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AIBU?

To think the word "gaslighting" is overused

105 replies

willywallaby · 22/01/2024 07:49

The first time I heard the word "gaslighting" was in the early 00s when Richard Hillman in Corrie tricked his mother in law into believing she had dementia. I think the meaning used to be quite specific and usually in domestic abuse cases, where the abuser tries to make the person doubt their own reality. It's been used way more often in recent years, particularly when Boris Johnson was PM it seemed people had started to use it just to mean "lying". Even more recently, online I've seen other people accuse others of gaslighting when all they're doing really is disagreeing, not even lying! AIBU to think the meaning of the word has been hopelessly diluted?

OP posts:
FuckOffTom · 22/01/2024 07:58

YANBU and this also drives me up the wall. It devalues the word - so when people have ACTUAL experience of it, it’s harder to verbalise it.
I know whenever I talk about my experience of it, I always preface it with “in the true sense of the word it means this…” so people know I am using it correctly.

See also: referring to anyone you don’t like as a narcissist

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:02

along with narcissist

C1N1C · 22/01/2024 08:11

I find many of these words are used as argument-winners.

It doesn't matter if they actually apply or not, when used in an argument, they put the person on the back foot, particularly if in front of others.

ArchetypalBusyMum · 22/01/2024 08:15

Agree with you all.
It was shocking and powerful precisely because it is such a manipulative cruel thing to do.
The word had power has been co-opted and misused intentionally or otherwise, until now it's meaning is unclear and completely misunderstood by lots of people.

If someone deliberately makes you question and doubt the real evidence of your own eyes/ears etc it's gas lighting. The rest is lying or contradicting.

Bladwdoda · 22/01/2024 08:18

YANBU. I think words like “gaslighting” along with “depressed” “narcissist” and similar, are regularly misused. I’m sure some of the increase of use of accurate use as a result of people being more aware. A lot of just people using it in every day language to describe things that don’t actually fit into the description/diagnosis.

RandomButtons · 22/01/2024 08:18

Boris categorically WAS gaslighting though. He was lying through his arse to convince the entire nation that things weren’t the way they were. That’s the literal definition of gaslighting.

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:22

RandomButtons · 22/01/2024 08:18

Boris categorically WAS gaslighting though. He was lying through his arse to convince the entire nation that things weren’t the way they were. That’s the literal definition of gaslighting.

why can’t that just be “lying”?

Josette77 · 22/01/2024 08:23

Same with anxiety. Being anxious about something reasonable isn't having anxiety.

Also my adopted Dad is a clinically diagnosed narcissist. I've known other shitty people but narcissism is not just being selfish. It's wildly overused to describe someone whose rude and overbearing.

RandomButtons · 22/01/2024 08:24

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:22

why can’t that just be “lying”?

“Examples of Gaslighting BehaviorThere are many different ways that someone can gaslight another person. Here are some common examples:

  • Denying that an event took place, even if there is evidence to prove it
  • Lying and contradicting what the victim knows to be true
  • Making the victim feel like they are crazy or overreacting
  • Making the victim doubt their memory and perception
  • Manipulating the victim’s environment to make them question their reality”


https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/gaslighting-examples-effects-confront-abuse/#:~:text=Denying%20that%20an%20event%20took,doubt%20their%20memory%20and%20perception

that literally describes what Boris and his cronies did. It was just cheese and wine. They were literally laughing in our faces partying whilst our relatives died alone.

Gaslighting: Examples, Effects, and How to Confront the Abuse

Call us at 208.675.9604 to learn about how you can confront gaslighting abuse and how gaslighting can affect you. Our mental health programs are here to help!

https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/gaslighting-examples-effects-confront-abuse/#:~:text=Denying%20that%20an%20event%20took,doubt%20their%20memory%20and%20perception

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:26

Josette77 · 22/01/2024 08:23

Same with anxiety. Being anxious about something reasonable isn't having anxiety.

Also my adopted Dad is a clinically diagnosed narcissist. I've known other shitty people but narcissism is not just being selfish. It's wildly overused to describe someone whose rude and overbearing.

what type of specialist made this diagnosis

and did he admit to the diagnosis?

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:27

RandomButtons · 22/01/2024 08:24

“Examples of Gaslighting BehaviorThere are many different ways that someone can gaslight another person. Here are some common examples:

  • Denying that an event took place, even if there is evidence to prove it
  • Lying and contradicting what the victim knows to be true
  • Making the victim feel like they are crazy or overreacting
  • Making the victim doubt their memory and perception
  • Manipulating the victim’s environment to make them question their reality”


https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/gaslighting-examples-effects-confront-abuse/#:~:text=Denying%20that%20an%20event%20took,doubt%20their%20memory%20and%20perception

that literally describes what Boris and his cronies did. It was just cheese and wine. They were literally laughing in our faces partying whilst our relatives died alone. Edited

lying 🤷‍♀️

Flickersy · 22/01/2024 08:32

Gaslighting is a specific and very serious type of psychological abuse designed to get the target to question their own sanity.

It is not

  • lying in order to get out of trouble (a la Johnson)
  • genuinely believing in a different version of events
  • disagreeing with someone
  • telling someone they're wrong if you really think they are (regardless of who's actually right)


And so on.

People throw it out for anything nowadays.
Diamondcurtains · 22/01/2024 08:34

Yanbu. Gaslighting, anxiety, triggered etc etc etc. All massively over used. They’ve lost their original meaning.

Justleaveitblankthen · 22/01/2024 08:36

Agree with you OP.
People need to watch the film where the term originates.
Same with Narcissist.
Also don't remember the last time I spoke with someone - however briefly - who wasn't OCD/ND/ADHD/SEN.
A fellow gym goer recently prevented me from using her locker as she was OCD... In a sweaty gym FFS 🙄

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:38

@Justleaveitblankthen
A fellow gym goer recently prevented me from using her locker as she was OCD... In a sweaty gym FFS 🙄

So your stuff was already in the locker?

Josette77 · 22/01/2024 08:38

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:26

what type of specialist made this diagnosis

and did he admit to the diagnosis?

My family was involved with social services and saw different social workers as well as family psychologists. There was a lot of abuse in my childhood.

No he did not accept his diagnosis.

DeeLusional · 22/01/2024 08:40

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:22

why can’t that just be “lying”?

Quite. Real "Gaslighting" induces severe mental distress and doubting reality. No one was in any doubt that Boris was lying.

BibbleandSqwauk · 22/01/2024 08:40

I think one of the definitions above though is where a lot of people find it...the telling someone they are overreacting. Huge numbers of threads on here asking if they are wrong to be upset because their partner does fuck all, or gets drunk all the time, or goes out cycling every weekend all weekend. The partner has told them it's normal, everyone does it and they are "nagging". No-one wants to be nag so they shut up. It's not horrific psychological abuse but it is gaslighting.

Goatymum · 22/01/2024 08:41

Ocd one drives me mad! My ds has ocd - diagnosed - very not like what people mean when they say ‘I’m a bit ocd’ - you are not.

SwimmingWorrier · 22/01/2024 08:43

Josette77 · 22/01/2024 08:23

Same with anxiety. Being anxious about something reasonable isn't having anxiety.

Also my adopted Dad is a clinically diagnosed narcissist. I've known other shitty people but narcissism is not just being selfish. It's wildly overused to describe someone whose rude and overbearing.

Also, having a panic attack. A real panic attack is terrifying.

soupfiend · 22/01/2024 08:44

Im not sure these terms are generally 'overused' in society, perhaps if you hang around social media, including this forum, you'll see words/terms like this being thrown around willy nilly

Gaslighting
Narcissist
Controlling
Triggered
Anxiety
Safeguarding
red flags
county lines (my favourite)

wutheringkites · 22/01/2024 08:44

@regenerate

It goes further than lying.

Saying something untrue is lying.

Turning a whole situation around and putting it on the other person to the point that they question their own memory and feelings is gaslighting.

marmaladeandpeanutbutter · 22/01/2024 08:46

I think gaslighting is often inappropriately used, including on here. However, Trump has done it and the Tories definitely do it. They try to make out we all know something different than we know to be true, quite often. Previous governments have lied, but the manipulative way it's been done in the last 5 years is something new in this country. That early delegation to Trump's consultant Bannon in the US taught them plenty, evidently.

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:46

Josette77 · 22/01/2024 08:38

My family was involved with social services and saw different social workers as well as family psychologists. There was a lot of abuse in my childhood.

No he did not accept his diagnosis.

but he would have been the only one to have been privy to the diagnosis

regenerate · 22/01/2024 08:47

wutheringkites · 22/01/2024 08:44

@regenerate

It goes further than lying.

Saying something untrue is lying.

Turning a whole situation around and putting it on the other person to the point that they question their own memory and feelings is gaslighting.

that is someone lying to someone vulnerable as easily manipulated

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