What is Gaslighting and why is it considered abuse?

Hello Carolina,

Have you ever heard of 'gaslighting'?

Today, we would like to share with you why gaslighting is considered a form of abuse and how it is used in the grooming process.

'Gaslighting occurs when someone repeatedly deceives another person, so that they are no longer sure of what’s real and what’s not.'

-Suzanne M. Brierley, MA


Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser misleads and confuses the victim, creating a false narrative and making the victim question his/her own judgment. The victim of gaslighting starts to feel unsure about how things happened, to the point where they will believe whatever their abusers tell them, instead of the actual facts. This often leads the victim of gaslighting to question their sanity.

Gaslighting starts small, with seemingly innocent but distorted information that slowly confuses the sense of reality of the victim.


Gaslighting can include a range of tactics such as lying, distracting, minimizing, denying, and blaming. 

Gaslighting language:

  • "I never said that"
  • "You always exaggerate"
  • "You must have imagined that
  • "That never happened"
  • "You’re too sensitive"
  • "It’s not a big deal"
  • "I was just kidding"
  • "Don’t take things so personally"

Clarity helps to set boundaries and communicate expectations efficiently.

Some steps you can take to protect yourself and others:

  • Take some distance
  • Save the evidence
  • Take notes (so you remember) The more precise, the better, such as dates, times, etc.
  • Set boundaries
  • Get an outside perspective
  • End the relationship

Grooming & Gaslighting

When we hear the word 'abuse', we immediately think of a person being violent and another person resisting or feeling helpless; in reality, most victims are not aware that they are victims until it is too late, this is especially true for children.


Abuse takes time, it slowly builds up. Often, the abuser first studies the situation and starts the grooming process were he/she gains the trust of the victim and their support network.

The grooming process, at first looks like normal behavior such as attention, light conversations and care. At this point the red flag is the underlying motivation behind the behavior and not the overt actions and this is why in the early stages in can be difficult to catch.


The implementation of grooming tactics can take days, months and even years. One of the many tactics is 'Gaslighting'. Its goal is to slowly confuse the sense of reality of the victim and their support network through phycological manipulation. Victims end up second-guessing everything: how they feel, what they think, who to trust. When the victim loses clarity and confidence, the abuse gets to the next level: physical/sexual.

Learning how to identify red flags, helps us identify and stop abuse before it happens, or in the early stages. We must remember it is never to late to intervene.


We don’t have to live in fear, we just need to keep our eyes open.

To learn more about read flags and be part of the solution click HERE


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