gaslighting

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gaslighting

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri May 25, 2018 8:33 pm

<2018 “The other question is whether Trump is a political anomaly or the start of a new era . . . Since Trump has gaslighted so dramatically and so successfully, will future political leaders also embrace lying as a deliberate strategy?”—The Week, 18 may, page 17>
“Gaslight” used in this manner is an expression I was not familiar with.

Merriam-Webster.com & The Oxford English Dictionary

gaslight verb transitive and noun: To attempt to make (someone) believe that he or she is going insane (as by subjecting that person to a series of experiences that have no rational explanation); to manipulate (a person) by psychological means into questioning his or her own sanity; a term, often used by mental health professionals to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they're crazy. <It's been said before, but the Trump administration excels at gaslighting, trying to make their opponents second guess themselves by turning any accusation back at them.>, < Stacey was being gaslighted by someone leaving Jack's watch in the house, and then making it disappear, and calling her on the phone using Jack's voice.>

Etymology: After Gas Light, a play (1938) by British writer Patrick Hamilton, subsequently made into British and American films entitled Gaslight (1940 and 1944), in which a man attempts to trick his wife into believing that she is going insane.

First Known Use: 1956

The following quotes are from The Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1961 “It is also popularly believed to be possible to ‘gaslight’ a perfectly healthy person into psychosis by interpreting his own behavior to him as symptomatic of serious mental illness.”—Culture & Personality by A. S. C. Wallace, page 183>

<1977 “Starsky & Hutch begins as a straight story. . . then turns into a revenge tale, then who's gaslighting whom.” —Kennebec Journal (Augusta, Maine), 22 January, page 12/1>

<1987 “You gonna be gas-lighted by dese spooks.”—National Lampoon (New York City), 16 December>

<2000 "He ‘gaslighted’ Christina, humiliated and mentally tortured her, and shamelessly went after her money pretending to be investing it for her.”—Spectator (Emeryville, California), 1 April, page 72/2>

<2008 “It's quite possible Hagar is being gaslighted by boredom and that her son and his wife are the perpetrators.” —Washington Post (D.C.), 11 July>

<2013 “Gradually the ‘gaslighting’ begins. She's accused of taking keys, losing a dry cleaning receipt, moving a picture, and we see the dissolution of trust, the onset of paranoia.”—Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 11 March>

<2016 “Analyst Melissa Jeltsen recently concluded Trump is conning the entire country. She said the King of the comb-over is gaslighting everybody.”—Daily Post (Liverpool, England), 21 March>

<2017 “The paralysis and helplessness felt by the American population, turned dizzy with your lies and twisted tales, gaslighting and mind-bending denials of facts, wore off some time ago, Trumpy, so if you think those autocratic information-warfare tactics will save you, you're wrong.”—The Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland), 21 January>

<2018 “This, then, wasn't just Trump trying to rewrite reality for short-term personal or political gain. He was joined by political confederates cynically abetting his gaslighting. It's bad enough for democracy when millions of Americans believe one powerful man's brazenly false assertions. But if the president can count on a legion of yes-men to echo his falsehoods and give them a sheen of independent verification, then the task of rediscovering common ground in our political debates will grow even harder than it has already become.”—Washington Post (D.C.), 11 March>
Note: A large number of recent quotes in the news archive I was searching referred to gaslighting by Trump and members of the Trump administration.
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Ken Greenwald – May 25, 2018
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Re: gaslighting

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri May 25, 2018 9:20 pm

Thank you, Ken.

My thoughts regarding Trump and... well, American society in general (with the honourable exception of yourself and other US-based fellow-Wordwizards, of course!) are not fit to be expressed in polite company, so I'll keep them to myself in this forum.
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Re: gaslighting

Post by BonnieL » Sat May 26, 2018 2:15 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 9:20 pm
Thank you, Ken.

My thoughts regarding Trump and... well, American society in general (with the honourable exception of yourself and other US-based fellow-Wordwizards, of course!) are not fit to be expressed in polite company, so I'll keep them to myself in this forum.
We're probably all thinking the same things anyway. :cry:
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