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Gaslighting Invalidation: Determined Diagnosis

Updated on August 19, 2019
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NPD Mother FB page coined gaslighting as invalidation and rewriting history. Little did we know then just how high up the spectrum it goes!

Gaslighting Invalidation: Determined Diagnosis
Gaslighting Invalidation: Determined Diagnosis | Source

Gaslighting: Raising Awareness

While we have seen videos on YouTube claiming gaslighting is really "just lying," it is much more than that. While gaslighting could certainly be considered dishonest, untruthful, and mendacious, it is more than that. In our experience it is often used to exploit, trick, defraud, swindle, hoodwink, manipulate, or even neutralize. This article recounts true events as it proposed an alternative third phase or an additional fourth phase to Dr. Robin Stern's published three phases of gaslighting in her book, The Gaslight Effect.

Gaslighting is much more than just lying, deceiving, or being dishonest with someone. Learn about gaslighting by enjoying these top ten gaslighting quotes, mostly by licensed experts. For the better part of a decade we have promoted many of these quotes, first on Narcissistic Personality Disorder Mother Facebook Resource Page, prior to its last hijacking a few years ago now, then on Echo Scapegoat Recovery Tactics for a couple of years prior to settling on Narcissism: Echo Apologetics.

(Note: We are currently locked out of Narcissism: Echo Apologetics, hijacked account also as has been the case for the last few months. The hackers even changed the email account the Facebook account is registered to, again. Writing online in the narcissism niche has caused the Wild, Wild West to appear to be a walk in the park by comparison. At least then you could trust the sheriff to enforce the law for the victims, or you could shoot the bastards if they came on your land to steal your property! And now, for a word from our sponsor about "those damn guns."

Disclaimer: Note that as you learn about gaslighting, not unlike when doing boundary work to achieve healthier boundaries, cheaters, abusers, users, control freaks, power mongers, and even criminals may become displeased by such occurrences. The author is personally fine with them becoming angry, at which time they need to learn to handle their own emotions or law enforcement needs to deal with them should they be unable or unwilling to do so, because we are tired of 'em!)

First, we consult the experts with the top ten gaslighting quotes, then we review the movie where gaslighting got its name. Lastly, an intimate conversation or interview with high spectrum gaslighting victims.

Crazy Narcissists Crazy Smear Campaigns

Quote by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi, Clinical Expert on the Narcissistic Personality
Quote by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi, Clinical Expert on the Narcissistic Personality | Source

Malicious Narcissists Convincing Other You Are at Fault or Crazy

Another dark ploy is that narcissists contact your relatives, in-laws, friends and anyone who will listen to broadcast blatant lies about your character. This doesn't happen in all instances but it is remarkable the lengths these malicious individuals exceed to trash you, put you at fault and lead others to believe that you are "crazy;" you need immediate psychiatric help, you have always been unstable, etc.

- Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D, Clinical Expert on the Narcissist Personality

Top 10 Quotes Defining Gaslighting

Enjoy these top ten gaslighting quotes, mostly by licensed experts, as you learn about gaslighting. At the end of the Top Ten Defining Gaslighting quotes is a quiz. Take this quick quiz will test your understanding and help the reader retain this material. Feel free to repeat the quiz until you get a great score.

Gaslighting Invalidation

Gaslighting Psychological Abuse Quote by Christine Louis de Canonville
Gaslighting Psychological Abuse Quote by Christine Louis de Canonville | Source

#1 - Gaslighting: Psychological Abuse

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse used by narcissists in order to instill in their victim an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion to the point where they no longer trust their own memory, perception or judgment. The techniques used in "Gaslighting" by the narcissist are similar to those used in brainwashing, interrogation, and torture that have been used in psychological warfare that have been used by intelligence operative, law enforcement and other forces for decades.

- Christine Louis de Canonville, The Three Faces of Evil

#2 - Gaslighting: "Crazy" Victims

Gaslighting is a common practice of abusers who attempt to convince their victims they are defective for any reason such as making the victim more emotional, more needy or dependent. For example, if an abusive person says hurtful things and tries to convince you that you are mentally unstable and starts recommending that you get professional help, you might be in the presence of a gaslighter.

Martha Stout, Ph.D, author of The Sociopath Next Door.

#3 - Gaslighting Invalidation

The systematic attempt by one person to erode another person's reality by telling them that what they are experiencing is not so - and the gradual giving up on the part of the other person.

- Dr. Robin Stern, The Gaslight Effect

Gaslighter Personality Types Quote by Dr. George Simon
Gaslighter Personality Types Quote by Dr. George Simon | Source

#4 - Gaslighter Personality Types

Some Different Views on Gaslighting and Gaslighters

As you might expect, there's one expert who offers the fairly conventional notion that gaslighters are "generally people who were narcissistically wounded early in life- through emotional abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, inconsistent parenting and the like" whereas I asset that most gaslighters are not necessarily wounded souls but simply aggressive narcissistic personalities - disturbed and disordered characters "who are out to dominate, manipulate, and control; and will use any means necessary, including gaslighting (trying to make you feel crazy when they think you're onto them and their schemes and lies) to further their ends." It's a particularly popular tactic among serial cheaters. And I make the point I do because so often victims end up unnecessarily prolonging their abuse because they buy into the notion that their abuser must be coming from a wounded place and that only patient love and tolerance (and lots of misguided therapy) will help them heal.

Dr. George Simon, Some Different Views on Gaslighting and Gaslighters

#5 - Nervous Breakdown Recipe

Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the woman's reactions. The gaslighting behaviors of the husband provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some women [and]suicide is some of the worst situations.

- Psychologists Gertrude Gass and William C. Nichols (use the term "gaslighting" to describe a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity).

#6 - Psychopath Gaslighters

The psychopath will do all sorts of devious things to try to make the victim think they are mentally deficient or having a nervous breakdown, and that the psychopath enjoys the process of inflicting psychological damage

- Sandra L. Brown, M.A., and Lian J. Leedom, M.D., Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationship of Inevitable Harm

Gaslighting Quote via Psychology Today
Gaslighting Quote via Psychology Today | Source

#7 - Gaslighting: Manipulation and Brainwashing Quote

Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt her or himself, and to ultimately lose their own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. Gaslighting statements and accusations are usually based on blatant lies or exaggeration of the truth.

- Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., 8 Signs of Being in a Relationship with a Gaslighter: How gaslighters emotionally manipulate, traumatize, and exploit victims on Psychology Today

Gaslighting Quote on Psychology Today
Gaslighting Quote on Psychology Today | Source

#8 - Abusers, Dictators, Narcissists, and Cult Leader Gaslighters

Anyone is susceptible to gasligthhing, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed.

- Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D, 11 Signs of Gaslighting in a Relationship on Psychology Today

#9 - Sociopath Gaslighters

Sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing.

- Psychologist Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door

#10 - Domestic Abuse Gaslighters

"Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners, even flatly denying that they have been violent."

- Jacobson and Gottman

Gaslighting Quiz

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Gaslight Movie Trailer

Gaslight, the Movie with Ingrid Bergman and Angela Lansbury

Gaslight, the movie was released in the United States in 1940 and 1944, after showing as the stage play Angel Street in 1938 in the United Kingdom. Try not to let the old black and white style of the movie distract you from the important message of the film. This is a must-see! Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her performance in Gaslight, and it was Angela Lansbury's movie debut (of Murder She Wrote fame). Rather than solving The Case of the Don Juan Perpetrator, or the murder of the aunt, Angela's character actually joins in on the gaslighting of Ingrid Bergman's character, Paula.

The movie opens with the death of Paula's aunt, who was raising her. Young Paula leaves the scene of the murder, her home, and is told not to look back. So be sure to remember later in the movie that all of that unresolved trauma and grief is still just setting there years later. Also as you watch the movie see if you notice the three phases of gaslighting: disbelief, defense, and depression.

Paula is now a young woman taking voice lessons, trying to follow in her aunt's footsteps. She is falling for the piano player as her voice coach is criticizing her performance. As the lesson ends, Paula gives up her singing career as she meets the piano player down the street to continue their whirlwind romance.

"Criticism is the fountainhead of control." - Dr. Susan Forward, Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters
"Criticism is the fountainhead of control." - Dr. Susan Forward, Mothers Who Can't Love: A Healing Guide for Daughters | Source

The idealization phase of the relationship gives way to the devaluation phase as she gives up her singing career, he shows up when she goes on a trip to clear her head, they marry, and he manipulates her into moving back into her childhood home her late aunt left her.

As they move back into the house, everything is just as she left it when her aunt was murdered years before. You can almost see the unresolved trauma and grief in the air, making her even more ripe for her new emotionally manipulative abuser, her new husband. He now has her isolated, and with the maid joining in on the gaslighting, there is no one to validate her perceptions, which are 100% accurate by the way.

While he is claiming he cannot work in the house, he is actually leaving but going to search for the late aunt's jewels he is convinced are hidden in the attic. Each time he leaves Paula notices the lights dimming as if someone has turned on one of the gas operated lights in the home in another part of the house, causing the other lights to dim. It is actually him turning the lights in the attic on to look for the hidden jewels.

He had already been telling her how forgetful she is while he plays damaging abusive physical gaslighting games with her. By physical gaslighting we mean he moved the brooch he gave her then gaslighted her when she was unable to find it! The gaslighting is taking its toll as he threatens her with being committed, when will have to watch the movie for yourself to see the ending.

Three Phases of Gaslighting

In her book The Gaslight Effect, Dr. Robin Stern articulates three phases of gaslighting briefly paraphrased as follows:

  1. Disbelief - The phase is the initial response to gaslighting abuse, sometimes called the what-are-you-talking-about phase, which may include confusion, annoyances, and moment when you cannot quite believe what the gaslighter just said. The gaslighting abuser may also use criticism as a weapon to wound.
  2. Defense - At this stage the gaslighting abuser is producing self-doubt and instability in the victim. The gaslighting abuser may use guilt tripping, belittling, and the silent treatment may be employed. It can cause the victim to feel lost, confused, and unable to trust their own instincts and memory. As other abusers do, the gaslighting abuser may try to keep you isolated during this time, or you may isolate yourself. Be sure to notice the isolation in the movie, too.
  3. Depression - By this phase the victim may be a shadow of their former self prior to enduring the battlefield of the gaslighting abuser. This is the "heart-rending, soul-destroying" phase of gaslighting. It is often considered the it's-all-my-fault stage. The gaslighting abuser may have been idealized by the victim and the victim may want approval that never comes.
  4. Determined Diagnosis: The alternative or additional phase proposed by this article discusses just how far someone or a cult or other group may go in order to convince the world, and the victim, if possible, that they are "crazy." This will be discussed in the interview with high spectrum gaslighting victims based on true events.

Interview with High Spectrum Gaslighting Victims

This interview between high spectrum gaslighting victims will be published upon its completion, which should be shortly. In the meantime, gaslighting is such an important topic that the rest of the hub is being published.

Note: Keep in mind that we have stalkers (including their seemingly endless flying monkeys) law enforcement has not so much as interrupted their criminal activity toward us in the nearly four years since it was reported to all levels of law enforcement. This includes disparaging us while they continue to try to steal our content, accounts, and books, not to mention identities, credentials, loved ones, and reputations. We are in a fierce battle we do not intend to lose. However, this has caused our usual online schedule prior to the last complete hijacking of Narcissistic Personality Disorder Mother Facebook Resource Page a few years ago, to be disrupted. Hence, the interviews will be completed as soon as possible around the relentless stalking, directed conversation, threats, etc.

Six Common Traits of Narissists and Gaslighters

Six Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighters Quote by Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., Psychology Today
Six Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighters Quote by Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., Psychology Today | Source

Six Common Traits of Narcissists and Gaslighters

Both narcissist and gaslighter boundary violations presume entitlement, with a narrow, egocentric orientation that oppresses and de-humanizes their victims. In severe cases, this boundary violation pathology may result in illicit and underhanded dealings, financial abuse, sexual harassment, date rape, domestic abuse, hate crimes, human rights violations, and other forms of criminality. Many narcissists and gaslighters take pride in their destructive behaviors, as their machinations provide them with a hollow (and desperate) sense of superiority and privilege.

- Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., Psychology Today


The experts assert that it does not take much gaslighting to do psychological harm. So, be aware and learn to recognize gaslighting. It is extremely important for the average person to understand gaslighting, most especially since there are so many predatory and/or unsavory types engaging in it.

© 2019 Kelly Ann Christensen

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