After The Aftermath episode on the Watchtower Society, and thinking about mind control organizations in general and scientology in particular, I thought it fitting to republish an article from Psychology Today about gaslighting.
Someone sent this to me recently in relation to a completely different topic, but it has a lot of application to world of cults (some would say all organized religion) and how people are persuaded to believe the unbelievable and do the unthinkable.
I found this enlightening — just as I found Martha Stoutt’s The Sociopath Next Door which I highly recommend.
The behavior of sociopaths and narcissists and gaslighters are not “one-off” unique to a particular person. They are observable patterns of behavior. When you come across someone that displays some of the characteristics, you will likely find with further observation that they display them all. They are parts of a whole. And remember, you are not crazy — which is what these people want to think.
11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.
Posted Jan 22, 2017
In my book Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People – and Break Free I detail how gaslighters typically use the following techniques:
1. They tell blatant lies.
You know it’s an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they’re setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you’re not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.
2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.
You know they said they would do something; you know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality—maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.
3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
They know how important your kids are to you, and they know how important your identity is to you. So those may be one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you should not have had those children. They will tell you’d be a worthy person if only you didn’t have a long list of negative traits. They attack the foundation of your being.
4. They wear you down over time.
This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting—it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often…and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting—it is that effective. It’s the “frog in the frying pan” analogy: The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it.
5. Their actions do not match their words.
When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing; it is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.
6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.
This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don’t have value, is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, “Well maybe they aren’t so bad.” Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter—and again, to question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for; it is probably something that served the gaslighter.
7. They know confusion weakens people.
Gaslighters know that people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans’ natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable—and that happens to be the gaslighter.
8. They project.
They are a drug user or a cheater, yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so often that you start trying to defend yourself, and are distracted from the gaslighter’s own behavior.
9. They try to align people against you.
Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what—and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as, “This person knows that you’re not right,” or “This person knows you’re useless too.” Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. A gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don’t know who to trust or turn to—and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that’s exactly what they want: Isolation gives them more control.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter, because it’s dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It’s a master technique.
11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.
By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You’ve never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be telling the truth, right? No. It’s a manipulation technique. It makes people turn to the gaslighter for the “correct” information—which isn’t correct information at all.
The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them and avoid falling into the gaslighter’s trap.
Mike! You have to get together with Remani and Dr. Ramani, the leading expert in narcissism (and gaslighting). She has an amazing channel on YouTube, her own podcast called Navigating Narcissism where she has interviewed other ex-cult members (some you have interviewed as well!). I know you and Leah and Dr Ramani would all get so much out of a conversation about narcissism, cults and healing from narcissistic abuse.
Annette Lagoon says
This is all true while they collect everything you worked for they make you and your family look crazy and bleed all your bank accounts, CD’s IRAs, retirement plans, cars, trucks, lottery tickets, scratch offs, social security. They collect in your name and dont pay any takes. They have someone in place in every position in order to pull it off. I guess everyone has a price and no amount of money would make them happy. My dear friend Pierrette Albrecht and Cheryl Holcomb didnt even see this evil. They have golf courses all over in Albrecht and a Annette Lagoon Street so to steal our money. My inheritances ended up being a not so good thing and the people they hire never worked a day in their life spending our hard earned money. My ring leaders at least along with Tom are cashing in and tell people from the banks, Fidelty that its for a movie or your a prediter and the banks let them steal your contributions, intertest etc. They are all so happy to have change in their pockets buying big houses, living on everyone around the worlds name and money.
Thank you for this, Mr. Rinder. You’ve described my late husband to a T.
I think I would consider adding “they blame YOU for everything that goes wrong”…..everything gone wrong in your life is YOUR own fault….YOU PULLED IT IN……Wow, disgusting.
Shouldn’t this post have been called “a quick hatting on Gaslighting?” 🙂
Sounds a lot like the White House, and Miscarriage
Hardly. The White House is doing wonderfully well and the country is benefitting from it terrifically. Cheap shots on what is supposed to be a non-political blog dealing with scn are just that: cheap.
I commented on this down below. Frankly, I don’t see what the problem is, unless one has a romantic crush on politicians in particular. I have yet to read ANYTHING political here. We were discussing Gaslighting, and we still are. Politicians are human too. Why should THEY be off-limits? I don’t consider calling out an obvious, blatant Gaslighter to be a “cheap shot”. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. I personally don’t give a FF if Washington Monkey Boy is a Republican, Democrat, or Green Party tree-hugger. This is about CHARACTER, not politics. Like I said, politicians don’t get a free pass just because they’re politicians. Screw that.
It wasn’t a cheap shot. It was a dead on accurate example of gaslighting. and as such wholly appropriate for Greg to point out. Gaslighting is practiced in all areas of life – business, religion, politics and personal relationships. Greg shared what he has OBSERVED as regards GASLIGHTING. . YOUR observations about his example of same differ GREATLY. Ok, so big deal! Agreed that this is not a political blog. This is a blog about the ABUSES of Scientology one of which is gaslighting. I would suggest that you try to make the necessary distinctions and not take something like this personally.
Shelley Jackson says
I see we’re back to the political BS. This blog is read by a wide variety of people who don’t all live in the USA. I personally don’t care for the constant obsession of some to repeatedly bash political figures at every opportunity.
Joe Pendleton says
Shelley, honestly I don’t think it’s a matter of “bashing” political figures or even politics (only a very occasional political statement is made on this blog, much less a “constant obsession “). It’s just that it helps when one can relate ideas to what one observes in life … and just objectively speaking, there ARE a lot of those points present in Trump and Miscavige, whatever political party one favors.
There’s no use reasoning with the self-appointed Speech Police, Joe. Maybe if one day he shoots someone on Fifth Avenue…oh, wait, .never mind.
I had a former boss that would constantly say something and then attribute it to me. Particularly if it didn’t work out, proved to be wrong, or unpopular. Or if it was a position he had wanted me to take in an argument.
We had many meetings where discussions of decisions degenerated into “No, YOU said that…”
He went so far as to tell customers that I had ‘driven out’ popular sales staff from the business nearly a year after I had quit.
He absolutely displayed the behaviors of simultaneously building you up with rewards, while verbally tearing you down.
And Scientology, the posterchild of gaslighting techniques, still has tax-exempt status in the United States of America.
This is an outrage.
This sounds like a summary of what the Scientology “Fair Gamer’s” do to me each week.
When I was a child, I had a near photographic memory. Not to brag but I did. I could remember whole sentences of what had been said to me, or what I had read,word for word, without any particular effort or reason to do so. This was sometimes irritating to parents and other authority figures when they would change their mind about allowing me to have something or do something because I would remind them of what they’d originally said. Usually they’d respond with, “I never said that.” Then I’d say, “Yes, you did. You said ___ ____ ____ ____ ___ etc. etc.etc.”, and spew back to them nearly verbatim what he or she had said to me. I would do this to teachers too. Must have really gotten on their nerves 🙂 On the ” positive” side, it made it very easy for me to cram for tests after not studying. I put “positive” in quotes because when I wasn’t interested in a subject I mostly didn’t study it but passed the course by relying on my memory and cramming at the last minute for tests. In those days a student didn’t have to demonstrate understanding. If you got high enough marks on tests, they had to pass you. When I wasn’t interested, my mind was like a sieve with very tiny holes. The information stayed inside long enough for me to pass the test.
I don’t have this kind of excellent memory anymore. But I do still somehow remember what people say, not word for word, anymore, no way, but I do remember, because mostly when people talk to me I pay attention.
Consequently there’s nothing and I mean nothing that drives me up a wall faster than the second type of gaslighting, i.e., someone saying “I never said that.”, when he or she most certainly did, or, “I told you that already”, when that person has told me nothing of the kind.
Its not only sociopaths who try to get away with shit like this. There are ordinary, good people who will sometimes attempt to palm this sort of thing off in order to win an argument or make a point. It make me crazy inside but I’ve learned not to lose my temper anymore but to CONTAIN 🙂 observe it and let it serve as a tick in the box as to the person’s character and trustworthiness.
Aqua, I had a similar memory when I was younger which drove others kind of crazy. I could memorize music and one “singing”, too. It’s whittled down somewhat over the years! Oddly, it’s beginning to come back and I’ve avoided the loony bin for the nonce. I’ve noted a lot of people simply can’t stand the idea of being “wrong” and I just don’t argue with them any longer. What’s the point? 🙂
Yes, crazy stuff, having a memory like that, right? So you drove the adults crazy too, parroting back to them what they said? LOL! I wish I still had that ability! I took it for granted when I had it.
And I agree with you that a lot of people simply cannot stand the idea of being “wrong”. Nice people, too, not sociopaths, not gaslighters. i find these same people ALSO can’t stand the making YOU wrong – IF they like you! Making someone they like wrong is like a SIN or something and as such ALMOST as upsetting as being themselves wrong! With this mindset no respectful debate on the points can occur so as you say, why argue, what’s the point? 🙂
Peggy L says
Right Aquamarine. There is so much to learn here – so much applies to not only the big cults but to mini cult behavior between husbands and wives, co-workers, relationships, etc. not the least of which is trying to persuade others to “disconnect” with those who might threaten their power and toss in their own version of Fair Gaming. The more people become aware of what to look for the better chance of avoiding getting caught up in that web.
“Mini cult”. That’s a great term.
Beware of Minicults.
“…mini cult behavior…”
Funny you should say that. I know 2 married women, friends of mine, who each shared with me that they voted in both the general and the midterms for their husbands’ choices and wholly against their own, for their husband’s sake. To make their husband’s happy. They voted for people they couldn’t stand. To not do so would have been “not good” for their marriages.
This is amazing to me.
I didn’t have my parents for long but their relationship made an indelible impression. My mother would do anything for me father – cook for him, serve him, wait on him, etc. etc., He was definitely “the man” of the house. They were comfortable with their roles. But my goodness, he never tried to control her MIND. As devoted as she was, she was very much her own person. And he was his own person. They would agree or disagree; they would go back and forth..current events, politics and so forth. .I can’t imagine him ever exercising that kind of mind control over her, ever telling her or inferring that she must VOTE a certain way in order to maintain domestic harmony. Nor, if God forbid he had, that this would have been OK with her.
I was lucky to have had them.c
Peggy L says
Oh Aquamarine, sounds like we had very similar parents, but I was fortunate to have mine for what sounds longer than you. Mine were very comfortable in their roles, and even different opinions never interfered for their love and respect and devotion for each other. Had to laugh at you father never trying to control your mother’s mind – I would have to say good luck with that if he ever would have tried 🙂 My mom passed away last year, my father over 20 years ago, and she loved him as much as she did the day they married.
Gaslight: To psychologically manipulate (someone) so that they question their memories, perception, or sanity: “Feminists are often gaslighted into believing that holding their partners accountable for promoting gender equality is unreasonable” (Suzannah Weiss).
[gas + light1. Verb, after the play Gas Light (1938) by British playwright Patrick Hamilton (1904-1962) and its film adaptations, in particular Gaslight (1944), in which a woman experiences strange events, such as the unexplained dimming of the gaslights in her house, and doubts her own sanity when she is told she is imagining or misremembering her experiences.]
Saw this on reddit:
How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
None, they all use gas lighting.
Thanks for all you and Leah are doing for us Mike.
OT. To Mike & Leah,
I just watched the latest episode of Aftermath. I was struck not only by the continuing pain of family separation, but also the enduring toxic effects of scientology’s learned and enforced thought control. I’ve heard many other contribitors, here and elsewhere, who still have engrained thought processes responsible for inhibiting an ability to fully appreciate, accept and love one’s self. Even if it’s not fully possible to overcome the effects of this harmful cult, please know that those who see you and what you are doing DO accept, appreciate and love you. Not contingent on anything you do. Just seeing who you really are.
Gaslighting is a tactic in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality.
10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.
It is even more visious with “Scientology’s Truth Rundown”. See video with Bruce Hines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjbt9gVFIX8
… When you are on the RPF*, the first thing you do, or almost the first, is the Truth Rundown. …..
And the idea is that you were observing it wrongly, you were deluded! …..
And after it’s all done, you have to realize that you were deluded! That’s part of the — they call it “end phenomena” of the procedure. It goes on usually for months, every day, and you are constantly looking for the evil in you, like why, …. And at the end you think they are all great people, and it was all your own evil purposes that made you deluded. And you don’t get of the RPF until you’ve had that ‘realisation’. …..
*RPF = Rehabilitation Project Force
Mike Rinder says
The Truth Rundown is the technique of gaslighting perfected to an exact science. You convince YOURSELF that what you saw was a lie.
The epitome of mind-fuckery.
When I was “routing-out” (I was waiting about a year already), Sharron asked me if I would want to go to the RPF. Seriously! She was trying to convince me, raving about the “Truth RD” and telling me with a saccarine sweet voice (the Jekyll valence) that Julie P. (ex-doctor) would have done the TRD and how great she would be doing since (I never heard what is done on the Truth RD and was thinking it is confidential, like the Ls. Is it confidential??).
And still, after a year, nobody, also not Sharron, had talked with me about what had happened right after the MV anniversary when I was suddenly taken off post and “thrown” in the engine room. And then she asks me about if I would want to go to the RPF. All I wanted was GTFO since a year. The scene was so grotesque that I just could shake my head and laugh.
Do you know what happened with Julie P. after the RPF and if she is still in the SO?
Mike Rinder says
No idea about Julie P. Boy was she trouble.
The TRD is confidential, supposed to be for SO only though some public have gotten it. They cull every KR written about you and then ask where you got the idea and ask what overt preceded having that idea or what overt you committed on that person — like “Tom Cruise is a fool” you arevreported as saying and then you are sec checked about the overtavthat caused you to think that about a “good hat”
Eve Reiland | BadassActivist says
oops hit enter too soon. oi
Eve Reiland | BadassActivist says
Gaslighting is horrid. I survived 3-years of it .. and lived to tell the tale. Barely. Wasn’t scientology, but I am finding your experiences, stories and that so resonate with my altered-life experience. I was at my most vunerable at the time, and depended on a caregiver/partner for my daily living needs … and had a small, but steady income through ssdi — omfg. I’ve learned far more about predators than I thought could exist. I’m still sorting it out, surviving it — had ptsd before, but now it’s like a whole new friggin level of wow. and whatever you have is never enough .. ugh. Watching you speak and reading about your experience and the experience of others has helped me to understand my experience so much more — and
In Scientology, the main gas came out of the orifices of L. Ron Hubbard. Unfortunately, there’s no light to be found.
Ann Davis says
No truer words!
Methinks there’s something rotten in the state of Davemark.
I have a friend who was gaslighted for two years. The man was good at it. He emailed her from various different accounts as “his” niece, step-brother, cousin, eight alternate identities in all, some of them very kind some of them really nasty.
His charade would have worked had he been able to be with her non-stop. He used the game Panda Pop to make her think he was just an addictive game player while he was sending her emails from different people while sitting right next to her doing it.
The problem is that he worked on a workover rig and spend up to a month at a time away from her. The time with him was turbulent, the time when he was away, she regained her equilibrium even though she got barraged by emails and sometimes even fake telephone calls from all these alter egos.
One time she came to my house for a weekend. One night between 10pm and 7am he called her 52 different times and texted her a few hundred more because she didn’t answer the phone. He accused her of cheating on him, said he had people who had seen her with “that man”. I emailed him our timestamped skybell videos showing her always leaving and coming with me during the day only and usually being in our front yard and told him he needed to tell me who “that man” was.
During that time he supposedly worked 52 hours straight (violation of labor laws) then fell asleep and fell down 3 flights of stairs and was hospitalized – but gee with 2 broken legs and a bunch of broken ribs, he was just fine a week later when he came home.
He also got and was miraculously cured from end stage lung cancer. TWICE.
It all fell apart when his non-existent step brother was allegedly arrested for yet another drug abuse because at the same time, one of his nieces was supposedly walking on the beach with two men and one man tried to rape her and beat her up really bad and the second man killed the other man “filleted him like a fish.” That was the last straw for me.
I started fact checking and I was able to confirm that the alleged step brother was not, in fact in the lockup facility where the other person said he was, there was no one murdered in the town where the murder went down, there was no one admitted to the hospital where the nice was supposed to be in the hospital, then I really started digging and got more background information that proved to my friend that the step brother did not exist, the cousin, niece, etc., did not exist and that the man was not an ex marine sniper, had never even enlisted.
After she broke up with him, he spent a few months smearing her on facebook. That didn’t go as well as he had expected, becaues people kept unfriending him because the lies he told about her were easily verifiable and most of her friends knew her too well to buy them.
The deal is, for any ex or UTR who has read this far, if this story sounds familiar…consider your time in scientology.
Did you ever question your worth?
Did you ever believe you were the bad guy?
Was your core belief system threatened?
When you left, did the person who had done this to you make you look like the bad guy?
Scientology, the ultimate gaslight experience.
Ann Davis says
Valerie that’s so scary! Really crazy. I’m speechless
My friend called me crying the morning she had to testify against him in court to get the restraining order because he kept calling (changing his number hourly when she blocked it) even after they broke up. He made it easy for her, though. She came down the stairs of her house where she had changed the locks the day they broke up and he had left her a bag of things, stuff she had given him, and other things, inside her locked door, bypassing the alarm system she had installed.
She didn’t touch it, called the cops, they took it and fingerprinted it, The judge issued a PERMANENT injunction against him that morning. He said it was the first one he had issued in all his years on the bench, but he had thousands of pages of evidence between the two of us.
What kind of demented “human being” would do that? Obviously someone with absolutely no life of their own. Parasites. Vampires. Monsters.
Yes, they are among us.
I was once married to a gaslighter….I recognize every sign from first hand experience. Thankfully I got out of the marriage while our children were very young or else he would’ve gotten further along in trying to turn them against me. As it was from the point we separated until today (both are in their late 20’s) he insists they call me by my first name instead of “mom” whenever he is around. This is one of his trademark attempts at taking something near and dear away from me. I’m thankful I got out of the marriage. Unfortunately his second wife (now his ex) and my dear friend didn’t fare as well. By the time she got out he had turned their teenage son against her. I feel so bad for people who suffer at the hands of gaslighting individuals and organizations. Nobody should have to live with the chaos and heartbreak they cause.
Scientology gaslighting ends when one realizes that all of it is built on a foundation no more stable than ammonium nitrate, at which point the whole subject is blown to smithereens. This could be termed an explosive cognition.
Ann Davis says
Scribe. You’re on fire today. Perfect
My idea of gaslighting would be the whole subject of Scientology torched.
As someone who is a Christian now, I can definitely say that anybody who would identify these traits with all organized religion is wrong. In healthy churches I have been around these things don’t happen; the descriptions all apply to cults certainly but not to the vast majority of churches. I don’t see any of these behaviors at all where I am today, and I think I have a keen eye for cultish things.
It’s important never to judge an idea by its misuse. If the thing itself is evil, you are judging it by its intended use. If there are people misusing, misrepresenting, or appropriating an idea for their own evil purposes, then that’s on them. It’s not something to judge that idea by.
It’s amazing to be in a place where not only is truth king, but people are encouraged to question leaders and to hold on to whatever is true, to be forthright and transparent with everyone, to obey civil authorities as well as ecclesiastical ones, where people are served without any regard for financial means and where no one is pressured to donate to be in fellowship equally with others.
It’s a hard for those who have only seen the perversion of an idea to see the true nature of it, but it’s out there.
Miss Q says
“It’s important never to judge an idea by its misuse. If the thing itself is evil, you are judging it by its intended use. If there are people misusing, misrepresenting, or appropriating an idea for their own evil purposes, then that’s on them. It’s not something to judge that idea by.”
This is a very interesting point.
Interesting and useful.
Having worked with such people in the past, I can attest to the accuracy of this post.
Very useful information and I also agree about Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, which I consider should be read by every one.
Some of the points remind me of the current leader of the USA and is evident that division and chaos reign his mandate.
LRH lied galore and so does the current chairman.
Many of us have direct experience of those having the traits within scientology management, nevertheless is good to refresh some facts and keep alert from here on out.
Thank you Mike.
Robert Almblad says
I believe narcissistic L Ron Hubbard was so deeply psychologically derranged from the self hypnosis that he practiced on himself (he probably learned this from black magik in his young adult formative years with Jack Parsons) that he could say one thing but do the complete opposite with NO remorse and no conscience. This was like promising total freedom for members while making mindless, robot slaves instead.
Gaslighting was one of LRH’s important tools, but underneath that was his self hypnosis, which I personally saw him do to himself on the Apolo in 1973 when I worked for him. While seated at his desk he looked straight forward, his eyes closed but futtering like mad and then he would write like mad without looking down at his paper. (I viewed this from a window NO ONE was allowed to view, but my work brought me there one night)
From what I have learned since then, I think he was being his evil self and called upon other enities to write for him to make him look good. This self inflicted split personality was done to get money and power over his followers. For me, this is the only thing that explains LRH’s contradictory behavior: he simply was capable of BEING more than one person. Consumate evil and angelic goodness all in one person.
Very interesting Robert, thanks.
L. Ron Hubbard gave hypnotism a bad name. I’m serious. There are valuable insights to be gotten from hypnosis, especially the work of Milton Erickson and Dave Elman.
Thank you Mike, this is such an important topic, gaslighting describes my life, only difference is I was the frog who knew what was happening…I just couldn’t get anyone to listen or help.
And Hubbard’s words about critics are also gaselighting tech.
The man was evil, straight up and vertical evil.
Well heck! These ideas are a perfect description of the life of L Ron Hubbard.
DM is later on the chain. The basic basic is L Ron Hubbard.
All of this madness comes from L Ron Hubbard.
This is the basic idea I have been writing about for years now on these blogs.
The ultimate simplicity and why to Scientology’s depraved madness is it’s founder.
He was the one that made gaselighting into an applied philosophy.
The SP/PTS tech is gaselighting tech. Beyond a doubt.
I Yawnalot says
The Data Series rates a high mention too. Hubbard’s data evaluations were gobbledygook and impossible to understand or work out how he arrived at such conclusions. To try to piece together how he came to those conclusions by following that policy turned out to be a very introverting experience, leading to self denigration as the only way out if you continued to guzzle the kool-aid. I guess when you really look at it, introversion is the end product of Scientology, or in other words, the Bridge to Loneliness, as all others, including you, are wrong if you don’t agree with Hubbard or his legacy – the organization known as the Church of Scientology.
Scientology is sort of similar to Latin – it’s a dead language. No user input permitted, just complete acceptance of what is written.
Robert Almblad says
I agree Brian. LRH is basic basic. DM only uses weapons created by him. It took me about 10 years to come to that conclusion after drinking koolaid for 30 years.
Fantastic article! Everyone should read this. I myself have LIVED it. My JW family are like that, as well as a couple of non-JW family members, and others that I’ve had the misfortune to cross paths with. Gaslighting really is insidious. Re: Point 3 for example, my JW mother would accuse me of being “stubborn”, “illogical”, “unreasonable”, etc, anytime my thoughts or actions did not fall in line with her particular agenda, even if that particular issue had nothing to do with her religious (CULT) beliefs. It’s just the way she is. Like you stated, it’s not a one-off. It’s an entire range of behavior, which can include, but is not limited to religion or cultism. I want to print up that list and carry it around as a kind of “reference list” or personal reminder. I’m not even kidding. Anyone who is not a paranoid lunatic, like all gaslighters are, tends to slip now and then in the “vigilance” department. Gaslighters are not happy campers. Make no mistake, it takes a LOT of energy to be the kind of paranoid, spastic freak that is a Gaslighter! Always on their toes, manipulating, but also suspecting everyone around them, always plotting and scheming, and in the back of their heads the fear that one day they’ll slip up and be found out. There was a study done that showed that members of organized crime tend to suffer from quite a few stress-related ailments. Being a Professional Jerk is not an easy life. And that’s how they getcha! They know that most of us prefer to chill and just enjoy life and pursue productive endeavors, Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness, etc, and we tend to naively feel that everyone else would (logically) want the same things. In fact, we WANT to believe that. Enter the Snake in the Grass. It takes extra energy (and knowledge / awareness) to maintain vigilance against such threats. But with skillful self-management, it can be done. Remember, life ain’t fair. Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do to adapt and survive! We have skills that Gaslighters don’t. And those skills are transferable. Developing good instincts is of vital importance. Learn to trust your gut. Gaslighters spend most of their time and energy honing their gaslighting skills. Most of them have no real-world skills. Eg. the so-called “Governing Body of Jehovas Witnesses”. A gaggle of 8 Ass-Clowns who wouldn’t be able to hold down a job at a car wash in the real world. “Was that ‘wax on – wax off’ or ‘wax off – wax on’?” LMAO
I used to be too trusting of people. I had to train myself to be more sceptical. But I’m OK with that. It doesn’t make me a “bad person”. It makes me a survivor!
Just a footnote, as I was reading that list, it brought to mind a Big Hairy Orangutan that’s been in the news lately. XD
Great comment. I find the best armor against people who would lie or deceive is to be truthful myself and pay attention. That doesn’t mean one goes around being a tactless idiot. Just be truthful, without hostility or rancor. Works for me. Also: I’m not a big Ronald Reagan fan but he did say something great: “Trust, but verify.”.
Totally agree. Honesty really is the best policy. It may not be the only one, but it’s the best one. I mean, sometimes ya gotta be flexible. 😉 I always liked that Reagan quote too. Though these days, I just contract it to “Verify”. Lol … I also like that you added “Pay attention”. It’s usually the folks with no Situational Awareness who get victimized.
It was not until I was close to done with all the 300
Briefing Course tapes I had this little nudging thought
that LRH had discredited every philosopher, thinker,
physicists, politician, statesman, doctor, mathematician,
military etc present and down the ages. Imagine that!
Malignant Narcissist is the term that fits LRH perfectly.
Totally into himself and will harm anyone who thinks he’s not the savior of the universe.
Scientology is simply the organized and institutionalized mental psychology of L Ron Hubbard.
Robert Almblad says
I Yawnalot says
Yes, in retrospect I had developed similar thoughts within his earlier lectures of the 50s, R&Ds, Professional Course leading into the PDC era. He sort of burnt the candle at both ends (praising something only to rip it to pieces in the same lecture) explaining all sorts of things in long winded examples but always denigrated all others as he alone had “worked it all out.” He certainly positioned himself as the sage researcher, bearing the burden of untangling all the lies and misrepresentations of earlier philosophers and statesmen etc. Problem is as time has confirmed, what he came up with didn’t work (it paid well though), but he presented it is such a forthright manner is was easy to give him credence. imo, Scientology defined by its own terms presents itself as a giant service facsimile.
As per above article, yes indeed, Hubbard followed a definite formula of presenting his bid to be King.
Nan B says
Yes, he did disparage every philosopher, thinker, mathematician, etc. – I can remember reading a piece where he implied Shakespeare was a hack.
Sounds like somebody’s jealous.
This is in response to Hans’ post:
Hubbard reminds me of these lyrics by the Pretenders:
‘Cause I gonna make you see
There’s nobody else here
No one like me
I’m special, so special
I gotta have some of your attention
Give it to me
Christopher Owens says
The Watchtower’s 1975 prediction is a masterclass in gaslighting. They heightened expectation about what 1975 would bring, Armageddon followed by the 1000 year reign of Christ. Some sold their homes, quit their jobs, put off medical care, in order to “pioneer”, that is, spend most of their time recruiting. The years leading up to 1975 brought unprecedented growth.
After 1975 came and went, the Watchtower blamed the flock for having unrealistic expectations. The story got spun that some people misunderstood and “ran ahead” of the Organization, but that the Organization never gave a definite prediction. But if you read the material leading up to 1975 as well as what many leaders were saying (stay alive until 75), it tells a very different narrative.
Yes, I agree. I had an aunt and uncle (now deceased) who fell for that 1975 malarkey. After that it was one false preacher after another( including Jim Bakker and one of his $1,000.00 ‘three free nights’ certificates).
Its depressing to see decent people you care about being hoodwinked. It would appear that some people are just so desirous of believing…believing WHATEVER…whether its a creation myth, a get rich quick scheme or a guy who just wants easy sex swearing eternal love – whatever it happens to be, they HAVE to believe it. .And its that very desire, or maybe its a need, to believe, that is paramount, thus blinding the person to the facts. Or, if they’re not exactly blinded, then the facts which give the lie to the cherished belief are hotly defended and justified, and when THAT doesn’t work, discounted as unimportant And these people with their fixed ideas get so antagonistic when you attempt to give them facts. Their minds are already made up. Screw you and your facts! So what can you do except shrug and hope that one day they’ll find within themselves the ability to LOOK?
Golden-Era Parachute says
This brings back memories of being abused by my org. Especially the ED. Spot on, and ‘workable’ lies I may add.
I Yawnalot says
It’s probably easier to try to think of when you were treated with respect at the Org but I can’t think of any examples right now. Even the commendations earned were so short lived they were always very quickly forgotten under the threat of the next Thursday 2 coming up. What a horrible organization Scientology is – it truly is the Church of Contempt!
Mark Orr says
Well said. By the way, the 1944 version of Gaslight is a remake of a 1940 English film with Anton Walbrook in the Charles Boyer role. Walbrook is much more over-the-top than the very restrained Boyer, but it’s worth seeing. Gaslighters are not always calm and rationale, a la Boyer. They can be quite frenetic and contemptuous.
“They can be quite frenetic and contemptuous.”
Absolutely right. Boyer’s character was a dream gaslighter, I would have enjoyed matching wits with him. It would have been a challenge to turn the tables and drive HIM crazy. But then, to be fair, Ingrid’s character was in love with him. That’s another ball of wax 🙂
In any event, In my experience gaslighters have almost no poise or self control and are very unBoyer-like in that they babble and repeat themselves and get very upset when you point out their inconsistencies. Tears and illogical make wrong are usually part of this too. All very boring.
By the way folks, everyone without AETV can watch episodes of the Aftermath on rutube.ru Just search there
Leah Remini – Scientology and the Aftermath or СМЕРШ (smersh) channel.
Victor Thank You so much! Since the start of the new season, I’ve been thinking, ‘where is Victor?’; I haven’t noticed you posting here recently. I had been relying on you posting links to each episode over the past 2 seasons (I discontinued cable service 3/4 years ago). You didn’t let me down! Again, Thank You!!!!!
Holy cow! It isn’t just religion, either. While I was reading this post, why did I think of the current White House with every item on the list?
Ha Ha! Great minds think alike! Check my comment above Re: the Big Hairy Orangutan. LMAO
Please, please, please – politics doesn’t have to be introduced to this forum.
Miss Q says
Yes, thank you, JVB. It’s very tiresome and people can get their desired fill of it elsewhere.
Yes, agreed. With our silence let us show mercy to those suffering buyers remorse over a too large purchase of orange koolaid.
Not very silent Aqua.
You spotted that, huh? 🙂 Yes, that was naughty of me.
Who’s talking politics? I didn’t see anything political. Weren’t we talking about gaslighting? Politicians are average human beings who are just as capable of gaslighting as anyone else. Why should they be off-limits?
I’m not interested in hearing about someone’s opinion about who else on the planet might be a gaslighter. It’s off-limits because it has nothing to do with scio abuse which is the point of this blog.
Breathe, Peabody. Respectfully, its not “off-limits” to opine that someone known or unknown to our group is a gaslighter merely because this known or unknown person is not a Scientologist. A number of people have shared about friends, ex-spouses doing this If their experiences of being gaslighted did not involve Scientologists were they wrong to share these experiences and observations here? C’mon, now, lighten up. I know I piss you off because of Trump but the truth is that in my eyes your opinions have merit and your observations respected.
Really? How many here who have dis-respected a sitting POTUS are related to one or is an ex-spouse of one? I didn’t say anything about anyone’s personal experience with a gaslighter. What the fuck does calling Trump an orange orangutan have anything to do with scientology abuses? I will say one thing, it certainly doesn’t help the cause of cleaning up the abuses of scientology. Furthermore, it tends to divide a group which inhibits the ability of that group to achieve its stated goal. Isn’t that also gaslighting? Sure feels like it to me.
In addition, Trump is one of two people who can actually do something about the tax exemption of scientology and we need all the help we can get.
In all friendliness, Peabody, what you said was, “I’m not interested in hearing about someone’s opinion about who else on the planet might be a gaslighter.”
That said, I understand all you’ve said.
I do agree that this POTUS, IF for WHATEVER REASON decided that the Church of Scientology should get its tax exemption revoked that he would push it relentlessly. He would talk about it A LOT.
He would go at it hammer and tongs. The issue would get WIDE publicity.
Now, this is a very big “if” but on this “if” I would wholeheartedly agree with you.
I also agree that merely learning that someone on this blog insulted, criticized and/or mocked him would all it would take for Trump to change his mind, flip him 180 degrees on the issue, and drop the whole thing.
Mike.. you described my daughter’s life. I need help.. real help.
I’ll help! My late husband was just like this. How can I help?