The Gaslight Effect (Hardcover)
How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life
Harmony, 9780767924450, 288pp.
Publication Date: May 1, 2007
Are You Being Gaslighted?
Check for these telltale signs:
1. You constantly second-guess yourself.
2. You wonder, “Am I being too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.
3. You wonder frequently if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/wife/employee/friend/daughter.
4. You have trouble making simple decisions.
5. You think twice before bringing up innocent topics of conversation.
6. You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.
7. Before your partner comes home from work, you run through a checklist in your head to anticipate anything you might have done wrong that day.
8. You buy clothes for yourself, furnishings for your apartment, or other personal purchases thinking about what your partner would like instead of what would make you feel great.
9. You actually start to enjoy the constant criticism, because you think, “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.”
10. You start speaking to your husband through his secretary so you don’t have to tell him things you’re afraid might upset him.
11. You start lying to avoid the put-downs and reality twists.
12. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.
13. You frequently wonder if you’re good enough for your lover.
14. Your kids start trying to protect you from being humiliated by your partner.
15. You feel hopeless and joyless.
Your husband crosses the line in his flirtations with another woman at a dinner party. When you confront him, he asks you to stop being insecure and controlling. After a long argument, you apologize for giving him a hard time.
Your boss backed you on a project when you met privately in his office, and you went full steam ahead. But at a large gathering of staff—including yours—he suddenly changes his tune and publicly criticizes your poor judgment. When you tell him your concerns for how this will affect your authority, he tells you that the project was ill-conceived and you’ll have to be more careful in the future. You begin to question your competence.
Your mother belittles your clothes, your job, your friends, and your boyfriend. But instead of fighting back as your friends encourage you to do, you tell them that your mother is often right and that a mature person should be able to take a little criticism.
If you think things like this can’t happen to you, think again. Gaslighting is when someone wants you to do what you know you shouldn’t and to believe the unbelieveable. It can happen to you and it probably already has.
How do we know? If you consider answering “yes” to even one of the following questions, you’ve probably been gaslighted:
Does your opinion of yourself change according to approval or disapproval from your spouse?
When your boss praises you, do you feel as if you could conquer the world?
Do you dread having small things go wrong at home—buying the wrong brand of toothpaste, not having dinner ready on time, a mistaken appointment written on the calendar?
Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is difficult to recognize and even harder to break free from. That’s because it plays into one of our worst fears—of being abandoned—and many of our deepest needs: to be understood, appreciated, and loved. In this groundbreaking guide, the prominent therapist Dr. Robin Stern shows how the Gaslight Effect works and tells you how to:
Turn up your Gaslight Radar, so you know when a relationship is headed for trouble
Determine whether you are enabling a gaslighter
Recognize the Three Stages of Gaslighting: Disbelief, Defense, and Depression
Refuse to be gaslighted by using the Five Rules for Turning Off the Gas
Develop your own “Gaslight Barometer” so you can decide which relationships can be saved—and which you have to walk away from
Learn how to Gasproof Your Life so that you’ll never again choose another gaslighting relationship
About the Author
Praise For The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life…
“…Offers a socially intelligent method to spot and counter emotional abuse. … lights a way out of a dark side of relationships.”
–Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence
“…like a sturdy, truth-telling friend in difficult times. Stern will show you you’re not alone in your toxic relationship...”
–Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls
“…a powerful guide and manual that fully articulates and explains the repercussions of underhanded manipulation in personal and professional relationships.”
–Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist, author, and president of the Center for Work-Life Policy
“…eloquently shine[s] a light on an often missed … emotional abuse… I have no doubt this book will positively change lives.”
–Linda Lantieri, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
“Dr. Robin Stern is one of the world’s wisest women. There’s much to learn from her.”
“…therapist Robin Stern takes her readers on a journey that will help them take control of their lives and destinies.”
–Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., author of Women and Madness and Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman
“Her strategies for “turning off the gas,” … are practical and sound, emphasizing improving self-esteem and visualizing out-comes. … strongly recommended.”
Library Journal, 4/1/07