The Art of Gaslighting (or) How I Learned To Love Driving Someone Insane
First off, I do not recommend driving anyone insane. It is cruel and amoral. But, gaslighting is an incredibly interesting thing to learn about. And it is far easier to achieve than one would think. And who knows, maybe someday you will need to slowly drive a really terrible person insane, and if this article helps you achieve that, than to that I say a resounding huzzah! But seriously, don’t drive anyone insane. Just find quiet comfort in the fact that you know how to.
So the exact definition of gaslighting is: Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a someone doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial of something by an outside source, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the someone with the intention of disorienting the someone else.
Would it make you feel any more at ease if I told you she was singing?
Now I know you read that and think “Jesus Remy, want kind of sick, sadistic things are you trying to teach people?” Not sick and sadistic, my friend. But incredibly interesting. Come on, please don’t act like you were familiar with this, because only a handful of people i have ever met are familiar with gaslighting, and the few who are, only know about it as a result of the wonderful French movie, Amelie.
Just because she is adorable, doesn’t mean she can’t drive people insane with the best of them.
You see, Amelie did some gaslighting in that movie. The trick to gaslighting, is to do something minuscule and ineffectual, with the goal of getting other people to doubt the person you are gaslighting, with the end result is them doubting their own sanity. It may not be nice, but if you are doing it to a terrible person (like Amelie does) than I think you a superhero.
The term gaslighting comes from the 1938 play Gas Light, in which a husband continuously alters the flame levels around the house without the wife knowing. And everytime she asks if it seems dimmer or brighter, he, as well as anyone who comes by or spends time with them, says no. They say she must be imagining it. Now put yourself in that scenario and imagine the effect this would have on your psyche over time. After that film, the play was adapted into two different film versions. And thus, the act of gaslighting was born.
It may look harmless to you, but there is an underlying sense of deception at work.
And so, in simple terms, the idea is that you slowly get someone to doubt themselves, and you do this over time. The lighting seems like the easiest way to do it, but there are so many methods. The light method works because outside people can be referenced, and usually further that person’s self-doubt (which is justified at this point, but not validated) The truth is, no one is lying. They don’t KNOW the lights have changed. They are answering how perception teaches them to answer. Which in this case, is wrong.
One person thinks the lights are different, yet all the other people (and the antagonist) act like nothing’s changed. This begins the mental crack.
Please tell me I am not the only one aware that the lights are dimmer than they were yesterday? PLEASE???!!?!??!?!
Believe it or not, it is through simple methods like this that there is potential to condition and eventually mind control someone. It all plays off mentalism, which is what this is. The idea of planting a subconscious seed that blossoms with the help of the person’s neurosis and paranoia.
Again, I am not writing this to anyone as a “how to” guide. I am writing this simply as an “interesting aspect of sociology and the human mind” you may not have known about. And if you guys think that people are not so suggestible that they would fall for this, let me show you more mentalism at work:
You look at this and think it’s bullshit. Nope. That’s Derren Brown and the man is an absolute hero of mine. Not only do I think his stuff is badass, I know it works because I have done it.
You see, the mind is an incredibly malleable instrument, open to suggestion and impressions at all times, and for those of us who knows this, we are as good at playing the mind as some are at playing the keyboard.
Remember, don’t drive anyone insane. But if you have to, make sure they are atleast terrible people. Because in that case, you are doing us all a favor.
Be careful, though. If people figure out you drove them insane it will drive them even more insane. Insane-ception. BAM. I still got it.