A key ingredient in covert domestic abuse cases is a MASSIVE, insidious lie the abuser tells a victim’s friends and family to skew their perception of reality.
This is called “gaslighting,” and it is one of the most sinister forms of psychological abuse and manipulation.
Many states recognize it as a crime.
Usually on a virtual stage — via email or text to demonstrate a fake “privacy” for the victim — the abuser turns his/her victim into a criminal or someone who is mentally not all there.
The abuser contacts the victim’s friends and family to “inform” them with incomplete, inaccurate, vague, and often completely false “facts” that manipulate her friends and family into believing the abuser’s version of reality.
The abuser needs people to believe his or her version of reality because the abuser wants to accomplish a certain goal: to obtain and keep as much power over the victim as possible.
She is merely a means to an end to her abuser. It is worth sacrificing her completely if it means the abuser will be taken care of and respected as a hero when he “rescues” the victim from herself.
Often, the abuser will orchestrate the entire scheme without involving the victim at all.
So what does an abuser say to gaslight the victim’s friends and family?
The abuser will use phrases such as:
>> “We got to her just in time.”
>> “She is totally detached from reality.”
>> “They think she is schizophrenic.”
>> “It was either release her to us or she gets arrested.”
>> “It’s going to be a lifelong issue.”
>> “They don’t know what’s wrong.”
>> The abuser also will reverse the issue to be about something other than what’s really happening to the victim, with phrases like this:
>> “This is such a scary time in my life”
>> “I’m so sorry she’s scaring you so much”
>> “It’s probably best to block her indefinitely”
>> “Make sure you tell her you’re not interested in X or Y project anymore, so she doesn’t keep on with her fantasy”
>> “I might need your help getting used to my new role in the company. Thanks in advance for your help!”
Through this type of manipulation, the abuser controls the victim’s entire existence and her perception of reality.
Via the behind-the-scenes emails, chats, and phone calls to which the victim is NEVER privy — the abuser reconstructs the perception of the victim held by those most important to her.
The victim has NO IDEA what the abuser is saying to her friends and family because she is not on the group text. She is not in the CC: field with everyone else.
She is left in the dark.
To gain more control over his/her own reality, the abuser creates an entirely false “version” of the victim for her family to fear and/or pity — so it makes the abuser look like the true victim.
The abuser will often target the people the victim loves most — so the victim will be more likely to conform to the abuser’s version of reality.
But mostly… the abuser wants her friends and family to pity and/or cheer for him- or herself.
The abuser may be suffering from intense self-doubt, jealousy or envy, and/or an inferiority complex that resulted in a narcissistic personality disorder driven by greed and a thirst for power.
They fabricate a lie so big it can cost the victim everything.
In many cases, it does.
It can cause the victim to begin believing the lie herself — because the abuser has gotten so good at manipulating her into believing he is trustworthy.
But in some cases, the opposite happens — the abuser is found out and the ruse falls apart almost overnight.
So how do abusers pull this off?!
Surprisingly easily… and that’s why it’s so common.
Abusers don’t believe they’ll ever be caught because they’ve so carefully constructed a caring image for themselves — and no one would ever believe they’d do something so harmful to someone they supposedly love.
It’s all about perception.
Behind the victim’s back, the abuser has secret conversations with key people that — when kept secret from the victim — will cause the victim to appear crazy in speech and action…
… this spiral of misunderstanding stems from the victim NOT KNOWING with whom the abuser has spoken and NOT KNOWING what was said.
The victim DOES NOT KNOW whom her abuser has corrupted with a false version of reality… with a false version of who she is.
The victim’s friends and family trust the abuser too — this type of manipulation takes many years to construct, and that’s why you see it so often in marriages.
This means people who *could* help the victim begin believing she is the problem, causing even more emotional suffering for the victim — and it deflects attention from the real problem: the abuser.
The people who were gaslighted become so confused and disoriented — and sometimes just angry — that they stay silent.
The victim has to fight on her own for her REAL life… or succumb to the false version of reality her abuser has constructed.
THAT IS WHY GASLIGHTING IS SO INSIDIOUS.
So many women — and some men, too — fall for gaslighting.
They don’t trust their own intuition; they don’t do any research. Instead, they live in the false version of reality that someone else constructed for them… and look constantly for validators to confirm what they’re experiencing is real.
They often never consider they have been fed truckloads of lies about the victim… which causes the victim so much pain and suffering as she watches her relationships unravel before her very eyes.
I will never stop shining light on this evil manipulation tactic.
It is often left up to the victim to find the missing pieces. To uncover the “lost lie” that ties the abuser’s entire world together.
Once the victim figures it out, everything changes — and with all the twists and turns, it makes for a GREAT story, doesn’t it? ?
The Truth is SO much more exciting than the lies…
Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer, for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious. Ephesians 6:13