Narcissistic Abuse: A Discussion About Gaslighting

In this interview, Mandy Friedman and Michelle Minette discuss the meaning of “gaslighting” as a tool of narcissistic abuse. Many are using the term to describe lying, which minimizes the serious traumatic experience for those who experience narcissistic abuse.

Gaslighting is arguably the worst form of emotional abuse that you can exert upon another. It is not simply lying. Gaslighting is the intent to take somebody’s ability to trust in their own perception of reality away from them. And that, I would say, is the very core of the reason that people who suffer narcissistic abuse are candidates for a diagnosis of C-PTSD. Because it’s traumatic to not be able to trust your own perception of the world around you. It’s devastating.

Key points:

  • Gaslighting is a systemic, malicious, and intentional grooming process with the goal of dismantling the target person’s confidence in their perception of reality.
  • Children are not able to “gaslight” parents
  • Lying is not gaslighting.

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for mental health treatment. It is important for survivors of abuse to find mental health professionals who understand trauma and abusive relationships. Please seek support from trusted and trained practitioners. This content is not meant to be used by anyone as diagnostic criteria. Permissions have not been granted for anyone to utilize this material as a source to make allegations about specific individuals. Any online content produced by Michelle Minette and F! All That Wellness Coaching is an educational discussion about narcissism which is a descriptive term for tendencies and behavioral patterns. Individuals with narcissistic features or tendencies do not necessarily meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria. The terms narcissistic and narcissism are used as descriptions of tendencies and behaviors and are not meant as clinical terms.