Initially when hearing this term, I believed the person was discussing some sort of light, but after further research, I realized that this is a horrific instance of abuse. I never watched it, but the term is actually derived from the movie "Gaslight." starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In an attempt to make his wife think she was crazy, he randomly flicked the gaslight from their attic, then denies it when she brings it to his attention.
All abuse is bad, but this tactic is particularly disturbing, and addresses the loss of self-esteem of the victim and the blatant attempt to control by the abuser or primary aggressor. To make matters worse, the abuser has convinced others outside of the relationship that the victim is delusional.
This points to the person who is cheating, or leading a double life and the desire to manipulate his/her partner into believing nothing is going on. This also focuses on the person who is subtle with the abuse, so the victim is blamed for becoming angry at how she is being mistreated. Before long, this emotional abuse becomes almost crippling, making it so very difficult to end the relationship. Afraid to turn to anyone for help, and thinking no one will believe what is going on, the abuse continues in a vicious cycle. Of course, there is also the constant humiliation of being called degrading names, or being yelled at, or having to cope with physical attacks at the least provocation.
This a master manipulator who will use the victim's reaction against her in almost every instance.
If you are experiencing this type of treatment and losing hope, please contact your pastor, someone you KNOW you can trust, or when it is safe to do so, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233(SAFE) or if you live in the NC area, please contact InterAct at:
or SAFE of Harnett County at (910) 893-7233
Each of these organizations has a hotline that is open 24 hours a day, designed to offer advice.
Don't forget - Love should NEVER hurt.