Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 4 · 2 years ago

What is gaslighting?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A man obsessed with stealing valuable jewels murders one woman and attempts to drive the other one (his wife) crazy. His single-mindedness, driven by selfish motives, caused him to deceive and manipulate in order to obtain what he wanted regardless of the cost to others. Bit by bit, he torments his wife until she believes… (more…)

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...to grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dot com, forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot Com. Forward Slash Narcissism. This is understanding. Today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today we're going to talk about what gas lighting is. Now, gas lighting has become a psychological term that was borrowed from a movie, and the movie took place in one thousand nine hundred and forty four...

...and it started Ingrid Bergman. It is something that you can pick up on Amazon. I've watched it several times. I would highly encourage you to watch it, and so let me tell you a little bit about the plot of the movie. It was a man who is obsessed with stealing valuable jewels, who actually murders one woman and attempts to drive another woman crazy. Now the other woman happens to be his wife. His single mindedness, driven by his selfish motives, caused him to deceive and manipulate her in order to obtain what he wanted, regardless of the cost to her. Bit By bit, he actually torments his wife until she believes that she is losing her mind. She believes that she is going crazy. Fortunately, he's discovered just in time before he tries to commit his wife to an insane asylum. So this is the dramatic plot of the movie Gas Light and where we get the term gas lighting...

...from. And unfortunately, art actually imitates real life, so it is just as valid today as it was in the s. A person with narcissistic tendencies takes advantage of others to get what they want. Resorts too deceptive tactics, like twisting the truth. In any slight exposure to reality then causes them to claim that the others perceptions are inaccurate and possibly crazy. Sometimes they even go to the extreme of hiding things and then say the other person actually lost the items, or trying to get them to believe that they are losing their mind. So the name of this movie, Gas Light, is what inspire the psychological term called gas lighting. It describes the process of grooming someone into believing that they are losing it to the point of driving them crazy. So I'm...

...going to explain how it works, and there's like ten steps for how this procedure works, so pay attention, especially if you want to really understand this concept. Number One, you have to find a target. In the movie, a woman who recently experience the traumatic murder of her aunt, was targeted by the man who was after her inherited valuable jewels. Unfortunately, traumatized victims tend to look a little bit foggy. They seem confused, distracted and even withdrawn and discouraged. So a person meaning harm often looks for such a person because they are less likely to be present and aware of any potential schemes, therefore making them more vulnerable. So the first step in gas lighting is to find a target, and you are most likely to be a target if you...

...have already been through some level of trauma. Number Two charm the target. At first, the gas lighter is going to be the perfect person. They will be attentive, carrying and constantly present. While this is comforting to the target, it is actually a method of studying their victim. The more they learn, the greater the ability to successfully twist the truth. In this case, the charm is very deceptive, deceitful and ultimately dangerous. So the first step is to find a target, the second is to charm the target. The third is to push boundaries. Early on in a relationship, it is normal to establish a boundaries such as needing some time alone or with friends. A person who truly cares for another respects this limitation, but a person with...

...ulterior motives will show up unexpectedly with some excuse of missing them or needing to see them. This is actually a test to see how their target responds. Any tolerance of boundary stretching is a signal that a person is insecure and can be manipulated. person who maintains their boundaries is not likely to get schemed. Number three is the most important part in all of this and kind of the turning point. If you have a boundary and you establish it and a person respects it, then they are going to be a safe person. But if the person doesn't respect it and they push it and then you allow them to push it, well then that sets you up for number four. Gives surprise gifts. A common tactic is to give a gift for no reason and then...

...randomly take it away. The gift is usually something that is highly valued, so once the appreciation is shown, then it is removed, as a precursor to what we call the push pull abuse tactic. The idea is that the gas lighter is in complete control of their victim, giving pleasure and then taking it away. This creates a strange fear that things will be taken away of the target does not do exactly what is demanded. Soon number four is gives surprise gifts. Number five isolates from others. In order to be effective, the gas lighter needs to be the only dominant voice in the victim's head. So all friends, family and even neighbors are systematically removed from the targets life. This is what happened in the movie. There are excuses for this distance, such as your mother is crazy, you are best friend said you're a...

...gossip, that person is trying to take advantage of you and, my personal favorite, no one cares for you as much as I do. This reinforces dependency on the gas lighter to meet all of the needs of the victim. So this isolation, with the gifts, pushing the boundaries, is all a process leading up to number six, makes subtle statements. Now that the stage is set, the actual work of the manipulation and begins. It starts with hints of your forgetful or you are angry. The victim might not actually be forgetful, but a little suggestion, followed by the random disappearance of items such as keys always reinforces the concept the target might not feel anger, and an attempt to defend says no, I'm not, to which the gas lighter responds.

I can hear it in the tone of your voice and your body language. I know you better than you know yourself. Even if a person wasn't feeling anger before, they're going to be feeling in now. So it's the subtlety of the statements that you have to watch out for. That's number six. Number seven projects suspicions onto the victim. A gas lighter is naturally a suspicious person who takes her own fears and states that it is the target who is actually the paranoid person. This projection can become a self fulfilling prophecy, as the victim, who has become dependent on the abuser, that's what happened in the previous steps, believes what is being said without anyone else to counteract the truth, which is the reason for the isolation. The twisted perception then becomes a reality, the victim becomes paranoid and the gas lighter becomes dominant.

So number seven is the gas lighters projecting suspicions onto the victim. Number Eight, here's where it gets interesting. Plants seeds of imagination. This step begins by suggesting that a person is imagining things that aren't real. It is reinforced through intentional removal of lost items, claiming they hear random noises and generating unnecessary emergencies. Everything is done to cause the victim to become even more dependent on the gas lighters perception. Frequently, this step is done in conjunction with a repetition of the other previous six steps. It is a slow, methodical, almost daily process that is well planned. Think of it as like this constant dripping of a faucet. Number nine is attack and retreat. This is where...

...the push pull abuse tactic comes into full view, as the gas lighter attacks the victim through random anger outbursts, which are designed to startle a person into further submission. Then they follow it by making a joke of the incident, claiming that the targets reaction is an over reaction. The victim feels ridiculous and subsequently trust their instincts even less. Successful completion of this face pays gives the gas lighter complete control. Now to convince their victim that they are actually going crazy. So this is where the push pull comes in and the attack a treat number nine last, number ten takes advantage of the victim. This last step is where the gas lighter has obtained enough influence and domination that they are literally able to do whatever they want to the target. Usually there are no limits or boundaries anymore and the victim is, unfortunately, completely submissive. For...

...a previously traumatized person, this last phase is even more painful, as trauma is built on top of even more trauma. The gas lighter, who has no empathy for their victim, can only see that the end justifies the means of getting exactly what they want. So let's review the ten steps again. Number one, find a target. Number to charm the target. Number three, push the boundaries. Number four gives surprise gifts. Number five isolates from others. Number six makes subtle statements. Number seven projects suspicions onto the victim. Number eight plants seeds of imagination, number nine attack and retreat, and number ten takes the advantage of the victim. So in the movie it took...

...the observation of an outsider to actually help the wife escape from the clutches of her gas lighting husband. In real life, it often also takes such a person to shed light on this abusive situation. This could be a family member, a friend and neighbor, or even a counselor being such a person requires observation, courage and very careful timing, but to the victim it is an absolute life saver. So this is what gaslighting is. Next time, I hope you're not caught off guard by what a gas lighter can do to you. Pay Attention and make sure the most important step in all of this is that you set your boundaries and then keep them. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom.

For more information, visit grow with Christine dotcom.

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