hand in hand.

Summary

Regardless of what political party you belong to, do not let the elites tell you what to believe. Do your own fact-based research, and remember that sources of facts can also have their own bias. Wikipedia is not an unbiased source, any more than either political party is. Twitter and Facebook and Google are all profoundly biased. This makes it much harder to find what is fact in that you have to dive into the bias and motivation of each source too.

This article is not trying to tell you what is right or wrong, but only to introduce you to gaslighting so you can recognize it in action. In the end, each person accepts what they accept. The astounding fact of humanity is that about half will mostly get it wrong.

At least if you understand the techniques of manipulation you have a chance to get it right more often than not!

Remember

Gaslighting …

  1. Never promotes positivity (unless it is to defeat a truth)
  2. Never promotes loyalty (unless it is to make you doubt your current loyalties to suck you into a new group)
  3. Never promotes self-determination (you are wrong, we are right)
  4. Never promotes your own certainty (you are not capable of learning for yourself, you have to accept our facts)
  5. Always promotes doubt (you are wrong, always)
  6. Always promotes fear (if you don’t listen to us, bad things will happen)

Don’t be gaslit! Don’t follow the herd. Think for yourself!

Gaslighters Care About One Thing Only: POWER OVER YOU!

Gaslighting

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

U.S. FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com

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By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
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A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
Contact Us: Contact@AgainstScams.org

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