The controlling, manipulative brain-numbing tactic of gaslighting is an intentional pattern of behavior by the abuser that creates utter confusion and chaos in the mind of the victim. When this is coupled with the unpredictable actions, calculated lying, and intermittent punishing by the narcissistic abuser, the victim’s sense of reality is completely distorted.
This mind-twisting process puts the victim on such unhealthy footing, that every move, every thought, every choice of the victim is questioned by her or himself. It is one way the abusive narcissist exerts control over the victim. You start to feel like you are going crazy. One must experience it to truly understand the crazy-making that occurs with gas-lighting.
Why does an abusive narcissist gaslight his/her victim? Think about it. If I lack empathy and a clear conscience, if I have a completely distorted sense of what is right and what is wrong, if I am able to do or say whatever I want, whenever I want it, without consequences, I am in an ideal situation. I can continue to justify and control it all without any accountability.
The victim starts apologizing for things that are clearly not her/his fault. They start denying and explaining away what is right in front of them. You are so thoroughly confused and brainwashed that you find yourself defending, minimizing, and making excuses for actions and intentional behaviors on the part of the abuser that are inexcusable. The relentless blaming, lack of responsibility, insults, and abuse coupled with uncontrollable anger is unleashed on you if you dare to defend yourself or disagree on the fabricated facts of the narcissist.
The narcissistic abuser shames you, blames you and insists what you saw, heard, experienced did NOT HAPPEN. You start to question your sanity. It is complete torture. If there are no witnesses to the madness, you really start to think you are the “bad” one. You blame yourself, reprimand yourself and continue to “try harder” and/or to “act better”.
Many times victims (including myself) of gaslighting turn timid, silent, and filled with anxiety and fear. You are literally confused into compliance and acceptance of what you know is clearly not right. You become enveloped in a fog where your vision is so clouded and your sense of who you are is completely distorted. You no longer trust yourself and your sense of what is right.
Your thinking becomes skewed. You find yourself trapped in a false reality that is being represented as the truth and find yourself making excuses, defending, and trying to explain away the actions of the very person who is actually deceiving you.
Your compass that is supposed to guide you is completely off. You no longer have your own opinions, cannot define your emotional wants and needs, and have lost your sense of who you are at the core. Your integrity and deep held beliefs are no longer solid.
Your compass can be restored. You can come out of the fog. All is possible. One small step at a time.