Over a decade ago, I wrote the book, The Gaslight Effect, for victims of hidden manipulation known as “gaslighting.” I had heard their stories in my private practice as a psychotherapist, but also from friends, colleagues, and loved ones. I published the book to build awareness of this concept, which was not familiar to many, but which I believed revealed a timeless dynamic that when unnamed, can destroy relationships and destabilize its victims. Through the book, I named gaslighting for the public and provided examples, insights, and strategies so that more people could rise above its challenges.
Ten years later, I saw a public resurgence in the term “gaslight,” with broader applications than personal relationships to include political and societal ones. I also began to connect my work at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and specifically the principles of RULER, our evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning, to the gaslight phenomenon. I noticed how the RULER skills of recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, andregulating emotions could be used to identify, manage, and even prevent being on either side of the gaslight tango.
In this blog, I will draw numerous stories I’ve heard as well as many lessons I’ve learned about gaslighting and emotional intelligence. I will discuss gaslighters, gaslightees, and the dynamic between these roles, with personal, political, and societal examples. I also will offer strategies for leveraging the skills of emotional intelligence so that we can be gaslight-free in our personal relationships and as we navigate our sociopolitical landscape. I’m looking forward to sharing my stories and ideas and to learning from you along the way. Please post a comment if you have a specific topic or question you would like me to cover.
Until next time,