What is Gaslighting?
If you’ve been cheated on, it’s likely that you also experienced some degree of what psychologists refer to as gaslighting. Gaslighting, in case you’re wondering, is a form of psychological abuse that involves the presentation of false information followed by dogged insistence that the information is true.
Many people are familiar with this term thanks to Gaslight, a 1944 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, a husband tries to convince his new wife that she’s imagining things, in particular the occasional dimming of their home’s gaslights. This is part of the husband’s plan to rob his wife of valuable family jewelry. Over time, the wife, trusting that her husband loves her and would never hurt her, starts to believe his lies and begins to question her perception of reality and even her sanity.
Today, the plot of Gaslight may seem a bit extreme. Nevertheless, the psychological concept of gaslighting – presenting false information and insisting that it’s true, thereby causing the victim to question her perception of reality – is well accepted, particularly in connection with infidelity.