Gaslighting is a form of mental manipulation where one person manipulates someone else to the point where that person doubts their memory and perceptions. The American Psychology Association defines it as the act of manipulating another person into doubting his or her perceptions, experiences, or understanding of events. Although the term is considered as a colloquialism, it has shown up in clinical literature in association with manipulative acts relating to antisocial personality disorder.
The term gaslight comes from the 1938 play, which was then turned into films (1940 and 1944) in which a husband convinces his wife that she is going insane. So, naturally, many confine it to romantic relationships. However, gaslighting can occur in many interpersonal relationships. Oftentimes, it is not malicious.
Yet, there are instances where it is.
In those cases, there are three different types of gaslighters. In her recent Instagram post, clinical psychologist Stephanie Carinia breaks down the three types of gaslighters.
- Intimidator Gaslighter
According to Carinia’s post, the intimidator gaslighter is the classic gaslighter. They openly belittle you. They tease you and often try to misconstrue your words.
Frequent phrases they might use are:
- That never happened,
- You are too sensitive, or
- You have a terrible memory.
- Glamour Gaslighter
In the book The Gaslight Effect by Robin Stern, Robin Stern introduces the term glamour gaslighter. She describes it as superficial love that ends in unfulfillment. Glamour gaslighters shower you with love, gifts, and compliments. On the surface, the relationship seems wonderful. But, there is always that lingering feeling that something is wrong.
Glamour gaslighters often use tactics such as love bombing and gifts to dismiss your concerns.
- Good Guy Gaslighter
Good guy gaslighter is the last type of gaslighter. They seem like you are doing you a favor, but their intentions are different.
In her interview with Stylist Uk, Carinia identified some behaviors of a good guy gaslighter. A good guy gaslighter often tries to do you a favor, but in reality, they end up sabotaging you. They are passive-aggressive and leave you feeling powerless.
If you try to call out their behavior, they feel offended. Carninia further explains that a good guy gaslighter needs to appear nice to others so that they can get their way.
When encountering a good guy gaslighter, it is easy to fall into the trap of doubting yourself.
Well, it is easy to doubt yourself whenever you have an experience with a gaslighter. The key is to find trust and support. Trust yourself and what you know, and reach out to a therapist for help.
Carinia, S. (2021). 3 Types of Gaslighting. Instagram. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.instagram.com/p/CaIGUluM6s8/?utm_medium=copy_link
DiGiulio, S. (2018, July 13). What is gaslighting? and how do you know if it’s happening to you? NBCNews.com. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/what-gaslighting-how-do-you-know-if-it-s-happening-ncna890866
Laderer, A., & Rosen, S. (2021, September 13). How to spot gaslighting: 6 things that gaslighters say to manipulate you. Insider. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.insider.com/gaslighting-examples
Psychology Today Staff. (2021). Gaslighting. Psychology Today. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gaslighting
Sinclair, L. (2022, March 2). There are 3 different types of gaslighters to look out for – here’s how to identify them. Stylist. Retrieved. February 28, 2022, from https://www.stylist.co.uk/relationships/relationships-gaslighter-types-psychologist/629446
Taylor, L. (2016, July 21). Surviving gaslighting: Part 2. Beyond Betrayal Community. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from https://beyondbetrayal.community/surviving-gaslighting-part-2/