History Main / Gaslighting

16th Mar '17 8:01:28 AM TheAmazingBlachman
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* Famously used in the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS6E10ChainOfCommand Chain of Command]]", in which the Cardassians use psychological torture to persuade Captain Picard to say that there are five lights in the room, when in fact there are four. Picard nearly breaks but remains defiant to the end, raggedly shouting, "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis There! Are! Four! Lights!]]" In the end, though, [[spoiler:Picard confesses to Troi that he was nearly willing to say he saw five lights to end the torture-- and for a moment he actually did believe there were five.]]

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* Famously used in the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS6E10ChainOfCommand Chain of Command]]", in which the Cardassians use psychological torture to persuade Captain Picard to say that there are five lights in the room, when in fact there are four. Picard nearly breaks but remains defiant to the end, raggedly shouting, "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis There! Are! Four! Lights!]]" Lights!]]", when he is released as Star Fleets manages to secure his release through a deal with the Cardassians. In the end, though, [[spoiler:Picard confesses to Troi that he was nearly willing to say he saw five lights to end the torture-- and for a moment he actually did believe there were five.]]
9th Mar '17 11:38:04 AM epoxy
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** Furthermore, such tricks seem to be used against the protagonist by the staff of the hospital. By the end, he doesn't know if everyone in the hospital is conspiring against him or if he has slipped into paranoid insanity.
4th Mar '17 3:09:12 PM Xtifr
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** In another episode, Perry White starts seeing Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar's ghost (a play on his CatchPhrase "Great Caesar's Ghost!"). [[spoiler:It turns out to be a ploy to undermine his credibility as a witness in an upcoming gangster trial.]]

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** In another episode, Perry White starts seeing Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar's UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar's ghost (a play on his CatchPhrase "Great Caesar's Ghost!"). [[spoiler:It turns out to be a ploy to undermine his credibility as a witness in an upcoming gangster trial.]]
26th Feb '17 1:07:44 PM shawn_allen
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*** Superman saves the day by gaslighting the gangster into believing the ghost of a crook he betrayed had come back to haunt ''him''.
26th Feb '17 11:58:52 AM squaretex
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* And let's not forget Music/SteelyDan's "Gaslighting Abbie" from their Two Against Nature album. Invoking the movie which is the Trope Namer, the narrator and partner engage in all sorts of tomfoolery against the aforementioned Abbie: dimmer lightbulbs, doppleganger tactics, and even "a fright night with blood and everything". In true Steely Dan form, this malicious mischief is delivered in their signature smooth tunefulness.
25th Feb '17 7:16:23 PM Nohbody
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* Interestingly enough, due to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Change_blindness change blindness]], it's been proven that you can make huge changes in an environment without the viewer even noticing, so some forms of gaslighting may actually work in real life. Hence, the method of choice is to make a large number of small changes, like which drawer a pen is in or which jacket pocket their wallet is in. Most will be ignored or missed but a few will get noticed and sub-consciously the victim will get uneasy, possibly without knowing why. From there, once the person already has doubts, you escalate to the larger stuff.
** One of Derren Brown's shows used this technique on an unknowing subject. See the Live Action TV section.
* With [[http://www.holosonics.com/?g&gclid=CJGWy5vLiJ0CFSWlagodFgjNaQ Holosonic]] technology, you can use a hidden transmitter to make someone ''[[ParanoiaFuel hear voices directly inside their skull]]''. That no one else can hear. Isn't science grand?



** This can happen with internet ads or autoplay audio/video in general, especially advertisements that aren't obviously ads at first. The ad just needs to be on a part of the page that hasn't been scrolled down to yet (autoplay ads have this effect on TVTropes itself, especially if you have many tabs open or are browsing on a mobile device) or be a popunder ad, which are loathed almost everywhere ''because'' of this reason and the effect they have on users of shutting down ''everything'' just to find the damn ad and turn it off.
*** Thankfully becoming an aversion: newer browsers include a speaker symbol on tabs that are playing audio.



* Sometimes professional burglars use it to mislead the victim: trigger the alarm many times for no apparent reason, until the victim turns it off, move things in the back yard until the victim is confused enough and does no longer remember where they had been, annoy [[AngryGuardDog the guard dogs]] until the victim is too accustomed to their barking and then send someone who is ''friendly'' to the dog, [[CryingWolf so it won't bark]].
* This is, unfortunately, one of the favored techniques of domestic abusers: they'll make the changes to make their victim unsure of themselves in order to get them to depend on the abuser ("They'll look after me, I can't even keep where I keep my keys straight...") and go from there.
** The list of abusive cult tactics below also applies to this too. Herd mentality/damaging someone's self concept, love bombing, felony misdemeanor, cutting off outside contact, taking away agency, time investment, denying goals and issues, energy vampirism and so much more all gaslighted away.
* Gaslighting is a favored tactic of some arguably abusive high-demand coercive religious groups, cults and why many survivors of such groups have complex PTSD or PTSD.



* This can happen non-maliciously (or [[{{Griefing}} perhaps maliciously]]) when editing a collaborative document like in Google Docs or ThisVeryWiki. You could write the outline of a paragraph at the top of the page, work on a different part of the document, and then come back to find the paragraph fleshed out by someone else, or even deleted without a trace.



* [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial Totally not what your housekeeper or cleaner does when they're bored...]]
** Sometimes actually a subversion - if things ''aren't'' moved a bit during cleaning, some clients will think that no cleaning has been done. [[Catch22Dilemma But how much movement is enough?]]
* Using this as a way to make women lose confidence is a tactic used by some members of the Pick-up Community.
25th Feb '17 8:16:33 AM Euodiachloris
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* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Roose Bolton doesn't let not knowing what a gaslight is stop him from using this trope. What he does to Jaime and Brienne over dinner in Harrenhal has ''very'' strong shades of it, for all it was just over one meal. The selection of an ill-fitting, horrible dress for Brienne, who is well aware that she's not considered attractive, the hard-to-cut food, the top-heavy goblet, and the cutlery provided for Jaime [[spoiler:who recently lost his dominant hand]]? Not an accident. And, all tailored to hit both of their egos in some ''very'' tender places, make them uneasy... and [[{{Troll}} just to]] [[ItAmusedMe amuse him]]. The thought of staying with him for a month when he's got no particular reason to be good to you should, [[OhCrap rightly]], [[SoftSpokenSadist make your skin crawl]].

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* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Roose Bolton doesn't let not knowing what a gaslight is stop him from using this trope. What he does to Jaime and Brienne over dinner in Harrenhal has ''very'' strong shades of it, for all it was just over one meal. The selection of an ill-fitting, horrible dress for Brienne, who Brienne (who is well aware that she's not considered attractive, attractive), the hard-to-cut food, the top-heavy goblet, and the cutlery provided for Jaime [[spoiler:who [[spoiler:(who recently lost his dominant hand]]? hand)]]? Not an accident. And, all tailored to hit both of their egos in some ''very'' tender places, make them uneasy... and [[{{Troll}} just to]] [[ItAmusedMe amuse him]]. The thought of staying with him for a month when he's got no particular reason to be good to you should, [[OhCrap rightly]], [[SoftSpokenSadist make your skin crawl]].crawl]].
** Tywin Lannister has spent pretty much all of Tyrion's life trying to convey how much of a useless disappointment he (and society at large) finds his son to be. And, Tyrion has internalized a lot of the less-than-subtle digs (from assigning him to dangerous, demeaning or both positions to [[spoiler: the very horrible "[[PrankDate prank]]" pulled on both Tyrion and his actual ''daughter-in-law'', Tysha]]), being utterly convinced that people will only ever follow him for money.
19th Feb '17 12:46:36 PM elemt
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* ''TabletopGames/{{Pathfinder}}'' has the Mesmerist archetype called the Gaslighter. Its favored trick is making people perceive their own reflection as somehow corrupted, and can cause fear, hallucinations, and [[SanityMeter sanity damage]]. Unlike most effects of this nature, for which the culprit tends to be fairly obvious once the effect has expired (it was that guy who was pointing at me saying magic words right before), due to the nature of their hypnotic stare and psychic magic, they can do this without the victim being aware they're doing any of it. You have to be evil to take it.

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* ''TabletopGames/{{Pathfinder}}'' ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has the Mesmerist archetype called the Gaslighter. Its favored trick is making people perceive their own reflection as somehow corrupted, and can cause fear, hallucinations, and [[SanityMeter sanity damage]]. Unlike most effects of this nature, for which the culprit tends to be fairly obvious once the effect has expired (it was that guy who was pointing at me saying magic words right before), due to the nature of their hypnotic stare and psychic magic, they can do this without the victim being aware they're doing any of it. You have to be evil to take it.
19th Feb '17 12:44:44 PM elemt
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* In ''Series/CrazyExGirlfriend'' Rebecca's isn't trying to drive Josh crazy, but she uses every trick she can to convince him they should be together, sometimes straying into this. The most obvious attempt is when at the end of the first season they get together and she confesses she moved to West Covina for him and "our love story can finally begin" - then at the beginning of the second she realizes this creeps him out, feigns confusion, denies she ever said it, claims he's the one who did, and pretends his fixation on her is weird until he apologizes and she graciously forgives him.


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* ''TabletopGames/{{Pathfinder}}'' has the Mesmerist archetype called the Gaslighter. Its favored trick is making people perceive their own reflection as somehow corrupted, and can cause fear, hallucinations, and [[SanityMeter sanity damage]]. Unlike most effects of this nature, for which the culprit tends to be fairly obvious once the effect has expired (it was that guy who was pointing at me saying magic words right before), due to the nature of their hypnotic stare and psychic magic, they can do this without the victim being aware they're doing any of it. You have to be evil to take it.
10th Feb '17 11:26:43 AM GeniusInTheLamp
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* The Series/DepartmentS episode "The Ghost of Mary Burnham" has an unassuming economist being driven insane to prevent him from [[spoiler:being appointed as head of the International Monetary Fund]].

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* The Series/DepartmentS ''Series/DepartmentS'' episode "The Ghost of Mary Burnham" has an unassuming economist being driven insane to prevent him from [[spoiler:being appointed as head of the International Monetary Fund]].
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