Gaslighting

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Identification

This is a very frustrating tactic when you are the victim. It is an attempt to psychologically manipulate a person by calling into question their sanity. It can be extremely powerful if we have insecurity buttons that beg to be pressed, and most of us have some buttons. This is a very aggressive and successful manipulative tactic that erodes one’s sense of reality[vii]. If the situation is at all emotional, people who know how to gaslight work it with devastating outcomes.

Example

Examples of gaslighting may be a denial that something happened (when it actually did), or to suggest that the speaker is crazy (when they are not). If you doubt the frequency or effectiveness of this tactic, look at the Presidential debates for the United States of America in the 2016 election cycle, or the so-called “Brexit” vote when Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. Seeing gaslighting at the negotiation table is at once flabbergasting and depressing because it creates so much tension and ill will.

Solution

The way to counteract this tactic is to ground yourself in your own factual reality before the negotiation. Skilled practitioners of gaslighting can lead people to do almost anything. If this happens to you in real time and you are unprepared, write down events that are alleged in chronological order. Compare the events with a market or social community that is honest with you, not with the gaslighting party. Challenge that party directly when the truth is known.

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