Skip to content

Gaslighting Explained: Everything You Need To Know About Gaslighting

Gaslighting Explained

Gaslighting explained: Gaslighting is an extremely painful thing to go through, and prolonged gaslighting can prove to be a very traumatic experience in the long run. This post will help you understand what is gaslighting and how it works.

It’s Everywhere

Gaslighting is simply impossible to comprehend, identify, and permanently eradicate without an accurate understanding of what it is and how it evades detection. Because of its complex nature and apparent invisibility, it secretly lurks in the shadows while perpetuating unfathomable harm upon its victims.

It is difficult for the victims of it and the many clinicians attempting to help them comprehend, identify, and ultimately resolve it.

To overcome what seems like a global gaslighting blight, we must develop, update, redefine, and broaden our understanding of it. To that end, the purpose of this article is to update and expand the definition of gaslighting while introducing relevant concepts, explanations, and illustrations of it. Let’s begin with an updated and broadened definition of gaslighting.

Related: Gaslighting Sister: 7 Warning Signs You Have A Toxic Sibling

Defining Gaslighting

Gaslighting is an insidious mind-control method that sociopathic pathological narcissists covertly use to create an iron-clad prison from which their Self-Love Deficient/SLD (codependent) prey cannot escape. Because of many factors, notably “The Human Magnet Syndrome’s” unconscious attraction and relationship patterns, gaslighters and SLDs predictably choose each other for romantic partners.

Gaslighting occurs when the SLD is manipulated into doubting memory, perception, and sanity.

The gaslighting narcissist covertly coerced the victim to believe they have a debilitating problem that either did not previously exist or was only a mild troubling. To “prove” the implanted problem narrative, the gaslighter methodically choreographs the environment, so their victim predictably and repeatedly experiences the staged problem.

gaslighting explained
Gaslighting someone


Gaslighters are Pathological Narcissists who fit the diagnostic criteria of either Narcissistic Personality Disorder with Sociopathic Features or Antisocial Personality Disorder. Because of their sociopathy, they are not only conscious of their Personality Disorder, but they also go to great lengths to hide any trace of it.

Such narcissistic gaslighters systematically manipulate an SLD’s environment so they are powerless to fight back and believe they are isolated from anyone who could help them.

Such victims become convinced their gaslit impairment makes them inadequate and unlovable outside of their carefully choreographed false but realistic relationship with their captor.

To succeed in their plan to control, dominate, and entrap, gaslighters target vulnerable and predictably weakened individuals who believe their false altruism, affection, and promises of protection. They are most successful when casting themselves as loyal, dutiful, and unconditionally invested in defending and caring for their victims.

Then, they implant narratives or revised and distorted versions of reality to weaken their victim, neutralize their defenses, and turn their mind against them.

Like Pedophiles…

Like pedophiles who sexually abuse children, gaslighters have a “nose” for the type of victim who naturally cannot recognize their scheming and highly manipulative ways, as well as those who are defenseless to them.

As with a pedophile at a playground, their laser-guided vision identifies and locks onto people who are the most oblivious to their nefarious intentions and most incapable of defending themselves.

They have an uncanny ability to discern whether potential victims are pathologically lonely or encumbered by core, perceived, or even accurate beliefs of powerlessness and weakness.

They seize upon anyone in a crowd who appears isolated from others or whose loved ones are uninterested in them and absent despite their protective and loving pronouncements. The “perfect” victim was manipulatively taught that fighting back is futile, as doing so exacerbates their powerlessness and suffering.

Related: 5 Things That Someone Who Is Gaslighting You Will Say

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC

Ross Rosenberg M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is the owner of Self-Love Recovery Institute. He is a psychotherapist, educator, expert witness, and author. Ross is known globally for his expertise in codependency (Self-Love Deficit Disorder™), Pathological Narcissism, Narcissistic Abuse, and Trauma Treatment. He is a keynote speaker and educator who has presented in 30 States/70 cities and abroad. Ross has been regularly featured on national TV and radio. His “The Human Magnet Syndrome” books sold over 120K copies and are translated into 10 languages. His YouTube Channel has amassed 19 million video views and over 200K subscribers.View Author posts