Paranoia and self-doubt – why is gaslighting on the rise?

a man with no top near the sea


Why has gaslighting resurfaced as a modern phenomenon? What is gaslighting? Well it is a form of psychological manipulation and is sown by an abuser who sets out to instil self-doubt and confusion. It has become a more prominent feature in some workplaces and in relationships.

Gaslighters’ often appear as reasonable and supportive individuals who carefully strewn doubt. Part of this process is giving the impression to others that they are the voice of reason and the victim is forced to question their decisions.

How does gaslighting occur?

Gaslighting occurs through the development of a trusting relationship between the abuser and victim. The abuser seeks to undermine the victim by presenting themselves as the voice of reason and credible. Credibility is developed by presenting a range of behaviours such as:

  • Lies and deceit
    By creating a false narrative with a wider audience. The abuser creates a false narrative about the victim, so that a wider audience sees the abuser as credible. They carefully keep key information from the victim and wider audience.

  • Deny
    Denying allegations and giving credible information, provides the abuser with the unique opportunity to conceal the truth and present the victim in an adverse light.

  • Negative perception
    An abuser will often use the victim’s strengths to work against them by presenting the victim in a negative light.

  • Losing your sense of self
    The victim begins to lose confidence and their sense of self because of the abusers deceptive actions.

  • Changing minds
    A gas lighter will talk to a wider audience to share their concerns about the victim.


An abuser will create confusion by sharing inaccurate information or manipulating sources, so that the wrong information is shared. The victim will be presented as a liar.

Acknowledging that the gaslighting is taking place is the first step to evaluating next steps. Note down key examples of the abusers gaslighting. Address the issue with a colleague and share the examples with them. When addressing the gas lighter appear emotionless, as gas lighters enjoy getting a rise out of you. By not reacting to their actions is a good way of silencing them.