The term gaslighting was adopted from a 1944 film where a man slowly manipulates his new wife into believing she is going mad. In the movie, the couple married after a 2 week ‘world-win romance’ and the husband, jealous and accusatory, then moves his new bride away from family and friends thereby isolating her and claiming that ‘it’s for her own good’.
He then commences to drive her crazy by moving things around in their home, disappearing things altogether, and dimming or brightening the gas lights and then claiming either that she had done these things herself, or that she is ‘paranoid’ and that it’s all ‘in her imagination’. He also sets her up to appear to have stolen his watch, and when she discovers it in her purse at a party, she become hysterical in front of all the party guests…thereby solidifying his claims that ‘she is crazy’.
Many domestic violence survivors describe this gaslighting form of emotional and psychological abuse where they were isolated, manipulated, and brainwashed and where their very perceptions of reality and sense of self were troubled and upended to the point they lost all sense of reality and no longer trusted their own judgements.
Gaslighting is a common tactic of an abuser because it has survivors questioning themselves, apologizing, and acquiescing to their abusers because they’ve so often been told “it’s all in your head” that they no long have confidence in their own perceptions, logic, or sense of reasoning. The abuser then has all the power in the relationship. We often hear “I felt crazy.”
Follow TTD’s Facebook and Instagram pages as they showcase the art-work from workshops held at the Maine Correctional Center’s Women’s Center & the Southern Maine’s Women Reentry Center titled: “It’s All In Your Head”