“Gaslighting” is Not an Official Psychiatric Term

Everyone talks these days about “gaslighting.” They want to know the formal psychological definition. It’s not a formal psychological term, so there isn’t one. (I am a mental health professional of 36 years, so I know.) So far as I can tell, “gaslighting” means someone does something self-evidently wrong, cruel or illogical to you, and then pretends he or she didn’t. “What’s wrong?” It’s infuriating to the point of speechlessness and fosters a sense of rage and helplessness in the recipient.

Surely people do this to each other quite a bit, which has given rise to the popularity of the term. I am hard pressed to find more eloquent or concise examples of gaslighting than the attitude and actions of our politicians, bureaucrats and media people. They are literally destroying our livelihoods and our liberties, and then acting not just like it’s nothing, but like they’re our virtuous saviors. It’s sick in the extreme, and it’s in no way sustainable.



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