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GASLIGHTING is a cruel method of abuse that partners, friends, colleagues or family can use to make you think you are crazy.
Gaslighters will often twist your words and actions, leaving victims feeling confused and powerless and doubting their own sanity.
Gaslighting is a term to describe being manipulated into thinking you’ve gone madCredit: ITV
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is essentially a control tactic used to manipulate others by using deceptive behaviour to make you doubt your own sanity – often making the victim feel like they are going crazy, questioning their actions, while explaining away their own.
Worryingly, we are seeing more of this on our TV screens, with reality shows like Love Island criticised for allowing such manipulative behaviour among the young couples.
Victims usually start to question their memory and perception as a result of psychological manipulation, with gaslighters tending to twist words or convince victims they said or did something they didn’t.
They will try to make you look unreasonable or irrational, distorting reality to make you feel guilty – trivialising your feelings and excusing their own bad behaviour.
Gaslight tactics are frequently used by sociopaths, narcissists and abusive or controlling partners in relationships.
The effects can be devastating and damaging to mental health.
Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer star in the 1944 film adaptation of GaslightCredit: Kobal Collection – Shutterstock
Where does the term gaslighting come from?
The term ‘gaslighting’ originated from the 1944 film Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
In the movie, a husband convinces his wife that she’s gone insane.
It begins when he starts disappearing from the apartment at random times.
Then, as the story unfolds, it is revealed that he has in fact murdered the lady who lives upstairs in their apartment block and is stealing her jewellery.
While he visits the upstairs flat he switches on the lights, which dims the lights in his own apartment.
When his wife notices and questions the event, her husband dismisses her and says she is mistaken.
Over time, she starts believing she has imagined it all, thanks to her husband’s calculated and systematic actions and responses.
Adam’s treatment of Rosie on Love Island is a modern example of gaslightingCredit: Rex Features
Gaslighting on Love Island
There have been various textbook examples of gaslighting on Love Island in the last few series.
The reality show has been blasted on social media and record numbers reported to Ofcom by upset viewers for showing such disturbing behaviour.
Adam and Rosie
Back in the summer of 2018, Love Islander Adam dumped Rosie for Zara and then tried to tell her it was her fault because she was acting “like a child”.
The pair had an explosive confrontation after Adam began wooing new girl Zara, even though he was already coupled up with Rosie.
Fans slammed the personal trainer for smirking throughout the bust up and leaving Rosie in tears.
His behaviour sparked concerns from women’s charities who warned viewers to recognise the signs of emotional abuse.
Katie Ghose, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said at the time: “There are clear warning signs in Adam’s behaviour.”
Charity bosses added in a statement: “In a relationship, a partner questioning your memory of events, trivialising your thoughts or feelings. and turning things around to blame you can be part of a pattern of gaslighting and emotional abuse.”
The drama unfolded after Zara took Adam on a date and he later decided he preferred the new girl to Rosie after their alone time together.
Adam received criticism for his gaslighting behaviour in the Love Island villaCredit: ITV
Adam and Kendall
Adam also received backlash for his manipulative gaslighting tactics with Kendall.
In his first pairing of the series, he told Kendall, “I’ve done nothing to make you think that I would pick someone else,” after kissing another girl (Rosie) and admitting he fancied her.
Following her departure from the show Kendall spoke out about the matter to MailOnline, stating: “While I was in the villa he was a gentleman and he was lovely. He didn’t show any of the traits that maybe he’s showing now.
“Obviously when I left and watched a few things back I was quite shocked about the way he went about certain things, but I think the claims about him being an abuser is a bit harsh – I wouldn’t agree with that.”
Joe and Lucie
In 2019 Joe Garratt was whisked away to a safe house after being voted off the show, amid fears of a huge backlash following accusations of ‘gaslighting’ Lucie Donlan.
The allegations came after Joe showed signs of controlling behaviour towards Lucie – telling her she should spend less time with the boys and in particular rival Tommy who she had formed a close friendship with.
Reducing her to tears, he told her: “I’m not happy with it, It’s strange. I think it’s time for you to get close to the girls.”
Adam’s treatment of Rosie on Love Island is a modern example of gaslighting
Is gaslighting a form of abuse in relationships?
Gaslighting is a psychological form of emotional abuse in relationships which can have a serious negative impact on mental health.
Often partners will cause a victim to question their own feelings and sanity – giving the abusive one in a relationship a lot of power and control.
Once an abusive partner has destroyed the victim’s ability to trust their own thoughts and feelings – the victim is more likely to stay in the unhealthy relationship out of fear.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting typically happens very gradually over time in a relationship, with the abusive partner’s actions seeming harmless at first.
Information on the charity website states: “Over time, however, these abusive patterns continue and a victim can become confused, anxious, isolated, and depressed, and they can lose all sense of what is actually happening.
“Then they start relying on the abusive partner more and more to define reality, which creates a very difficult situation to escape.”