October 18, 2021

Gaslighting: What Is It and Why Do People Do It?

Michelle Riba, MD, MS, clinical professor of psychiatry, provided answers to the questions that this Psycom.net article is based on. 

People who gaslight play dangerous mind games to gain control over others. Understanding what triggers your gaslighter can be one of the first steps in stopping the gaslighting and taking control of your own life.

Read the article on the Psycom.net website. 


Gaslighting FAQs

Answers provided by Robin Stern, PhD, co-founder and associate director for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the author of “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life and Michelle Riba, MD, MS, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

Can gaslighting cause mental illness?

Gaslighting can lead to increased anxiety and depression, says Stern. “Gaslighting may not be the only factor leading to mental illness but the same factors that leave a person vulnerable to gaslighting may result in lower self-esteem, uncertainty about their own reality, anxiety, and ultimately depression,” she says. “Over time, you begin to believe that there is something wrong with you because one of the most important people in your life is telling you this.” Dr. Riba adds that gaslighting can escalate and become chronic. "It can affect a person's functioning in terms of work, school, and socialization," Dr. Riba explains.