Why Women Aren’t Crazy

Has gaslighting conditioned women into thinking they’re emotionally unstable? Yashar Ali thinks so.

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You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

I think it’s time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation and we need to use a word not in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman’s character reacts to it, he tells her she’s just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it’s usually because the perpetrator says things like, “You’re so stupid” or “No one will ever want you” to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer’s character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman’s character into believing herself unhinged.

The form of gaslighting I’m addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.

♦◊♦

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, “You’re so sensitive. I’m just joking.”

My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily shoot her down and her work product. Comments like, “Can’t you do something right?” or “Why did I hire you?” are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn’t know that based on these comments, Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says “It doesn’t help me when you say these things,” she gets the same reaction: “Relax; you’re overreacting.”

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it’s exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.

But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, that person is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

While dealing with gaslighting isn’t a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.

Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, “I’m sorry” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: “You’re late :)”

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don’t belong in, who don’t follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

♦◊♦

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as “crazy” has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration.

Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, “Oh, about how crazy we are?”

Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don’t think this idea that women are “crazy,” is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as “crazy”

I recognize that I’ve been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends—surprise, surprise). It’s shameful, but I’m glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.

While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It’s about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.

When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions.

When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

So for many of us, it’s first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights and learning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?

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Yashar will be soon releasing his first short e-book, entitled, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy — How We Teach Men That Women Are Crazy and How We Convince Women To Ignore Their Instincts. If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

This post originally appeared on The Current Conscience.

—Photo lempicki.maciek/Flickr

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Read Mark Greene’s response:

6 Reasons ‘Why Women Aren’t Crazy’ is Only Part of the Story.

About Yashar Ali

Yashar is a Los Angeles-based blogger, commentator, and political veteran whose writings about women, gender inequality, political heroism, and society are showcased on his website, The Current Conscience. Please follow him on Twitter and join him on Facebook.

Comments

  1. snakehipsvicky says:

    My ex boyfriend is doing this to me. Thank you so much for publishing this article. We were engaged to be married, but I have never apologized more for being myself over the last few months than I have done over my entire life. He can see other people, I clean up every day, I cook for him, I pay my way but whatever I do is never enough. All I want to do is meet him but he cannot meet me. I cannot wait to get away from him. I’m leaving him tomorrow. Thank you again.

  2. Joshua Geauvreau says:

    As a male raised by an abusive father, I used to get beaten for showing emotion. I have not shed a tear since sometime around the age of 6. I’ve held the hand of a dying relative as they passed, and felt nothing.

    I don’t “get” emotion. I’ve had to suppress mine to survive. I had to learn to think while in pain, to choke down rage and hold my hand steady while smiling and telling the person I despised that I love them too.

    You’re damn straight, if you come at an issue emotionally, I’m going to tell you to calm down. I learned from experience that you cannot think clearly while emotional, I had to learn to control it, and I cannot handle emotional people well, as I simply cannot relate.

    Yes, it is my issue. I’ll try to be understanding, I’ll hold you uncomfortably, give you a few pats on the back, and a there there, it’ll be ok. I’m sorry I can’t give you more, but you need to understand, that is far more than I was ever given.

  3. bob johnson says:

    Why is this article about men “gaslighting” women? Many women do the same thing to men, “I’m fine,” “ok,” “whatever,” “do what you want,” and then blame their subsequent emotional outbursts on the man they are with holding communication from. Surely it would be more constructive to write about healthy communication?

    • Interesting, you missed the point. While I can appreciate the frustration of hearing “I’m fine” when it isn’t true, the point is WHY women say things like “I’m fine,” “ok,” etc. in the first place. It’s after being trained NOT to express their emotions. In the past, they have been accused of being too sensitive, negative, “nagging,” and other defeating responses to their authentic expressions. Women learn to suppress instead. That is NOT gaslighting. If you want to argue that women are also manipulative, that’s a discussion beyond the scope of this article…though tangential references to this article might be noted. For what it’s worth, I do believe both genders have much to learn to communicate in a more positive, respectful, effective, and healthy manner.

  4. Submission Guidelines” Visitor put up by”

  5. Thank you for writing this! It’s incredibly important to have men as allies on this issue. I read this post coming off the heels of experiencing gas lighting. But I didn’t have a good term to fully explain what was happening. This issue runs so deep in our culture and we all need to do more unpacking and unlearning to get past it.

  6. Matthew says:

    Or hey, here’s a thought. Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with the fact that from the time we’re old enough to talk, males are taught to man up when we act like drama queens. We’re told to control ourselves. To be strong. To deal with what comes. And no one cries “emotional manipulation” when we do it, either. Because you know what the response to that would be, if a full-grown man, after over-reacting man said “stop that, it’s emotional manipulation and I don’t have to take it? He’d be told to man up and stop acting like a teenage girl. Because that’s the level of expectation we hold for each other. Men expect other men to conduct themselves like…well…MEN. That means being reasonable. Logical. It means offering an emotional response equivalent to the level of offense.

    Women have been demanding to be treated as equals for decades. We can’t do that – we can’t treat women as equals, SEE women as equals, while simultaneously holding on to this idea that women are somehow less capable of controlling themselves and their emotions than men are. And if we’re NOT holding on to that idea, if we’re to believe that women are every bit AS capable as men of controlling their emotions, that they can be as strong, as logical, as reasonable as men, then I see no reason to treat them any differently when they’re over-react than we treat men. That’s equality.

  7. Jeannette Meade says:
  8. Noah Ynclan says:

    This is all bullshit. Like Comedian Chris Rock said, “Whatever happened to Crazy!?!?? Did they just illiminate crazy from the dictionary all of a sudden!?!?!?”

    In essence what Im saying is the “Gas Lighting” is simply excuses and “Word Play”. Being emotionally unatable or bi-polar is a disorder. “Gas Lighting” is simple word play and justification for ones emotional or mental instability or overreacting.

    Its the equivilant of temporary insanity etc except on a way more frequent basis/level.

    Just like a murderer can attempt to justify his behavior

    • Are you kidding me? So when people continuously undermine you, make negative comments about you and then write off your understandable and justifiable anger/upset by saying “You’re overreacting”, you don’t think that’s unacceptable?

    • Lucinda says:

      Uh…no. Gaslighting is a real thing. It is validated in the psychological community and is the experience of most women and some men, so what you are saying just comes off as you admitting that you do this behaviour but it’s not your fault…it’s the women…which IS gaslighting.

  9. Fargles Fergusun says:

    Telling someone they won’t be accepted isn’t gaslighting them. It sounds like this goof heard a phrase, thought it was cool, and tried to make a blog about it. He’s not even getting basic terms correct.

  10. Thank you for writing this.

  11. Marianne says:

    I’d actually like to go so far as to say it’s not just men doing this to women. Many women will do this to “weaker”, more sensitive, softer and gentler women. I’ve discovered this is the reason I don’t think most of my emotional responses are valid: because I have been told my entire life that I was overreacting, I was being crazy, I was imagining things, etc.

    What do you think this DOES to a person?

  12. I don’t think it’s a case of one or t’other (those with emotions are being totally fine and people saying they’re too sensitive are gaslighting).

    Some people actually are too sensitive, and that in itself is a form of emotional manipulation (men and women both), and people who are inconsiderate are not necessarily manipulative, they might just lack empathy (which is not a deliberate act, as manipulation is).

    I just think it’s more complex than that. At the end of the day, everybody has a right to whatever emotions they are feeling – everybody, regardless of the emotion, regardless of the circumstance. But everybody also has responsibility for their behaviour. If you behave poorly toward another – whether it’s being insensitive, or whether it’s showing your emotions in a way that is hurtful or unhelpful to another (such as shouting, name-calling, suddenly getting upset without communicating why etc.) – then that is your responsibility.

    If you communicate your emotions helpfully – I feel upset when you say that (not ‘you’re upsetting me’ – there’s a difference) – and they’re a prick about it. Get a new boyfriend, get a new job, whatever, just get away from them. If you burst into tears and say they’re trying to _____ you, or you say ‘stop putting me through this’….sorry, but it’s your emotion, it’s your responsibility, it’s up to you to look after yourself. If you’re upset, tell them calmly. If they’re worth being in your life they will apologise and you can have an adult conversation about how to change things in the future – and usually the change has to be on both sides. If you tell them calmly and they’re insensitive, it’s your responsibility to look after yourself by getting away from them.

    At the end of the day, no one has the human right to be treated with sensitivity. But you can choose to treat people with sensitivity. You want to choose to be around those that choose to treat people well, and choose not to be around those that choose to put themselves first.

  13. I have been a victim of this and seen it happen around me a lot. However, I have also noted that my man is not guilty of this. Usually when I try to brush something off he actually brings it back to find out what the issue is. Especially if it is because of him.

  14. It’s important to point out that men gaslight other men who step outside the “masculinity” box and women gaslight other women who step out of the “femininity box.” And there are female bullies who gaslight their male partners, too. The problem here isn’t “men” vs. “women.” It’s people who need to control, male and female, because they feel powerless. Dr. Robin Stern defined the dynamic well in her book “The Gaslight Effect.” Excerpts from her book,

    “Needing to be right in order to preserve your own sense of self and your sense of having power in the world. The gaslighter may genuinely believe every word they tell you or sincerely feel that they are only saving you from yourself. From the gaslighter’s point of view, they’re just protecting themselves. However they decide to explain the world to themselves, that’s how you must see it, too—or leave them prey to unbearable anxiety. They are unwilling to believe their discomfort may be caused by the situation or by their own issues. They are incapable of seeing that their discomfort is separate from your intent.”

  15. Two words: Zelda Fitzgerald

  16. A good article in general and great advice, but I love how everything is man’s fault, becasue as I man I don’t have felings, and a women would never make any gaslighing comments.
    Also becasue I’m a man I have never had anyone every tell me to relax or to stop showing emotions, except all of society of course, to the point where I can’t actually expess feelings to the peoeple I love which is a cosnstant stuggle for any long term relationship.

    I’m so sick of sexist women!

  17. This article is very anti-male.

    The sexes are unequal. Deal with it. Blame biology, not men. Women did not evolve to have to think things through using logic and rationality. They evolved as childbearers and nurturers of children. Men evolved to provide, protect, and plan. Every single fight I have ever had with a girlfriend, she has been thinking with her emotions and not with logic, and consistently insists that she is correct despite being confronted with evidence because for a woman “feeling = thinking.” You can’t really get mad at them, it’s just in their nature. Articles like this that make men out to be the bad guy and women out to be strong, independent angels are so far off-base. Stereotypes exist FOR A REASON. Progressive Marxist thought that plagues academia, social science, and the media is responsible for a lot of the societal ills we face today. This is one of the reasons our government has gotten so big and out of control, female voters want a big government to provide safety, financial security, and protection of their feelings and don’t think about the logical side of things such as economics, national security, and societal health. Men and women are different, no matter how much you argue against it, we cannot fight nature.

  18. Thank you for this article. I have issues with my husband doing this to me, but I truly don’t think it’s an intentional thing. I’m trying (with the help of our family therapis) to help him understand how much it hurts to hear him say I’m “emotional”, “overreacting”, or “not giving him the benefit of the doubt” when something upsets me. When we have discussions about disciplining his son (my stepson), he immediately shuts me down and accuses me of making “emotionally-charged decisions”. Basically, if I’m more upset by something than he is, I’m wrong because I’m “taking the situation personally”. I plan on sharing parts of this article with him so that we can discuss it; I hope it helps.

    PS… I should also admit that there certainly are times that my emotions take over, which is also something we’re working on in therapy. I just don’t want it to sound like I’m bashing my husband yet thinking I’m perfect. I love him more than anything and really want us to work together as a team.

  19. I’m in a private group on facebook (all women) and one woman, who has a fan page, posted up a scenario where SHE worried that she was being rude in the following scenario.

    She had two men private message her saying how gorgeous she was and hitting on her to which she politely responded that she is married. They continued their behaviour, disregarding her VERY OBVIOUS disinterest and unavailability. She stopped replying but she felt bad that perhaps she was being cruel.
    I’m a strong person who was brought up by a parent who said things like “I wish you were never born” and “I don’t like you, but I love you because I have to” so I have the experience to know manipulative behaviour but I’m not bulletproof and I still have a guilt complex over feeling overly responsible for others feelings. I can spot manipulative behaviour quickly and won’t stand for it anymore, but it is difficult to stand up to people because not only does that make us vulnerable to abuse or rejection but it’s a challenge in itself to confront someone over their behaviour. I definitely see a lot of gaslighting coming from men, especially in the dating scene. This article is just excellent and it addresses a real, and serious, issue. It’s just like men HATE being called creepy, women hate being called crazy!

  20. The worst part from gas-lighting is to have your own family call you a ‘freak’ and PEOPLE think it’s all JUST in your head, like I’m schizophrenic or something.

    Wow, I can’t believe that this single article could create so much chaos – or is it just me?

    • Kimber Leigh Michelle says:

      good one Ruby…my thoughts exactly…my second thought was he must be pretty “right on” to hit such a nerve with people & thus probably on to something inherant in our dynamics & relations with ourselves & the opposite sex….your second thoughts, if any?

  21. tired of double standard says:

    yea they wanted equality but still live with a double standard – men are suppose to go investigate the bump in the night men are suppose to lay down their lives men are suppose to sacrifice … not anymore honey welcome to equality you take risk you do the hard physical work and quit the whining cause guess what we suffer just as much only we dont whine about it – in divorce men get totally screwed – what happened to that equality thing?

  22. I wrote a reaction post to this article which include some additional thoughts and my own personal experiences. here’s the link if anybody is interested: http://crescentbeamcorner.blogspot.co.uk

  23. This is an excellent article, and spot on. Those men who I notice are trying so hard to tear it down seem to be out of touch with the fact that men are typically hierarchal, while women are typically democratically team oriented. There are exceptions to both, but if you check out the studies, that’s how it breaks out.

    So, whether it’s from nature (oxytocin vs. testosterone) nurture (men, you need to rule to prove your masculinity!) or both, it’s more often the case that gaslighting is a male on female offense.

    My experience with gaslighting has most recently been my ex-fiance’s favorite manipulation: to simply deny anything that actually happened whenever it’s convenient, deny what he said, doing a complete 180. Then when I insist that what really happened or what really was said was true, he says “you can’t just make sh*t up and then complain about it!

    *That* my friends, is classic gaslighting. It’s the denial of things that actually happened, or making things up that never happened, to manipulate the other person.

    As soon as you realize your man is doing this – get rid of him. He isn’t going to change, and if you keep him, *you* will be the person he damages, by damaging your self-esteem.

    • Janice, even though you didn’t offer any of the studies you mention, it doesn’t matter. Supposing your premise on how men are hierarchical and women are democratic is supported, what in the world does that have to do with supporting your assertion that men gaslight more than women? This article is spot on? This article is more unsupported tripe. Opinion, and unpersuasive opinion at that.

      Your personal story about gaslighting is more compelling than a blanket statement that this article is spot on. It sounds like you reacted to the article from your personal story and that’s authentic and compelling.

      Shaky, unsupported statements that have nothing to do with gaslighting is not compelling. It sounds like you wanted to react to the men who have their own personal stories of being gaslighted and tear down their arguments against the absurd generalizations made in this article.

      And I wouldn’t classify that as emotional abuse, but I wouldn’t classify it as healthy.

  24. I see it very important to separate 3 separate topics here: a) dealing with emotional response (by a human of any gender), b) representation of a minority participant (in a group), and c) constructive communication between humans. When one mixes problems in all these three areas, it becomes very difficult to see the primary causes vs causal consequences.
    Regarding a), whether a man or a woman reacts emotionally it does not matter – at the moment of emotional reaction, the logical brain diminishes its capabilities. Therefore, for constructive continuation one most likely has to spend a few minutes addressing the emotional event – listen, do not object but acknowledge the right to the emotion, wait out. It takes very little, and very short of the right attitude. Then, capacity of logical mind utilization comes back very quickly. Done right, this takes 10-25 seconds for a conversation to go back to constructive discussion with the logical mind engaged therein too.
    Regarding b), the issue at hand seems more generic – a woman in a predominantly male team, or a culture shaped by young testosterone-driven males would usually put the woman in a minority situation, with rules made by a different (or more aggressive in asserting unwritten rules) majority. Whether cultural (western whites vs emigrants), professional (sales dominating engineering/production), gender-based, age-based (old vs young), people with kids, people without kids, etc, the source of the issue comes from inability to deal with otherness and differences. On the contrary, many people have cultural conditioning of gossiping about the otherness, taking emotional pleasure in underlying the differences, how funny they are, etc. As a result, people have no idea what they do, with their “innocent” emails.
    Regarding c), people usually have no idea how the brain parses linguistic expressions. It really matters how one wants to say that they have a problem here with this and that. First of all, whatever they say, they believe 100% at that moment in time (probably backed by a momentary emotional charge too). Therefore, no point in disagreeing right away – you get a fight before even understanding what they say. Secondly, people put the words in the wrong order (emotionally charged first) for an other person to parse and load up in their brain. Start with the emotionally charge one without having introduced the context, and you get the other person defensive, even before they remember that they have worked OK with you for 100 days with no issues. No one formally trains the proper use of linguistic communication for effective collaboration.

    Therefore, knowing how to address c) with understanding of a) will very soon show that any gender-based differentiation in this type of discussions becomes secondary – men and women tend to react differently in emotional circumstances, but that does not constitute the reasons!!! I bet that a man getting angry and bottling up comes to par in number of events per day in a busy office with a woman feeling scared, insecure or threatened, by someone more assertive (be it a man or a woman colleague).

  25. The problem is not only in men, it’s in women too.
    Today we are told through media that a woman can only be any good if she is skinny and hot, and a lot of women took it to heart. And now there are many women who mock other women for not being either of those two. That is also gaslighting. That way they are making them selfconcious of themselves and more introverted. I was one of them, until I decided that I didn’t give a crap what other women thought of me. It was not the women that I was trying to impress, and the men I try to impress with my smarts, not my looks. There are too many pretty women today to even try that.
    Though I must say that most of the men around me look more for an air-headed blond bimbo than an educated woman with an opinion. Is that how it usually is, or am I just that unlucky?
    I had the fortune to not be manipulated like that all that much, and grew to be sensible enough that I know when I am over reacting or not.
    I have some guy friends that I gaslight like that, believe it or not. They were so perplexed the first time I did it. Every time they try to do it to me, I do it to them too. Though, unfortunately, I am a rare case.
    I just hope that more women grow a backbone and stand up for themselves.

  26. This is a wonderful article. It hits the nail on the head. As a woman I’ve been a victim to gaslighting in the past. The worst part is, if you’re angry and your speaking your mind about it, and the other person tells you to calm down, and stop overreacting, you get angrier and end up getting very annoyed. That ends up as a sort of “justification” why this person told you to stop “overreacting” in the first place. It’s just pathetic

  27. Oh how annoying, my reply totally just disappeared. I’m going to try to sum it up real quick because I need to go but I think it’s important for people to realize this:

    I think a big factor of women AND men acting crazy or emotionally unstable is that we are all getting used to reacting to our emotions immediately. We are getting so used to feeling this instant gratification of sending a text or calling someone on their cell phone right away when we are upset about something. We don’t take the time anymore for someone to get home so we can call them or talk to them in person. Even if one person tries to walk away from the situation, the other person can still text-fight with them, even if the person doesn’t reply to any of their texts. We don’t know how to hold in our emotions anymore and wait until we’re less upset and can better voice our feelings. We get so used to this that in a normal person to person interaction, we will just blurt out what we’re feeling because we are not trained to wait and process anymore.

    Also, when we are with someone but on our phones talking/texting other people, we can get upset about something and not realize we are taking it out on the person we are physically with at the moment. Even if our emotions are justified by something that is really going on, that doesn’t mean the person we are with needs to assume that you are in a totally different conversation on your phone and that they just need to take the emotional beating because there’s a reason behind our emotions.

    It’s not helping our society by being connected at all times. It’s convenient and entertaining but it’s totally turning us in to shitty people.

  28. stephanie says:

    I found this happening to me from a very young age and I actually believed I was crazy. I went to a therapist recently and she asked me to identify my emotions and I didn’t even know how to name them. I wasn’t even sure what I was feeling other than anger. I had never actually analyzed what I was feeling and given it a name. Being angry is exhausting and quite frankly I think it does make a person a little crazy if they aren’t allowed to acknowledge it or express it. Thank you for writing this!

  29. These comments are depressing.

  30. Most women that knows me intimately (well) has called me crazy (because of my natural extrovert and funny nature). However, I know myself to be the most sane person on earth (frequently, very depressed). If I am not crazy, then my accusers are. Therefore all women are crazy.

    I ended up dating my best friend because he is not a woman.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I’m a very emotional, sensitive loving woman. I ask my boyfriend alot of questions, I cry alot, I get confused alot. When I apologize for over reacting or for being too sensitive he responds with ” I love all of your emotions ” …….I gaslight myself.

  32. Thank you

  33. So damn spot on man!
    I’m a Canadian woman now living in Sweden, the difference on genders perception is striking.
    To a point that now, compare to my boyfriend (a Swede), I’m the sexist one and he is the feminist!
    (I’m usually identify as the “hardcore feminist” back in Canada…)
    He makes me realize that I’m myself making sexists remarks that diminish women! What an eye opener…
    Txs for the article 🙂

  34. My wife has discovered the term “gaslighting” now she frequently says I am gas lighting her. My understanding is that it is intentional manipulation. I would like to provide an example and get feedback. The other night I asked her if she would like to have sex. She responded with “Im not in the mood.” She was reading a disgusting internet article about animal abuse. I commented that reading that article doesn’t help with “being in the mood.” She immediately stated that I was gaslighting her. I need your help with this, if this is truly gaslighting then I need help, if it is not how do I explain this to her.
    I would like to add, I think that she believes that anytime I make any kind of statement that may suggest why she might be feeling the way she is feeling she considers it gaslighting. She feels that I am blaming her somehow. In my previous example, she stated that it was a blame statement and that I was blaming her for reading a disgusting article. It was not my intention to “blame” her, only to point out that reading something like that wouldn’t really put me “in the mood” either.

    Help!!

    • Ar-In Jay says:

      Your wife was reading an article that understandably did not help her “get in the mood.” However, she was free to read the article, as her brain and body are hers to do with as she pleases (so long as it does not go against the stated bounds of your marriage). What you did was imply that she had no worth to you unless she was preparing herself for sex with you. You told her that enriching her mind, and making herself aware of social issues, was an unnecessary endeavor. All she needs to concern herself with is to be ready and willing to have sex with you all the time. Do you really not see the problem with that?

    • I wish i could speak as well as Ar-In Jay in the English language but his/her comment is basically what i would say too. I would not be in the mood for sex after reading this article and after your comment i would ESPECIALLY not be in the mood. Your comment was just plainly rude and inconsiderate. I hope you 2 can work it out. But… seeing as you really think about it (as it seems at least) and asking for advice from objective 3rd persons i think you are on the right track anyways. Good luck to you two 😉

    • “Your wife was reading an article that understandably did not help her “get in the mood.” However, she was free to read the article, as her brain and body are hers to do with as she pleases (so long as it does not go against the stated bounds of your marriage). What you did was imply that she had no worth to you unless she was preparing herself for sex with you. You told her that enriching her mind, and making herself aware of social issues, was an unnecessary endeavor. All she needs to concern herself with is to be ready and willing to have sex with you all the time. Do you really not see the problem with that? ”

      This is a classic example of over-analyzing and reading between the lines.

      “What you did was imply that she had no worth to you unless she was preparing herself for sex with you.”

      To read that he doesn’t value her from that comment would indicate a great degree of insecurity, or at least a major mis-understanding of his intentions. To read all of that from “I commented that reading that article doesn’t help with “being in the mood.” is utterly ridiculous.

      Now you could assume she may have felt like he wasn’t being very sensitive or at least not thinking similar to her, but he could also have been trying to help their marriage by suggestion of limiting the reading of disturbing material to other times so that she can be in the mood more easily at an appropriate time like before bed.

      As a wife she has a duty to attempt to keep the passion alive in the relationship, as he does. That doesn’t mean she has to do it whenever he wants but she needs to listen more to him when he tries to tell her something important like that. He may need to figure out a better way to say it, it could have come across wrongly with vocal tone or body language.

      BUT the fact she was so quick to accuse him of gaslighting signals a bigger problem – Her potential emotional abuse of him. She has learned a term and it sounds like she is using it as a weapon to shut down behaviour she doesn’t like, using it as a manipulation tactic against him by misrepresenting what the word means. She sounds like she is trying to guilt him.

      I have known some women who will start to jump to conclusions and read between the lines. A man would say something but it would then be twisted and have things added to it and hurt her far more than it would other women. I believe insecurity can lead to this, and a hyper-sensitivity to potential criticism closing her off to what he’s trying to do. Usually people would listen when someone tells them they are not trying to control their behaviour, but point out how an article would turn them off too.

      Terms like gaslighting do have genuine applications but there are times when people use it to deflect legitimate concerns or criticisms that can affect a relationship. She should have told him if she felt like he didn’t want her to learn about things or felt like she was only worth sex, it could open up a communication line so she could understand him better and realize he wasn’t trying to gaslight or abuse her at all.

      @the OP, Most gaslighting is intentional but it can also be done without intention, like a highly stoic man may call his wife crazy if she cries more than he would or show visible emotions more often and doing it regularly enough that she starts to doubt her sanity. He may not be trying to make her feel crazy, he may be thinking it’s more lighthearted teasing and she takes it more seriously. I think the gendered usage of the term can be a real problem with that in making women feel more mentally unstable or ashamed to show emotion.

      However simply calling someone crazy isn’t gaslighting, and it can be a somewhat legitimate way to point out a person acting in an abusive manner toward someone…for example, a wife angry at her husband for something and burns his clothing, slapping him, punching him, and he calls her crazy (or any combination of genders). Some people joke about it without meaning it, sometimes it’s just used as a way to say you are acting very emotional or very spontaneous in behaviour in an insensitive way. Sometimes however it’s use purposely to suppress behaviour, deflect responsibility like when it is used in DARVO.

      When offering advice on why someone may feel a certain way, you need to be careful not to invalidate their own belief of why they feel a certain way. Say “I feel you may feel this way because of X” but do so in a way that also shows sensitivity to them.

  35. Brad Stepanek says:

    Why does the author assert, unchallenged, that this view comes from men ? Because misandrist scapegoating is socially acceptable now, perhaps even rewarded ? Unlike the author I did study psychology: in most classes I was the only male in a class of 30 students, sometimes there was another guy. Women own the field, define its terms, and cater to a mostly female clientele (in part because men do not accept to seek help as readily). They produce the research papers, the clinical studies, contribute it back to society and the public discourse. I am completely equivocal about that. But the author is not: despite the heavy preponderance of women in the field she still finds a way to stigmatise and scapegoat men. Enough with socially-acceptable xenophobia already !

    • Um actually, the author’s a man, bro.

      Also women may disproportionately skew the gender ratio in undergraduate studies but they don’t really “own the field”… Maybe after a few decades of saturation they will (60% of graduating PhDs in psych are women now, but doesn’t mean they’re professors or publishing per se).

      “Despite their advancements, women in psychology earn nearly 9 percent less than men on average, though that number increases with experience level. In addition, a number of psychology subfields and position levels still lack a substantial proportion of women. In academe, for example, about 25 percent of full professors at U.S. graduate departments of psychology are women, despite a nearly proportional gender ratio at the associate professor level. Even within APA, women have not yet caught up with their representation in the field. In 2005, women held less than 38 percent of the editor and associate editor roles with APA journals. And only 11 of APA’s past 115 presidents have been women. Time will tell whether more women will eventually end up in these top spots, both in governance and academe.”

  36. It was this kind of behavior that ended my marriage because my husband thought i was ” too sensitive” and ” manipulating him” by being upset. When ever he made fun of my ethnicity and when he offended me.

  37. I love this piece. It addresses a really big problem. I read a comment on this article on Facebook where the commenter’s point was that they had a bigger problem with hearing people called crazy than more traditionally offensive curse words. I agree with this idea. Coming from the psychology field, real mental illness is not to be joked about or trifled with. It’s just too serious of an insult for me.

  38. Thank you for this article. I needed to hear this.
    I just ended a relationship due to this behavior.
    My ex would be disrespectful, lie, and would always turn it on me. It became unbearable to communicate, because no matter what he did, I was the emotional one, the crazy one, overreacting. So my feelings didn’t matter. His behavior was never addressed because it was my problem, and not his. Well now it’s his problem and some other woman’s problem, because I am done with the manipulation and abuse. Thank God.

  39. I think the biggest problem is that while, yes, often woman have a legitimate reason to be upset, often what they seem angry about seem utterly trivial to the man so it is hard for him to understand the problem. Take for example the following, this was my experience on a date a few weeks ago:

    I was supposed to pick her up at 7:45, at about 7:43 I am just parking out front and my phone rings. I answer and she says: “Is that your truck just pulling up? Why are you always on time so much…” she then proceeded to spend 5 min chewing me out and getting angry that I am on time to much and it stresses people out. She made me wait an hour for her while she finished what she was doing. I didn’t get mad, or even question it, I just accepted it and waited.

    Once she finally came down we had missed the show time so had to wait for the next one, so in the meantime she asked if we could drive around the park which I was ok with so I agreed and drove towards the park, she was looking down at her phone as we arrived and I just drove in. She then looked up and realized we drove in the “wrong” side of the park. This was the bad side of the park I guess and had very negative energy. I got chewed out again and told never to do that to her again. (To this day I have no idea why that side of the park is evil). Again, I didn’t get mad, I just accepted things, turned around and drove to the other side of the park.

    Later as we arrived at the theatre I walked up to one of those electronic kiosks to buy tickets. At which point I got chewed out again and told never to use electronic kiosks to buy tickets. That they are terrible and I should always stand in line and talk to a real person. Again I didn’t get mad, I just accepted it, apologized and went to the ticket counter.

    We watched the film, and on the way out she made a comment saying she wished we had parked closer because she was cold so I instinctively took my coat off and went to drape it over her shoulders which she responded to with instant aggression and anger saying that she HATES when guys do that and that I should never offer my coat to anyone.

    After that I drove her home and then got in trouble for parking legally to let her out rather than just stopping in the middle of the road and turning on my hazards.

    Anyhoo, this was probably a more extreme example, but it is something I and most of my friends complain about often. There wasn’t a single thing I got in trouble for above that I actually understand why I got in trouble. Furthermore I didn’t get mad once and certainly didn’t gaslight her as the article says. Instead I just apologized, adapted, and moved on. However, this sort of encounter is becoming more and more common for me and I definitely can say I am getting very tired of constantly stressing about every action I take lest it offend the woman I am with for a reason I have no idea about.

    I think we, as a society, need to meet each other half way. Men spend their entire lives being trained to suppress emotion while many men try their hardest to empathize with the woman they are with they also really struggle to understand what they are empathizing about and then when they act like “men” they are chastised for being chauvinists but then when they stop acting like “men” they are chastised for not being manly enough.

    • Feel free to add me and most of my friends to you and most of your friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think that example is a pretty small percentage.. You saying that woman have problems that are mostly trivial kinda proves this writers point.

    • Ironsilk says:

      I experience things like this all the time, and most other men have related the same. I am glad to see that I am not alone. I was starting to think that I was crazy. I have to agree with the author that ‘gaslighting’ does exist, but we have to recognize that it is not isolated to men doing it to women. Women do it to men (and each other) and men do it to men. We just react differently. I think there has to be some personal accountability here. We all have a choice in how we act and react. We cannot change others. At best we can simply be present in a situation, be mindful of our reactions, and choose to remain in it and adapt, or just walk away. No matter how someone treats you, you have the choice to be swept up in any emotion or recognize it and let it pass. This goes for men and women.

      Although having conversations about how we as men can improve is important, it is dangerous to accept the extreme feminist mindset that most men-women issues are the result of man’s actions. Men need to accept responsibility for there role, while kindly holding women accountable as well. It takes two to dance.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ironsilk,

        I was hoping that someone would post this viewpoint as I was reading. My last two relationships have been with “gaslighter’s” and I concur. We need to recognize that it is not isolated to men doing it to women. In my case, some men have been conditioned over a lifetime to feel this way too.

    • christina says:

      I like your story… it is common for sure. I’ve been so guilty of this very thing.
      Just reading what you have said about your experience with your girlfriend, it sounds like she was clearly angry about something possibly totally unrelated to you or the circumstances that you found yourself in that night. She seemed to be showing signs of displaced anger. This is exactly what the article is about. Regardless of if you have ever gaslighted your girlfriend, her brain has clearly been trained to displace her anger so that her true emotions will not show and thus not be exposed to ridicule in the form of, “your crazy, sensitive, being emotional….” etc etc.
      The best thing that my husband has ever done for me is to stop me, while throwing fireballs at him for nothing, and ask me what is making me feel this way. He has asked this question in various ways but never in ways that made me feel like i needed to be defensive. It just makes me think and realize that he is right I’m mad about something else and taking it out on him or someone/something else.
      If you take the time to genuinely ask your friend what they are feeling and why they are angry and then LISTEN to what they say…. you may just help your friend out by being their confidant. Someone who they feel like they can trust. That is a great privilege for either man or women.

      On another note… I was very disappointed in the article that it targeted men as being the ones who degrade women’s feelings or actions by saying things that make them feel like what they are feeling doesn’t matter and that they are crazy for feeling those things.
      I am a women and I do this A LOT, to mostly men. This kind of article is great but only if it portrays the full picture and not make it seem like men are always the perpetrators and thus all women have been almost permanently damaged for generations on end because of MEN.
      All human kind has been damaged by this manipulating bully that is so commonly found among us….. and yes I am a woman and I am one of them.

      • Behavior like this, which nearly ever man who’s dated a woman has experienced, is where the idea that “all women are crazy” comes from, not (only) from “gaslighting.”

        Most of the time when things like this happen, men are willing to put up with it, and maybe even to try to understand it, because they care about the women in their lives and they want them to be happy. But after being continually browbeaten about small things (not genuine bad behavior, like showing up 30 minutes late to dinner without saying anything), some men are going to respond by trying to put things in perspective. No, this isn’t usually the most productive way to deal with women expressing their emotions because, from someone else’s point of view, “putting things in perspective” might seem like you’re dismissing the things they care about. But this relational truth doesn’t keep some men from being right when they perceive some women as lacking the perspective on small annoyances in their lives that would help them to be more “emotionally stable” and happy.

        As the above commenter said, the best way to deal with a partner who seems perpetually upset about things that you don’t think matter very much is to acknowledge how they feel and to ask them why they feel that way. But what’s a man supposed to do when he’s basically being emotionally used and abused by a woman who never seems able to deal with problems in her life except through emotional outbursts? Eventually, for men or women who do things like what Ryan talked about, a confrontation is going to need to happen or else the other partner will end up being dominated by unchecked emotion. When these confrontations happen, it’s very difficult not to resort to calling this behavior “crazy,” even though that label is entirely unhelpful. But that isn’t the kind of “pathological” gaslighting that Ali thinks produces the perception that women are “unstable.”

        Finally, I’m afraid that too many of the women who read this will take this as another reason not to question the way they express their emotions, or perhaps, the way they emotionally abuse the men in their lives. While there are certainly some who need to hear this because they’re being “gaslighted,” there are others who just want everything they think and feel to be validated.

      • That is a much more sensible attitude than putting it all on gender Christina.

    • Ryan, I was shocked by your comment, and I hope you don’t actually believe this behavior is typical in women. I am a woman and wouldn’t be friends with or date anyone – man or woman – who behaved that way. It was not “crazy” or “emotional” – she was downright entitled and rude.
      I’d like to offer you a flip perspective. I have been with a man for nearly two years and the weekend he was going to meet my parents, he made other plans and said he “forgot.” When I became upset and asked him how he could forget something so important, I was told to stop flipping out and acting crazy. On a romantic dinner date, he spent 10 minutes on his phone and another 10 talking about how hot our waitress was, and when I told him it upset me, he said can’t go two weeks without me “having a psychological breakdown.” When we first started dating, he once went 5 days without returning a text and when I called him on it, he said he “can’t be in a relationship with someone so needy and emotional.” It’s now taken me two years to realize he has manipulatively managed down all expectations and emotions I may have so that he can do whatever he wants, and I barely saw it coming because I was trying SO HARD to not be another “crazy woman.”

      • Oh Natalie…I am very familiar with that type of man. This one cancelled on me on Christmas Eve so his ex could hang out with him and their dogs and when I called him out on his rude and disrespectful behavior I was told I was over-reacting and needed to be more understanding of her needing to see their dogs.

        Ha! Yes…really. Prime example of manipulative, gaslighting behavior and I broke up with him that day.

        Ryan…no way is that typical of women! Your lady friend sounds as though she was dealing with other issues and projecting onto you or she was simply an a-hole…which happens in any gender.

        I appreciate the message of this article and think we ALL could stand to become more aware of how we react to other’ emotional expression.

        It is extradordinarily frustrating when I hear men I know talk about how women are “crazy”, and when I offer my input suddenly I’m grouped amongst them.

        Frustrating to say the least.

    • Yeah, I’m jumping on this thread a little late, but Ryan: that’s not normal behaviour for a woman. She’s either stressing about something else and taking it out on you (which isn’t fair of her to do so) or she is actually one of those woman who is plain old trouble. There are some people (men, women, either, both) that are just trouble. This woman’s reactions are way off the base – most women won’t act like that. Showing up on time is a great thing! All the woman that I know love that! It’s not like you were an hour early and caught her in the shower. There was no reason to ‘chew you out’ over it. Or anything else that followed.

      Sometimes women are upset about small things that men don’t understand. I’m a woman, and I don’t understand anything that this date of yours did. Things that men might not understand include instances like buying the wrong brand of something or the wrong quantity, not volunteering to help with house chores, staying silent in a situation where the woman feels that you should have spoken up about something, etc. Those are some small things that I’ve gotten upset about with my partner. But the thing is: there is no reason to yell at someone continuously without explanation. She was out of line.

      I hope that was the last date you went on with this woman, and I hope that you don’t put up with that kind of behaviour in the future. All of the women that I know explain when something bothers them. If a woman ever refuses to explain, just tell her calmly that you can’t help if you don’t understand. Make it clear that you want to help, but need her to explain it to you. She might open up. If she continues yelling at you: walk away. You don’t deserve that kind of emotional abuse.

      Best of luck!

    • Ok.. First of all no one is saying that every woman is emotionally stable all the time or that every act of anger etc is ok. The behavior that you experienced was just rude. You are allowed to have feelings and voice your emotions too. Gaslighting is shutting the person down not having a conversation. If they are upset and you are upset it is 100% ok to say that, in fact that is open communication and is healthy for a relationship.
      I’m glad that you commented, though, because in order for this to change we have to know what is what and that isn’t going to happen unless we try and ask questions.
      Gaslighting can happen to ANYONE even though it seems more extreme with woman. The fact still remains it’s not ok to do it to anyone.

    • she’s kooky, IMHO. we’re not all like that. 🙂

    • Charlie Ward says:

      Hey man, dump her already. The more you tolerate that crap the more it will happen. You’re not going to win an argument so don’t. She’s always right, don’t you know. And you can’t change people and she shouldn’t be trying to change you. It sounds like she’s a royal pain. I would dump her and make sure she felt it somehow. A man must never be afraid to lose a woman. All that compromising you do makes you weak. Get a back bone and ditch the witch.

      • Take it easy, Charlie. We can all agree that Ryan’s girl was probably a little unhinged, but there’s no need to “make sure she felt it somehow.” That’s a little vindictive. But I digress.

        “A man must never be afraid to lose a woman” has to be the worst piece of advice I’ve ever heard. Compromise does NOT make one weak, it makes one desirable. No one wants to knowingly be in a relationship where their opinion gets overridden on a constant basis. You, Charlie, are a prime illustration that gaslighting doesn’t just happen to women. You’re doing it to Ryan.

        • @Lexie: Charlie is right. Women think its some how ok to get crazy and take it on the man. This is abuse. Men are not emotional tampons that can be used and thrown away. If you don’t have your shit together, figure it out or get help. Its not ok to take it out on men.

          men have forgotten to be man and women are trying to become men. A man should never be afraid to lose a woman. If he does, he doesn’t respect himself more than her.

    • Your date sounds like an unpleasant human being. She would have been just as awful if she were a man. As a woman, I have never done anything like this, and I don’t know any women who would. So maybe the problem is not with women but with the fact that you, for some reason, like to ask out unpleasant human beings. Just a thought.

    • “She made me wait an hour for her while she finished what she was doing. I didn’t get mad, or even question it, I just accepted it and waited”

      Wondering… would you have felt better about yourself if you had decided then that dating someone who values your commitment to being on time and respects your time would feel better? Followed it up with politely letting her know that you’d reconsidered your time together, and leaving.

    • Ryan, you say, “I didn’t get mad; I just accepted it.” That isn’t the complete truth, right? You had to have been bothered by it– I was bothered just reading about your experience.. You didn’t ‘just accept it’ because here you are writing about that woman’s unacceptable behavior. Her paradigms for basically every event of that night were unacceptable. Instead of internalizing it as ‘some women are crazy’, recognize it for being unacceptable and voice your concerns. I hope in future interactions you feel that you can defend yourself and find healthful ways to resolve conflict.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for writing this!

  41. Thank you for this article. Awhile back I really struggled with my job that I think was mostly in part that I was the youngest and only female on the team and would get emails as such:
    – We discussed the impacts on the team as it relates to how you are coming across when questioning directives being asked of you. The perception is that you are argumentative and unwilling. I would like you to work to change this perception by having a positive approachable and collaborative attitude when working with others
    – Emotional behavior – If you are finding yourself unable to control your emotions. I would like to ask that you step away from the office and take a walk until you can compose yourself. Team members have expressed their discomfort with this behavior and it is negatively impacting them and your ability to be productive .

    These types of ‘feedback’ I thought was completely normal. I thought there was something wrong with me, and I was a terrible crazy person. I am a very quiet, introverted person, and to see this come in an email, I was so upset at myself. I stopped asking questions about ‘why’ and ‘what for’ in looking for ways to improve processes and eliminate unnecessary work. Instead I became more quiet, and always did as I was told. I hated my job, did not trust my co-workers and feared making them uncomfortable and never wanted to show any emotion.
    Now I have a new job, a great boss and great co-workers. My feedback is always positive, and my boss doesn’t mind me asking questions of any sort, my need for information to process work is understood and I am completely supported, not shut down or feel like I am a negative entity to the workplace.
    I only hope more people hear what this article says. Thank you.

    • Emily Baker says:

      I find it interesting that your former boss asked you to change SOMEONE ELSE’S PERCEPTION of you. You are the way you are. If people don’t like it, that’s THEIR problem. Glad you have a better job and better boss now. Your previous boss was a moron.

  42. It’s important to understand that the writer isn’t saying it’s “ok” for women to completely flip out over minor things and for her male counterpart to just accept that she’s reacting to her emotions appropriately. The fact is, it’s pretty much been programmed into social media that women are overly emotional and over analytical. Because of this, whenever a woman shows any type of negative emotion towards an actual situation that she has every right to show discomfort to… she is shot down. I think its pretty ridiculous for the minor things some woman will get upset about. But it’s not about the minor situations. Like being “late”. A lot of the time men will disregard legitimate emotional reactions, to legitimate situations. That’s the problem. “We are labeled as emotional ticking bombs ready to explode at any moment”. Unfortunately because of this label, men identify EVERY negative emotion a woman has as “irrational” “crazy” “insignificant”. It’s an easy, quick, fix to get themselves out of a sticky situation. And is used against women, in order to not deal with a TRUE problem at hand. Women need to address emotions that is equitable to the problem at hand, “Don’t fret over the little things”. Men need to differentiate when a woman is upset for a very real reason OR acting bat shit crazy over something small. And if she is reacting to a true matter at hand don’t dismiss it. It takes maturity and understanding on both ends of the spectrum to not have this be a constant battle between the sexes.

  43. I had a boyfriend who would invite me over to his house. When I phoned him to open his gate he’d always ‘not be around his phone’ which meant I had to sit and wait outside his gate often for over 30mins for him to open. One day when I decided to drive off because he wasn’t answering his phone, when he got hold of me he went off, telling me I’m overreacting ‘he was just in the shower’… blah blah blah. Its a control measure that many guys like using. So the ultimatum he gives is… either accept being treated like a second class citizen or I’m crazy for asserting a basic expectation of – please open the door for me when I arrive on time. I fell for it for a while, in retrospect I’m so glad he’s out of my life. None of my friends of family treat me this way, not even strangers, why should I put up with it with him?

  44. I love how someone had to make an article about Why Women aren’t crazy. I think that alone proves something. Where’s the article on, Why Unicorns don’t Exist?

  45. I feel like maybe this has something more to do with the type of language used and their underlying implications, especially in the workplace.

    Man Woman
    Logic Emotion
    Mind Body
    Boss Bossy
    Persuasive Pushy
    Dedicated Selfish
    Neat Vain
    Put together Show off

    Etc. There is a lot of negative language I rarely hear being applied to men that is applied to women with regularity. It’s not to say this is an all or nothing, everyone this, everyone that, but there are some underlying oppressions being implemented with our language, and thus our internal associations of women that are being put into play day to day. Yes, everyone is effected by some sort of oppression, but that doesn’t make this one any less legitimate.

  46. Mary Rocco says:

    Looks like a lot of men are overreacting to your article in these comments. Who’s sensitive, emotional and defensive now, boys? I like your article, but it is “bear the brunt,” not “bare the brunt.”

  47. Arlene Machiavelli says:

    I think that some of the people reacting negatively to this article are missing a crucial point: our society is oppressive of women, and the stereotypes of ‘overemotional’ women enforce the alleged inferiority of women. The article does not claim that women are incapable of ‘gaslighting’ nor does the article claim that women never overreact to things. The point that the author is making is that we are all (men, women, everyone) conditioned by our society to accept certain gender roles and paradigms, and we often do not notice when our own behavior is contributing to these injustices. Pretending that this ‘gaslighting’ issue has nothing to do with gender denies the structural oppressions that are manifest in patriarchal society. What I mean is– even if there were no individual misogynists, our social norms reflect these insidious and oppressive gender roles and all of us confirm them in our every day lives when we fail to reflect upon our behavior and recognize this conditioning. We do not need to blame men for this– ALL of us, men and women both, are subject to this socialization and have an obligation, as self-aware individuals, to examine our own behavior and weed out misogynist, racist, and other damaging habits. The idea that women are over-emotional goes all the way back to the beginnings of our western civilization in the Ancient Greek world– these stereotypes have been around so long that they are accepted as ‘natural’: this is the problem. Maybe many women DO act ‘crazy’– but how much of this is due to the influence of this ubiquitous stereotype of the ’emotional woman’? The oppression of women, and patriarchy itself, are not only bad for women– men’s freedom is vastly limited by the ridiculous stereotypes that they are subject to themselves, such as the ‘macho’ man who can’t express emotion. How much better would our society be if men were encouraged to feel as much as women? How much more involved could men become as parents if they were not mocked for displaying ‘nurturing’ qualities? These stereotypes are huge obstacles to the freedom and happiness of both men and women, and this article is simply pointing out one effect of the stereotypes, and reflecting on how to respond to it. I am baffled by the vitriolic comments in this thread.

  48. There are many circumstances where this article is correct.. there are also many circumstances where the men this article is belittling are correct.

    Here is the simple truth that seems to escape far too many of you. It is common that a woman likes to engage in highly emotional communication. Many women seem to enjoy or at least crave this kind of interaction. On the flip side of that many men actually find it uncomfortable, stressful, agitating, or annoying to mix too much emotion in with issues that they see in a very clinical and rational way.

    We are different. Men aren’t “wrong” because” we like things simpler. Men aren’t “bad” for not perceiving all the little things and the millions of ways their combinations can be perceived.. we see it as inconsequential, a waste of effort.

    To demonstrate is often dangerous in these debates but here is but one potential example. A woman notices her male partner is distant and not keen to engage. Maybe he was also home a little later than usual. Perhaps he also forgot to pick up something the woman wanted on the way home. Now the woman may be compelled to analyze these “clues” and try to figure out what is going on. It is of course her right to try to understand her situation and surroundings.

    On the other hand the man had a stressful day, had a talking down to from his boss at the end of the day (hence getting home later), in this state of distraction and annoyance the needed item from his partner completely slipped his mind. When a man (I’m generalizing, yes I know NOT all men…) is feeling this way he’ll often want to decompress for a bit. He’s not interested in being made to feel guilty over being late or forgetful, in his mind the item can wait for a trip to the store after dinner or after work the next day but his mental health can’t wait.. he needs to relax right now. Low engagement is an ideal state for a man to decompress.. not talking about it.. forgetting about it. He knows his partners prying is trying to solve this mystery but to him its easy to just state the facts later when he isn’t so worked up about it to straighten things out.. for the woman that isn’t good enough.

    Neither is to blame for this incompatibility. The woman is being sensitive and the man craves to turn off that part of his brain for a bit. Neither of those things are wrong and neither needs to change.
    Of course he could “be more considerate” and explain all this up front but that is actually counter productive to what he is trying to achieve.. the relaxing, so why should he have to do that. The woman could easily wait to address her questions at a more appropriate time in a straight forward and calm way.. but why should she have to brush aside her feelings for him?

    Why must we always make someone the bad guy when human nature is the only one to blame. Why must men become something they are not in order to better match a woman’s feelings? Why should a woman have to be a man about things in order to not seem “crazy?”

    All we need is for men and women to better understand just how different we actually can be and respect that and use our intellect to find the most reasonable middle ground that doesn’t put down either valid way of being.

  49. This article raises important points but it doesn’t really offer much complexity or anything other than roughly outlining the issue. First of all, patriarchy gives men more power behind their emotional manipulation, but these things can be and are often done to everyone, by anyone. Then, confronting these behaviours can be important, but the subjectivity of accusations regarding who is over sensitive, who is insensitive, who is crazy, who is sane, naturally lends itself to meaningless squabbles that never force anyone to actually look at themselves. So the real revolutionary act, maybe, is working on emotional health and understanding, all the time, whenever possible. Bringing about your own security, grounding and ability to handle these kinds of attacks, and to break out of being ‘victim’. This empowerment then allows for more effective confrontation. Another important thing to keep in mind is this: I’ve seen many people (whose issues often originate with having been treated awfully by men, but this happens in all kinds of other or neutrally gendered interactions as well) become entirely geared to the defensive, away from the introspective and unable to work on their problems because of how often they had been gaslighted or otherwise emotionally manipulated. Its super toxic, and cyclical, and difficult to process for everybody.

  50. Yes, agree with the author. Have heard all of those comments from certain males, the kind who were taught that whenever THEY speak they deserve the attention of the female, and as Gavin De Becker shows, in his book, The Gift of Fear, predators know how to use female’s fear of appearing rude, cold and/or a bitch as a way to get what they want, even if it is only a smile, that kind is demanding our attention, and yes, when I have ignored strange men’s words, out pop the silliest words, “You need to work on your attitude.” How precious.

  51. Nice article. I agree that gas lighting does occur not only to women, but men too. However, what do you do when a person is actually “crazy”. When I say crazy I mean a person that attacks you and lashes out at you, but does not say why ever.

    Let’s talk about two different scenarios
    1st scenario
    This person can go to work, have a nice conversation, but with 20 years of abuse in a marriage or relationship they can no longer trust. If they have something troubling them they do not speak it out, but rather take the approach that you can not be trusted. If you do not do exactly what they think is the best, since 20 years of suffering from another person gave them some life truths they will not trust you. If you are up front and honest that you will listen, but ultimately your decision is your own this is not acceptable to them.

    Scenario 2
    You are close to a person. But that person when upset does not say why he is upset. He gets agitated, easily angered and after you raise a concern of why he is upset, he will say ‘I wish you could have figured it out yourself’. In the end that makes me feel horrible. Ex: I personally cooked food for dinner. He said he was not hungry now. I then said if he is hungry later I can store the food in the refrigerator so he can eat it later. He says sure. Later I find out that he was insulted that I left leftovers in the fridge. I only found out about this after days of badgering, insults, and negative attitude.

    Truthfully having such conversations with two people that are close to me drives me crazy.

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  54. Perhaps we are all being misled, misguided, given a horrible spin to believe that women are crazy. In fact, the whole of humanity is being duped into believing that they’re crazy to some degree or another. Look at all the inane ideas about what constitutes mental illness found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. A couple of years ago, psychiatry tried to get the US Congress to agree that pregnancy was a sign of mental illness as was the act of giving birth. That’s women. What about a mental “disease” called being unable to do math or to read, or being too positive or too negative? Or a mental “disease” called being too vocal or too quiet. Any extremes seem to be targeted as mental illnesses. It’s almost as if the only “sane” people are psychiatrists.

    Women aren’t crazy. They are certainly different from men in how they process things, in how they view life, their emotional make-up, but to call them crazy because of that . . . that is crazy.

  55. This whole article is a convoluted exercise in gaslighting. The fact is that women, generally, DO engage in emotionally charged, overly dramatic speech more than men do. I don’t mean that men don’t do it, too. But I do mean that women do it more. Much more.

    One tip-off that you might not have noticed, which if you had noticed would have informed you that the writer is gaslighting his readers, is that all the blame for manipulative behavior is put on men, and women are presented as the sole, or the primary, victims. Any time you observe that false dichotomy—”women GOOD, men BAD”—you’re looking at bullshît, and maybe at gaslighting also. The repetition of nonsense dressed up in the clothes of authority/respectability is an old propaganda trick, commonly used today by leftist deceivers.

    Women use speech to manipulate about as much as men do, and perhaps more than men do. Women are usually better in using speech for manipulation, partly because they are more practiced, but also partly because speech is their natural adaptive road to power in a world containing both women and men. If manipulative speech is rude, then it is just as rude when women do it as it is when men do it.

    The “emotional speech” or overly dramatic verbal reactions of women is itself manipulative speech. It’s a variant of nagging. It’s a battle in a protracted campaign to wear down the ability of someone else to tolerate that kind of speech. It is as if the women was telling a man “Oh, you don’t like this kind of speech from me, huh? Well you’re just going to keep getting it until you do as I wish, buster!” Except, of course, she doesn’t usually say so explicitly.

  56. You know the point of having a dispute is to decide who’s position is justified either empirically or rationally. A dispute is not about deciding who gets the blame for being inconsiderate. That is simply petty ego self-preservation and victim bargaining. Sure a woman’s emotions may be inappropriately manipulated or provoked and her reactions should be treated with accommodation and respect, but the only way to resolve disputes is through rational argumentation. Resolving a dispute by appealing to gaslighting just perpetuates finger-pointing. First the man accuses the woman of being crazy, then the woman accuses the man of gaslighting, which basically says the man is crazy for calling her crazy. This could be a dangerous cycle and it would probably instigate hostility. Anyway, it is much more culturally acceptable for a woman to express emotion than a man. Men who express emotion are dismissed as children. IMO there is no reason why this article has to reinforce gaslighting as a gender issue when women do this just as much (feminists ironically are often guilty of reinforcing sex/gender norms.) I think it is an issue for women because men don’t realize that they are gaslighting when they do it. They may push buttons that shouldn’t be pushed because they may lack the awareness. Women manipulate intentionally and since they are more acutely aware of emotional responses, they may manage the situation better.

    • I was in complete agreement with your statement that accusing one another of being crazy and then that accuser of gas lighting just leads to a cyclical argument. Name calling and accusations have never resolved any dispute in my personal experience or that of my friends. However, the last two sentences of your comments are nothing but sexism.

      Saying that men should be excused for their ignorance is really just saying that they shouldn’t be expected to take concern with other people’s emotions… because they’re men. Both women and men can and should be concerned with the impact they have on each other’s emotional and mental state.

      Interesting that you take offense to feminism but make sexist remarks that degrage men as unable to be aware of the impact their actions have on those whom they should most value and have concern for — their partners and friends.

      • Who said I was excusing men? That is a complete projection on your part. I was trying to explain why this is a problem that impacts women more than men when clearly gaslighting is not a gender exclusive phenomenon. This article was written on a website about gender issues right? So if you found my comment sexist, then by the same token you should find this article sexist. However, if you accept the fact that men and women are conditioned to behave a certain way because of the norms imposed by sex gender systems, you’ll realize that men have been conditioned to be less emotionally aware and therefore are more prone to causing damage in these contexts than women. That is because men face social pressure from the sex/gender system (wait what men are oppressed too!!!) to behave without expressing emotion. This article would have made a much bigger impact if it implored men to be more emotionally aware rather than antagonizing them as gaslighters. Admittedly, the article attempted this, but poorly; it seemed to be more of a confession of male sin than a detailed plan of action for men to take to improve themselves.

        Men sure do have some “unlearning” to do, but so do women! Do women not inhabit a world full of sex/gender norms? Since women aren’t encouraged to practice critical thinking and spacial reasoning as much as men are, women also have to unlearn their roles as well. Since men are encouraged to do these things, they are better equipped with defense mechanisms against gaslighting and emotional manipulation in general. The neo-feminist agenda seems keen on putting forth the idea that only men are guilty of perpetuating the sex gender system and that men are the only perpetrators in the cycle of violence against women (also implying that the cycle of violence is only against women, meanwhile the majority of rape victims in the US are men if you count prison rape). To say that I am guilty of perpetuating a culture of violence by virtue of my gender IS SEXIST.

        So what has this article accomplished? It didn’t tell me much about how I can improve myself. Emotionally abused women will read this article and see it as an excuse to assuage their frustration by blaming their state on men rather than blaming it on corporations and politicians who impose sex gender norms. This article sure did a good job of making women ignorant of the actual institutional mechanisms that contribute to their oppression.

  57. Wow… this almost eerily echoes how I spent my summer… with a man who accused ME of “gas lighting” …everyone but him. Many posts on recovering from emotional abuse here!

    Cheers!
    Jen

  58. Royce Bishop says:

    I’m a woman and I did not seriously consider voting for Hillary because she is a war-hawk. If I cared about my President’s gender, would you recommend Bachmann or Palin? If the more progressive candidate is a man, he’s got my vote. I adore Elizabeth Warren, but not necessarily because she’s a woman.

  59. “Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.”

    Thank you very much for this article. This has happened to me. I always thought of myself as a calm, rational, not-crazy woman — but I’ve lately realized I’ve just been good at stuffing my emotions down and suppressing my true feelings. It’s gotten so I don’t even know how I feel about things anymore.

    • Amy I know exactly what you mean. I have been with someone that has done this to me for nearly 7 years and I only woke up and realised what he was doing about 3 months ago. I finally left and he is trying to plead with me to go back but I am too scared. I don’t even know who I am around him anymore.

      In the defence of most men… most of my friends are male and I have not experienced it from them!

  60. Yashir

    I appreciate the article and the elaboration of the gaslight term. It’s very useful to me. I’ve experienced being treated that way in rationship a lot. Which is why the comments of max_headroom says:
    November 30, 2013 at 1:28 am, really spoke to me as well.
    The one thing I did not understand is why the scope and focus of the article was only in essence on the way some men treat some women. As I read I couldn’t help but thinking the article was sexist. I myself
    , a man, have been the object of this form of emotional manipulation countless times and mainly at the hands of women.
    As a side note I couldn’t t during my reading for sure whether the writer was male or female, but my hunch was male. Not that it matters but it contributed to the sense I had of there being something awkward and maybe off that a man was going on in such detail about women’s issues. I know that may sound sexist of me but I don’t think so. There was just some disconnect for me. In any event I could only read a third of the article before I stopped because I felt nautious in my body as a result or the projection in the writing that this behavior is just something men do to women. That’s false.
    The “you’re just crazy” meme may (and I’m saying “may,” not “is”) be a form of gas lighting that is prodminaty man-to-woman. I don’t know, as I’ve been in relationship with women who’ve given me that line a lot. But there’s many forms gaslight takes. And they go both way. I think there’s no shortage of women’s ways of manipulating men. No shortage. Just ask any of the many men who’ve had a difficult custody battle in the courts and many of them will tell you reams of things. And that’s just at th extreme end.
    I don’t mind a man writing woman’s issues. I just found the non inclusion of this male perspective and/or the take on how gaslighting is not gender specific at all to be a very distracting deficiency in the discussion

  61. I find it interesting how easily the comments get off topic from the article.

  62. max_headroom says:

    Sorry, but this premise smacks of White Knight mangina thinking, which is dangerous in today’s culture. The fact is that about 10% (or more) of all adult women (and a lesser percent of men) suffer from personality disorders – Borderline and Narcissistic are the most common. These are Jekyll/Hyde types who often reserve abusive behavior for their husbands and children. Since they consider themselves the victims, they present in public as damsels in distress with very effective manipulation techniques to convince others they are victims (which they were at some point). They will even go as far as instigating violence to cement their partners as the abuser. The irony is that they often gaslight their significant others, and then accuse them of doing it instead to deflect blame. If a woman has had a very troubled childhood and relationship failures, be very wary of falling into this trap.

    • thanks, I was in a relationship with an NPD for 5 years and only found out recently about the personality disorder. It was exactly how you describe it. More awareness should be raised amongst men about this topic.

    • To respond generally. Men have learned a way to take conflicts as problems to be solved, not as feelings to be expressed. Many women are at home with emotional response, certainly among each other. To men, insofar as some emotional expressiveness can seem infantile we often refuse to respond, because they are such that if a men came out with it, we would consider him a child.

      Watch your man. His best friend or parent dies and he cries. Loses a child, he is sad for the rest of his life. These are authentic emotions. He knows well, that he can afford to express only so many weaknesses and vulnerabilities because then he cannot play the role which is expected of him, to be unshakeable as a protector; it is the currency by which he purchases female love and family.

      Naturally, we want to believe we are in an enlightened age, and this sort of sexual politics is over, but it is still there. If those roles are redistributed, or if people figure out a new way to mix the chemicals of attraction, maybe it will be a new age. For now, the raw expression of emotion in the form of a demand is to a man nothing but a kind of bullying. Weep to yourself and leave space for empathy, but get your feelings straight. Anger is just a cover for fear. Admit your human vulnerability on all sides can help, but one must understand the context, always. “You never say you love me,” is better put by saying you are feeling unloved lately; that will allow the heroic lover to come out. Of course, I know nothing.

      • Purchase female love and family?! LOVE can not be bought or sold with ANY currency. It is there given and taken freely by those who choose to give and take it. You sir, have a misconception on love.

        • You’re wrong. He’s using the term “currency” as a metaphor and it’s completely accurate.

          • Would this be a bad place to say that Izzie you are being too sensitive? :).
            Before a venomous response is posted in reply – I was just joking (no really).

            On a serious note, I suspect (just like Mark), that Bill Kerr’s use of the phrase “purchase” was metaphoric – prat the very least, I understood it that way. In fact, if I may add: I agree wholeheartedly with Izzie that Love cannot be purchased, battered for, negotiated, or otherwise as it is freely given. That said however, it would be silly if not naive to think that women (and for that matter Men as well) do not evaluate potential suitors by the many metrics of sensibilities, ability to provide for the family, ability to feed the family, and yes ability to protect the family as Mark highlighted.

            In my limited experience on the matter ( I grew up with a handful of female cousins), I cannot tell you the number of times the expressions of “ohh he is too sensitive”… Or “he is a mamma’s boy” was used as sufficient justification to dismiss a potential male suitor as unsuitable. Vice versa is true for men as well… For example, “she can’t cook this meal the way I like it”… Or “she’s one burger away from overweight”. All of which by the way will be considered gaslighting when expressed to the target subject (which unfortunately, I have witnessed been done). But then again… I digress. My point is (very much like Izzie’s): that love isn’t purchased… But let’s not kid ourselves into believing that a well considered measurement isn’t undertaken before love is given. Once that reality sets in, we can then realize that one of the very many data points/metrics used in this not-so-scientific measurement, is the ability for the partner (in this example from Bill’s post: the man) to act as the protector of his family and household.

            All of this was perhaps a long way to re-articulate Bill’s point as to why most men perhaps aren’t terribly popular for expressing their feelings – but that those feelings are in fact there.
            In conclusion, I would argue that: In a twisted way, men have been rendered emotionally mute as well by the expectations that society has laid on their shoulders – or am I gaslighting here by playing the victim (again…. Just kidding)!!

    • Oh my, What happened to you?

      • Why does anything have to have happened to someone for them to be aware of issues around them? I doubt any of us are homeless, but we can be aware of the issue. That applies to all issues.

    • I love how the very first response is a load of sexist bull.

      • I agree. Actually sounded like it came out of the mouth of an unaccountable narcissist. You’re ALWAYS hearing men refer to women as crazy. Young men are spewing this vomit everywhere!! Whereas, there might be a bpd here or there…it’s a far, FAR rare occurrence than that of the honing and molding of narcissistic personalities. The first commenter automatically dropped into my “let’s laugh bc he thinks we’re all stupid” list!! Ha! Please…..wake up people!!!

    • Tile_Ninja says:

      Congratulations for entirely missing the point, and your bully-ist way is glaringly apparent. Any man who speaks of a sensitive or an emotionally intelligent manner has, what you call, a ?mangina?? Really classy, very eloquent, and patently stupid. These are words of oppressors, feeling victimized by their victims. Grow up, take responsibility for your own part in things. And stop using already antiquated “bro-terms”, if you want to be a credible source of knowledge or experiences…

      • “….These are words of oppressors, feeling victimized by their victims. Grow up, take responsibility for your own part in things.”

        Wouldn’t is also be reasonable to expect the same behavior from women? To stop feeling victimized by their victims, to grow up and take responsibility for their own part in things which contributed to the current state of affairs?

    • Did you know that one of the ways to CREATE a personality disorder such as those you dismissively refer to (i.e. Borderline Personality Disorder) is to regularly dismiss their opinions and feelings? Thus, really by saying it’s totally their fault because they ARE crazy, is actually merely reinforcing the point of the author. I AM a mental health professional, so I DO know of what I speak (write).

    • Jaffee Lang says:

      Lesser percent is not accurate. regarding general disorders.

      Furthermore, psychologists tell us about 75% of those with narcissistic personality disorder are men. (I don’t believe this figure either as I think women hide their narcissism more than men do due to upbringing (unless it has to do with dressing up and doing things traditionally considered acceptable for women). Men with histrionic personality also cover it up better due to society ridicule. Many adult women in America appear to have disorders no doubt but so do just as many of the men. Statistics on violence (emotion) against women are staggering. Male homicide rates are too. If violence is not an emotion, I ask you: what is it? More men tend to refuse any kind of help and treatment so don’t get counted into the mix; more women with violent or abusive partners tend to go for counseling, even if they are personally fairly stable minus the man. Woman victimize men and men victimize women. Women get a bad rap in one way and men get a bad rap in another way, but it’s helpful to look at statistics, if not conclusive.

    • Those disorders more times than not stem from women being sexually abused by men.

    • In regards to men suffering from mental disorders…many don’t want to seek treatment, thus the seemingly lower numbers.

  63. Some parts of this article are definitely victimizing women, which contributes to the whole sexist argument in the first place. But, I consider myself, a strong, independent women and definitely took a few things to heart from this post:

    “These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful.
    When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, Forget it, it’s okay.’ That ‘forget it’ isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal.”

    My version of “forget it” is clamming up and moving onto something else (i.e. answering a text/email, going to work on something in another room). As a COMMUNICATIONS major, you would think my ability to withstand such remarks would be impeccable. But, I’ve been trained to bottle up my response and store it as anxiety or stress.

    So, I hope that people don’t take this article too literally, as I don’t believe women are fragile little flowers that can’t hold their own. But, men, please be aware of these subconscious reactions women sometimes have. Yes, all women are a little crazy. But all men are a little bit assholes.

  64. tuttifruitti says:

    IMO, men do this as an easy way to win an argument; so they don’t have to try and consider another perspective. Its their way (view) or the highway. Calling her crazy when she is genuinely upset about something is selfish, self-centered, cruel & belittling because it attempts to totally dismiss the person who SAY you love feelings. And since women don’t generally freak out over absolutely NOTHING, the wise man will at least calmly listen to HER side, (NOT shut her down), acknowledge her hurt in a respectful way, briefly air HIS side(without telling her she is WRONG), & quickly move on from the issue (a little hug wouldn’t hurt). In most case, women just want their feelings to be validated. Attacking her very nature & sanity only makes things worse, and IMO, is extremely destructive to a relationship.

    • Mr.Beam says:

      I am not going to have a 45 minute conversation about why the toilet seat was left up this morning. She (my wife) knows I was running late (for work) because we had some happy morning fun times. I took a last minute #1 and ran out the door. I can’t believe she made such a big deal about having to put it down once in the 3 years we have been living together.

  65. I think that many of the people commenting on this article are missing a major point of the article…..society has conditioned EVERYONE (men and women alike) that women are emotionally unstable, crazy and overreact. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard a man say “all women are crazy” and “women overreact to everything”. That is ridiculous, how can men (and even some women) stereotype EVERY single woman on the planet and state that she is crazy and overreacts. The point is that that stereotype, just like most others, is a fallacy and needs to end. People need to stop using words like crazy to intentionally and cruelly manipulate others. My spouse used to tell me I was crazy when we would argue, he did it because he KNEW that it would push my buttons and make me mad. That is emotional manipulation and just as the author said, is not acceptable.

    On a side note – I don’t understand why some people are reacting so negatively to this article. What is wrong with what the author is talking about? Why is it upsetting people so badly? In my opinion, I believe that more than likely a large percent of the people who are responding negatively are responding that way because they perpetrate this behavior and feel it necessary to defend themselves. Are they overreacting?

    Emotional manipulation – whether male to female, female to male, parent to child, child to child, sibling to sibling, etc – is wrong and needs to stop now.

  66. THANK YOU. I have been trying to explain this very concept to my friends. I got SICK of boys referring to their “crazy” ex-girlfriends. I’m like, “what did you do to make them act that way?!!?” And what a disrespectful thing to say about someone you shared intimate feelings with… come on people.

    • all you just did is reverse it. maybe he was crazy. maybe she was crazy. maybe both. maybe neither.

    • Oh, MAKE them act that way, huh? How does one MAKE someone do or feel something? Why are you using language that completely mitigates personal responsibility on the woman’s part? If SHE acted “crazy” then there was – prepare yourself! – a REASON for him saying that! Dun dun dun!

      Women aren’t children, they aren’t objects and they aren’t incapable of handling their emotions. That they don’t handle their emotions is the problem, and bullshit like this just validates not taking care of these emotions. Stop it, it’s childish.

  67. I love rational, strong willed women and their confidence, I love communicating with them. The experience is visual, mental and emotional euphoria. But believe me when I tell you, that there are some crazy women out there. These I avoid like the plague. they may have been abused, but instead of being survivors, they play the role of the perpetual victim. These women ARE crazy, and they need to realize they have issues and confront them. I’m afraid your article may provide these women with an excuse, allowing them to shift the problem and blame to “every man they meet in their life”. Sometimes “you’re crazy” literally means that, it’s not always gaslighting.

  68. What a joke, you need to speak to someone, it’s a crime the shit you are spewing. I understand everyone has an opinion, but all of the is just complete shit… Just stop

  69. So when I am a minute late or a minute early and she comes unhinged… what is that…. ?

  70. “Why Women Aren’t Crazy”? More like “How Men Have Manipulated Women”. The author does not talk about women’s emotions, how they work, and what a joy they can be when they are honored and respected. He accuses men of pushing their emotional issues on women, as tho “gaslighting” never happens within the same gender. The only concrete action or strategy he gives to address the problem is for men to admit they “gaslight” and to talk about their feelings – no recommendation of who to talk to or how to approach the subject. This article talks about how something is bad without talking about how things could be good, a pitfall all too common among feminist writings.

  71. I must say that I am quite disappointed in this article. I do not feel this way about other people. This article seems to lead into the delusional picture of paranoia which really doesn’t exist. Each person is different with different emotions, so the author cannot speak as a stereotype for all types of people. I was hurt on my fiance’s part as I read this article, because he has to put up with my hormones, and tries his best to calm me down without putting me down. Not all men are jerks or pigs. In fact, there are a lot more good ones out there than we realize.

  72. TrueWiiMaster says:

    In most of those examples, the women WERE overreacting in my opinion. Maybe, from a woman’s perspective (which I don’t have), they were totally right, but from a man’s perspective (which you do not have), they were overreacting. If someone they were meeting was late, most guys wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. That would be overreacting. The same goes for comments about a guy’s appearance or work. When men make such comments they oftentimes really are joking around. To become defensive about such comments would be considered overreacting. There are two sides here. You cannot analyze them from just one perspective and declare your analysis correct. Despite what you think, when men say they’re just joking around, they usually are. There’s no sexism or misogyny involved, just miscommunication, and neither gender is really to blame for it.

    • Your reply proves his point….just because it is your OPINION that someone is overreacting when late for a meeting getting defensive about comments, does not mean that they ARE overreacting. An overreacting is irrantional behavior in a situation that does not warrant it. If we set a time to meet and you don’t show up until a half hour later for no good excuse, that is disrespectful of my time and if I get upset, it is not overreacting. Also, ever hear the saying, “much truth is said in jest”? Just because you think something is funny, does not mean I think it is funny or acceptable and that does not make me crazy.

      • Isn´t it peculiar that there are things that are sensitive to women and not to men like the concepts of time and punctuality?

        Perhaps if women would joke about the penis size of their mate things would be a little more balanced, but then again, since men are not (as) allowed to react to disappointment or have their feelings hurt by offhand comments, things are not really balanced.

        So this is maybe the result of men treating women as men or as someone not allowed to react (see how I didn´t use “overreact”?). Maybe, this is the result of women slowly but consistently getting more involved in what was once a Man´s world. There is a learning curve here.

        Maybe, to be taken more seriously, women should adapt the age old stoicism of men of old and discard their entitlement to emotionally react to anything perceived as a slight or threat. I mean, men are still seen as pussys when they react emotionally to anything, especially when they wouldn´t perceive it as a respect issue, like time or looks.

        • Courtney says:

          Would you think your boss was overreacting if he told you you were running late? But he be overreacting for firing you if it became a habit of any kind?
          What if your girl was late 30 min? You’ll be ok with that, right?…bc your time isn’t important and you don’t care if she respects you?

          When anyon makes a promise, it is their responsibility to follow through with it. how is making a statement or observation overreacting? Besides, what any person says or does is a reflection of themselves, and how they view the other person. And we shouldn’t forget, following through with any promise shows how trustworthy and dependable we are.

        • Women shouldn’t have to ‘adapt the age old stoicism of men of old’ or act like men. They should be allowed to act how they prefer to act. Furthermore, using the term ‘pussy’ further perpetrates the notion that women are somehow weaker because they react differently.

          • Act how you want, just don’t moan about it. If men like to joke around with each other and can’t make the same joke around a woman because it “offends them” and they’d go off into a rant at them then that, ironically, makes women look a bit crazy. If it is just a joke, it shouldn’t make you mad unless you’re a bit unhinged.

            I agree with parts of the article. The whole hysterical woman thing is gaslighting. If you tell a woman to “calm down, dear”, it’s gaslighting. But women often are more emotional than men; that’s a fact of nature. There is literally a time of the month for every woman where they experience hormonal imbalance and get slightly to extremely (depending on the person) emotional. Men don’t have this. So, to men, women DO seem kind of crazy. You could make a joke one day and they’d laugh and the next they’d shout at you for being an insensitive prick. Then you have things like hybristophillia which in all its high profile cases has been women lusting after men, which is… kind of crazy.

            There are definitely elements of women that men will ALWAYS see as a bit crazy, and men thinking this has nothing to do with gaslighting, it’s to do with how they process their own emotions. If I see a man trying to start a fight in a bar with someone over a petty indifference I’d think, “That’s a bit crazy,” just as much as if I girl texted a man 33 times within 10 minutes I’d think, “That’s a bit crazy.”

            But if, as the writer says, women have been conditioned to not speak their minds because of this gaslighting then why is the “nagging wife” a stereotype? Most men in marriage are told what to do by their “women”, so when does this gaslighting come into effect for these women? Does marriage magically make the woman powerful, because back in the days before feminism it certainly didn’t. So I don’t buy it, really. I don’t think women have been oppressed to the point where they can’t express opinions because they’re afraid to be called hysterical. Pretty much every girl I know is vocal about what they think.

            • Anonymous says:

              Thank you for writing this so I didn’t have to. I was shaking my head as I read this article. The author even states that women are actually emotionally unstable, but gaslighting is to blame for this. So essentially, telling women to calm down when they aren’t overreacting is going to make them more prone to actual overreactions in the future.

              I also feel like this article will contribute to more “crazyness.” Men typically don’t escalate the intensity when a women is actually overreacting, the first natural instinct is to turn it down a few notches so a calm and logical conversation can take place. During an actual overreaction, a woman who has read this article could become even more intense after a man tries to calm her down. For example: “DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN! MEN ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO MANIPULATE ME INTO INTERNALIZING MY EMOTIONS AND I WILL STAND FOR IT NO LONGER! MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ON THE INTERNET AGREE.”

        • It’s amazing how much sexism we’re seeing in the comments already, I’m really impressed.

      • It isn’t sexist to say an example is of someone overreacting. It’s sexist to say that “women always overreact” because that’s a very biased statement. People in general over seem to over react to other people. Different people have different perspectives on the same situation, and people who aren’t involved in a situation may look at it objectively or without emotion and say that person is overreacting.

        For the record, I’ve meet plenty of women who totally flip out about something; whereas one of the many guys I’m friends with would had acted completely differently.

        I think the writer is just another guy whose pretending to take a stand for something. This is a non issue. There’s real sexism out there and it’s far worse than this.

    • I think one reason behind punctuality (or at least letting people know when you’re going to be late) being important to women is that if a woman is delayed, (statistically, perceptually, anecdotally) there is a chance that she was accosted en route or the friend she was meeting may not feel safe waiting for longer than expected. A man drinking alone at a bar (for example) while waiting for friends is less likely to feel unsafe, physically or emotionally, than a woman in a similar situation.

      So, maybe it is a slight overreaction to say ‘I was worried sick.’ if you’re 10 minutes late home from work but perhaps several years ago, a flatmate was late and she didn’t worry only to find out he was in hospital after a car-crash. Maybe she’s worried that a lack of communication about the little things is leading to a lack of communication about bigger problems. Rather than ‘You’re over-reacting!’ perhaps ‘What is different about our points of view that makes you react so vigorously to something I consider so minor?’…

  73. Logical fallacy. Assumes the conclusion rather than proves it.

  74. Women do this to guys all the time. My last girlfriend played on my emotions like a violin…so, it’s not just men making women feel like this. Women do it to each other as well…constantly shooting each other down, firing off insults and derogatory remarks with a laugh or a smile, pretending it wasn’t intended to be hurtful, knowing full well the damage they can cause.

  75. Calm down. Seriously.

    If you need to read an article about why you’re not crazy you’re probably crazy.

  76. I think you need to be careful about inferring gaslighting into every scenario. Simply being dismissed is not gaslighting. The guy who fires everyone in your example is obviously dismissive of everyone. He dismisses them from their jobs on a regular basis. He’s not trying to make the one female employee you specifically named feel like she alone has no basis for competence or rationality in a malicious attempt to undermine her. He simply dismisses everyone, and she falls under the category of “everyone.” Unless he’s only firing female employees then it’s certainly not gender-based gaslighting, even the sub-conscious version you’re promoting here.

    The husband who is constantly tearing down his wife’s self-esteem then trying to back off it by claiming he’s joking is being emotionally abusive, but again it’s not gaslighting. The way you’re trying to appropriate the term it’s a short step to, “all interactions that feel invalidating are gaslighting” and from there to “all interactions that don’t go the way I want are abusive.” Be careful – that doesn’t help someone’s agency, it gives them a built-in excuse to maintain a pattern of behavior.

    Gaslighting is a very serious problem. It’s extremely damaging and the pervasive ways it affects someone’s life are specific and deserve to be illustrated and highlighted. If you want to pick another term for dismissive social actions, feel free, but taking this one for your own purposes and changing the meaning doesn’t help people who are being gaslit in the traditional sense of the word. It just equates their abuse with someone saying, “You’re fat – just kidding.”

    There are jerks in the world who put people down. If that’s gaslighting, then everyone is being gaslit all the time, undermined in their own confidence and feelings of satisfaction. If your books is simply stating “I’m sorry men are mean” that’s not going to help anyone. The point of identifying gaslighting in any relationship is to help a sufferer recognize it, defend against it, and ultimately escape it. When you muddy the waters by stealing the term for your own and changing the definition, you remove the ability to identify it. You remove the agency from people to escape it, because what you’re describing cannot be escaped in every encounter. And unless you have some ideas to share about how to defend against put-downs that you haven’t listed (and therefore separate the tactics used to identify and fight malicious gaslighting from thoughtless emotional abuse) all your apology does is make it easier for true gaslighters to get away with it.

    Because you’ve watered down the term to make it an inescapable part of the world of thoughtless jerks and accidental hurts, instead of malicious abuse no one has to suffer.

    Be careful.

    • You are totally missing the point, while some questions can be raised over the writer generalizing, his ultimate point is is that people need to be more aware of treating other people derogatorily.

      You say,

      ‘The point of identifying gaslighting in any relationship is to help a sufferer recognize it, defend against it, and ultimately escape it.’

      when Yashar is saying that the ABUSER needs to recognize, stop it and ultimately escape it.

      ‘You remove the agency from people to escape it, because what you’re describing cannot be escaped in every encounter.’
      This sounds like you are trying to validate abusive commentary by saying, ‘It’s always going to happen, so why change it.’ Just because something occurs frequently doesn’t mean it should be tolerated. You are removing the agency of the abuser by saying that it’s inevitable.

      By trying to define it he is not normalizing it, he is challenging it.

      By trying to manipulate his message and accuse him of removing ‘agency’ from the victim you are in fact ‘Gaslighting’ by his terms.
      And as for giving people comebacks to say in each instance, how about mere reflection, “oh, you would say that wouldn’t you.”
      that would turn it on them, in which case they will be the one who’s actions/feelings are accosted.

    • Ive sadly heard many men refer to all women as crazy; especially from men who are into Men’s Rights. In these circles, women are regarded as the enemy.Such men have often been genuinely hurt by A FEMALE, but just because there are some bad or even crazy women out there, doesn’t mean its fair to lump ALL women together. The reality is, God made male and female different. Men seem to want us to be like THEM. If its not THEIR way, or THEIR conclusion, its wrong. Your out of touch, too-sensitive, irrational, &….crazy. Whether intentioned or not, its a power tool. Control & manipulation. If this wasn’t the case, and if they truly thought you needed a padded cell, theyd be calling Bellview, not ranting to YOU(the presumed crazy person). What men don’t get is that such names are belittling, & drive a wedge between a couple who is supposed to be eachother supports and comforts. Having a different feeling or different view or perspective is what makes us individuals. No person has the right to mock another persons very real feelings, then label you crazy just because u don’t see eye to eye. Who says you HAVE to agree on all things? So what if she feels one way, and he feels another about an issue! Give each respect, hear them out. In most cases, women just need to be heard……without mockery.

  77. As far as I’m aware – gaslighting is more than putting someone else down. It’s more than saying to someone you’re “Too sensitive”. It’s a pre-meditated act and manner of emotionally murdering someone else.

    It takes:

    Grooming – finding perfection everywhere in the target, nothing s/he can do is wrong.
    Buying the target out – with gifts, praise, sex, anything and everything
    Setting a scene – promising something and then reneging on the promise without word, or perhaps making an agreement such as a date, and then inviting someone else without consulting the original person. Something that breaks the gaslighters commitment, promise, agreement.
    Then when the target gets upset at this contract-breach, the gaslighter thus creates a reason as to why it’s the target’s fault that the night ended badly, or the gaslighter didn’t have fun.. when the night went particularly well – especially on nights/events where everything worked out incredibly well.

  78. Hmm. There are valid points here, but he goes a bit wild. As a woman who owns her own construction business, and has her degree in psych, I get this; the undermining, attempted sabotage of our confidence by playing on ideas of what a person ‘should be’, I.e., calm, not sensitive, not emotional, etc. Or what we should think, or how we should act. Rarely, very rarely these days, do I stumble across someone who has the lack of sense to try these tactics with me. When I do, they get called out early on it.

    But I feel I must express some misgivings about this article here. It is not just men who do this to women. I see as many women doing this to men… Maybe even more. This is a ‘bad human’ trait. I don’t really like seeing it minimized into a sexist category. Do sexist people use the tactic? Sure! In fact, I suspect we have all been guilty of it; gaslighting, emotional manipulation. I think it might be best to learn to spot manipulation as a whole, sexist or not, call it what it is in plain English, which zaps any power it might have held over you, as well as any power that the perp may have obtained from it. When you call it, you make yourself aware and often you make others aware that they’re doing it. Step # 1 to spotting emotional manipulation: No one gets to tell you how to feel (Nor do you get to tell others how to feel). Step #2: Own it. Remove from your dialogue, both internal and with others, the phrase ‘he/she/it made me feel like… (Insert whatever)’. No one makes you feel anything. You feel it. Own it. It’s your own.

  79. Nice article, but this isn’t exclusive to women.

    Shutting down the emotional responses in others–“Gaslighting”–is actually a part of what causes Borderline Personality Disorder in people. Their emotional responses are shut down, they feel invalidated (“the way I felt is wrong”) and thus they develop difficulties in managing their emotional responses. This often results in stronger emotional responses later on, which are strengthened further when met with more invalidation.

    This doesn’t just affect women, though. Men are just as susceptible.

  80. One more comment: As a male child and teenager, I got called “over-sensitive” and all the rest of it a lot as a male child and teenager. Looking back, I think I actually was over-sensitive. I am glad that I’m more secure and resilient now and I’m glad that I consciously set out to develop those virtues! “Gaslighting” exists, but I don’t think it helps anyone, male or female, to pretend that, whenever someone is accused of being “over-sensitive”, it’s because of institutional sexism.

  81. To label any accusation that any woman has over-reacted as sexist abuse is, well, crazy. Who hasn’t met a man who can’t take any slight against him (often while happily dishing it out to others), or who frequently explodes about petty things? The world is filled with such men and everyone’s met plenty of them. Far from portraying men as paragons of reason and humility, the media is not shy of telling stories about such men. Everyone can agree that such men are unreasonable, and if we can agree on that, is it really so inconceivable that someone women can be sometimes behave like that too, and that therefore the adjectives like “overly sensitive” can sometimes be accurately applied to them?

    It’s certainly true that women are more likely to be accused of being “over-emotional” and “over-sensitive” whereas an explosively angry macho man will often be described in completely different ways, sometimes even in an admiring way, for what is in fact exactly the same kind of sensitivity and propensity to offence and anger that “over-sensitive” women experience. “Over-emotional” and “over-sensitive” are instead reserved for men who are viewed as effeminate in some way, as a double put-down. That’s where the sexism is.

    A man who passively expresses hurt without taking assertive action in response, is going to lose status in a way that a woman passively expressing hurt will not. Men and women are judged by different criteria and it’s much more acceptable for a woman to be a passive victim than it is for a man. Therefore, when men are insulted they’re more likely than women to either bury their hurt, or respond in an assertive angry way that, because it’s coming from a man (and assertiveness is encouraged in men and discouraged in women), is less likely to be framed as “emotional”.

    Unfortunately, these are not the points Yahar Ali made. What he claimed was that when women are told they are being defensive or over-reacting, it’s because of pervasive institutional sexism seeking to shut them down. There is therefore no such thing as an unreasonable woman. End of story.

    In support of this very simplistic account, all Yashar Ali offers are two anecdotes where, for feeling insulted in circumstances in which anybody would feel insulted, a woman’s hurt is dismissed. As if all the scenarios, fictional and real, in which women are accused of being over-sensitive, are as simple and clear-cut as they are! Maybe Yashar Ali would claim that he doesn’t actually believe in such a sweepingly black-and-white view of gender relations but, if so, he really didn’t do a great job of getting that across.

  82. This is a load of crap. Every single person without exception, man or woman, that I’ve ever met is crazy. ALL of them.

    • Agreed. I call my girlfriend crazy, because she is sometimes, and she calls me crazy, because I am sometimes, too. We’re all a little (or a lot) irrational at times. But I think you and I are using the word “crazy” differently from the way Yashar is explaining how it’s used in general.

      We use it to point out actual irrational reactions (I worry that she’s angry at me when she doesn’t respond to my text, but she just left her phone in the other room, so I’m overreacting. She gets angry at me for not respecting her wishes, but she’s sending me conflicting messages, so she’s being unclear).

      Yashar is talking about people (mostly men) diminishing a justified emotional reaction – it hurts my feelings when you constantly criticize my weight or my work (even though you obviously value it, since I still work here) – by saying “you’re being crazy”.

      There’s probably a lot of shades of grey in there, and we could argue about which reactions are justified and which ones aren’t. The best way to deal with this (in a relationship, at least) that I’ve learned – and I’m still learning – is for both sides to be really emotionally honest with themselves.

    • Craigermendel says:

      Agreed. Load of garbage..happens to everyone. Guys OR Girls who do that are just shitty people. The world is full of them unfortunately.

  83. Thank you. I needed to hear this.

  84. I don’t think I do this, but I’m going to be more vigilant and look for if/when I do. Don’t wanna manipulate.

    “We are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion…” –this leads to unhealthy relationships and cooped up feelings that harm all our relationships. As a man, it’s looked down upon to show/share certain emotions. For a while, my response before expressing some feelings in relationships was, “Sorry, I’m such a girl, but I feel like/I’m worried about/etc.” I caught myself saying that and have worked to not premise my “feeling” statements–it’s degrading. But conditions say that only women should have those feelings. So I’d hide behind that. Not any more.

    Very thought provoking article. Thanks!

  85. John Hardman says:

    I would suggest there is a collusion on both sides. Men have traditionally been the bread winners and women have either been home makers or held service jobs. With the new service economy, women now have a historical, sociological, and possible biological advantage. Our society still more readily accepts a receptive mother-woman and is leery of an unambitious, assertive, male. I would agree it is very important to see how both males and females “gaslight” females to subconsciously remain in the submissive role and not take responsibility for their own lives and livelihoods. Yes, guys are still expected to “man up” and take control if it pleases a woman. Sadly this is often our only clue as to meaning in this modern world. If women begin to honestly take more responsibility for themselves, then men will have no choice but to change in order to find other meaningful pursuits.

  86. You have the concept of gaslighting all wrong. Gaslighting doesn’t mean undermining someone’s reactions, it’s either denying things the victim accuses the gaslighter of doing as never happening, or convincing the victim something happened that hasn’t. It’s done in a purposeful way to make the victim question his or her sanity and puts them in a very vulnerable position.

    I stopped reading after you couldn’t even get that right.

  87. Being a quiet, shy girl growing up I became labeled as the nice one. Hence I often found myself as the storage locker for my friends’, both female and male, emotional baggage. Caught in the middle between friends, or couples, I observed, listened and comforted them. I realized that girls who voiced their opinions or god forbid, feelings, they were often referred to as “crazy” and dismissed or made fun of. I played sports with mostly boys and wanted to fit in so I realized that suppression is the way to go; I played it cool, laid back, never daring to express any strong emotions I felt. I bottled them up and dealt with them alone, behind closed doors. I played it so cool that eventually my world just felt cold; I didn’t know if I was really ever feeling anything normal anymore, some emotions disappeared altogether. The worst was I didn’t even know how to express the emotions I did have when I needed or wanted to. I ended up in relationships I didn’t want, or situations I wasn’t happy with but with a lack of courage or practice of expressing myself, I sat back and hoped for the best. I am guilty of always adding those silly smiley faces to anything serious I am trying to express just so I don’t come off too strong. I told myself I was just being calm, rational, not “crazy”, and an open minded, laid back person. But now at 25, I realized I’ve missed out on so many things and opportunities because I diminished my value, my conviction or back bone in fear of being labeled as “crazy”. Thanks to reality tv, and other aspect of our culture, that label comes with associations of being shallow, dumb, or over- dramatic. And our pop culture is only solidifying this awful view further. I have been and still am guilty of gaslighting; even my girlfriends and I refer to other girls as just over-reacting, crazy and I don’t stop my male friends from making these kinds of comments either.

    I often joke around and make sarcastic comments, because that is how my family has always been but underneath there was always a bruising truth I felt; the jokes about me slowly crept into my mind as truths about myself. But I even joined in and made fun of myself which can be good to an extent but I went too far and it only led to doing damage to my self-image and confidence. Gaslighting I see now is doing the same thing to the view of women as a whole and I need to stop!!! We all need to stop this if we ever want to have equality and respect.

  88. Interesting piece. Recently I made the argument that “I don’t hit women” reduces the woman’s ability to have a heated discussion with such a chivalrous boy. My point was that my voice was taken away by this statement. The boy had no idea what I was trying to say.

    • Darcy Vandamere says:

      Such magnanimity, volunteering that he only makes veiled mention of violence to a woman, making sure she knows he’s capable of it at will.

  89. learicbell says:

    This article speaks volumes to me.

    Last year I got into an argument with my sister’s husband. He said some very hurtful things. Through the argument he let me know he never liked me. At first he tried to manipulate me into being the perfect sister in law, when that didn’t work he gave up. He mentioned that he wanted this argument to scar me. And it did. I was in such shock I couldn’t stand up for myself, or my mother which he brought into the fight. She is physically disabled, and he mentioned that he thought I was lying, and that my mother was exaggerating her symptoms. My mother can hardly walk on her own, and he had the nerve to belittle her condition. Later he wanted to apologize for the whole thing. I finally stood my ground, telling him what I didn’t have the strength to tell him then. The first thing he told me was that “I needed to calm down.” That “I was over-reacting to the situation.” Then he proceeded to tell me that he wouldn’t say another word about the situation until I stopped acting like a child. I re-acted appropriately to a bad situation,and I ended up being the crazy one because I was genuinely hurt. He used this as an easy out of an argument. Make me feel like I was taking things too seriously. Granted I didn’t take the bait. I told him until he was willing to listen to what I had to say we weren’t going to solve anything. Sadly, we haven’t spoken to each other since. He still believes he didn’t hurt me as much as I say he did.

    This behavior has got to stop!

    Yashar Ali, sir, you hit the nail on the head! Thank you so much for this article!

  90. Really wonderful read. Thank you for the article.

  91. I normally agree with this style of thinking, but I think the well-intended points in this article undermine the psychological differences between men and women in a social setting. Some of the things that women are prone to overreact to (comments about weight, criticism, power struggles in the work place) can feel like personal attacks to women. Men, however, conduct themselves like this and take no prisoners.

    I have a really hip job at a popular guitar chain and work with 97% men. In my time there, I’ve had to seriously adjust my thinking. I was sensitive at first and I would come home crying. I even had to confront some of them about the things that they were saying to me and how it affected me. It turns out that they hadn’t given any mind to anything they’d said and hadn’t intended anything they said to be taken seriously. This happens everyday and still keeps happening. Recently, a few of them have apologized to me for things they’ve said after the fact, only to have me reply, “oh lol, I don’t care, I just assumed you were joking.”

    I think it has to do with the social boundaries between men and women. Women value different things. I think that’s the focus. Gaslighting is real, but I honestly don’t think it’s an epidemic.

    2 cents.

  92. The other side of this coin is that men are conditioned into believing that they should not be expressing themselves for fear of seeming too much like a woman, which, obviously (sarcasm) is a bad thing. People often think of feminism as just rights for women, and, indeed, that’s its main goal, since men were/are the ones in charge, but what’s often not realized is that men oppress themselves too, and feminism is important for both issues (human rights are of course more important but still)

  93. I totally agree with the overall point of this article. But there’s a difference between say, defensive or overreacting and callig someone crazy or irrational. Defensive and overreacting are concrete terms that are useful in describing behaviors while crazy is just insulting and marginalizing. Ie my girlfriend can be perfectly sane and get defensive or overreact about something and the same goes for me. Calling her crazy or irrational on the other hand is manipulative, insulting, marginalizing, etc. The article should clarify that key difference a bit, between describing a behavior and making a value judgment about a person (note: if I said toher “you ALWAYS overreact” this would be a value judgment, but it sort of falls into the crazy category as I am calling her standard behaviors irrational)

    I find people say women are crazy, illogical, irrational to marginalize them. The other adjectives are sometimes right, sometimes wrong, and often apply to men too!

  94. Thank you for the inspiration to share your words and some of my own~ http://lisa.voidcast.ca/?p=28918

  95. this was an interesting article – An over simplification of relationships between men and women. A very board statements about very vague situations. The ideas and thoughts can apply t some situations between men ad women – but is by far – not Applicable to all men and woman and I would even say to most. Its a swing rom one extreme to the other. Many man face these exact same type of degradation in the work place as was described as being a particular attack on Women.The examples used are much more indicative of abuses of workers 0- than of a particular attack on women by men.

  96. emotions are superifical. if i erased your memory all your emotions towards your attachments would dissappear. still you as an identity would exist though. thats how superifical they are. now you’re wanting to make a superifical aspect of your pshyche the ultimate thing. this isn’t good, nor is it stable. the same can be said about the intellect. it isn’t until they become one that intelligence flowers

  97. You know what happens more often than “gaslighting?” People getting frustrated at how their lives are going, and making unfair accusations of others. You know what those frustrated people should do? Calm down and think before they run their mouths.

  98. This article is a good example of selection bias. To start off with it completely ignores all other sets of relatinships including male to male romantic, male to male friendship, female to female romantic, and female to female friendship. It then further dwindles down the population of selection to those relationships that’s seen to (almost parodidcally) charicatures of a misogynistic patriarchal relationship archetype. Now starting from such a small group the author draws claims an applies them to the larger audience they didn’t even consider. I’m going to save this to show some of my colleagues, it’s a great example.

    • The author speaks of a sexism so pervasive to society that it affects all interactions. He describes behavior that is not specific to patriarchal, heteronormative romantic relationships, but rather ALL relationships. I (a woman) have been on the receiving end of gaslighting from many different people, including my parents, my friends, my colleagues, and my dating partners. All of which have included both men and women. He’s talking about a greater issue in the sexist and patriarchal society we live in, not specific relationships.

  99. I was wondering if it counts as gas lighting if my husband keeps saying ‘stop shouting’ when i’m sharing my frustration, and doesn’t want to listen and is angry afterwards because i shouted, so he starts making the argument about me speaking to loud instead of what it was originaly about? sorry if my english is bad

    • Your husband sounds like my ex-fiance (who is a woman).
      So this happens in both genders.

    • My question would be are you actually shouting or not. If you are, its always hard to receive anything said with a harsh tone. Nobody likes to be shouted at and therefore would be hard to be calm and understanding in a situation like that. if not, then yes, most likely he is.

  100. Fox in sox says:

    It can happen to both men and women. I think the main issue is self-confidence. Spreading awareness of this issue to males like myself does make me want to be far more active in responding to these issues. On another hand, most people on the whole seem to prefer drama over a truly very peaceful unexhilerating social life. I tend to be quite quiet, but you know, it can be fun to take sides and make the male-female battle of the sexes a fun game, it only works well in good fun if both sides are self-confident though.

    If we the wish of all men suddenly treating all women with complete respect, I’d be all for it, but what do you as a person want? do you want a bunch of zombified people who you push and they don’t push back? don’t make any funny faces because it’s demeaning to those with facial deformities, don’t talk about sex because that’s demeaning to people with genetalia disorders. If everyone could take a joke and not care about their own attributes and be more selfless it would be fine and a lot of fun. Sadly this is not the case for everyone and those who are serious about their issues I completely sympathize with them and completely take your issues seriously and want to help but the help is to get everybody to REALLY shake things off. So, everyone really needs to give others the emotional support they believe they deserve to shake it off, rather than saying ‘shake it off”. Once everyone has really shaken it off things will be a blast, but until then, as long as there are people who feel their emotions are invalidated, there will always be people suffering emotionally, and I really hope everyone gets the compassion they need to REALLY start living their life.

  101. Charles Boyer’s character does want to obtain the jewels but it doesn’t happen as you stated. The jewels were Ingrid Bergman’s character’s Aunts. Charles Boyer’s character marries Ingrid Bergman’s character, convinces her to move into the house where her Aunt was murdered and proceeds to regularly search the house’s contents for the jewels. The GASLIGHT affect comes when he sneaks into the attic and turns on the gas-powered lights which causes the rest of the house’s lights to dim. Ingrid Bergman notices the dimming lights which she is told isn’t actually happening and a myriad of additional manipulation and lies are fed to her. So yes he does encourage her sense of insanity.

    It’s a great suspenseful movie.

    • I didn’t want my comment to seem as a criticism of the writers work. So, I wasn’t going to post a reply. Thankfully Katie was able to state the incidents within the film with a graceful tact. Thank you Yashar (and Katie).

  102. Daniel Mirante says:

    These are such general ideas, that we anchor in our own differing experiences.
    IMO the brunt of it is that as a species we’re getting to grips with the idea of subjectivity – still. We can still fall into the trap of feeling our particular view is ‘THE truth’ rather than ‘OUR truth’. This cuts both ways but its not always ‘gaslighting’ – its often just people trying to figure it out without having their centres overwhelmed – their own sense of truth overwhelmed. Someone may express their subjective experience emotionally or under the ‘false objectivity’ of ‘rationality’. Both are still vying for the truth. We do indeed as a species need to listen to each others experience with open hearts, without arguing ‘the Truth’.
    As humans, and especially in families and intimate relationships, we need to help each other develop the communication skills needed whereby we can inform and enlighten each others experience by our own, without it reaching a point where our own ability to adapt is overwhelmed or disrespected – either by emotional extremes or by over-calculated rationality.

    • missfirecracker says:

      The point is that yes men do not understand our emotions and so a lot of times instead of trying to understand they go cold and that hurts especially when you are supposed to be in a loving relationship. Just last night in fact something hurt me and I calmly tried to explain my feelings and was tearing not crying my eyes out and said I feel hurt and was told I was overreacting. I was not and of course the other person thinks nothing of it because its not them who is hurting or feels bad. To tell someone they are overreacting when they have done so much for you and respect your feelings is not fair. Men want to be babied and when they do something wrong forgiven right away and don’t even apologize for hurting you half the time. Women make sacrifices all the time for the men they love and put aside their pride and men rarely will do the same. Yes its true women will do this too, but I have experienced it and seen it way more coming from men and even in the comments on here majority of the men are doing the gaslighting and ge5ting defensive instead of proving the article wrong and trying to understand and be open to why we would feel this way.

      • madeline says:

        Wow,holy crap can I empathize.I know exactly how you feel and its so crazy to read another woman going through the same thingit hurts so bad,and you wonder why they have mo reaction to you crying and why they would rather get angry with you,be aggressive,and call you “psycho”.How can this man that I take care of,have taken care of completely for 7 years not care if I’m crying?Why would he choose to be an asshole to me,say I’m “causing problems” and be so cold and heartless?

      • Michael Rowe says:

        “Men want to be babied and when they do something wrong forgiven right away and don’t even apologize for hurting you half the time. Women make sacrifices all the time for the men they love and put aside their pride and men rarely will do the same.”

        What a self-serving crock of all-you-can-eat meal-deal stereotyping.

      • Mike Borden says:

        What some people consider “sacrifice” others consider just part of life. Many women think they are martyrs. Truth is, we all make sacrifices, but most men don’t dwell on them.

        • Darcy Vandamere says:

          I take it your enlightened comment is backed up by some rigorous science you won’t mind sharing, not just, “Well, that’s what I think anyway”?

          • You mean like the peer review opening piece?

            • Darcy Vandamere says:

              Baseless, indefensible, outrageous gender-based claims and accusations are annoying. Anybody stepping up with some empirical evidence would be welcome.

              • I’m so happy for you Darcy that you have lived so long inside your cocoon. However those of us who have experienced this do not need evidence…we are the evidence!

    • missfirecracker says:

      OK once again people are taking the article out of context and the fact that yes sometimes if done in a caring loving way, like saying calm down sweetheart you are getting yourself worked up with a hug cause you genuinely care and they are letting someone or something get them upset when they should not give that thing power or energy is not abusive. But when you have someone who is always in an annoyed tone when you are not overreacting just stating feelings telling you to calm down and refusing to talk or gets defensive every time that is abuse. That is what this article is talking about and I know exactly the difference and what he is speaking of. I have lived it almost everyday of my life and it is hurtful and frustrating. It is a way to direct the bad behavior that someone did that hurt you back at you so they don’t have to own anything or admit or understand your feelings. This way you can never have the communication necessary for any relationship to thrive. It is cowardice and wrong and is meant to make the other person out to be the crazy one who is getting upset because they are trying to communicate feelings to solve the issue and the other calmly just says calm down you are being crazy and the issue never gets addressed making that person seem cool and nonconfrontational. It is worse than having an actual argument then apologizing and working or out and the person always looks like the good guy.

      • But while that approach does come from a place of empathy and compassion, it’s still patriarchal. Even though you’re being nice about it, you’re telling that person that what they’re feeling and how they’re expressing it is wrong and they’re “letting” it get to them. If you want to truly be caring and help, then you would hug them and say what you’re feeling is ok. Let it out, and now let’s look at what the root cause of the problem is and see if there is a way we can figure this out together. You can call them “sweetheart” all you want, but if you tell them that their feelings are out of propotion to what YOU perceive to be the problem, you’re still invalidating their feelings and as a result, you are silencing them.

  103. Daniel Mirante says:

    Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.”

    – I think this is way too strong a term in the day to day sense of the emotional dynamic or ‘everyday social manipulations’ encountered by all people (both genders).

    Women can be crazy, so can men. Look at children. People act erratic. People break down. The problem is our attitude toward the expression of emotion. Of course men are more stoic emotionally – this is in plainsight. But the point is that the information or perspective of somebody should not be dismissed if it is delivered in an emotional way. The trouble however with such an article is if applied to everyday life men will get accused of ‘gaslighting’ when expressing their shock and awe at emotional outbursts that they have been reared to put a lid on.

  104. Excellent article, thank you. It took years for me to realize the truths you’ve written here, but when I finally did, I found an effective way of responding to ‘gaslighting’. Whenever my response is dismissed as emotional or sensitive, I simply say “Don’t dismiss or diminish my reaction, simply because you don’t agree with it. Being sensitive and having emotions is natural, not wrong.” It usually helps the other person reassess the way they’re communicating with me.

  105. Great article! I’ve even been told that I’ve been overreacting about my safety. They’re so full of it too. I’ve been followed and threatened on multiple occasions and guys tell me I’m overreacting since I carry pepper spray. PAH! Getting across to them that it’s not as safe for a woman as it is a man is next to impossible sometimes. Heck, two nights ago I had to pull my pepper spray out to get a guy to leave me alone after I had walked out of a tea shop. A tea shop!!!! I dress conservatively and I’m an undefeated martial artist (in tournament). To not listen to women is stupid. I cite the book “The Gift of Fear” which explains that gut feelings are your subconscious working faster than your conscious. This ability is due to the human brain, not the male brain. Also, no one is ever there when I’m threatened. People do it when you’re alone and vulnerable. Yes, oblivious men, when a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, it STILL fell!!!!! I address that statement to oblivious men, because I know not all men have their heads in the sand. My father and my boyfriend are amazing.

  106. I think there’s a lot of truth to this.

    But I think there’s also a lot that can be learned from the “gaslighting” phenomenon about how we treat each other in general. As much as women are the most common target, and “crazy” is the most common direction in which it goes, emotional manipulation is deeply ingrained in human interactions. In passive aggression, in guilt trips, in lies, etc. are the same seeds that gaslighting stems from, and though I don’t mean to diminish the sexist repercussions of it I do really believe that this kind of manipulation is both rampant in our society (in a way that could be addressed and changed) and also part of human nature and part of our emotional defense mechanisms that help us live with ourselves. In some ways, we have to grow against our own nature as well as the society that conditions us.

    Also, I apologize for nitpicking, but the grammar error did bug me a little:
    http://www.squidoo.com/misused-words#module7187351

  107. I am a woman. A young and attractive woman. I read the comments to the post and a lot of them made me very said. All I want to say to the author is that it is a breath of fresh air to read such an article written by a MAN who is humble enough, self critical enough, LOGICAL enough to understand all of the issues you have described, and to be able to reflect on yourself and change. Thank you for this.

    Both men and women are conditioned, but so far in most cultures and countries (even as “equal” as the USA) women are still viewed as “worse” than men. We give birth to men. By definition we can’t be worse. Why are we treated like we are?

  108. It’s funny she criticizes men for complaining that a women complains when they are an hour late. But that’s a mischaracterization of men’s complaint. Of course women have every right to complain when they have the right to complain, like when their man is habitually late, but what about when women complain excessively because, since they are women, men are just supposed to take it. Women have such a deep double standard that it almost seems hard wired in. It seems clearly a result of women’s unshakable inferiority complex. They feel inferior, and that justifies in their minds that they got a raw deal and therefore men deserve everything that’s coming to them. You have to be a man and be subjected to this kind of thing to really understand it. It’s bad when it comes to house chores, but it really achieves it’s full form when it comes to dating. The games women play when it comes to showing their feelings are so confusing to men, in fact they would make no sense to somebody who doesn’t have all the female insecurities, but then women fully expect us to 100% understand. Yet we are also at the same time expected not to think of them as inferior. If you act that way, how else can we react? So we’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. Basically a woman expects a man to read her mind and be able to read the future and to be fully driven by the same pathological impulses that drive her. And to never challenge her right to this confusion of reality. If you really want to be equal to men, then you have to learn to stop blaming everything on us and take some responsibilities for your own situation. Until then we men have no choice but to patronize all of you. And that’s basically what we all do. When we’re alone with no women we sit around scratching our heads and supporting each other, because it really is hard to deal with.

    • That’s funny, because in my experience many men find strong women intimidating, not because they are, but because of man’s own insecurities about his own masculinity. Men like to lead and take control and will set up a lifestyle that will support this…. so they tend to pick easy going women who go with THEIR flow…! Women feel inferior on many occasions because it is painfully obvious many men see us this way (and it’s a man’s world ) using our emotions against us is just another way of keeping us in our place and it also a great excuse to leave the whole mess behind and go have a drink with the boys.
      Like I said this is my experience.

      • Butch McKinley says:

        The way others choose to live their lives is not within my control. Neither are the rewards or consequences of their behaviour. My children are raised. I have no desire for any woman who is not an adult. I don’t want my grand daughters to be afraid to speak up for themselves. . I do not like compliant women. They are boring. I find biker women more interesting than shrinking violets. All Relationships Are Voluntary. I have to keep that in mind. If I am being manipulated, whose fault is that? (Mine. Not the other person’s) I have a sense of boundaries and they are healthy. I want my grand daughters to have the same. Self esteem is what I think of myself. Nobody else gets to decide that. I can make it plain in very few words when necessary. It is my responsibility not anyone else’s. We need to start telling little girls “Yes, you can.”

        Finally, I don’t do well with whiners. My life is what I make it. I know who is the real culprit in my life: it is me and my choices. Any difficulty I have is self inflicted. Other people are not on the planet to satisfy me. They will not do everything I want them to. Thank God. Mostly they are just living their lives with no evil intent. If someone is a pain in the butt I can avoid them. Or not. It is my choice along with them. You do not get to decide what I think nor do I get to make your choices. Let’s all try to be adults here and make our own choices without blaming others.

  109. This article is painful. I find myself tearing up at the disturbingly familiar horror described so thoroughly, with flashes of personal moments from just the night before flowing through my mind. Unfortunately, society often convinces itself that feminist observations such as this are somehow insane in and of themselves, and that such atrocities are small, inconsequential, trivial. A tiny drop of poison today might not kill or harm you right away, but a tiny drop of poison every day for years will do damage. Why would poisoned communication not have the same effect? Because as societal humans we are trained to hide that effect?

    This is not about the individual moments, but the overarching trends. It is not about blaming specific people/genders, but about underscoring traditional, unprovoked reactions. To support these claims, we use observations and research such as that which Yashar Ali presents. And we count on people like him to present these findings because feminist issues are still extremely taboo and stigmatized.

    It is especially hurtful to see people turning comments that are meant to be enlightening into personal attacks on men. The point is not to hurt men as women have been, but to stop the pain and dismissal for all. These comments are painful for everyone to hear because no one wants to consider the fact that they may have unintentionally inflicted emotional damage on another human being, but sometimes such revelations are necessary for change.

  110. I was pretty stunned when I read this article, and it hit home on a couple points. That manipulation is done to me, all the time – but by my wife. I have every one of those things said to me on a regular basis, and I am a very calm, reserved person. She will literally yell at me sometimes to calm down – when I haven’t raised my voice. In her defense, I know she has no self-awareness. I’m pretty sure she got it from her mother – she does it too, and her father died when she was three. The implication that only men do it to women I found insulting.

  111. What an insightful fabulous article. Finally a clear term for something that my boyfriend and I have been dealing with a LOT lately. I had no idea we were so cliche. As a singer- songwriter and intuitive I have always told him when he attempts to stop my emotional expressions (even slightly raising my voice in passion rather it’s an argument or just a cause I feel strongly about) I remind him that I am not a robot I am a human and it’s our emotions that drive our lives in so many important ways! They are our guides to life and worked with in healthy ways assist us in creating a truly ultimate experience. I’m not condoning radical acts like locking people out of the house or verbal abuse etc. I’m talking about simply being in touch with them and working with those glorious forces. Watching so many people with “dead eyes” in public makes me sad. I find women do this to men as well at times. I know of two women one family member and one childhood friend that insisted their husbands go on anti-depressants because they had to keep working to support their fairly extravagant lifestyles as they raised the children. I was appalled and in the most graceful way possible let them know! Thank you for your insightful article. I printed it out and hope it opens up a greater communication on this issue with my man and I. At least now I have a term to use when he does this that he will clearly understand. Love and light , Kristi

  112. ogwriter says:

    Tandeva I read your post 6x’s.I stand by what I wrote. At no point did I refer to women as crazy as you did men.And my points are based upon recent vetted,peer reviewed, studies- rather than oppinion- on how hormones can define a woman’s worldview.

    • While it may be true that women experience the world in an emotional way, this doesn’t mean that men’s experiences and decisions aren’t influenced by hormones and emotions just as much, if not more so. Take, for example, this study that found that women are better investors than men because they don’t let their emotions sway their decision making abilities. The study found that: “because women are more in touch with their feelings, they’re more able to control how their emotions might weigh on their investing decisions and to avoid mistakes.” http://abcnews.go.com/Business/women-make-investors/story?id=15039090#.TtOZP2NFu7s

      When people try to say that only women are hormonal, emotional beings, that’s perpetuating a gender stereotype. Citing studies that only highlight findings supporting how women are emotional, without making an effort to seek out information about how men are influenced by emotions as well, and then citing “scientific evidence” as your authority is just another way to suppress people who disagree with what you want to believe is true.

  113. ogwriter says:

    rebecca Sexist pigs?! For real? What timewarp did you come here from?You are so sexist.You speak of men and women in sweeping perjoratives like we are living in the 70’s.Good grief?!

  114. ogwriter says:

    Tandava You should read Dr.Brizendines book,The Female Brain.The good feminist Dr., also has a hormone clinic for girls and women at UCSF.

  115. ogwriter says:

    I am not scapegoating anyone and the effects of testosterone on the judgement of men is well-documented.Again,what I am suggesting is that both sexes have emotional blindspots caused by the limitations of the respective sex.Hence,I think men can benefit from a woman’s point of view and vice-versa.In short,WE-men and women- are incomplete emotionally and therefore need each other!Don’t be so defensive! And no men are not bat-crazy everyday until they are forty.There are Plenty of quiet,sensitive,caring men around.Just as there are plenty of aggressive in-your-face women around.Frankly, I find your myopic views to be the epitome of sexism.

    • I was making a hypothetical point, ogwriter: ” If you MUST insist on the effect of hormones” — my point was that if you’re going to say that one thing is true (i.e. women’s hormones affect our judgment) then you must consider the possibility that the other may be true either.

      To accuse me of sexism without actually reading what I wrote is a bit distorted, don’t you think?

  116. This clearly would work both ways, considering how the author simplifies the emotional manipulation process in this. He literally puts no room for error. Quite literally:

    “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.”

    The invalidation of the reaction is “emotional manipulation–pure and simple.” The author also explains this in a conditional sense. Well, that conditioning would easily work the other way if this theory was true. If we were to always validate a woman’s emotions (because apparently, it is emotional manipulation if you do not), then you would see a reverse effect in which women would be conditioned to always react in an ‘under-suppressed’ fashion. It is one thing to not see emotions as “wrong,” but it’s another to always see them as “right,” and that is exactly what an automatic validation would do, and that is more than absurd.

    Typically, I avoid others’ emotions altogether. I am very emotionally-neutral and I do not understand why people react in the ways they do, even if it should be “validated.” But if a woman is saying it has something to do with me or is trying to get me involved in it, I am going to honestly state my opinion, and there is absolutely no good reason why I should be accused of “emotional manipulation” just because I cannot understand an emotional reaction.

    In conclusion, the article fails in just being so blatantly one-sided on the issue. It attempts to defend certain reactions by saying that the fault lies on validation or invalidation of another, and that invalidation is always manipulation. You are allowed to feel and react any way you want to, but you cannot expect others to agree with you. It is all perspective, and others will not always see your perspective.

    • Naomi Lazarus says:

      Steve, it seems to me that you, yourself, have a problem with emotions. You said, ‘Typically, I avoid others’ emotions altogether. I am very emotionally-neutral and I do not understand why people react in the ways they do, even if it should be “validated.”’ which indicates that you are, perhaps, not participating in this key element of humanity. Emotions are a necessary part of our brain chemistry. They’re how we, on a very basic level, avoid danger, form relationships that provide security and allow us to come together to do more than we could alone. Emotions are the cause of every human endeavor, from forming a family to building a monument, to genocide. Government, business, war, science, exploration are as much the result of human emotion as family, art, sex and music. They are not a trivial part of the human experience; they are a _fundamental_ part of the human experience. So when someone else has an emotional response to you, that you don’t understand, is it possible that the disconnect comes from your inability to understand, rather than the legitimacy of their response?

      I agree wholeheartedly with John, in that I think a lot of the dismissal that men have of women’s emotions is a result of the difference in their own upbringing. Men are taught to suppress emotions more than women are, and are taught how to _deal_ with emotions much less than women are. This is a taught behaviour, however, and is not intrinsic to the sexes. I know many men, like John, who were raised differently from the general male population, and they have no more trouble expressing their emotions or handling the emotions of others than most of the women I know. And I know some women who were raised more like the general male population, and are incapable of handling emotions; their own or others’.

      Until you are well-versed in the language and expression of emotion, until you can experience and express your own emotions, until you’ve learned the complicated process of processing and handling the emotions of other people, their emotions will continue to baffle you. This is a skill, like any other, and can be learned.

      Without these skills, however, you are shutting yourself off to a key element of the human experience. You are also limiting yourself in your relationships with others; romantic, familial, economic, political… We are social animals. We work better in groups. Emotions are the extremely complicated punishment/reward system that allows us to work together, whether the project is raising a family or building a city.

      I don’t deny that women are as likely to be brought up with a fucked up concept of emotion and relationships, that some women are taught to be manipulative, or that some women are just plain crazy. But, even in that case, denying another person’s expression of emotion is not actually the way to solve the problem. Listening, expressing your own emotions in return, and, while acknowledging the emotions, rationally working through their causes and finding new solutions to the situations that caused them is the best way not only to stop the current drama, but to avoid future drama, and to form a stronger connection with the other person. Healthy relationships are not the ones in which no emotions are allowed. They are the ones in which emotions are expressed honestly, acknowledged, accepted, and dealt with reasonably.

      I don’t know what the cause of your emotional absence is; perhaps you’re autistic, or it was a result of your upbringing, or, perhaps, you’re one of the 4% of men who are sociopathic. But, for your own sake, I sincerely hope that you can learn to access your own emotions, and the skills of emotional dialogue, because it really is essential to success, joy and long life.

      • missfirecracker says:

        OK people obviously the author is not talking about every situation in the world as being emotional abuse and yes we all get some people truly have issues, call them crazy if you want but that’s an insult considering it is caused by things out of the persons control. But if you wrote an article on single motherhood you would not go into all the facts and basics of two parent homes. This topic is only about the statistics and authors views on true gaslighting and he probably figures people would be smart enough to realize that he isn’t talking about every single situation. Geez really are people serious? The article makes total sense and sums up what the author has witnessed and someone like me who has been put thru this situation multiple times by multiple people and sees it done countless times to others would get this article and say omg there is a name and I am not crazy and other peopleget what has been going on to me. Those responding nnegatively well most are doing exactly what the author is speaking of gaslighting, why else would you get so defensive???

        • missfirecracker says:

          OK once again do people not read or understand they are reading. Nobody said it doesn’t happen to men too or that women don’t do this but that it is mostly men who use this tactic towards women when researching gaslighting. It is true to my knowledge and experience that even if a woman does it to someone it is because it has been done to her by her mother even but that mother usually had it done by a man, her father, step father, husband, etc….As in my case exactly. My mother does this to me all the time but I don’t do it to others I love and notice when she does, my bf also does it too me but my mother learned it from her step father and in return I get the back lash cause she knows no better. Look men don’t want to take responsibility for society or their women but they want to be known as the head of things. They were created first and told to watch over women and treat her as Jesus treated the church with the utmost unconditional love and respect. When men do not try to understand women’s emotions they are not respecting them and are selling themselves short too.. Man is Gods image, woman his emotions, together they are one no matter what society wants you to believe.

          • Poetentiate says:

            No men are not the root cause of evil as you imply. Women are as capable of initiatiating it as men.
            Most men do their best to help what is within their power to help, and to not do evil.
            Trying to put blame on all men because of the actions of a few is just plain hate. The last “acceptable” hate.

  117. ogwriter says:

    John While agree with some of your point,on average,due to biology,women ARE more emotional than men.According to Dr.Louann Brizendine,author of The Female Brain,rush of hormones can and does define how women percieve their world’s.Once a month,for a woman,this fact is made perfectly clear. Just because a woman feels something doesn’t make it so.Your persepctive implies you believe the female model of expressing emotion is normal.I would offer that the male AND female models of expressing emotions benefit from each other and are by themsleves incomplete.

    • But ogwriter, doesn’t the continual rush of testosterone-infused hormones have an equally disruptive effect on male judgment? Why do young men in particular engaged in reckless, dangerous, and — to a rational mind — needlessly combative activities that can leave them permanently injured or killed?

      It is typical sexism that points to a woman’s monthly “rush of hormones” while conveniently ignoring the much more baleful influence of male hormones on a man’s mind. If you must insist on the effect of hormones on one’s thinking, why not consider that women are rational and sane for three weeks of every month, while men are bat-crazy every week of every month until their late 40s — but since they are in fierce denial about their irrationality, they point to the woman around them in a textbook scapegoating, gaslighting, maneuver.

      Food for thought…..

      • EmilyGrae says:

        Tandava, I think you should have read then entire comment. Ogwriter clearly stated in the last sentence, “I would offer that the male AND female models of expressing emotions benefit from each other and are by themsleves incomplete.” He only brought up our monthly periods as a proof that sometimes we aren’t completely in control of our own emotions. He also did not say that men are always in control of theirs either, in fact, read that last sentence again, he said the quite the opposite. That what we need is to understand that part of being a man is that they are not women, and that part of being a woman is that we are not men, and therefore an effort needs to be made by EVERYBODY to treat each other with dignity and respect.

  118. My personal theory on the gaslighting phenomenon is that men & boys are conditioned to restrict and contain their own emotional expression, and tend to assume that this behavior is “normal” and that deviation from it is “weird” or “overreacting” or “crazy.” They impose the standard they understand onto others who were conditioned differently in much the same way that they reinforce it among themselves.

    I use third person pronouns here only because I was fortunate enough to be raised with somewhat different conditioning, favoring healthy expression of emotional distress. I actually had to consciously learn the level of restraint most men seem to assume is natural in order to interact with the majority of my own gender, and I feel that the process was emotionally damaging even when it was self-imposed. I even had one girlfriend impose this standard on me, I guess because she thought I needed to “man up” or something. I can only begin to imagine what it must be like to have this kind of imposition coming from all directions against your will.

    My point being, I think this gaslighting behavior is an outgrowth of our current toxic notions of masculinity. If we can teach ourselves and each other to be accepting of the different ways that people process and express their emotions, that will be a good start. If we can transform our collective notion of masculinity to respect and admire healthy emotional expression, we can create a healthier cultural environment for men and women alike.

  119. Ironically this article has me feeling gaslit.

    • When things like this happen to men and we complain, we are told to “grow some balls”. Hazing, harassment, belittling comments and etc. are a part of living in the professional world. If you want respect, you have to assert yourself and demand it. Not meekly beg for it. “May I have some more, sir.” didn’t work for OT, and it won’t work for you, either.

  120. Neurotic Knight says:

    Ummm, people respond to conversations and we react to everything pretty much. If my girl friend throws the bag at my face for coming home 30 minutes late and i tell her she is overreacting is that gas lighting? I don’t think this is good use of the term . women can be crazy so can be men, i often find blogs here dismissive of that. I do laugh at sexist jokes for which my girlfriend chuckles too, however feminists over react and claim it is how women feel. When i am told i have male privilege and my gf only laughs because of stress i place on her to socialize, i think that would count as gas lighting by this definition. Any discussion of male/white privilege would count as gaslighting too as you are convincing men to feel guilty about societal oppression which they dont actively contribute too. you are going into a slippery slope where every criticism of feminism or women is deemed manipulative and deceptive .

    Gaslighting, which to me describes far more serious manipulative campaigns that devastate lives; actions on the scale of disappearing pets and pretending they never existed, or gathering false witnesses to claim someone was seen doing something they were not in order to convince someone they have a mental illness that prevents them from perceiving their own actions and motives.

    This is more like the everyday social manipulations encountered by all people (both genders). This sort of behavior is a common tactic to dismiss people of intellectual bent (or other perceived social “disadvantage”), and will be encountered by any bright kid on their way up through life.

    • But emotionally manipulating someone isn’t a big, grandiose gesture of cruelty like those acts you just described. What makes it so difficult to get over is the fact that it’s done to you in small increments over years and years, subtly making us more and more defensive. You don’t even realize that’s what gaslighting is doing until you take a step back and recognize that every back-handed or ‘joking’ comment had slowly broken you down and made it feel like ultimately, it didn’t matter how you felt because you would ALWAYS be too sensitive/over reactive/etc.

  121. ogwriter says:

    Lau_ra Er…I was treated like gum on the bottom of one’s shoe by WOMEN,when I chose to be a SAHD.And,like many other SAHD’S have experienced,(just read some of the other posts) our wives stopped having sex with us because we were no longer sexy to them.What a mind fuck?!

    • I suggest that you ask your wife – it could be some hormonal issue if its just recently that she had a child, or maybe she just doesn’t so attractive after giving birth, or her libido has changed. I doubt its just cause you’re a SAHD.

    • Lau_ra: While the article made me cry, I don’t believe you can completely absolve women of everything. I have met many working moms and stay at home moms who cop superior attitudes over their status versus mine, and I have been both. This article is not a get out of jail free card for bad attitudes.

  122. I became so reflexively angry,frustrated and beaten at the first sentence, I almost couldn’t read the article. I am 49 and the number of times I have heard those comments – well, let’s just say it’s been so common it would be quite boring to try to count (much less recount, as in, ‘tell about’). Most of the time these remarks have been made to me by men I loved, trusted, and/or worked with. It does something to you, no matter how strong you are inside, no matter how much you fight it, it does something to you, to have your feelings and reactions constantly invalidated. You hear comments like “don’t let others stand in the way of your dreams” and “you can do anything you want to do” and start scoffing internally, adding the ellipses….”if you’re a man.” I for one have never understood how men can stand by, with all their power, and let the world treat their mothers, daughters, sisters and wives like so much chattel. I’m glad to see men like you waking up the the chains you’ve wound around an entire gender – to the world’s detriment, and therefore your own. Only when men wake up to the fact that sexism hurts us all, not just women, is there any chance for true equality.

  123. I believe I am a good person to my girlfriend. I make it a point to maintain sensitivity to my girlfriend but We are all imperfect beings. I couldn’t help take offense to this to a certain extent. Most of this I agree with but this “abuse” and. Broad generalization doesn’t apply to just the female in the relationship. Yet, I understand the injustice modern women are feeling.

  124. I enjoyed reading this article. Although I must admit I disagree with certain points proposed in this piece, overall, I found this thought-provoking and well written. Keep up the awesome work!

  125. ogwriter says:

    Kay So,you are saying that narcissism is a male only behavior and that women never purposely manipulate others.Really? In my experience,I have six sisters,the amount of deception women bring to bear,often attempting to secure attention or to be first in the emotional sweepstakes. More often than not,women expect that their emotional state,as compared to a man’s, is preeminent.

  126. Andrew G says:

    Wow, this makes perfect sense!
    I remember back when my old girlfriend was going off the wall and carrying on over over something that was irrelevant and she was blowing completely out of proportion. She then proceeded to start waving around a butcher knife, in her mad frenzy, and then through it across the kitchen and into the wall.
    I immediately thought ‘Man, she really wanted to throw that at me.’
    I then yelled “Calm down, you’re blowing this completely out of proportion!!!”
    When in reality, I was just accidentally ‘Gaslighting’ her… Golly, I feel so much better now. She was totally in the right.

  127. Andrew G says:

    Man, this makes perfect sense!
    I remember when my girlfriend was going off the wall over something completely petty and ridiculous. She was screaming at me and proceeded to pick up a butcher knife and started waving it around… and then threw it across the kitchen, into the wall. And I thought ‘Wow, she really wanted to throw that at me.’
    I then said “Calm down!!! You are completely over-reacting!”
    When, in reality, I was just accidentally “Gaslighting” her.
    Thanks, I feel so much better now.

  128. This article brings to mind overall negative reactions to feminism as a whole. I’ve had many discussions with people who dismiss feminist complaints as crazy overreactions. I’ve been told there are bigger problems, or that my status as a United States citizen makes my feminism a joke because my genitals aren’t being mutilated and I’ve gone on dates where the guy paid for dinner (or some bullshit like that). These too are subtle manipulations to silence women or brush them off so the status quo doesn’t have to change.

  129. Rosanna Tufts says:

    Routinely invalidating feelings is also a hallmark of a narcissist, BTW. A narcissist is a master at weaseling his way out of anyone’s attempts to make him accept responsibility for his behavior, and turning it back into an accusation against you, with lightning speed and often before you realize what happened.

  130. Presidency: I’m sure if Hillary had run in place of Obama the first time, she would’ve won. We had just come away from Bush.

  131. In terms of the Myer Briggs test, this stuff is often a difference between people of a T and F preference. Fs (male or female) tend to look weaker to Ts (make or female), and historically it has been demanded of men also to be more T, because men are less accepting of weak men.

  132. Before you start blaming guys to help rationalize away blame and this discomfort away from yourself. You might want to think about what your feelings are for. If minor things get to you and the small things people that care about you do, upset you – maybe its time to self-reflect instead.

    This guy is kinda doing the right thing… Assuming that the fault may lie in his own actions. Which may or may not be true, but its a good place to start thinking.

    As for comments about something like weight.If its being expressed as a joke, but the guy isn’t leaving and is otherwise nice, someone might want to consider that they are stubbornly maintaining a lifestyle that makes their spouse uncomfortable. Japanese women usually don’t have that problem. Did they all get better genes than the stuff people in the US like to blame their choices on? We all want to believe whatever makes us more comfortable and reduces our individual responsibility (even as we also give up control of our lives and the opportunity to make it better, along with it)

  133. Very sad commentary on our society. What started as an interesting discussion with a respectful exchange of ideas and thoughts. I large part the latter comments are from a variety of people who spew their own agenda and rant and rave against one another with rancorous souls that have no self control. Insightful article however, largely it was pretty good, and in how it related to women, especially since they tend to be somewhat more emotional than their counterparts, at least relationally. Yet, in regards to society as a whole, it portrays those manipulated and discounted for being less of a person than the one who holds leverage over the victimized. Whomever they may be.

  134. Female Eeyore says:

    I agree with this article. I see it in myself. I am so worried about being perceived as a “hysterical female” that I restrain myself entirely too much and apologize when it isn’t warranted. It has worked for me actually. I’ve been more successful in personal and professional relationships, esp. with men. But a resentment has built up over time that I didn’t see coming.

    The only thing missing from this article is an admission that there are in fact woman who can truly be “crazy” and “hysterical”. I knew plenty. They aren’t gaslighted, they are the dominant ones in the relationship and their SO walks on eggshells. They can “go off” on a dime over NOTHING and by “go off” I mean all hell breaks loose and no one is safe from the vile hatred and utter meanness. I wish it was rare, but I’ve seen it happen far too often lately. The author should have added that caveot or disclaimer if you will.

  135. Men and women really don’t see eye to eye on a great variety of issues. Does that lead people who disagree on certain subjects to think the other is “crazy” or “irrational”? If you have no basis to relate on certain subjects, such as when a man thinks a woman is “irrational” for being so upset about him not listening to her, or a woman thinks a man is “crazy” for being so upset when his favorite sports team loses when she really isn’t a fan. It’s not being crazy or irrational, but the inability to relate to another person’s woes can lead someone to say such things when they lack the basic vocabulary to express how they really feel.

    And how about when someone really is acting crazy and irrationally? Now people have to suck it up when someone close to them becomes a head case? Just because someone decided to create a term for this kind of abuse? I’m sorry but you have to take it on a case by case basis. You can’t brand every single person who criticizes another for acting crazy if they are in fact acting crazy. I’m not saying this kind of abuse doesn’t exist, in fact I have been victimized by it with my ex-wife. But to say there aren’t people in this world who cook up the crazy on a regular basis is misguided at best.

  136. JCM1953 says:

    “Women are crazy because men are stupid.”

    George Carlin

  137. “You’re just like a brother to me! We should stay friends” Said every woman to the author

  138. My ex did a lot of gaslighting to me. That’s part of the reason she’s my ex.

  139. Schaefermeister says:

    This article is based on two false assumptions: First, an incorrect understanding/definition of gaslighting and second, the belief that women never overreact.
    Telling someone they are overreacting is not gaslighting. Gaslighting is intentionally deceiving someone about events so as to cause confusion. For example, you could move someone’s car keys and claim you never saw them. The person distinctly remembers putting them on the dresser, but they find them on the coffee table and thus begin to question their memory. Whether someone’s emotions are appropriate is a matter of opinion. Therefore, under the author’s definition, saying that “Die Hard” is better than “Titanic” is gaslighting. Which brings us to the second point.
    Telling someone that they are overreacting is not “patently false and unfair”. Sometimes people really are overreacting. Sometimes the appropriate response really is to invite them to examine the situation more objectively. I know this has happened to me before. There are many reasons for people to be overly sensitive or to overreact and almost all of them are completely understandable. That doesn’t mean that it’s ok to give in to your emotions. Feeling a certain way doesn’t mean it’s right to feel that way. You can flip the genders. If a woman goes out to lunch with her male coworkers and her boyfriend gets jealous, it doesn’t mean that the boyfriend is right to be jealous. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong either. It means they need to get open about how they feel and come to a compromise.
    What it comes down to is a lack of open communication. Maybe the wife is being a little too sensitive about her weight. Her husband finds her beautiful and to him that’s all that matters. However, he’s probably being too insensitive about her feelings. If they had an open discussion about it, she would probably feel a little better and more confident about how she looks and he would realize that she sometimes feels fat and it’s part of his job as a husband to make her feel like she really is beautiful.
    To victimize yourself and just say “He’s GASLIGHTING me!” is just as ignorant and dismissive as brushing off women and saying “she’s just too sensitive”. I agree that there are real problems with society’s perceptions and expectations of women, but it’s more than that. The bigger problem is with society’s perceptions and expectations of human beings. The real issue is that we’re quick to dismiss or blame others rather than work together and compromise. Anyone who believes a word of this article is part of the problem because you’re just shifting blame to yet another force (“men” “society” “social programming”) instead of dealing with the fact that sometimes you treat people like dirt and sometimes you’re afraid to have an open, honest discussion with someone about how you feel. Dealing with other human beings is difficult and it’s heartbreaking sometimes, but the way people deflect and ignore problems instead working through them just doesn’t work.

    • And there are more obvious counter-arguments. For both early examples in the article:
      – Can you (man or woman) even imagine a man having any disturbance or second thoughts if his wife occasionally, frequently mentioned that he is overweight? Any man? Wives, convinced that your husband is “gaslighting” you – do try that same thing. Any reaction back? NO.
      – Harder to prove, but now see the “gaslighting boss” example with another man at the receiving end. Typical man would NOT feel put down. Typical man would see those comments as invitation to a competition. As inspiration. As a push forward. Challenge.
      And these counter-examples bring forth what is really happening: brains of man and women function differently. Neither is crazy. Both are normal function for that sex but most of us simply do not see the point of view of the other. Women must understand that comment a man makes that he wouldn’t mind getting himself, man sees as appropriate “jousting”. (Expected reaction is playful witty joke in other direction, fun). At work it is (for man) sign of igniting competition. Yes, most women want to cooperate, not compete – again basic biological functionality, not better or worse, never mind crazy. But inappropriate reaction to what one side sees as competition invite is equally “gaslighting” to them as their comment might have seemed to you. Different, normal mindsets.
      Now, where is that “point of view” gun from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

      • dusanmal —

        A good argument — ALMOST!! Jousting does happen man-to-man, to be sure. But if a WOMAN makes even the tiniest hint of a comment about the size of a man’s penis, or indeed any aspect of his sexual prowess or masculinity — he takes it DEEPLY PERSONALLY.

        Indeed, a large part of women’s gripe against men is that men make us responsible for keeping their fragile egos together (I have watched COUNTLESS couples do this, including my own parents!!). And men do not even KNOW they are doing this.

        Men THINK they are resilient when indeed — in these cases — they are far more fragile than women. Further, women are expected to tip-toe around their masculinity, but it is perfectly fine for them to make cutting remarks about women’s weight, beauty, or any other matter that would upset a woman.

        There is a HUGE double-standard at work here.

        And remember — the Point of View gun doesn’t work on women because women don’t need it!

      • “- Can you (man or woman) even imagine a man having any disturbance or second thoughts if his wife occasionally, frequently mentioned that he is overweight? Any man? Wives, convinced that your husband is “gaslighting” you – do try that same thing. Any reaction back? NO.”

        Holy hell. I simply can’t disagree strongly enough to this thought. Of course men are (or can be) sensitive about weight, as well as a multitude of other body image issues. Are you kidding? I know of one, just off the top of my head, who would be devastated if the woman he loves made a disparaging comment about his weight!

    • Schaefermeister, nice response and just what I was thinking while reading this article. I agree that both men and women are “gaslighted” sometimes and that this is a form of manipulation. This is completely different from telling someone they may be reacting poorly to a situation that you didn’t orchestrate. The article suggests that people never react poorly or have bad opinions, which is clearly false. People act irrationally all the time, and we can draw a line between rational and irrational ways of thinking. Philosophers and psychologists do it all the time, it’s part of their jobs. We may not be able to control our initial thoughts and emotions regarding a situation, but we can certainly examine and evaluate whether our reactions are appropriate and how we should act accordingly. Say I was cheated on in the past and now I am with a great person who is completely trustworthy. I might feel jealous when they hang out with certain people, and this makes sense based on my own past, but it doesn’t make sense to actually say anything about it because I know that this person is trustworthy and should not be accused simply because my past has influenced me to feel inappropriately jealous.

      I hate this pervasive idea going around these days that we can’t be wrong, that emotions and opinions are always right and valuable. This is bullocks. Some opinions are stupid and wrong and some emotions are baseless. We may not be able to control our initial thought and emotions, but we can evaluate whether or not they make sense and then behave accordingly. It is highly insulting to scholars, particularly philosophers, to suggest that every thought and emotion is correct. This simply isn’t true and this ridiculous idea is doing us a disservice as a society. Sure, we are all politically entitled to our thought and emotions, but that doesn’t make them right.

      A good example is when we have a vivid dream that causes us to be angry or upset with someone. When we wake up and think about it we know that the emotion is baseless. We might mention the dream out of interest, but we would never behave as if the emotions were justified. We know that they are not and we drop them when we know the dream was a dream and not reality.

      We owe it to each other to speak up when someone says something stupid or expresses an inappropriate emotion. There is nothing wrong with politely explaining to someone why their thought is not rational or good and why they ought not to have a certain emotion. There is nothign wrong with providing evidence or explanations that change how a person thinks or feels. Often when we feel an emotion and then someone explains to us that the situation is not as we thought it was, our emotions change quickly. This is because the emotion was baseless and unjustified. We can’t help having it when we think that X is the case, but when we realize that X is not the case, our emotions change. In such cases, our emotions were wrong, similar to when we think that Y is true based on what we think is the case (X) and then we change our minds once we are shown that X is not the case, at which point we stop thinking that Y is true. It is important for the progress of humanity to point these things out (politely of course).

    • Omg thank you.

  140. Stephen B. says:

    Maybe it’s just rare, but this has happened to me from other guys and some women, and I’ve seen it happen to other guys too. I’m not saying that it doesn’t mostly happen from men to women, but gaslighting does happen in a general sense. If one of my guy friends makes a cutting joke that makes me feel shitty and I call him out on it, the conversation turns to me being too sensitive.

    I also think that it should be okay to tell someone that you were in fact kidding if only as an explanation. The, “you’re being too sensitive” bit can be left behind, but I think it’s fair for people to be able to explain themselves. On many occasions I’ve said something to upset a friend and I’ll tell them that I’m sorry I hurt their feelings, and I meant it as a joke. Then we talk about what exactly upset them so I can avoid the topic in the future.

    Beyond gender issues, I think gaslighting is a way for an antagonizor to feel normalized. Instead of accepting the minor shame of hurting someone, their reaction is to imply that what they did was perfectly acceptable, so the problem lies with others. Not that it excuses the behavior, but again, in the cases where this doesn’t happen to a woman by a man, the issue is either a lack of empathy or an unwillingness to consider that they were wrong.

    • Well put. I was wondering about the dynamics of how this might apply in our lives outside of the relationship as well. I think it’s far more common than we can even imagine. I live up in the Pacific Northwest and the term more thrown around is passive-aggressive though that doesn’t really do a good job of summarizing it.
      If anybody has any more literature or thoughts concerning about how people gaslight one-another in regular and work life and not just the male-female dynamic I’d love to hear them.

  141. “When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior.” A person comes home from work. They called in advance to make dinner plans with their spouse. On the way home, they sit in traffic because of an accident. It is illegal to call or text while driving. This person gets home half an hour late, already pissed off that they had to sit in traffic. At home he or she hears, “you could have called to tell me you’d be late.” You tell them you’re sorry and that you were stuck in traffic, they don’t believe you. When you tell this person they are overreacting you are clearly influenced by the drive home. You wish your spouse would understand you and enjoy a meal with you. But they won’t hear it. They will not hear reason. Is it wrong to tell them that they are overreacting? It was my belief that you marry to help out each other. Was this belief too naive? This was just food for thought.

    • thereddiva says:

      “On the way home, they sit in traffic because of an accident. It is illegal to call or text while driving. ”

      Because that’s stopped every person ever from using the phone while in the car.

    • That has more to do with circumstantial factors and miscommunication. What you laid out is a situation where you’re only looking through one point of view, and so you come to the conclusion that she’s overreacting. There are two different perspectives. And really, accusing someone of overreacting is not the path to helping a married couple within their relationship. Helping each other occurs through understanding, and clearly neither side is understanding the other.

      • dannygolucky says:

        So does this mean that men are never allowed to tell their wife/girlfriend they’re overreacting?

        what happens when someone is actually overreacting?

        case in point, my girlfriend literally spilt milk all over the kitchen floor recently and started crying. i told her she was overreacting and that it was nothing to cry over. was i wrong to do that?

        • Yes.

          It wasn’t about the milk. It was about the last straw, being exhausted, something that fell apart, a big worry, an issue at work, etc., etc.

          What should you do? Do you really want to know? “Honey, I’m so sorry. Let me help clean up” (“sorry” doesn’t mean you caused it.) OR even, “Go sit down, Sweetie. I’ll clean it up.”

          Reason doesn’t “fix” emotion. Respond to the emotion. Have the “reason” discussion later. You might learn a lot – like what was behind all that. Ask her. Maybe it was you she was worried about in the first place.

        • I think your role is to help her through the situation. Not tell her what her feelings are or tell her that her feelings are incorrect or invalidating her particular human experience. If she’s crying, then it’s obviously something to cry over.

        • Yes, dannygolucky, sorry — but you were wrong to tell her that. It may have seemed like an overreaction to you, but for whatever reason the spilled milk upset her. Invalidating someone’s feelings just because you do not understand them is the absolute worst thing to do.

          The better thing to do is to comfort her, let her know that it’s no big deal (this is different from saying, “Quit crying BECAUSE it’s no big deal.” And help her clean up the mess. For all you know, her parents traumatized her for a drop spilled at the dinner table. But whatever the reason (and there is always a REASON for our seemingly irrational emotional responses) — whether it is internal or external — a person’s feelings are ALWAYS valid.

          There are no right or wrong feelings. Feelings and emotional reactions that seem comprehensible to others are often labelled “right” — but just because another doesn’t understand our feelings doesn’t make the feeling itself wrong.

          So: let her have her cry, help her clean up the mess, help her to calm down simply by being calm yourself; this will do far more good than telling her to be calm — that will probably only upset her more.

          Then, when the storm has passed, you can try to sit down with her and maybe figure out why she had such a strong reaction. You may find that the reason lies much deeper than a cow juice puddle on the floor. When you help her reach that reason, you not only validate her reaction, you help to defuse the minefield that caused the reaction in the first place. THAT is the best way to truly love one’s partner.

          • Surely I’m not the only one who gets very uncomfortable with the idea that any emotion, under any situation, should be validated. I wonder sometimes if the proponents of these “I feel badly and have a right to feel this way” beliefs realize the implications–namely that it’s a massive slippery slope to total irresponsibility and lack of personal control.

            So perhaps someone cries over spilt milk, but the expression is salient here: it’s no USE crying over spilt milk. So cry away, if you must, but understand that it is YOUR responsibility to communicate why you’re crying, since the crying and the milk situation are not coterminous. This goes to the age-old problem of two sexes (I know, there are more, but most people think in binaries) who deal with issues differently and don’t take the time to communicate. That’s the real issue, here: we too often speak across each other.

            And that raises my single, major complaint with this article: it assumes, as the original poster rightly stated, that all instances where a man tells a woman she’s being crazy are inherently wrong. Well, sometimes everyone can be crazy. I won’t dispute the fact that women are on the receiving end of this more than men, but these blanket (and implicit) conspiracies to “shut women down” do nobody any favours. They make all men out to be part of the conspiracy (except the author, ’cause he’s so enlightened!), they ignore the fact that women often happily accept the “emotional” label (as everyone responding to the OP has clearly demonstrated), and they ignore the fact that these issues are SUBJECTIVE. If every person tells you that you’re crazy, you probably are. If it’s one person, repeatedly, you’re probably not. And just in case nobody has stated the obvious, there are a lot of men who get shut down by women when they express their emotions, because that’s just not “manly” enough.

            In other words, ignore asses. That’s not a man-woman thing: it’s an interpersonal relationship thing.

    • Dear “human” is that a habit, or just a rare incident of 30 min. Late w/o any heads up to your spouse?
      You see, if its a habit, you already priced yourself to be inconsiderate, if its been a rare- thing then I’d Point that out to my spouse. Perhaps BEFORE you get in cmthe far- quick call or text Sauk g you just left the office- looked up traffic and this is situation; “x,y, z”
      Esp. When the wife too- has long stressful day, not just you, she’s now spending Way more energy to cook and timing food is tricky. She wants to please YOU. And not waste good $& effort only to burnt or over cook dinner. To her your company is high priority & she’s hoping for the same love n respect.

    • Ever heard of putting a call on speaker while driving? That’s not illegal and very considerate to your wife… you cheater…

    • Yes, you marry to help each other out. Which means that when your wife is really upset, you support her instead of belittling her feelings. Sometimes our emotional responses to things are way out of proportion to what caused them. Sometimes we (women or men) KNOW this, but still can’t stop those emotions from coming, and it can be kind of scary because sometimes they come from other places (long-held resentment, childhood trauma, etc.) and we don’t know where it comes from or how to manage it. Instead of shaming her for those feelings, just listen and empathize.

  142. Mary Martin says:

    Wow! this article was so authentically written that I thought it was written by a woman right up until the very end! I was shocked that a MAN wrote it!! It is EXACTLY what I’ve been saying since 1983! That was when I divorced my first husband who was the master manipulator at gaslighting me! (I’ve always HATED that movie, by the way! Mostly because I identified so thoroughly with the Ingrid Bergman character!!) Anyway, congratulations on getting the whole concept and writing about it so succinctly, especially since you’re a MAN who has never been the victim of this action. So women of the USA, we’re NOT CRAZY! We;re just being manipulated/gaslighted!!

    • Razia Akoo says:

      Excellent blog and so close to the ills and discontents of all women. My dad made a comment two days ago about the fact that my brother has two adult daughters, he says, ” Farhad has 2 daughters to take care of, he should be worried, anything can happen, look at Zaiba who fell pregnant and had to marry.” He demolished me, I felt insecure being his daughter. It seems all my life I have been hearing similar comments about how much of a burden daughters are. We cover the hurt and insecurities and muster forward but for that little girl it is too much of a burden to have a parent looking at her existence as though it were not welcome. I am tearing as I write this as it has crippled me in multiple ways.

    • I thought this was written by a woman as well! Great article! When people tell me to “calm down or relax” I get even more intense in my energy and even more direct with them until they are the ones backing up. You want to be scared by me as I stand 5’2″ and call you out on the carpet for crossing a line with me – go right ahead. Gaslighting is definitely a form of emotional intimidation as well. My dad is the king of that crap, he did it to my mom and to me and he passed it down to my sisters. They used to respond the same way to me when I was being direct with them about their bullshit. Boyfriends have tried to do it to me with no success because I am so aware of it from childhood. I used to be afraid on confrontation which “calm down” is a cover for but I learned to be very comfortable calling people on their bullshit. Join my club ladies. Its very liberating! 😉

  143. Call it what you want, this is mental abuse that is not a gender specific culture flaw.

    When I read this I see someone who wanted an excuse to bring to light a theory that may not even be a gender specific issue. Interesting read, but not really helping the scenario by bashing back at the male population. A second evil does not make the first go away, just causes an inflation of an already existent problem distorting the real cause (Sick people, doing sick things, to sick people).

    Free thinking, stability without the need of affection. That is what people being abused need to hear…. not “It’s his fault!!”

  144. Khadeejah Raja says:

    What a lovely, astute article – Thank you for writing and sharing.

  145. Bas Ganzevles says:

    I am not going to speculate on whether this is a male or a female thing, because I don’t know. I think it’s a society thing and I will try to explain why.

    What I do know, is that it is very hard to condition someone who is emotionally stable into believing their feelings, actions or words are out of line. Nor will they be very good targets for anyone looking to manipulate them. A stable person will also have little need to put the blame on everything but themselves.

    I guess what I am saying is, if somebody is very bothered by any negative comment they receive (i.e. you are fat, your work is not good enough and so on), this person is not very emotionally stable. I completely agree with the comments in the article about this being manipulated (although I’m still talking about both men and women), but this is what you get for accepting any burden that is placed upon your shoulders. This leads to stress, pressure, frustration etc. and will ultimately lead to some kind of overreaction.

    So getting back to the men vs. women approach of this article, I think the question is this:

    Are all women becoming emotionally UNSTABLE because of constant conditioning by society and continuous manipulation by cowardly men, like the article suggests?;

    Or

    Can women (people) who are emotionally STABLE simply break this vicious cycle and easily put themselves above being conditioned and manipulated, because they are simply not bothered by what men (people) say?

    I firmly believe that you are only as susceptible to manipulation and conditioning as your emotions allow you to be. Believe in yourself and nobody will ever succeed in trying to condition or manipulate you. Anybody, male or female, can be above this if they know exactly what their lives are about and who they want to be.

    • You make some good observations, Bas — but I’d like to look more closely at what you say here:

      “What I do know, is that it is very hard to condition someone who is emotionally stable into believing their feelings, actions or words are out of line. Nor will they be very good targets for anyone looking to manipulate them. A stable person will also have little need to put the blame on everything but themselves.”

      The last statement rings absolutely true to me; someone who, as you say, “know[s] exactly what their lives are about and who they want to be” should not feel a need to blame others because their emotional maturity can allow them to see their flaws without projecting them on others.

      But this contradicts your first statement: “is that it is very hard to condition someone who is emotionally stable into believing their feelings, actions or words are out of line” because sometimes even the most “stable” person’s actions or words ARE out of line — because we are all human and we all say and do stupid, insensitive, selfish, hurtful things, often without meaning to cause harm. But when we are made aware of the other’s perspective, it is also human and natural to show remorse and make amends.

      Problems arise when others point this out, and it is deflected by the “stable” person. The person who believes himself to be “stable” in the way you describe merely achieves this state by not hearing the feedback of others — and all too frequently proves himself to be the most unstable of all, because he categorically rejects anything that contradicts the “stable” image of who he wants to be — quite possibly because he fears the very manipulation described by this article.

      Worse, in order to preserve that image, he will then point out in others the very flaws that he himself has, thereby deflecting attention from his flaws. And this is how gaslighting begins.

      So please let’s be careful when we talk about what “stable” and “unstable” people do or don’t do — or what qualifies as “stability.” More often than not, when we believe we are “stable” we are merely lying to ourselves, and then we must lie to others — and get others to lie to themselves — to preserve the illusion of stability.

      This is why I prefer to use the word “maturity” — because it implies growth and wholeness.

      A mature person does not need to find their self-image and value through the words of others, but he/she does not discount them either, because that which allows and embraces growth will always seek further growth without fear, and is not afraid of a little pruning.

      • bas ganzevles says:

        Hi Tandava,

        Thank you for your reply. What you are saying is absolutely true to me. However, I never ment to say that mentally stable, or mature people are never out of line. Everyone makes mistakes but let me try to explain myself a little more.

        I was merely talking about situations where someone who is NOT out of line, is being judged for their reaction, critisised and told that they are out of line. Rather than accepting these comments as being a personal opinion (which mature people are able to do), the person actually believes they are out of line or at least spends a lot of time stewing over it. This both comes from and creates insecurity.

        As you undoubtedly know, ‘being out of line’ or ‘wrong’ is a subjective thing. However, believing everybody who tells you you are out of line, even when you might not be is where the manipulation happens. And where there is manipulation, there are two sides. He/she who manipulates and he/she who let’s it happen. Same goes for conditioning.

        Putting women in the victim role, as this article does, is too simplistic for me. Victims of manipulation or conditioning are both men and women who are emotionally immature. Which I agree is a better term, as emotional instability can be caused by, as you said, trying to Keep up an image by lying and even, I think temporarily caused by tragic or shocking experiences in human lives and has nothing to do with being corrected, conditioned and manipulated continuously.

        • Hi Bas,

          Ah, yes that is much clearer. Thank you for responding. I agree — we have to be careful about the “victim” label, though when one feels helpless in a situation the term can apply. But I think in both cases — the gaslighter and the person being gaslighted — are often compelled by internal forces that are bigger than they are — and indeed the one will often seek out the other and vice versa.

          For example: An ex of mine used to criticize me horribly, often until I would cry. Then he would rail against me even more until I was crying uncontrollably. And THEN, when I was a mess of a creature, he would begin to cry too. In one of his more lucid moments he admitted he was just a big insecure baby, but most of the time he would blame me for his behavior, “You bring it out of me!!”

          This was an awful thing to say, but it was partly true. If I had been able to handily deflect his first criticisms, the situation would not escalate. But I realized that part of the reason he chose me as a girlfriend was that I was very emotionally vulnerable and expressive — and so he COULD play this game with me.

          Ultimately, he was someone who was very disconnected from his feelings (he also needed to see himself as superior, so he needed someone to “be wrong”); he was in deep pain and unable to cry on his own. But he could make me cry, and thereby vicariously experience his pain through me. And on occasion, as described above, it would allow him to cry directly. But at what a cost to me!!

          So as I worked my way through this relationship, and gradually distanced myself (again — if I were a more emotionally “cool” person I could have walked away clean, but that was not possible given my nature and condition at the time), I realized that he needed me in order to feel his feelings. And what did I need? I needed to be needed.

          Once I figured that out, the lightbulb went off and I was able to walk away after all.

          So was I a victim? Well, I would say I was someone wearing a “kick me” sign, and my boyfriend saw himself as following the sign’s instructions. But I would say that he needed to kick someone, and took the sign as an excuse.

          But a healthy, mature human being would see such a sign and, instead of using it to justify the kick, might tell that person (gently), “Hey, you have this sign on your back. Can we maybe figure out a way to take it off?”

  146. These are some pretty wild comments. Gaslighting exists. I’ve seen people try to do it to me to deny/justify terrible behavior.

  147. First Woman says:

    In the movie the husband did not deliberately dim the lights in the house. When he would go up into the attic and used the gaslight there, it dimmed the rest of the gaslights throughout the house. He couldn’t go into the attic during the day to search for his wife mother’s jewels for fear of being seen. When the wife saw the gaslights dimming and flickering in different rooms and heard noise upstairs that’s when he denied any and all of it and twisted it around to make her believe she was losing it.

    A very good term indeed. I thought of this already myself and used this term in my life. Little did I know someone else would ‘get it’ as well. Good on you to point a spotlight on it Sister!

  148. Julianne says:

    For people who have received this kind of treatment from those around them for extended periods of time, the problem compounds. Having been taught that their own feelings are not to be trusted, they live around them and eventually forget how to identify them. If some soul were to unexpectedly ask what was wrong or whether they were sad, they would be unable to answer.

  149. Traditional patriarchal gender roles are binary, right?

    Women are weak and emotional because men are strong and independent, yeah? So obviously, post feminism, we can only possibly conceive of this in how it negatively affects women.

    Think the stereotype of men as being strong islands who need no help and don’t suffer from emotions has anything to do with why men, globally, kill themselves four to five times as often as women? Or why men overwhelmingly fare worst in custody arrangements for their children? Or why, collectively, we don’t give a shit about how going off and dying in battle is “man’s work”?

    Examining the harm that gender stereotyping does to men makes ending the harm that gender stereotyping does to women exponentially easier as you’re giving people a genuine positive outcome to changing their behaviour, but more than that it’s short sighted and spectacularly offensive to categorise gender stereotyping as somehow magically only negatively affecting women.

    The ‘Good men project’? Hey, after you’re done being ‘good men’ to women, reckon you might have a little bit of time to be ‘good men’ to men, too?

    • There is a problem in equating emotions to weakness as this has serious consequences for both women and men – women are seen as overly sensitive (or a bitch if they achieve assertiveness) and men (if they want to be seen as ‘real men’) are not allowed to express how they feel and are seen as cold manipulators. This attitude is, unfortunately, pervasive throughout most of the world and will take a lot of work to change it. It starts with conversations and people (not just men or just women) need to allow one another to express their emotions so that things don’t escalate to hysteria or violence. We need to talk to one another and accept that one person feels the way they describe themself as feeling without going nuts at hearing emotions expressed.

    • missmandisue says:

      Someone’s defensive and thanks for the example of gas lighting this article is very true and I just had this happen in the worst way last night. So I don’t think its a coincidence I stumbled upon this.

  150. I would add, for those women who do assert themselves, they are further stigmatized and labeled as a bitch. It’s the Madonna/Whore Complex all over again…women are either too emotionally sensitive or we are bitches – either way it’s seen as socially unacceptable. Yet another double standard that women must deal with….

  151. One more thing: if women are the so called victims of these emotional manipulations, how come the result is that they continue to show such reactions instead of simply being quiet ?

    I just don’t believe anything in this article, it is a very poor approach on something that has been countlessly proven scientifically, within something as complex as the menstrual cycle and hormones taking a primary role in women’s emotions. There are still thousands of causes to human emotional reactions both to women and men, but the aforementioned is for sure one that stands out.

    No, I am not defending any sexist position because I do believe sexism exists and emotional manipulation as well, but not in the absolute way this article approaches on those subjects. What is explained here is partially true, but not in its entirety as it shows.

    • Saint_Sithney says:

      Hello, Eric.

      I would like to speak to you as a lifelong victim of gaslighting. It started when I was 4 years old, so definitely before the menstrual cycle was an issue. It began with having a mentally ill older sister. If my sister was upset, no matter what I said or did, I was told that I was fat, stupid, worthless, and useless. Those words were the mantra of my childhood. If she was having a bad day, I could do something as simple as bringing her the wrong drink to here “fat, stupid, worthless, useless”. The verbal (and often physical) abuse became internalized, because of the constant reaffirmation that I had never done anything right and would never do anything right. She would tell me my friends liked her better, that they told her whenever I was out of the room that I was “fat, stupid, worthless, useless”. She would often add “boring” for good measure. She would constantly tell me that nobody cared about anything I had to say or anything I wanted to do… it was easy to believe her, as, not only was I younger, but my sister’s illness was undiagnosed at the time, and does lend her an extreme amount of charisma.

      But let’s move on to adulthood, when I got involved in an emotionally and sexually abusive relationship with a gaslighter, since you apparently believe this is all hysteria. I was, as you can imagine, pretty effectively groomed for an abuser by this point. My ex-boyfriend just continued the pattern. A typical example: I finally get him on the phone after not hearing from him in any way for a week. I ask where he had been (not demanding, not screaming, just “Where have you been? Did something happen?”). He blows up about how clingy I am. I respond with apologies and protestations of my love.
      Every time I found evidence of his cheating (which he was doing constantly), he would tell me I was seeing things, I was overreacting (as if being upset when your boyfriend of several years is cheating is not something to cry over), and that I just wanted to create drama.

      The worst example of his gaslighting, though, came when he sexually assaulted me, which he did four times throughout our relationship. Each time he finished raping me (and there’s no other word for it, since I was crying and begging him to stop), he would all of a sudden become the most solicitous and caring boyfriend ever. He would make it out like we had just played a mildly kinky game, rather than a psyche-scarring felony, while he rubbed my back, fetched me water, and showered me with compliments. He tried to create afterglow for rape, and God help me, he pretty much succeeded, because I never pressed charges.

      When someone is gaslighting you, the normal reaction is responded to with “You’re so crazy” or “No, it wasn’t that, it was this”. You’re acting like women are having huge meltdowns, but that’s not what gaslighting is. If you tell a rape joke to a rape victim, and she has a flashback and starts crying, to which you respond “Hey, don’t be so sensitive, it’s just a joke!”, that’s gaslighting. Would you do the same to a soldier having a PTSD flashback to combat?

  152. so this is all about emotions. now, we’re also rational beings. and I believe what you call here as “gaslighting” MANY times is not intended as a form of manipulation, but as a tool to chill out and make everyone understand that going further into such emotional states takes absolutely nowhere and no good can come of it.

    • Eric, how does saying to someone, “you are too sensitive” or, “it was only a joke” diffuse emotions? By responding to someone’s earnest expression of displeasure in such a way only escalates emotions. And makes the person whose feelings were hurt feel dismissed.

    • Saint_Sithney says:

      Gaslighting is not trying to calm down someone who is truly being overemotional. It is taking normal displays of emotion and twisting them to make the person showing the emotion in the wrong.

      For example, I once witnessed a man throwing a tantrum over his pizza having incorrect toppings. Full out tantrum – cussing, screaming, throwing things, threatening to hit the girl at the counter and beat up her manager. That is not a normal emotional reaction to being upset over an incorrect order. It would not be gaslighting to say “You need to calm down – you are taking this way too seriously. It’s a PIZZA!”

      Now, another example I know of from a different restaurant. A group of men were celebrating their buddy returning safely from deployment in Iraq. They brought out barbecue, and the soldier ran, retching, from the table. His last job in Iraq had been morgue duty and it had reminded him viscerally of a bomb-charred body he had had to scrape out of a car. It would be gaslighting to suggest that his PTSD was him being too sensitive and that he should just get over it. He witnessed something truly terrible, and he reacted in a way that is normal for PTSD sufferers.

      If you say something really hurtful to a woman and she cries, that is a normal emotional reaction. You can not say “You’re being oversensitive, just because you’re upset that I hurt your feelings”. That’s victim-blaming, and it’s a cowardly move to absolve yourself of guilt. Own up if you were dumb enough to say something really hurtful, or if you innocently triggered someone’s PTSD. It’s what a real man would do, instead of this “Well…. YOU shouldn’t be hurt just because I hurt your feelings! You have no right to make me feel guilty, so I’m going to make you feel guilty and crazy for daring to make me unhappy.” What kind of man would do that to a woman he cared about?

  153. My manager told our boss that I am “too highly strung” when I was suggested for a promotion because I demanded to know from her why my salary was a week late. In my opinion it is worse when women use gas lighting against other women.

  154. Megan Sailsbury says:

    The comments on this article are not just seriously depressing, but totally unworthy of this site.

  155. Fantastic article.
    As somebody who was a victim of gaslighting (as well as other forms of abuse) in my marriage, I was able to recognize after leaving when other people do it. And yes, ‘other people’ is sadly more often than not a particular type of man.

  156. Charlene says:

    Thank you Ali. This validation is important for both women and men!

  157. I agree with what is presented in this article. So what should women (or men) say back to someone who is gaslighting them in order to defend what they feel are legitimate feelings?

    • I didn’t continue to scroll down after reading your comment, Lauren, but I felt like this would be a good place to comment.
      I think what the person should do in “defense” is to repeat what the gaslighter said back (and if the whole situation or context surrounding what was said needs to be repeated, then do so). Explain to the gaslighter how that specific comment makes that person feel or value themself and to tell the gaslighter not to do it again.
      “Don’t overreact; I was joking”… It was a poor joke and you shouldn’t do it anymore.
      “You’re crazy; it’s not a big deal”… I’m not crazy, it’s a big deal to me, and I would like you to stop.

      Any constructive input is welcome! I’d love to learn how to improve my way of thinking

      • Carlos, this would be a great way to respond, if only the person who said it to you cared…

        “it was a poor joke, and you shouldn’t do it anymore”.. “well, I thought it was funny, and I didn’t mean it, so yes you are over-reacting”

        “I’m not crazy, it’s a big deal to me, and I would like you to stop”.. “no, you’re crazy. It’s not a big deal”

        Fun dealing with this kind of response isn’t it!!

    • ravensoul99 says:

      My background is in Developmental Psychology and Familial Sociology and in my experience the best thing to do is to first use a rational and logical approach to your emotions when addressing your concerns in the first place. When something is upsetting you and you first jump with an emotional response it is easier to gaslight that response i.e. if your significant other is ‘giving you a hard time’ and it hurts you try and hold back your emotion and try an approach similar to this “You know it really hurts me when you say things like that” then if they try and gaslight you with ‘wow babe I’m just joking don’t be so sensitive’ a great response would be ‘whether you think I am being oversensitive or not the fact of the matter is when you say things like that to me it still hurts me and I would appreciate it if you please stop”. The best thing is don’t emotionally react because you completely defeat your own position. Make a rational case for your emotions and you can defeat their gaslighting! I have tons of other advice but it would take up full papers

  158. I get this to a degree from my Grandparents.

    “You’d be so pretty if you lost some weight”…

  159. I don’t know if you guys learn much about what goes on outside of the USA, but in Australia we already have a woman prime minister and governor general. I guess some countries are behind, even in their way of thinking ……

  160. Maekmi Asaanwich says:

    Women freak out over the smallest things more frequently, and men freak out more aggressively and violent over equally petty things, though less frequently. Does this generalization sound silly? Just as silly as the generalizations characterized in the above article. Everyone has the tendency to act crazy in some way over something ridiculous, and everyone has at some point. Now go make me a sandwich.

    • The article is NOT about situations when a woman actually overreacts, but about situations when she tries to voice some sort of serious concern, yet her concern is belittled in order to make her shut up and start doubting her own judgement. You may not want to believe it, but many men do this intentionally.

  161. I too know how it feels to be treated like this. My late husband was so good at making me feel inadequate, too emotional, like there was something wrong with me! God rest his soul. Now I’m on my own & my daughter makes me feel the same way. I cry so easily. I wish people knew how this makes us feel. This article is so well written. I apprectiate you writting this & shedding light on such a sensitive & hurtful behavior… Thank you for this article.

    • I’m sorry you are going through this, Sunny.

      You’re not crazy, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Best of luck.

  162. Bookwormpart1 says:

    Hmm.. I have seen men overreacting too, many of them get into physical fights with each other at the slightest provocation and when it is easier to rationally reason and get a deal on they want to take it out physically which being a woman I find strange. Gaslighting might be a technique to make a person feel crazy but I don’t think it is restricted to men or women. Somehow men do not have that much emotional bandwidth to understand just as women don’t understand why men want to get physical about everything – fighting or love !!

    • WhoCares says:

      ” Somehow men do not have that much emotional bandwidth to understand” – Are you f*n kidding me? Men have the same emotions that women do, and we feel them just as strongly. You need to remember that men respond differently because we’re taught through society NOT to SHOW emotion. Just because men’s emotions are shown differently doesn’t mean that we don’t have any, or have an infinitesimally small range of emotion. Get your head out of your arse and realize that what you just said is in and of itself GASLIGHTING toward MEN.

      • Clearly you don’t understand how sexism works. Those are hurt feelings. You will get over it b/c the rest of society will pat your ass and tell you how wonderful you are b/c you have a penis. Gaslightling actually HARMS WOMEN on a societal scale. We don’t get respite. We just get a constant message about how crazy, bitchy and delusional we are. Get over yourself.

        • Saint_Sithney says:

          VS, you are being sexist yourself. Men being told that anger and lust are the only acceptable male emotions and violence is the only acceptable masculine outlet is a huge problem. It harms women and men on a huge societal scale, and men that deviate from the pattern are told off by both sides. Men and women are both fully human with a full range of emotions, and both are told that they can not express them outside of infinitesimally small “acceptable” ranges: men are allowed to get angry and violent, women are allowed to be high-strung and neurotic. Basically, we’ve come to a societal point where men are bulls and women are Thoroughbreds.

          No one is telling men who are open about their feelings that they are wonderful, any more than they are telling rock-steady women that they are wonderful.

    • “I have seen men overreacting too”
      Too?
      Did you understand the article?

    • missfirecracker says:

      Everyone seems to be missing the point. It happens to women more because we are more vocal about our emotions and in touch with them which is the way God intended to show men the power of emotion and help him to show his. And the people this does happen to are victims but that doesn’t mean you have to be powerless and play the victim forever. Like it or not people are victimized and you have to accept that and stop making excuses that its not alright to admit you have been a victim. You just can’t let it take over and ruin your life, but that is very hard when you have been thru so much and brought up with this everyday and its all you know and feel stuck like you have nobody to turn to cause they do the same thing and minimize it. Yes woman can be manipulative and do bad too, but bit is more common for women to be victims of abuse. That’s because it used to be OK for a man to slap his wife or put her in her place and now their is still that conditioning and belief in a lot of men that is OK. Please understand what this author is saying. I get it totally and I believe people its happened to a lot could grow to do the same even women like my mother. But her conditioning came from a man, her step father and husband. I don’t know whereb you people are getting your statistics. Women are raped more than men and there is a statistic that men lie more about rape to protect themselves and not get in trouble.

  163. Kristen says:

    I could not agree with the article more. Finally, someone has written about the “elephant in the room” that has plagued the female gender for centuries! I am so tired of hearing perfectly rational women degraded and dismissed as “Crazy” or “Bat shit”, when in fact they are genuine people who are reacting accordingly.

  164. Found it interesting that the author chose to address only men gaslighting women, when women gaslight other women, especially, in the workforce. I realize the title is men’s treatment of women, but women more and more take on the role of control force as we’ve learned about the Power of Sisterhood for the past half century. It use to be that women got married, worked so their husband could finish the college education. Times have changed and there is not nearly the divide between men and women. The divide is the haves and the have nots. As long as you break out man’s treatment .. women’s treatment .. male behavior .. female behavior, it looks like nothing has changed. The only thing that hasn’t changed is YOUR perception.

  165. Michael B says:

    Gaslighting hasn’t made women (and men) think women are unstable. The Real Housewives, any reality show from Jersey or containing the word “diva” in the title, bridezillas, bad girls club, Bachelor(ette), Teen Mom, Toddlers and Tiaras, the list goes on. These are the reasons women are conditioned to be freakin batsh*t crazy

  166. Joe Jori says:

    I admit I have used a few of those words before. Overreacting, emotional, dramatic, etc.

    If I did something that hurt you, I totally understand your pain. I understand being upset or frustrated. However, I will continue to accuse you of overreacting if you choose to make a huge scene out of something small. I don’t like losing sleep over spilled milk, but in my experience there are some women who force men to. Granted, men overreact too, and there are some women who are very mature and have a good grip on their emotions. We’ve all held those cards before.

    For example, I missed a call from my girlfriend while I was in a meeting. I saw it was her, hit the ignore button (planning to call her back later), and I forgot. That evening, when I went to pick her up from her house, she was furious. I took her out to grab a bite to eat anyway (thinking it was not a big deal), and she cried in the restaurant for ten minutes before yelling at me. Embarrassed, I drove her home and ended that relationship. Did I screw up? Sure. Did it warrant her reaction? No. I’ve taken far more abuse from women than that and hardly batted an eye.

    Stereotypes exist for a reason: women CAN be overly emotional, dramatic, etc. Thankfully, it’s just the immature ones…

    The young lady I am with now is great and has caused me no hair loss or sleepless nights.

    • Just. Say. You’re. Sorry. A sincere apology is not about agreeing that what you did was so horrible, but about acknowledging how the other person was affected by your (benign) neglect. Your ex-girlfriend probably escalated because she was not getting the acknowledgement she needed.

      You don’t lose anything by admitting you hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally. Nothing at all. However, you might gain a, “I’m sorry too. I guess I am feeling extra hurt because of x, y, z (tired, past experience with bad men, hard day, etc). THANK YOU for acknowledging my feelings. Let’s have a nice night.”

      If you had some prized thing that your partner did not value, say a collectible, or a show recorded, or anything important to you, and your partner accidentally broke/erased/lost it, how infuriating would it be for her to say, “I didn’t mean to, and it’s not a big deal, it’s just a x/y/z.” The apology is not about whether YOU think something is a big deal; it is whether the other person does.

      Basically I am saying…In my opinion, anytime you hurt someone’s feelings, even over something “trivial,” you should apologize sincerely. Telling them they are overreacting is going to escalate the reaction or make them feel gaslighted/repressed.

  167. I agree with the opinion that women are more likely to be subdued on the basis of their emotional reactions than men, and that both men and women do the subduing. I have a friend who is in a relationship with a guy who regularly gaslights her. I think it is a tactic of any “small” person who wishes to make other people feel small, or, as an outcropping and manifestation of this, a person who has committed a transgression against someone else that they genuinely (if only internally) feel badly about and so they engage in trying to make less of the person they’ve wronged so that they don’t feel so bad about what they did to that person. I think gaslighting can happen to men, and it is impossible to make one big grand sweeping statement about either gender without making some errors along the way. Not every woman is gaslighted and not every man is exempt. But I do agree, from my own experience and observation, that it seems to happen more to women than men as, I believe, for whatever reason, be it conditioning or nature or something else, that many women, on the whole, emote more readily than many men do, and that many men seem to have the idea that emotion is irrational and needs to be suppressed in themselves or others. I think that rational, healthy expression of emotion lies somewhere in between the idea that all emotions should be expressed with all of their intensity whenever their felt (in the case of a very, very emotive person) and the idea that all emotion should be stunted and only expressed very conservatively if at all (in the case of a very, very non-emotive person) Even I, the other day, called my friend “sensitive” in a joking manner when her boyfriend said something that it was clear she took the wrong way and she reacted. I actually meant it as a compliment of sorts because it was so adorable and I love how emotional she is because it makes her who she is but I can see how it could be taken. I’ve had gaslighting happen to me, as well. On the whole, I agree with this article, but would caution the author and champions of it, alike, to remember that general statements made about large groups of people are not always accurate and to remember that you’re talking about billions of individuals. Yes, there is a pattern of behavior in many societies that agrees with the basic principles in this article and yes, that is why I mostly agree with this article, but just do bear in mind that it’s not going to fit everyone.

  168. “But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?”

    I think much of this boils down to cultural indoctrination that pressures (mostly) boys to deny their emotions and robs them of the opportunity to develop and mature emotionally.

    Let’s start by stopping shaming little boys for crying. It’s not just for girls.

  169. Its really not that simple… there are so many factors… personality is huge… there are aggressive men and woman who it seems many times will end up with a more passive partners… opposites attract…

    i was talking to an older ‘wiser’ woman the other day and she seems to think that many times for first marriages people pick opposite type partners because of the excitement etc.. and then realize that for the second (or third…) someone more compatible makes a better long term partner…. interesting idea…

    i think there are some physiological hormonal influences as well.. ie testosterone inhibits crying and i would suspect the emotions that go with it… It also seems that there is a nice gene (or whatever it might be) which most men and women have… without it both men and women are more mean spirited, it just tends to come out in different ways…

    of people who do have that lashing out type personality men lean towards more physical abuse and women more mental… however this obviously is not a rule… there are mentally abusive men and physically abusive women… it seems that when you get the right (or wrong) mix of genetic personality and upbringing (environment) you get more extreme versions of aggressive behaviour in both sexes…

    i think we as a society need to learn to understand what is happening on physiological and social levels to lessen the degree of bully type behaviour that we have all been affected by or at least witness to… the genderized (word?) finger pointing is a dead end…. the gender perspectives need to be adressed but lets find solutions from a more balanced perspective.

  170. We should call people who do act like jerks and then claim you’re overreacting ‘Gasholes.’

  171. Stop over reacting guys!

    “Men are stupid and women are crazy. Women are crazy because men are stupid” – George Carlin

  172. This article raises some excellent points and as a woman who gets gaslighted regularly I appreciate it. My only concern is that the last paragraph is itself gaslighting! Either clarify that paragraph with more thoughts or delete it.

  173. It really bothers me when these articles claim only men do these things. I was gaslighted by a woman for 3 years who constantly told me I was overreacting when she stayed out all night drinking and then driving home drunk. She never called nor answered my calls. Yet I was overreacting when she was late to everything. Work, friendly gatherings, dinner, family things, etc. Women can and do gaslight as well as men.

    • Yes, women can gaslight as well as men do…but I don’t see a single place in this article that claims only men do this, and that they only do it to women. The author uses gender-neural terms to talk about instigators (“someone, spouse” instead of “men, husband”) to talk about about the issue at the opening of the article. He only switches to gender-specific terms when in reference to his two examples, in which the instigators were both men and the victim of the gaslighting were both women.

      The voice of the article does indicate gaslighting happens far more frequently to women, though, as women are often still considered (by some men, and some women too) as the overly emotional and thus irrational gender. Men *generally* aren’t stereotyped that way. While I doubt you’d find many who would disagree with you that women (or men) can indeed gaslight men, I do doubt you’d find any who would say that they honestly think it happens in anything close to the amount which women are gaslit by men or by other women.

  174. Se, this is how my mother has treated me all my life, I’m her only son, and she’s taught my sisters how to do the exact same thing ‘women’s’ issue is, I would say an undereaction to the full reality of this ‘gaslighting’ problem.

  175. Thank you for this article and for the many, many comments that followed. The more people that are aware of this problem the better, as this is not something that can be solved by one individual, however, it is something we are all individually responsible for.. To be aware when we un-intentionally gas-light others and take measures to stop doing it! Men and women are different for a reason! We need to accept and appreciate these differences. I know from experience that the more I’ve tried to think and act like a man… the less attractive I am to them. So girls just be yourselves (the best you that you can be) and live your lives for yourselves and your precious children because the opposite sex will never understand or appreciate us for who we are. You can waste your lives trying to please a man and gain his unconditional love and acceptance… however, it’s best to give it to yourself, then you know for sure it’s not going to waste 😉

  176. This is an interesting article. I understand what the author is saying, that you can be emotionally manipulative by making someone feel that their being unreasonable.

    At the same time, there are times where a reaction like saying “you’re overreacting” is perfectly reasonable. For example, if I’m studying for a midterm exam that’s tomorrow and my girlfriend says “I need you to cuddle with me” and I say something like “I’m sorry, I can’t honey, I have a huge midterm tomorrow that I’m not prepared for,” and she responds with a comment like “you don’t love me; you never wanna spend time with me” even though I spent the weekend with her.

    I’m sorry if my comment is a disorganized rant. I just felt the perspective of someone with a wonderful, but sometimes unreasonable girlfriend is missing from the article.

    • So sorry this article didn’t delve into specifics of each and every disagreement that could possibly occur between two people. Jesus. OBVIOUSLY people can be unreasonable, everyone is at some point, and I’m sure you’re no exception (I noticed you only attributed this quality to your girlfriend). Reasonability is not gendered to nearly the same degree as “crazy”, “emotional”, “oversensitive”, etc etc. This author is discussing the overly widespread use of those terms in regards to its MANIPULATIVE use against women, which has been ongoing for decades. There’s no need for him to point out that people can indeed be unreasonable, but there certainly is a need for an article like this.

  177. I have been going through this for a while this article is amazing…I am a newly married 22 year old. My husband is 13 years older than me. Every time we argue I am always wrong and every argument always results in me being crazy and needing help. Every time I fight back and say I am not crazy he says that I am not being rational and to talk to him when I have calmed down ..(aka submitted to what he initially believed)… I don’t think he means to do this and I think he really believes that I am crazy deep down. I know it Is really sad but I am confused… Maybe I am crazy and he is being amazing for loving me anyway. I love him so much and I am actually working on some self help exercises. Its horrible I cant feel insecure, hurt, disappointed, or any other feeling that might be unpleasant to him. I have to just suck it up and turn my feelings off. The funny thing is I can handle all of his emotions and I don’t ever call him crazy. I guess marrying a 35 year old was a pretty dangerous decision. He can easily control me and when I put up a fight he calls me crazy and things are bad until I admit that what he says is right. Since I can’t be direct about my feelings….I wonder if he would get the hint if I rented that movie….def. something I am going to consider.

    • Do watch the movie. It’s a real eye opener.

    • Jeanette says:

      Sounds like a classic case of gaslighting to me. The fact that you think he’s doing you a favor by loving you anyway despite your “craziness” really shows how much he’s chipped away at your self-esteem. It doesn’t matter if he means to deliberately gaslight you or not, anyone who makes you unhappy and belittles your feelings like that isn’t fit to be your husband. I have no idea why you’d love someone who clearly doesn’t love you enough to listen to you. I suggest you file for divorce, pronto.

      • Jeanette, your comment was fine until the last sentence, who are you to give advice like that? Telling a woman to file for divorce… NO ONE is perfect, men and women alike are inconsiderate at times and we all have our quirks… If men wanted a divorce for any little thing we didn’t like about our partners, there’d be a LOT more divorcees out there.

        • LadyCrow says:

          No one is perfect, but the majority of us don’t deliberately downgrade or gaslight our partners. She is being subjected to deliberate mistreatment. That is ample reason for her to GTFO.

        • A Divorced Woman says:

          Chris,

          Guess what? In the over 40 age group the divorce rate is sky high. I am a woman who’s hubby hated everything about me, or so he says… I heard everything from “You’re pure evil” “No one will ever want you” “You’re disgusting” “You don’t do anything around here” and a whole lot more. Then comes the dirty, angry looks to emphasize these comments and to intimidate me into silence.

          Then when I stood up for myself, “Shut up and let me talk, you bitch!” He tossed me and our daughter aside like we were garbage. During the divorce the mind games and emotional abuse only got worse, couple that with bullshit crap to drive up my cost of living and legal fees. Divorce should be a consideration if one party bears the brunt of the bullshit like this. This kind of thing DOES ESCALATE… it escalated in my case and the result is I sought a restraining order and it was granted.

          My advice, based on my experience, divorce should always be a consideration if things don’t improve. I don’t know them to improve, so I would consider this to be wise advice.

    • Yikes Hillary!
      Judging by what you wrote, I agree with Jeanette in that it sounds like this guy is chipping away at your self-esteem. That’s a pretty big red flag. Although I wouldn’t straight out tell you to file for divorce.

      I think your best plan of action is to speak with a mental health professional – not because I think you’re crazy, but because I think for your sake (and sanity) you need to know one way or another rather than listening to the conjecture of your husband. Also, a professional will be able to help you determine whether you are a subject of emotional abuse (which often is the lead-in to physical abuse).

      Your husband, if he is not gaslighting, should be thrilled that you are willing to seek help. If he is not, then you may need to seek help from a different avenue (domestic violence hotlines can help you get out before things get out of hand as well as help you to know whether these are signs of emotional abuse).

      Good luck Sweetie – I wish you the best. Please don’t take this warning lightly. I worked for the District Attorney’s Office and I’ve seen the effects emotional abuse can have on the victims.

      `Merry

  178. Thank you for this article. I appreciate that it is written by a man too.
    This does work both ways though. I know 2 women in particular who use the “gaslight” strategy too. But what is interesting about these women is that they are both extremely aggressive & narcissistic. High powered jobs around a lot of men. They want to WIN at all costs. The difference is they use it on both genders to obtain their objectives and goals.
    Just an observation.
    Again thank you for this piece. I’m one of those women who has one more than one occasion been called “over sensitive” when I’ve tried to stick up for myself.

    • I made a similar observation about a former female boss who used this tactic, and was also extremely competitive and narcissistic. She told her female staff members that they needed to act more like men while allowing her husband to control her career.

      Obviously there are many types of emotional manipulation available to either gender. I think that a lot of these argumentative comments are missing the point of the article.

  179. I have been following this from the beginning and am amazed that this has turned out to be a “roundtable of discussion” and venting rather than actual intellectual facts. To respond to one comment is impossible because it is as though this is a “private” argument between selective parties. Thus I simply respond to bits and pieces of this conversation.
    When a mother has three children and is waiting for the payday in order to complete the meager budget; and the “hubby” finally gets in at three in the morning and hands over the twenty dollars or less to last till next payday; and he is yelling about the house being a mess and supper not set on the table; then starts wanting to be amorous; how would you respond? Mother spent all evening trying to get the children to bed, father comes in at three in the morning arguing and screaming, swearing and name-calling, throwing things around and finally waking the children; he [father] finally drifts off to sleep; leaving mother with however many children awake at five in the morning. Is any of this gas-lighting? Probably not; but then what of the next day when father comes home at the regular time and not inebriated and wants to sit down to a nice quiet dinner; but dinner is not ready because there was no shopping done, and there is no money left; whom starts the gas-lighting? Mother, father? Put it into a play and you tell me. The guilt, the feeling of inadequacy, the regret all left over from the night before. How do they deal? Will it happen again? Will mother tolerate or fight back? Whom is going to do what in order to protect the children? Will mother protect them from the three o clock in the morning interludes? or will father protect them from the angry mother? Is the circle recognizable or will everyone blame everyone else? Whom will gas-light whom?
    While mother is working leaving the children with grandma; father is “sleeping”; finding out on down the road it is with another woman; everyone knows but her and her side of the family; so in order to protect their good name; try to prove that mother has a “problem”. The only problem she has is she chose a “jerk” for a husband; his family that is involved in psychology and psychiatry health areas use their time to prove mother unstable; is this gas-lighting? The end result says a resounding yes! The end result is much like a movie of the month; too long to create a synopsis now. Yes, women gas-light; men gas-light; is there proof of psychological gas-lighting? Check out the patients in institutions, the people on disability {some on because the family believes a child has ADD or ADHD} in the meantime it is a family with a father that simply has no time for the children unless he needs an ally. Mothers trying to protect their children; in the meantime; we can not protect them only shelter them. And if we do successfully protect them what of when they become adults? Whom will protect them then? Will they have the successful tools to protect themselves? Gas-lighting, it is real; it does happen; both female and male; and there are various ways that it happens. Get over it; start dealing with it and do something to help those that are victims of it.

  180. Pat Riarchy says:

    Females are crazy.

    For about 20 years or more females used the excuse of temporary insanity as a defense when they killed a man. They were having their period so were temporarily insane. So females admit that they are insane for 1 week in 4 or 25% of the time.

    It still holds true today. Last September a female was sentenced to 3 and a half years jail out in 18 months. She invited her ex boyfriend around for dinner. She drugged his soup, tied him up then stabbed him in the neck a few times then hacked off his genitals and flushed them down the toilet. He bled to death. What punishment do you think a man should receive if he invited his ex around, drugged her, tied her up and genitally mutilated her so that she bled to death?

    We know from females that they never take responsibility or accountability for their own actions. Example; females don’t choose what course they do at university. Females are “coralled into human sciences like psychology.

    Further example; if a female is single it is not her fault but the fault of men. There aren’t enough men. The men available are not good enough. A vibrator is better than any man. There are no “good” men left. Men are commitment phobes. Etc etc. Nothing to do with females at all since females are so egocentric and narcissistic that it can’t be any fault of theirs. Crazy?

    • … and I bet your single aren’t you Pat? You still didn’t answer my question regarding the next 7years. Let me guess MEN have invented a mechanical womb that will take 7 years to perfect… That’s great but you will need a machine that will also breast-feed and get up in the middle of the night to a crying baby… because 99% of the men I know will admit to not hearing the baby cry during the night.
      I would like to know what country you live in because in Australia the women get sentenced double what the men do for a similar crime. It is considered against nature for a woman to be so “evil” so they are made an example of society. Actually Pat you would love it here. Woman are put down, repressed and put in their place on a daily basis… sounds like your cup of tea really doesn’t it Pat?

      • They talked about that on The Big Bang Theory. Women are more sensitive to high pitched sounds while sleeping than men are.

    • Crazy, Pat? Yeah, a little. Cherry-picking one outrageous story instead of gathering data or citing actual research, generalizing across a population based on a single data point, using hyperbole ( or exaggeration) to attempt to bolster a weak argument, … well, those aren’t recognized debate strategies useful in defense of a rational position.
      Horrifying crime and light sentencing is outrageous *because* it is the exception rather than the rule. Were it commonplace, no one would be appalled.

    • The fact that you spend your entire comment calling women “females” is just about all we need to take away from it as to your outlook towards women. Good lord. I also echo all AnonyMiss’s comments about your use of “evidence” based on rare circumstances to justify your entire viewpoint on the subject. Also, how on earth don’t women take responsibility for their own actions? What the heck kind of baseless statement is that? Overgeneralize much?

    • a) Anecdotes are not evidence; please back up your story with statistics, or admit that you are using one story to lie.

      b) Prove to us that women use the insanity defense any more than men. Again, use actual facts, not just “I KNOW, I KNOW!”

      c) Prove to us that NAY of your complaints are actually valid, instead of just your whiny rantings.

    • missfirecracker says:

      Duh that’s because women are smart enough to know they can use that defense and men use insanity too.I think anyone who could kill someone has to be temporarily insane in that moment or insane all the time. I mean unless self defense a normal healthy male or female is not just going to kill someone. So yeahthe woman that use that know they can as a way to get off because society believes it to be true. Wouldn’t you try and lie anyway you could to get off for a crime if you could? Duh

  181. The Anti-Eugenicist Lilith Fair Guy says:

    Clarify the terms better.

    There are:
    1) Alpha Males
    2) Alpha Females
    3) Neuters (the intersexed, the mutilated, the abused, the barren, the forsaken)
    4) Omega Females
    5) Omega Males

    Both 1) and 2) will gaslight both 4) and 5) and presumably 3)s if 3)s show any sort of sympathy outside of them.
    Seeing that Kinsey did his study such a long time ago, its pretty intellectually insulting how the general public and journalist sphere approach topics with such an oversimplified hyper-sexual and hyper-gendered view.

    Both men are from earth and women are from earth and they both are a curse if they can’t see that the earth doesn’t believe in “normal.”

  182. Elmo I detected a large amount of conflicting information in your post. However; I am so glad you posted the way you did. There was an extreme amount of information that normally belongs with a therapist only; but that you shared I hope that it helps the right people. Good luck in all your endeavors.

  183. I’ve been using this term for years… and interestingly enough, when I use it, it has been in reference to my mother gaslighting me. But I really like the way you’ve written about it with a much broader scope. Thank you.

  184. John Hancock says:

    Not to take away from the article at all, which I think makes an extremely valid, and observable point, but men are conditioned as well to curb their emotions. They are taught, by ritual shaming, that crying is bad, for example. Although a women is held as less rational for expressing their emotions or outrage, a man is expected to have none at all.
    A women may be treated dismissively for emotionally reacting to being dressed down by her boss, but she is allowed to react to it. A man is not. Or if he does, the consequences are much more severe than being told he is irrational.
    As a men, if we react in anger to a situation that is a valid reason to do so, we are considered “threatening” and treated accordingly. A woman is not.
    So, while I agree with the concept in the article, whether correctly labeled or not, there is an advantage to being considered “irrational” but still acceptable to instead being considered “unmanly” or “incapable of control” and therefore being ELIMINATED from the situation, sometimes through shaming or forcefully, as in firing or demotion. I’m saying the consequences for men are more direct and immediate and more permanent.
    So, neither situation is fair. Both are society’s way of enforcing a template of what is “acceptable” to either gender, and both templates are unfair. Both templates have consequences. And both templates are infuriating, certainly.
    What doesn’t help, is to isolate one side of the problem and blame the other victimized group. Its a problem for all of us. We are all systematically separated from our honest emotions in a dysfunctional way. Women/Men “gaslight” other women, and Women/Men shame men for having emotions at all. The real question here is WHY DOES SOCIETY AS A WHOLE need to manipulate BOTH sexes into an unrealistic expression of their emotions?

    Blaming one sex for this problem is not going far enough into the root cause of the problem. In fact, one sex blaming the other is all part of the manipulation. Don’t fall for it.

  185. my apologies Luke but in an observational arena of less than ten dads—5 of the ten dads turned to another woman to help raise the children one of them could not even wait for the divorce; they are still married yet he and his whatever she is are playing house. The tenth communicated with other woman and he chastised the women that told him to fight for custody by responding “you would not like it if your partner fought for custody and took your children; so why do you push me to fight for mine” yet that one was an involved parent on an average of less than two hours per WEEK. I am sorry if this sounds convoluted, it is. Another man is serving a jail sentence for killing his wife and child over custody issues they had while she was alive; another lost the mother of the child and may have contributed to the demise by battering her while she was alive; this was another custody issue; he sees his child once a month while a maternal relative raises the child on her own. I would like to chart this and if you know of a way to help chart with scientific data instead of emotional please contribute ideas. I am getting better at my contribution for those whom have been with me on scientific contribution for the past ten years. They are starting to lean to factual, statistical data as opposed to emotional rhetoric.

  186. Mothers are the main element involved with parental training. With today’s’ society that is turning around and more men are stepping up. There are still a few men that pass the responsibility to another woman and then when something goes wrong find someone to blame it on. It truly falls back on the man when children are involved. As one great philosopher stated”the best thing a father can do for his children is to love the mother.” [anonymous] So if a man is not taking care of his woman while bearing his children; then many issues become involved such as manipulation; gas-lighting; mind-games–all of this to “protect the children” Why because a man in a normal routine works 8 hours after that the mother expects the father to chip in on the obligatory duties; if this does not happen then Pandora’s Box is opened. And women are better at it than men; because after all whom maintains the house, the children; the budget and school and work. Most definitely not the man by himself—he must have a partner. Women have learned to wait until “dad” gets home…..or has time

  187. Hmm…I’m glad to see someone starting a conversation about this, but I have a couple of major problems with this article:

    1. The author seems to be conflating the concepts of gaslighting – which is a pretty serious and dangerous form of emotional manipulation – and simple emotional invalidation – which is a problematic behavior, but a very common one and nowhere near the same level of screwed up. Emotional invalidation (i.e., the suggestion of “you shouldn’t feel that way” or pressure to stop displaying a certain emotion because it’s “unacceptable”) is a PART of gaslighting, sure, but they’re not equivalent. With gaslighting, the abuser is INTENTIONALLY creating the shameful emotion – with an insult or shaming remark – in order to control the victim’s behavior, and THEN discrediting the emotion if the victim tries to protest.

    Simple emotional invalidation, on the other hand, is just someone saying, “I don’t know how to deal with that emotion you’re having, so stop having it,” (where the emotion in question just arises naturally from day-to-day life). Sure, men do this to women a lot, but it’s important to realize that it’s cyclical and comes from their own experience of having their emotions invalidated – that’s how we socialize men. The proper way to handle it is by learning to recognize all emotions as valid and tolerable in BOTH parties, and in helping the invalidating party to learn to accept and tolerate his own emotions so that he, in turn, can accept and tolerate them in others.

    2. As with so many articles on the Good Men project (and other articles written by a lot of male feminists), I find the attitudes here to be a bit paternal and courtly. I dislike male feminists who seem to be denouncing those “other” “bad” men (as a means of distancing themselves) rather than taking a critical look at gender relations as a whole. Sure, gaslighting is a thing that men do to women, but it’s not just some ill behavior that “bad” men created out of the blue. Abusive behaviors are learned at a young age in family settings, so if we’re going to look at men as abusers, we also have to look at men as victims of abuse – again with the cyclical thing. I’m just going to put this out there that my own anecdotal experience with male gaslighters is often linked to gaslighting treatment they’ve learned from – you guessed it – their mothers, and how their mothers treat them.

    • I agree with Lauren, this is an issue that is cyclitic however there are those of us that have chosen to recognise the bad behavior of our parents and not recycle it onto our own children and partners.. this is the only way to break the cycle. It’s easy to play the blame game and be the victim.. but it takes a different attitude towards the problem to turn it around.

    • I disagree with a lot of this article and would go further to say that saying this kind of throwaway comment – often made because people are unsure or uncomfortable with handling negative eotions or reactions – is deeply undermining what gaslighting really is – a systematic, long term and deliberate form of mental abuse designed to push the victim into the thinking they are crazy.

      I was gaslighted by an alcoholic Narcisstic Personality disordered mother for 24 years. Gaslighting leaves the sufferer with no true grasp on reality. It pushed me through three nervous breakdowns. I constantly questioned my own reality. I doubted every memory I had of the physical and mental abuse I suffered. She constantly told me I was lying, inventing things, that I was bad, cruel, selfish, horrible, unloveable. Yeah, just a tad different from someone freaking out about what is most likely a throwaway comment (made from a place of the respondent’s discomfort) in response to a knee-jerk emotional reaction. It does way, way more than make you think your emotional reaction might be a bit over the top. EG – your friend’s boss. I can accept that this is gaslighting as it would seem he’s doing it deliberately. However, just because someone has a negative reaction to an occurence doesn’t mean it’s justified. I over react to little things constantly – and people call me on it, and when I’ve calmed down I see they’re right! And I’m not slef-denying or anything – this is totally true. I can agree that negating people’s justified emotional reactions is cruel, but I think it’s not often deliberate – many, many people are uncomfortable dealing with emotion and may make these comments but more in a way to end the situation. Equating them with abusers is probably not a great way to solve this.

      I’ll give you an example of gaslighting. My mother used to hit me repeatedly (she once tried to strangle me by grabbing the back of my top, looping it over the top bunk of my bed and lifting me off the ground so I was choking).One day she stormed into my room and started screaming about something drunk, I shouted back and she started to grab me and slap me, punch me. I got away and crumpled on the top of the stairs, she started beating me in the head. I threw up my hands to protect myself and caught her in the face, giving her a balck eye. She reacted by taking a week off work, and didn’t speak to me the whole time. She made constant comments to my dad and brother about how I was evil, how she hadn’t done anything to me, I was obviously drunk and attacked her, how had she raised such an evil person as a daughter, she just couldn’t love me. She pushed me into apologising to HER. I believed for ages that I had made up these memories, that I had hurt myself and then gone crazy at HER. I was 16 years old.

      I guess I’m just saying I think that equating a horrific form of mental abuse to insensitivity is potentially damaging. I think your use of the definition of gaslighting is way too broad.

  188. One form of gas-lighting is when the abuser uses their friends of prominence to intimidate the victim.

    For those enduring this type of treatment no explanation or clarification is necessary

  189. One issue with gas-lighting is using their friends in high places to intimidate the victim. I started to clarify this and then decided that for those suffering from this type of gas-lighting; they would understand exactly what I mean.

  190. Thank you. I didn’t realize what was going on at the time, but just 2 days before I saw this article I fell victim to the behavior. I was suffering a traumatic pregnancy loss and a female friend told me that I was behaving irrationally because of the hormones when I asked her and another to please stop questioning my choice of medical care providers. We are no longer friends because I refused to accept her accusation. I have read articles about gaslighting before but I didn’t think about it at the time. After reading this I feel much more at peace about losing this friend over this incident.

  191. The conclusion that was drawn that a man says you’re too sensitive or you’re so emotional the man is trying to make the woman crazy or gaslighting her is a stretch. The men I know are not that devious.

    When a woman feels weak or attacked the strong reaction is to respond with faith and inspire strength in the situation. The woman’s response needs to come back showing forth faith in herself and reducing the emphasis upon her weakness.

    Gordon B. Hinckley says “Do not be ensnared by those clever ones whose self-appointed mission is to demean that which is sacred, to emphasize human weaknesses and to undermine faith rather than inspire strength.” pg 316 (Discourses Of President Gordon B Hinckley, volume 2)

  192. I could barely make it half a page down before being unable to continue for complete lack of respect for the author. To take the stance that women don’t manipulate the living HELL out of men every chance they get to modify our behavior is just plain laughable. Or is your argument that it’s only wrong when men do it?

    Enough of the double standard. Men have been the minority for all recorded history, and are considered the expendable members of even “enlightened” societies. Women have exactly as much agency in the physical side of the western world, and easily double in the socio-legal sense. This article itself is effectively gaslighting “malecentric” readers, ie ones who do not accept females as inherently worth more; I am teaching by example how to stand up to that sort of nonsense. Ironic that the only term we have for what I’m doing is “man up”, or perfectly fitting?

  193. Wonderful article! However the recovery from that situation continues to amaze me each year as I get stronger and voice my true self back to those who attempt their ‘gaslighting’ ways. In finding my voice, and reaffirming my true identity as a person I no longer allow such foolishness in my life. Men nor women deserve to be treated in such a way.

  194. Incredible article, I really enjoyed it.
    I, as a woman, am also guilty of gaslighting some of my friends and female family members. Good wake up call.

    Got me thinking about how depression affects more women than men… and that one of the main causes of depression is not being able to express anger.

  195. Gen Fields says:

    Thank you for writing this very thought-provoking piece!

  196. Yassar’s article is a great example of how our education system has and is letting us down. If children were taught from a young age how to communicate with one another, and their education carried through so that they are not conditioned but socially well balanced when they leave school, then boys and girls, men and women would know how to treat one another with undestanding and respect.
    I truly believe it’s not a question of men gaslighting and women being crazy; the main problem is the difference between genders is not being acknowledged from an early age by our educators (one size fits all mentality). Men talk to women as they would do to men (another man would accept that with no problem) and then women talk to men as though they are women (another women would accept that ) but a man doesn’t have a clue what the woman means., neither does a woman know what a man meant by it. I’m generalising here, of course. Women need to explain how a man’s (probably innocent) comment makes her feel, without blaming him, i.e. ‘I feel really hurt/frustrated/frightened/shocked (a feeling word) when I hear you say that. It makes me feel you don’t care about me when (you are late, don’t do what I asked you to etc). It hurts my feelings and I need your support right now.’ Men want to know your FEELINGS but they don’t want to know your DRAMA. It’s women’s DRAMA that drives men away! So women, talk to the men about how you feel! Men, stop talking to women as though they are a man!!

    • AnonyMiss says:

      Your note concludes with the presupposition that women are more prone to drama than men and I find it insulting.

    • Wow. I usually don’t respond to comments, but yours was too horrific to just let slide.
      I was with a man for almost a year who routinely gaslighted me (on purpose) to convince me that I was crazy, stupid, and worthless. He did NOT talk to me like a man. He treated his male friends very well. He joked with them and encouraged them in ther endevors. But when it came to me, my dreams and ambitions, he would tell me I wasn’t smart enough, or I wasn’t as good at something as I thought I was, and when I would tell him that it hurt my feelings, he would yell “God, you’re such a drama queen! Why do you have to be so crazy all the time?!”

      • AnonyMiss says:

        I don’t get your rebuttal point. If you were calmly telling him how you felt when he tried to make you feel worthless, then he was being a jackass by telling you you were a Drama Queen. In fact, that story points out to me that HE presupposed women (and specifically you) are Drama Queens and that’s just insulting – as you rightly felt, I’m sure. Hope you’re shed of him.

  197. The term “gaslighting” would seem a misnomer unless the man is intentionally manipulating the woman into believing that they are insane or that their behavior is irrational. Adding another term to our lexicon to describe behavior instead of using plain English is a disservice to productive discussion.

    But, since we’re proposing new terms and phrases….

    I’d like to propose another term named after Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction. I give you “Forresting” for those times when the woman in question really is bat-shit crazy.

  198. Oh o.O This gaslight concept is entirely new to me. I only knew the emotional manipulating part, now I guess this creams the cake. So this is what drives him when he says I’m a mad woman and yet I’ve caught him pants down with hard evidence (forgive the pun)?!…..like I said, oh o.O

  199. just a person says:

    The article is something that i truly can relate. of course as a kid (female with hard of hearing) i got so much “gaslamping” if you call it that people assume i can’t live my own life. But i am living on my own without depending on anyone. Women these days, will remark and “amazed” how i will go to places or eat alone. The act of solitude and being oneself i think no one can do with today’s society being always online

    But…. this treat i had as a child.. (not my family, but the school, the teachers, and students) has made me so pissed of with society that i don’t bother with anyone. Too much gaslighting can make a person (male or female) to seek solitude. Yes i live in a major big city and have a job and life that i mingle with people of society on a regular basis but i never consider them as friends because i don’t like the effects of gaslighting.

    but there is another issue… not just men gaslighting on women, but women does it so well. Especially if they are afraid of you or don’t understand you or a competition of talents. (to defend myself, i don’t see this among all women… )

    as a women if we can get past gaslighting ourselves… then the whole bullshit i read in the comments are irreverent. Personally i have rejected society so i don’t care what people think about my views.

  200. Chris Watson says:

    It happens to guys, too; I was gaslighted by my ex for 18 years and now am fighting the gaslighting she does to my kids!

  201. Pertinent extract from http://www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/mothers-with-narcissistic-personality-disorder.html re whether this is just a male issue or not.

    <>

  202. This article hits on things I’ve thought about for a long time. My dad does this all the time. It makes me sad because he dismisses my opinion so quickly that we can’t talk about anything real.

    • Stefan Thiesen says:

      My dad does that, too, and I am a male scientist in his mid fourties with 3 graduate degrees. He even dismisses my KNOWLEDGE (not only my opinion) on things I studied and worked on for years, while he never touched on them at all. That really has nothing to do with male/female issues but everything with failing communication between children and parents, especially when parents forever perceive their grown up and well educated offspring as somehow immature and inferior. Might also have something to do with insecurity on our parents’ side. I try to take my daughters seriously, even though the oldest is only 8 now, but already intellectually bold and daring. She questions everything – including her old man. And I encourage that. It is a difference in culture: a culture of independent thinking, or a culture of (demanding) belief in and reverence for authorities.

  203. Not buying it says:

    “But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?”

    No. The issue appears to be that you, and people who agree with you, are unable to accept the fact that what you “feel” is generally not legitimate and holds very little weight, as compared to what you think and what you can prove. Or to put it another way, you seem to think the difference between right and wrong is of equal or greater importance than the difference between true and false. It is not.

    Emotions are often wrong, rarely repeated over time, and are therefore unreliable. Thoughts, based on logical progressions and analysis, yield consistently accurate answers which can be repeated over time, so they are legitimate and carry much more weight. The reason you think your emotions aren’t legitimate, and that they carry less weight, is because they aren’t legitimate and they do carry less weight. Its not because you are a woman though, its because you have the capacity to reason and you are expected to use it.

    If your emotions are so overpowering that you are unable to conform your behavior to socially acceptable standards, that is your problem, not society’s problem, nor is it the result of a patriarchal society designed to marginalize you. It is not oppressive for another person to point out the fact that your behavior has gone outside of what is socially acceptable, no matter how you “feel” about it. You can accept that, or you can continue to blame the Y chromosome for your shortcomings as a person; its all the same to me. But you really shouldn’t put this drivel into other people’s heads. Final case in point:

    “Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.”

    That’s a very bold statement, and you provide absolutely no support whatsoever for the conclusions you present as facts. That’s because you have no evidence to support it, you just “feel” that its true. That’s why you find yourself being marginalized, and justifiably so. You cannot make assertions like that based on your feelings and expect people to take you seriously, regardless of your gender.

  204. You know… I have responded several times to various comments here. In one case, my comment was screened out because I quoted the foul language of another commenter. Strangely, the words of the original commenter’ — a man — are still there, but mine are not.

    I wrote to an editor several weeks ago and she confirmed that that is why the comment was screened out, but she restored it. But when I checked just now… it was gone! As were my other comments….

    So what gives, Good Men Project? I am feeling a bit gaslighted here!! 😛

  205. Orangenostalgia says:

    Gaslighting: if someone does it to me, I will burn their house down. #LiteralGaslighting. Next time a guy tries to imply that you’re crazy, just agree with him and shoot him a dark, creepy smile. Say “This? Overreacting? You clearly have no idea what I am capable of.” Maybe laugh a little. If they ask you if that’s a threat, imply that they’re too stupid to figure that out on their own. That should handle him.

  206. The phrase is “bear the brunt” not “bare the brunt”.

  207. Thank you so much for this post.

    Angry male commenters: stop operating from a defensive standpoint and read with a mind willing to learn.

  208. Hank Vandeburgh says:

    The truth is that both genders do this. And it depends on the individual. Women, who generally are more skilled psychologically, are often better than men at it. I think the issue is really “How free is an individual to dump someone who is doing this?” Because the behavior is extremely deep rooted, and no doubt comes from parental modeling. Or, in rare cases, one partner could be a sociopath.

    In Ali’s article, the women are probably less free (economically) to leave relationships, and that’s where I think it becomes poignant. It’s similar to spousal abuse in that case.

  209. It seems to me that men are actually less emotional than women and are more prone to feel like women are over reacting. It’s not necessarily “manipulative” it’s just that a lot of men dont feel their emotions as deeply as women do and it’s hard for them to understand when they do. For this same reason women feel their partner is not “emotionally present” or doesnt seem to care. It’s just two different ways of experiencing life and the two genders being unable to understand the opinions or be willing to cross over to understand their partner. I would move away from considering this action”manipulative” everytime it is done. There are for sure manipulative people in this world, but I wouldn’t stereotype.

    • J.G. — suppressing emotions is a very bad thing to do, and terrible harm is done to men/boys when they are exhorted to do this. You are correct that men feel emotions as deeply as women — sometimes more deeply — but they believe they are controlling the emotions when in fact they are denying them altogether. It is that very denial that creates the basis for the gaslighting behavior described in the article.

      In short, say a many is hurt or upset, but he denies this in himself. So rather than deal with the emotion directly and tell his significant other that he is hurt or upset, he denies it — but then takes it out on her passive-aggressively until she begins to express the very emotion he is unable to express.

      I had a male roommate who did this frequently. He would be upset with me, but not tell me directly. Rather he would do weird, subtle things like open kitchen cabinets in my face while I was washing dishes — or not do his own dishes, or not take out the trash as he had agreed, or fail to carry out his agreed upon array of household chores until I got upset with him. Then he would say, in great superiority, “Why are you getting so upset!?”

      This is something both men and women do, but in my experience, men do it more because they do not have a direct connection to their emotions. They must evoke the emotion in a woman. Then they can vicariously experience the emotion through her, and yet remain “superior” because in his mindset (and yours, apparently) to express an emotion is “unmanly.”

      And it’s terribly destructive, manipulative BS.

      • The problem is men are taught their emotions don’t matter, especially those of pain and suffering, and ignore them altogether otherwise he’s not a real man by societies and in particular the women in his life’s view…
        I have to agree with this.

        This is certainly one example of how men are straight up denied their full emotional range rather that just the “they push emotions off onto women so that they can stay in control” bit. Yes that does happen but it nowhere near explains all of the emotional deficiencies that men are raised with.

        I think its more of a matter that men are/were taught to push their emotions off on women in order to remain useful. Useful to their jobs, useful to their families, useful to their spouses, etc…

        The old ways said that a man that took time to acknowledge his emotions was a useless man. Even though addressing them would likely lead to a healthier (and possibly longer) life it was seen as a waste of a useful man.

      • You sound really hysterical here, JG. Saying, “That is not denying ones emotions; that is recognizing when emotions are emotional bullsh*t and ignoring them” is pretty much what denying one’s emotions are.

        As is this: “The problem is men are taught their emotions don’t matter, especially those of pain and suffering, and ignore them altogether otherwise he’s not a real man by societies and in particular the women in his life’s view.”

        It is unfortunate that you believe women see you that way … many do not. If you are finding yourself choosing ones that do, then perhaps you are choosing the very women who will support your unfortunate world view.

    • Stefan Thiesen says:

      There is another article that, in my view, might shed some light on the issue. I do not think that women are per se more sensitive, but some (ever fewer) may well be socialized – if not conditioned to react in certain ways. See here for an example: http://goodmenproject.com/families/boys/talking-to-your-daughter-about-beauty/

      Aside from that I have seen both, men and women, who emotionally abused their partner or emotionally suffered, and in quite a few cases it was interchangeable. In our case it is my wife who comes home late when visiting friends (I am a part-time nerd – I like researching, writing, reading…). And occasionally it is good old me who reacts emotionally (where were you…) and it is her informing me I am overreacting… On other occasions its the other way round. Generally it is hard to, well, generalize. Black and white pictures painted with thick strokes have lots of contrast but very little information.

  210. Ron Paulita says:

    THANK YOU for writing this article! What a blessing!

  211. bit over the top if you ask me

  212. gaslighting is one of about 20 emotionally abusive techniques, here they are listed and explained:
    http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.com.au/2006/04/verbal-manipulation-1-im-wondering-why.html?m=1

    • J.G. te Molder says:

      That’s funny, I followed the link, and I didn’t see gas-lighting among them, and there are only 19.

      Also, this entire list is talking about how a man is doing this to a woman; never a person to a person. And yet, when I check these, most if not all of them, are all the classic wives’ tools to talk their husbands. Hell, these tactics are often shown in comedies how stupid men are and how good women are/have to be to get him to do things, and it’s applauded as how good and smart women are.

      So, yeah, men, good list, read it, just remember, switch the gender pronouns, and whenever you come across a woman doing this stuff: run!

      • I want to know because I’m truly worried, were you abused by a woman? If so then your hate of women is more understandable considering how abuse affects the male brain i.e. causes them to hate others.

        Your tone of voice is very aggressive and you obviously hate women. Either way if you were abused it’s okay and advisable, to seek help. No I’m not gaslighting you I’m truly concerned because of your level of anger and all the “run from women” stuff that you’re preaching.

        Obviously no one wakes up one morning and has this much anger and disrespect of an entire gender (i.e whimpy , (screaming banshee of a) woman is unintelligently blabbering on), without there being a very very good reason for it.

        All the same I’m sorry for whatever you’ve had to go through and I really hope that you will get help for it.

        I don’t intend to argue on this issue with you until the end of time. Take my advice or not, it’s your choice. I wish you well.

  213. J.G. te Molder says:

    Or here’s a crazy idea, maybe when (multiple) people are telling you you are acting crazy… you’re actually acting crazy!

    In fact, using and inventing the term “gas lighting” is nothing but the ultimate gas lighting.

    Yes, folks, you as a man, are not allowed to have your opinion, nor express it, when it contradicts what a (screaming banshee of a) woman is unintelligently blabbering on about, because that’s a bad, abusive behavior.

    Opinion and observations shut down, instantly, you either nod your head to the woman/therapists and be a good little boy admit to all your abusive and wrong behavior, or you’re an unrepentant abuser. Lock him in prison, an thrown away the key!

    No matter what your actions, you’re always the abuser; stay the hell away from women, and stay away from therapists even more. Some woman asks you to go to a therapist with her, dump her ass, and get out while you still can!

    There would be another option, but that one requires that women actually get socialized, like, you know… a man. From the very first moment a mother or father rushes over to a girl’s scraped knee and spends their time shushing her, and adoring her, and indulging in her pain, and a girl gets socialized that her emotions matter, that they are important, that they are correct, that they are to be heeded, that they are not false. Add feminism and feminist therapists on top of it, and the result is women being socialized to indulge and expand every single little emotion they have, without any critical look.

    At the same time, when boy comes with a scraped knee, he’s told go get back to playing, you sissy. He is trained to completely ignore his emotions, his pain, all so he can happily got his early grave, enduring horrendous pains without complaint, for women, or society, or the feudal lord, or… you get my drift.

    Of course evolution, helped a lot. A woman overreacting a bunny rustling in a bush; a guy kills a bunny, no biggy. A woman dismissing a hissing cobra with it’s hood out and fangs ready, gets a precious womb killed. Since it can carry but a limited number of babies at a time, with in nearly all cases but 1 man, 2 maximum by sheer, utter, luck. A womb is the bottle neck to a species’/tribe’s/family’s survival, very little consequences to overreaction, potentially a lot to under reacting; and evolution continued.

    To illustrate, despite men being much more likely to be a victim of violence, they walk out the door unconcerned, while women are far less likely to be a victim of violence, sexual included, jump at every shadow and see Schroedingers Rapist everywhere.

    Evolutionary instincts can be avoided of course, we’re humans, we’re beyond, but it either requires conscious knowledge or strict socialization against such instincts. So yes, if you want men to stop being stoic automatons going to their painful early grave without protest, teach him to value himself merely walking around, as opposed to as a utility to society only. And if you want women to stop being pathetic, child-like wimps who jump at shadows, and consider whatever they feel to be the be all and end all of existence, tell her to get back up and play, instead of indulging her.

    Then somewhere in the middle, where men have value, and women have value but aren’t whining wimps, we should meet.

    • Luke Sadler says:

      awesome. couldnt have said it better myself.

    • Sounds like you needed more cuddling as a child. Freud would’ve had a field day with you.

      • J.G. te Molder says:

        Oh, look at that; someone said something you don’t like, something that actually questions a therapy reducing you to an abuser just walking in his office.

        Did she answer with arguments, logic, a proper discussion?

        Nah, shaming tactics, pathetic attempts and emotional blackmail. How cute.

        Trying to get someone into therapy, and telling people how much they need a psychiatrist should probably be added to the list of manipulator- and abuser-tools Deb posted below…

        • You have some serious misogynistic issues you need to work through. I lol at your hate.

          • Does Kim’s response make any sense? No. Why? Because gas lighting is bullying regardless of whether a male or a female does it. I appreciate the projects courage in addressing this topic with men. Keep up the good work
            After all that is your audience.

      • Adam McPhee says:

        So in an article on “gaslighting”, the minimizing of one’s emotions by calling them crazy, you choose to defend its validity by “gaslighting” someone who doesn’t agree with it?

      • Interesting… so you are aware that Freud is pretty much universally discredited right?

        • Hank Vandenburgh says:

          This is sort of like saying, “You are aware that Newton is pretty much universally discredited, right?” Yes one can quibble with parts of Freud’s theories. One such that deserves it is probably “penis envy.” But Freud opened up the idea of the unconscious, ideas of parapraxes (things we do unconsciously that have meaning), and set the stage for humanistic psychology, and most clinical practice of therapy that follows from psychoanalysis, including brief therapies that have little resemblance to the original psychoanalysis.

          It’s fashionable for psychologists, in particular, to down Freud because they have a trees versus forest way of wanting to see things. Many psychologists use cognitive-behavioral therapy, which works well on some things. But Freud lives on pretty much, including in the practices of people who have no idea how trhey depend on his root ideas.

    • I think that what is being said here is a very legitimate statement, and I believe it to be true. Often times women are shut down through comments that are off handed and curt. Women are more often then not the more emotional gender (whether this is created by society or by nature). That, does not mean, however that emotions need to be dismissed. I will admit that as an American society, we do dismiss emotions more often than not. However, a person feels disrespected when emotions are dismissed. I think it would behoove the reader to consider what is being said here and take some time to notice this in personal relationships and through observation. Although we are through the peak of the civil rights movement and the feminist movement, we are far from healed as a society. There is still a power struggle between the sexes, it is just much less obvious, I beleive that this article clearly articulates one form of it.

    • J.G. You’re onto something. I am recently separated. My wife engaged in exactly the sort of reverse “Gaslighting” that you’re talking about. It was only after many joint counselling sessions and months of walking on eggshells that I realized that I was the victim of some very pernicious manipulation by someone who was suffering from what was best understood as borderline (or not so borderline) Paranoid Personality Disorder. Such people perceive insult and attach nefarious intent to events where normally adjusted people would not.

      It was not surprising that one of the “last straws” in our relationship was the incredibly insulting suggestion that we go together to see a psychiatrist to discuss both my incredible anxiety and depression over the situation and the *possibility* that there may be more at play than my character flaws, denial and insensitivity. “What, you think I’m crazy now!??!” Well, yes and no.

      I think that we all go through mental stresses and sometimes that makes us not well. I was depressed and anxious. She was paranoid. If I was walking around with a limp for months I would go to a doctor and not be pissed off that if my wife suggested that I may not be well. Tell me? What actually is wrong with the suggestion that someone may be crazy?? Crazy is actually not a personal judgement. Mental illness is NOT a character flaw. My I submit that if someone who loves you thinks that you may have cancer that you should go see your oncologist and that is they think that you may be crazy that you maybe should go see a psychiatrist. If you’re not crazy (and that’s a matter of objective diagnosis) then you’re in a good position to look at other explanations for your problems but dismissing the concerns of those that love you as being “Gaslighting” is most certainly a crazy thing to do.

  214. I would like to thank you for this article. I feel it is right on and although I understand women can be guilty of it as well, I believe women are much less likely to dismiss a man than a man is a woman, just taking into consideration the social norms we were raised with alone. Women are raised to be more compliant and work cooperatively with others, where men are raised to be more independent and strong spirited, thus women will tend towards consideration of others feelings more than a man will. But certainly in the context of a struggling relationship I can see both sexes doing this to each other a bit more equally. This article hit home so much for me, and it made me really understand that all my thoughts about this similar type of thing going on, but invalidated by my husband, is now validated by you. So thank you so much for that. I’ve shared it on my fb page as well. <3

  215. Men subjct each other to forms of gaslighting and we are expected to “take it like a man” Express reervations abut the safety of a particular course of action and risk being labled a wimp or jam tart. Express some emotion and other men often label us as sissy or cry baby. But we are expected to give as good as we get rather than own the label. Maybe women should take the same stance.

  216. Blow That Whistle says:

    Are men more cold emotionally? If they are then you have a great deal to be worried about. It means that men are not just better gaslighters, but are more resistant to emotional attack. That means that they pull more strings whether they sit in the drivers seat or elsewhere.

    I grew up with an aggressive father and manipulative mother. They were both quite good at being emotionally aggressive without striking a physical blow. Our family was/is disfunctional to the core. Learning to gaslight was a way of survival to me and my brother. The mostly lower middle class society we grew up in played the same games we did; though my brother and I probably were in the top 25% of manipulators in our local area.

    I once thought about studying and teaching a discipline known loosely as Manipulative Psychology. It is what I was raised on afterall. The basic point I was going to make was that all people have some degree of desire to manipulate others. Especially when they say that they don’t have such a desire, [insert distraction technique here], etc. The Advanced class was going to be experimenting with various techniques to persuade other people to one’s way of thinking.

    That’s a long way of saying that everyone, even you, practice manipulation.

    I now trade money for a living instead. Lol! It pays better and I still get to experiment with social manipulation (how to counter it and practice it.) If I develop anything truly profound I’ll share it with the world, after I test it first. Some of my quasi experiments have made more than just myself a lot of money, so further investigation into their effectiveness is my next task.

    Good luck with your relationships. The best advice is sometimes to get away from the people who torment you. If you can not do so, you must learn to fight back by gaslighting or you will succumb to their every whim which will bring on severe depression.

    Have you learned that all communication is a form of manipulation? That is the most basic lesson of the discipline.

  217. Lizlovescatsssss says:

    Interesting story… My dad treated my mom like she was crazy for having emotions ( he was dismissive, angry, self-effacing, and absent to shut her down) for 20 years until she believed she was crazy. This year he was diagnosed with fairly severe Aspergers (his therapist said he was the highest functioning Asperger she’d ever met), and my moms the neurotypical one.  Both women and men can be diagnosed with Aspergers but men are four times more likely to have it.

  218. Lizlovescatsssss says:

    My dad treated my mom like she was crazy for her having emotions (he was dismissive, absent, self absorbed, placating) for 20 years until my mom was convinced that she was crazy. This year my dad was diagnosed with fairly severe Aspergers (his therapist said he was the highest functioning Asperger she’d ever met), and my mom was the “neurotypical” one. Anyway, that’s my personal experience with gas lighting.

  219. My comment is only this: If women are socially conditioned to feel ashamed for their feelings, man are socially conditioned and shamed to have any feelings at all. Seems to point to a more universal human problem rather than just a gender problem about emotions and authenticity. But this article was great — very insightful. And things have already been written on this very site about how men are emotionally oppressed/suppressed.

  220. Nearly all of the stimuli and actions being mentioned here affect all genders. As is typical, this article seems to suggest that women (again) are somehow acutely more vulnerable to this emotional duress and, therefore, need additional coddling because of it.

    Does it occur to you that offering such commentary under the guise of insightful wisdom is itself a form of gaslighting?

    • I think this person is arguing that women recieve a handful of familiar infuriating deflecting techniques when trying to communicate their legitimate grievances. Understandably, that would be acutely distressing. No ones likes to repeatedly hear that their grievances are less real and more due to ‘sensitivity’ or some other crap. So, we have arrived in a situation when the words such as this (used in response to an attempt at expressing one’s grievance) is becoming a source of frustration and anger.

  221. Personal experience, gas lighting is a great way to establish credibility and who has it. It certainly isn’t gender specific and it’s just sad that so much of what’s being posted attempts to affirm that it is.

    Ever see an employee with seniority gaslight someone with less seniority? I see it all the time. I see it in politics, I see it in media I even see it in institutions, teachers doing it to students.

    I’m right which must mean your crazy, or stupid or evil or anything I need to call you so that my credibility exceeds yours. So I can have control and with that control I can make myself safe and if I’m safe then you must be safe and if your not it’s obviously not my fault, it must be yours which proves that your crazy or stupid or evil or whatever I have to call you.

    Guys with toolboxs HAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Girls with emotion-boxs HAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Your all crazy and when can we put a match to this gas????

  222. Personal experience, gas-lighting is a great way to establish credibility and who has it. It certainly isn’t gender specific and it’s just sad that so much of what’s being posted attempts to affirm that it is.

    Ever see an employee with seniority gaslight someone with less seniority? I see it all the time. I see it in politics, I see it in media I even see it in institutions, teachers doing it to students.

    I’m right which must mean your crazy, or stupid or evil or anything I need to call you so that my credibility exceeds yours. So I can have control and with that control I can make myself safe and if I’m safe then you must be safe and if your not it’s obviously not my fault, it must be yours which proves that your crazy or stupid or evil or whatever I have to call you.

    Guys with toolboxs HAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Girls with emotion-boxs HAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Your all crazy and when can we put a match to this gas????

  223. I do think it is the fact that society teaches (beats) men to restrain their emotions. The problem arises when men expect women to behave in this same fashion. Why hasn’t this point been addressed?

  224. Just followed you on twitter. Great article. Well put, and well written in every sense of the word. I have found that there is a growing number of angry, anti-female, entitled male youth out there. I’m not sure if it’s the anonymity of the internet that brings them out in comment boxes and internet tirades, but have seen so much bad emotional and social behavior from young men lately. Thank you for putting out this positive and great work!

    • take a look at your facebook twitter instagram or whatever feed, and see how often a post or picture comes up saying something like “behind every beautiful woman is a man who did her wrong and made her strong” or “every single woman deserves a man who blah blah blah blah”…. look at the situation objectively, and then come back and tell me that the internet is the fortress of sexist entitled young MEN.

      (Edited to remove personal insult. It’s one thing to disagree but no need to get personal. – GMP Moderator)

  225. This article seems like a guy buying into women that are playing victim

    • Actually, “playing the victim” is what abusers do when they say, “See how crazy/irrational/awful she is? THAT’S why I had to treat her that way!” i.e. “diverting attention away from acts of abuse by claiming that the abuse was justified based on another person’s bad behavior (typically the victim)”

      Read up on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playing_the_victim

  226. Women playing victim, and a guy responding to it. That is absolutely consistent with our culture and this article

  227. To be gender neutral without invalidating the gravity of sexism: men do get called these things, and often the person gas lighting is trying to feminize the man. I.e. calling a man a “bitch” for crying. This, IMHO, stems from a sort of femme-phobia in our society. Roots in gender descrimitnations but also affects men. I think this is how we should address the problem. And in no way am I agreeing with those people saying that this article is “sexist towards men.” Ali isn’t screaming bloody murder or nonsensically saying “all men are abusive pigs!11.” He, as a man sees a common problem and is addressing it. Do you call women crazy willy nilly? If not why so offended?

    PS: I agree with the people asking for a wider scope of this problem to adequately address male sufferers of gas lighting. I just don’t appreciate the dismissive attitudes of others denying that sexism mostly affects women.

  228. Gas Lighting is a real thing that sucks and happens to both men and women, but over-reacting is a real thing that sucks and happens to both men and women too.

    Yes people need to become educated about gas lighting, but that’s not necessarily what’s happening every single time someone says you are over reacting.

    Some people over react. Some people actually are crazy too.

  229. sandra cecconello says:

    Its early in the morning and I have just received the what I thought was the latest update on this article. I can not believe how long this has been going on. Apparently it is like the White Elephant in the room that everyone knows is there but avoids for some “stupid” reason. They seem to be picking and choosing the order with which to update me on these replies but this morning I got lucky enough to read Ricks’ reply. All I want to say at this moment is I am so glad to see both sides participating in this; now if everyone could just get it together and get it not only into print as a book but into the medical journals as to being a major REAL issue. Whether it be men, women, children; the problem needs a solution–non of which sounds feasible thus all we are going to do is continue to whine, rant and rave; hence nothing solved. Have a great day everyone; I so look forward to the next response.

  230. My entire life I have been told that I must refrain from inappropriately expressing my emotions. “Never hit a woman, even if she hits you first”: “Women are emotional that’s just how it is” etc. This lie has been perpetuated by hundreds of people in my close circle of acquaintance including many respectable intelligent women, and by thousands in the media since. I know that this overwhelming number of sources can be wrong, and even my upbringing could be wrong. Maybe even my very judgement and instincts can be wrong. But I can never deny what I have seen with my own eyes, and what I have seen is a complete and utter lack of accountability on the part of women for their behaviors in almost every aspect of their lives. Some exceptions are childbirth, sex, parenting and jobs where absolute accountability is demanded (military, police work, etc.)

    Women ARE more emotional. They are allowed much more lenience in a variety of areas in which men are just held to a different higher standard of behavior. The only question in my mind is whether this is evolutionary, biological, genetic, or socialized – or perhaps a combination. I have some theories.

    I know, I know. Men are evil, violent, hate filled, vile creatures. Have at it – deflect away. We know already. But nothing that will be said here can take away the overwhelming preponderance of the evidence that I have seen with my own eyes. OJ Simpson was found not guilty in a criminal court because the standard of proof was “beyond a reasonable doubt” and that is how many feminists and supporters judge such things. But OJ was later found guilty in civil court. This is the standard I am sticking with = preponderance of the evidence . To dismiss my perspective as the ranting of an angry man is the easy, low hanging fruit used by neophytes and those who don’t do homework. Millions of Men know this to be true, but are afraid to say it because it is painfully true for them. If this site does nothing, it proves this by a preponderance of the evidence. Women need to own this and change it. Men need to own their violence and change it. End of story.

    • Rick, can you please give at least one example of the “complete and utter lack of accountability on the part of women for their behaviors” and show how men have behaved accountably in a similar situation? Because it is my experience that men behave in extremely emotional/irrational/unaccountable ways (as one commenter here noted, “just move a guy’s toolbox and see what happens”) but they are unable to clearly see or accept this behavior in themselves.

      When women react to men’s irrational behavior, the men say, “Why are you acting so crazy?” Now, I don’t think that this is usually intentional on the part of the men — but rather that men need to see themselves as rational, and so they prevent themselves from seeing any irrationality in their actions.

      Look, for example, at your words above, “Men are evil, violent, hate filled, vile creatures. Have at it – deflect away.” Now, who has said that men are evil, violent or hate-filled? No one. This article points to a specific kind of gaslighting behavior that men show a tendency towards (at least more so than women). This does not make men evil, etc.; it just means they need to own their behavior — as you, yourself, point out.

      Part of owning means NOT blowing things out of proportion. (And bringing in OJ?? Really?? Why on earth did you do that? Doesn’t that whole situation more or less demonstrate how a man can go crazy and blame the woman in his life for his craziness??)

      Anyway. I glean that by the OJ example you are trying to prove that there is a preponderance of evidence that women are emotional/irrational — but if this is your intent, then why don’t you cite at least one example from your own life rather than make blanket statements which, frankly, sound very misogynistic? And may I suggest that, in recollecting such an example, you try to imagine how the woman’s seemingly irrational behavior may in fact have been in reaction to another person’s behavior that seemed incomprehensible to her?

      No one is dismissing your perspective; you are merely being asked to support it — rationally.

    • Ummmm… sorry but I fail to see how “Never hit a woman, even if she hits you first,” is in anyway connected to discussions around being emotional, being manipulative and owning behaviour? This is a complicated topic, but as Carol says, bringing violence into the discussion completely misses the point.

      Also, this article is not a men vs. women article and neither should it be read or discussed as such. Agreed, we never win when we start stereotyping. This article is pointing out socialized masculine behaviour and feminine behaviour, which can be viewed in either men or women as individuals. So just because some one is a man, does not mean he is a “gaslighter,” just that it is a more common behaviour seen in men, which has also been seen in women. But it is based on how gender is expressed in society, not as an inherent aspect of being a particular sex.

  231. Thank you for the enlightening article! I will definitely be more conscious not to ‘gaslight’ people in the future, and hear out their concerns.

    This article made me think about how gaslighting also happens to non women a lot as well (trans,queer,male,etc). For example, when a guy gets hurt (emotionally or physically) and is told to “man up”. In this case, the male is being told he is oversensitive in much the same way.

    I agree that women seem to be conditioned in a very negative way, to the point where (as you said) they have to be passive aggressive to simply express themselves. I’m not sure who has it worse (nor do I particularly want to discuss this), but I think everyone has their shortcomings when it comes to how they respond to other people. I think we could all put more attention to validating people’s experiences, and being more empathetic to them.

  232. I absolutely agree with this article, but I also acknowledge that I myself have done this to men in my life in the past. Again, a product of social conditioning, like men are not supposed to express emotion. ‘Don’t take it so personally’ is one of the worst, from and to either gender.

  233. “Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
    ― George Carlin

    I see so much “hate” flying around the internet~Let’s have some humor, shall we?This piece is well written so thank you. As a screenwriter~the “Gaslight” film reference was excellent. If you want to see “crazy”, you will see crazy. Like attracts like. Even teenage boys complained to me recently that girls are “crazy”! I just found this GC quote & laughed…I look forward to this author’s book on the subject.

  234. also, sometimes women overreact. men do too.

  235. Luke Sadler says:

    I can definitely see how gaslighting happens frequently, and i’ve had it done to me frequently by both men AND women, but to come up with a term like that and imply that whenever someone tells you to calm down that they’re in the wrong and you’re in the right is as equally shortsighted, biased, and manipulative. some people might be intentionally manipulating others’ emotions, and other people just might not want to be subject to histrionics. Once again, generalizing men’s behaviour is 100% as sexist as generalizing women’s behaviour, and it DOESN’T TELL THE WHOLE STORY. unfortunately, these things have to be taken on a case by case basis.

  236. Barbara says:

    Just FYI, it’s “bear the brunt” (as in to carry most of the weight), not “bare” (expose) the brunt.

  237. Keenan Hartless says:

    Someone who tells you “throwing a tantrum is not appropriate” may not have the intent of emotionally manipulating you, but may be literally communicating to you that you need to check yourself. Despite what this article may imply, effective communication does not involve having an emotional break down every time someone says something you do not accept.

    Instead of trying to convince us that women are somehow weak and mentally handicap to effective communicating with those people who have a terrible “sense of humor”, promote respect for the agency of a person to address the person upsetting them while equipping them with verbal defense skills to do so.

    Finally, instead of promoting an idea to an audience with a negative statement trying to battle “women = crazy”, try to take a more progressive and empowering position that promotes “women = empowered” [if you must try to make this a single-gender issue]. How would this work? Instead of positioning the reader to have to try and fight one’s way uphill, you start the reader on the very equal ground with which they actually stand: eye to eye.

    • rebecca says:

      True but I think the author was referring to jut because a woman has a different opinion with xyz man he says she is nuts or stupid etc. My father (and ex-husband also) is a man like that and you can be speaking calmly and rationally to him and if you don’t conform to his opinions then you are stupid, wrong, an idiot, ‘screwy in the head’ etc. I do agree with you though and having a melt down over every little thing ISN’T helpful and if anything fuel to this stereotype.

  238. Johanna Skåntorp says:

    I’ve tried to put a word on this feeling for so long, indignation is the closest I’ve come so far (I’m from Sweden so some of the word might be lost in translation but..). This helps – a lot!

  239. Well said 🙂
    Thanks for writing this article…

  240. rebecca says:

    I wanted to thank you for this. Not often will a website or magazine for men take a positive look at woman.

  241. I think men and women project our junk onto the other sex a lot.

    If you take everything women say about men, and everything women say about men, and reverse it all, you might get close to the truth.

    Women say men can’t be faithful, men are insensitive, men are only interested in sex.

    Men say women are overly emotional, prone to hysteria, and illogical.

    But it’s the guy who buys the Harley because ‘ we need one’;; the man who needs a lifetime to get over a relationship; and if you don’t think men are prone to hysteria, try moving his toolbox and see what happens.

    Women? Well of course they’re all paragons of virtue; do they care about men’s feelings? I think most are oblivious to the fact that men have them; and if you’re not jumping them on the first date they think you’re gay.

    ’bout sums it up…

  242. I wonder the wastes says:

    I would just like to point out that this happens to men as well, and I find it offensive that this article fails to mention that at all. Instead it gives – at first glance – the impression that all men do this sort of thing, and that it happens to only women. I can assure you that that is a fallacy, as I have suffered this from both women and men (my parents included). I a not belittling any of your statements, I would just like to say that it’s not just women.

  243. Oh yeah Yashar, women are *real* compassionate. The compassion just fairly radiates off them.

    Give me a break.

  244. Darayus Vakil says:

    Hey,
    Just thought I’d point it out. Gaslight was originally a play which was later adapted into a movie.

  245. sandra cecconello says:

    Constructive criticism—malicious comments—talking at someone; talking with someone; talking down to someone; —communication—listening–yelling–talking–whispering–screaming–meaningful words, just words, —I didn’t mean to; it was intentional; so what who cares—I said it, they weren’t listening anyway; so what–why didn’t they, they were stupid, lazy, —

    but go figure everyone expects age appropriate to mean communication appropriate; all of the above are used; some directly others indirectly. This is just but a few examples; the list could become endless or infinite.

    I have often said the biggest battle of all time to me is with women; we are fighting so hard to survive that the food chain amongst women really has no prejudice, discrimination only self-satisfaction; after all it appears that nothing or no one else can satisfy the individual woman.
    Against other women one woman must always be right, must never need help; only give help; must never need advice; only give advice; must never need money; only be able to give money and above all else only agree with another woman if there is something or maybe someone in it for you, the individual woman.

  246. sandra cecconello says:

    I can not believe that this post is still going….has there been any resolution on agreeing to disagree; or is this still “social communication”? There have been so many good responses and even the “jerky” responses hit on a touch of truth. At this moment, I am studying Abnormal Psychology and was looking through my notes and books to find no mention of “gaslighting”. It appears to me that this entire discussion consists of people that are either being gaslit or gaslighters that are trying to reform….either way my own input was based on experience of a lifetime as well; plus people in my life that their lives had been ruined because of gaslighters. Will this ever surface into the light as it should or are we all just going to be called “crazy” or “drama retards” our entire life? I know myself this is as real as cancer and I am not going to just sit by and be a victim my entire life; that is why I am studying and participating in these forums; I appreciate knowledge and I always hope for resolution….

  247. Kimberly says:

    Part of the greater issue here is one of emotional intelligence. Those crazy, irrational emotions that are branded as “crazy emotions” are reactive and poorly expressed – no wonder they’re not well received. Who wants to be yelled at? I don’t think that kind of behavior is justifiable at all. And I’m a woman who used to be intensely that way. Now I am working on expressing myself thoughtfully rather than reactively. I feel better for it. And I think I communicate my feelings much more effectively.

  248. Whitney says:

    Thankyou, sir. This article is very heartening.

  249. Nice article and all, but was the sexism and woman-victimization really necessary?

    Seriously, you’re constantly assuming that men are the sole perpetrators of this and women are all innocent victims who can’t take care of themselves. Look at this shit:

    “Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.”

    You take a very real concept, wait until people start to agree with it, then slide in your extremist woman-demeaning, man-hating agenda.

    For anyone who wants a less biased version of the same principle:
    http://www.abuseandrelationships.org/Content/The_Con/gaslighting.html

  250. Read this book by Patricia Evans: Controlling People. Its about mind games people in engage unsuspecting others in. Usually men who don’t want their female partner to be confident in the truth that he doesn’t respect her.

  251. christina says:

    This is what I have been trying to tell others for so long. I have been through too much gaslighting in my life from males and females, females who want to defend the male gaslighters. If only more men can stand up and speak up as you just did.

  252. Fergus Mackinnon says:

    I’m a little late in finding this, but thank you for taking the time to write and post this piece. I’ll try it out in meat-space to see how it works in practice, but based on my current preconceptions it seems like a valid point. I expect I’ll try to update my cached responses a little after I gather some experimental data via this method.

  253. My opinion is that when people use the word “crazy” to describe someone, what they really mean is “I don’t understand your behaviour – you are doing something and I don’t know why”. A lot of trouble could be avoided by people saying that to each other, and giving the other person a chance to explain what’s going on for them.

    I guess that supposes an interest and a willingness to listen that isn’t always there.

    • Yep, quite true. I’ve had people act “crazy” to me before, I tried hard to understand their behaviour but it was very difficult. Major emotional mood swings, taking things I’ve said way wrong and using their pain n experience from other people to colour the way I am to them, I guess it is triggering. One experience was a female friend who was a victim of abuse, we had a disagreement that every other friend I have wouldn’t have thought much of, even friends who’ve been abused, but she was triggered and I guess I reminded her of him. She would pay attention to only some of what I said, ignore the rest, and automatically I’d be thought of as the abuser. It was heartbreaking to see and that friendship died, I couldn’t handle her extremely personal outbursts of anger such as saying hello when she wasn’t in the mood to talk yet was in the mood to talk 5 minutes before, it was like this switch would flick over and turn her from nice into a total bitch, to me the behaviour was pretty fucking crazy but on thinking about it the only thing I can guess as to why it happens is her mental health had suffered tremendously under the abuser’s reign, made her so volatile and sensitive that it was near impossible for me to have a normal conversation with her.

      It reminded me of myself years ago after going through a lot of bullying, I took everything to heart and very seriously, any criticism was like a stab in the heart and I’d lash out. To others that’d look crazy, and I don’t blame them, it’s not a normal behaviour (by normal I mean the average behaviour of most humans) but it probably is normal behaviour for those who have been through abuse. It can take a lot to understand why people act the way they do.

      • @ Archy…. co-responsibility? Ludicrous! 🙂

        To the writer of this article; while you do bring up a valid point by saying that “gaslighting” does happen to women, you also use invalid points to illustrate this point, and ultimately completely discredit your work. First of all, you cannot lump all men and all women together. This is an incredibly reckless way to present a subject that OBVIOUSLY affects men and women, and if you do not believe it does affect both parties, you are sorely mistaken. You should have also made the distinction that there is a genuine difference between telling someone they are f#$ked up and gaslighting. I tell my friends when they are f#$cked up, completely different from gaslighting, regardless of gender or any BS societal label, in fact if anything I say to any of my friends borders on gaslighting it is, 9 times out of 10, directed at my male friends.

        The one thing that I would like to caution you on, sir, is that the psychology of the human race goes far beyond your specific personality, what you’ve experienced, and what you know to be true, so please refrain from making such vast generalizations which undermine every male human being on earth.

  254. Great article, one massively pedantic point– the ’44 film is a remake of a 1940 film (I know, shameless): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031359/ starring Anton Walbrook who is brilliant.

  255. dale young says:

    Yashar Ali: thank you for your insighful article. It was true, generous, and courageous even in supposedly advanced 2012. Women: don’t take this as an excuse to torture men. Men: think about what he is saying and try to do a little better even if you’re already doing pretty good.

    • It must really be hard for some men to drop the pride thing and just admit that the article hit the truth right on the head.

  256. I want to point out the danger to this thinking. Just having the word ‘gaslight’ on hand sets up women to participate in reverse-gaslighting by *saying* that you’re gaslighting them. I say this because it of course happened to me. I was trying to clear up a situation with a girl and I told her what I thought happened, and she immediately reverted to the word ‘gaslighting’. I effectively couldn’t say anything back . . . because she was the victim, and I was the perpetrator. In reality, I was giving the issue a lot of thought and was not telling her that she couldn’t say what she wanted about the situation. But she thought I was trying to trick her into thinking that something that was true was false.

    My general view is that you shouldn’t turn people into systematic victims. You could do it with anyone if you wanted to. I’m a victim of the suburbs/overzealous high school athletic coaching/America’s public schools/images of unemotional men/the media…and blah blah blah. You should talk about moral issues without branding the world into boolean types of perpetrators and victims….because that is not how the real world works. It is a lot more complicated than that. You take out that complication by stating the issue without making it seems like all men everywhere are doing it to all women everywhere. Then that might make people more discriminating about whether it is actually present in a situation, and people wouldn’t whip it out simply because of the genders cast in a given situation. To figure out what is happening in the real world, you need a lot more information than that.

  257. sandra cecconello says:

    I have been following this post as well as had been a commentator on the subject. This really has gotten intense thus I think it deserves attention not only of a professional but as a spectator seeing what it has done to the PEOPLE involved with such dire situations. The gaslighters I have observed are normal people that use people that are low self-esteem or at least look like they have low self-esteem. By using these people then no one can suspect that they are actually gaslighting another individual. Yes it happens to male and female; and here is an even bigger surprise; it happens to children. This is a present phenomenan because there are so many adult children; these are children that have to fend for themselves because of various reasons. Children are babysitting before they are even twelve years old. They are models before they are three; adults mold these children into adult mini’s in order to supplement incomes leaving the adult with more “play money”–money for socializing, drugs, alcohol, new toys (cars, motorcycles, gym memberships other various “stress alleviators”. With the new IRS refund laws parents want their children because a net refund could equal as much as an $8,000+ income tax refund at the end of the year. (yes I have/had three children, so I know; one deceased daughter). A true gaslighter can not be spotted unless you pay attention to the partner being gaslit. If they look ragged and you think they could look better; if they act irrational and you think there is no apparent reason for their irrationality; if they are dirty and you want to tell them to shower; then someone in their life is messing with them. Human nature is not to be any of the above, dirty, ragged and irrational. So stop and think better yet stop and talk and LISTEN to them you just might learn something—I did…As far as the answer; I do not know; but I am working on it….

    • @ Sandra Cecconello
      Gaslighting might have a different term to describe it in psychology. I’d be surprising if it wasn’t known to psychology.

  258. You’re unemotional, you’re closed up, you don’t express your emotions enough, you don’t understand me enough, what are you thinking, you’re such a neanderthal. Sound familiar? If you are a man, it probably does….

    So what happens when the woman in this case decides to abuse you, you try to address their bad behaviour by telling them to calm down, don’t say that stuff, ask them to show some respect or at least stop the highly abusive speech? Is that gaslighting still or is it acceptable? If I do something wrong, fine, correct me on it but if they go “off” and abuse the hell out of me for it then they are performing a bad behaviour and need to be corrected.

    I’ve noticed some people will hide behind various excuses, a license to be a b*tch, using a small incident as an excuse to really abuse the hell out of someone verbally or using PMS as an excuse to act like a realll *********naughtyperson*******. Then there is the gaslighting they do back, accusing you of being inconsiderate to their feelings, having low emotional intelligence, using those kinds of words in a negative way not to correct you on bad behaviour but to truly treat YOU like the bad person for their behaviour.

    Gaslighting swings both ways people, it’s wrong to treat someones feelings like they are nothing but it’s also wrong to just abuse the hell out of someone for expressing their own. There are positive ways to express anger, showing negative behaviour towards someone that showed you the same can be quite manipulative. It’s important for people to try understand the other but remember, it’s a 2 way street.

    Many of the descriptions I see of women being crazy by friends I’ve heard are more to do with strange behaviour, behaviour that to these men DOES appear crazy, stuff like getting yelled at over something they see as quite minor when really the gf is angry over something totally different, stuff where the one calling them crazy cops an earful over stuff he didn’t even do. Imagine seeing a woman yell, scream, and slap their bf over something small like spilling the milk, or making a silly joke. Basically behaviour that these guys wouldn’t tolerate from men, but they’ve been raised to believe it’s acceptable for these women to slap them, yell over small stuff, be emotionally manipulative, control where they go or use emotional manipulation to guilt them into avoiding a weekend with mates for instance (you don’t love me, you don’t spend enough time with me). Another common one is a woman all hot for a guy and then just suddenly goes ice cold, behaviour that varies wildly and flip-flops. It’s hella confusing and rightly so, especially without explanation.

    Not all women are like this of course, it’s just SOME can be like that, and some women really do appear crazy. There are plenty of men who also appear crazy. We all need to find acceptable ways of expressing our emotions, but our need for expressing them shouldn’t override respect for others. It all needs to co-exist or you end up with imbalance, guys being slapped around thinking that is what women are like and just accepting it as a fact of life for instance. Women aren’t crazy, SOME HUMANS are “crazy”, although their behaviours are probably just foreign to what we know or expect.

    • This is highly problematic and abusive toward men. Now a man can’t clarify a situation without abusing a woman? Yes, “crazy” is a bit of a strong word, but so is “abuse.”

      What if I told you that it’s abusive to overuse words like “abuse”?

      This article seems to outline exactly what’s wrong with the world of modern feminism and “good men.” A “good man” is a man who indulges a woman’s every emotion, every whim, every desire and mood swing without question or clarification. He doesn’t dare remind her that reality may, on occasion, disagree with her feelings. In addition to abusing men, this does women a huge disservice. They grow into this constant indulgence and start thinking that anything or anyone that doesn’t bent to their feelings must be at fault in some way. They must be ABUSIVE.

      I know it’s unpleasant. And in our “princess” culture it’s unheard of, but it’s not abusive. It’s life: there is an entire reality outside of your emotions.

      • I understand what you’re saying I believe, I think it boils down to that potentially the article has merit for some men and women, that both men and women can do this. But on the flipside questioning their behaviour isn’t always abuse.

        Calling them as crazy because they are women = wrong
        Telling them they are over-reacting because they are women = wrong
        Telling them they are over-reacting because they are making a massive issue over what you see is small = A tricky thing to deal with.

        They may have been triggered by a past abuse, they may just speak in a way that is dramatic or over generalizes (you “ALWAYS” do this). Telling them they are acting crazy isn’t really helpful. I’d suggest saying “I feel you are over-generalizing by saying I always do this, it feels like an unfair attack on me”. A simple change in how people express their feelings could help a lot, especially for those who focus a lot on the spoken words vs trying to guess what the person is implying. “You always do this” can be taken as you ALWAYS do this, or it could be her saying “I feel you do this a lot”, the first one I think is going to make people far more defensive than the latter.

        The tricky thing with all of this is that some women and men actually do act outrageously, over the top, far past what you may experience from 99% of other people so how do you tell them to calm down their actions, tell them to drop down from extremely aggressive to just angry. Some folks are very volatile, the slightest thing can spark them off and if you aren’t use to people like that it can be seen as crazy, I myself was like that but in going through that I now understand a bit why others do it. Identifying why they act that way is very important, you (anyone, not you in particular) may find they aren’t crazy but have very valid reasons for flying off the handle BUT that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for you to be abused by them.

        I believe people should ASK others to find a way to express their feelings without being abusive, try avoid saying calm down but basically something like “I realize you’re angry but can you please not hit me, I’d love to talk about it with you but it becomes very hard to discuss this when I am afraid you’re going to hit me/whatever”.

        Accept their emotions (don’t have to indulge them), but don’t accept their abuse basically. If you’re going to call them crazy I really suggest not saying that word but explain what is making you feel like they’re acting crazy. People shouldn’t feel crazy for having the emotions, but it’s important they know that some forms of expressing emotion are intimidating, and don’t really help explain them.

  259. While I don’t disagree with very much of what was said, I think there’s another important point that is less intentionally malicious: If I don’t understand my wife’s feelings, they’re likely to sound crazy. I’m learning that she may act differently than I do (“overreact” is a false perception, but is still how I tend to see it), but that the “level” of her reaction does not negate its validity.

    I think this difference between the genders is, however, largely societal. If men are taught to bottle feelings and women are taught that it’s crazy to have them, we create a rift. Men seem better at hiding feelings than women do, so women let theirs out and look crazy.

    Having said all that, I’m just learning to not be a jerk, so none of it is set in stone. This was a good read and I plan to learn from it.

  260. I appreciate your thoughts… and I agree with much of what you have to say here, having seen and experienced it myself firsthand.
    But I think perhaps this goes even deeper – to the very nature of the person. Somehow we have managed to equate emotion as a negative quality, rather than part of what it means to be human. The “overreacting” or “just being emotional” arguments are designed to cut women off from their own genius- that ability to intuit the needs of others. And we women, afraid that our intuition and emotional aplomb will define us apart from any other gifts of intellect or ability, take the advice to grow thicker skins or be “less emotional” somehow, as the only way to be successful or have a voice. But in doing so, we ultimately are giving up our own womanhood, turning from it as if the only way to be human and have value is by becoming a less-than-woman, or heaven forbid, trading in our amazing womanhood for a virtual “xy”.

    • Patrice says:

      Well said Christine!

    • My boyfriend grew up with some awful women and recently my expressed concern over some misbehaviour was put into this bullshit category of ‘women are just bitchy’ and I was going to have to like it or lump it. Fortunately I was confident enough in myself to lump it. Most women are unwilling to walk away over something stupid… but if you have a good upbringing and friends and self-esteem you can smell the gas.

    • Hope I don’t get flamed for this.

      Why is the the implication that this is a problem that women face more than men. All of the gas-lighting phrases described above are phrases I have heard over and over again through out my life. And I’m sure most men hear it all the time as well.
      I am highly empathetic, as are my two boys. We cry when we hear of the misfortune of others, get angry when we hear of injustice and feel unable to act. The reason it appears as if this is an issue facing women, is that most men in society are conditioned to mask, hide, and suppress their emotions. In my generation this emotional connection was beaten out of you. “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”.
      These phrases are used by anyone who is inconsiderate, and is unable to accept fault. Women are as capable as men to dish out this type of emotional manipulation.
      To say that emotional intelligence is a women’s genius is plane old sexist. Anyone man or woman connected to their own feelings have the ability to intuit the needs of others and empathize. It is also a skill most primates have. All human’s are born with the ability to look at someone, and mimic their state of being both emotionally and physically. It is how our babies learn. Men have had the disservice of having this ability on the emotional side, stripped out of them usually by age 6. That is the real tragedy here.

      Lastly, men and women are different, equal in being, but different. Anyone that says otherwise is ignoring science, and has never had a cross-gender-ed friend. Men produce WAY more testosterone than women, women produce way more estrogen. These hormones affect the way we look and feel. Testosterone is what gives men additional aggression, competitiveness and upper body strength. Estrogen gives women the ability to carry children, and make them more resilient to environmental hazards like disease and starvation. It is why women tend to live longer.

      But regardless of the differences programmed into us genetically, we experience emotion the same way. And how we react to that is not a Man woman thing, but an individual thing.

      • I agree, it can happen to men as easily. The first time I read this article I realized I do this to my boyfriend (a very compassionate and empathetic person) and male coworkers on a regular basis. It’s very effective in making them shut up about whatever tactless, hurtful thing I did or said. There’s virtually no argument they can offer in return without risking further embarrassment. It’s a cheap, awful tactic.

        But I think the author is also shedding light on the sentiment (about women) that it supports. I’ve never heard proposed the idea that men shouldn’t go into politics (or a number of other fields requiring level-headedness) because they’re just too “emotionally unstable”. In fact, I can’t even fathom receiving such an argument. I have received the argument for women. From women. We’re all just such flighty, undependable creatures!

        It doesn’t seem to be a widespread notion that men are, to a fault, emotionally volatile. I would argue (could also be read as: agree with you) the opposite assumption- that men are perpetually stoic, unemotional creatures- is equally damaging, inaccurate and incapacitating, in an entirely different way.

    • I hope this goes over well, but can we say that in the majority of the cases presented both people are acting in an emotional way. For example the Boss sounds like he’s trying to fulfill and emotional need to have complete dominance over his employees. Where as the employee is subjecting herself to a solicited emotional response cause by the boss in order to maintain his dominance. Now if we separate the emotion from the decision making process (dont let guilt make you keep a job) you can make the decision that best serves you as an individual. The solution is that the emotional impulses that we have, which has , in my humble opinion, an evolutionary significance equal to that of the appendix, needs to be controlled by the intellect. If an individual realizes that a person or action is causing feeling X, and instead of having an emotional response, (breaking down crying, going into a violent rage, etc. ) they use reason to find ways to prevent or avoid the cause, would that not stop the manipulation because it then becomes ineffective? Then i think it would be fair to say that every one involved would like more fulfilled and meaningful lives.

    • Be honest says:

      It’s true that the above examples do not qualify as “crazy”. No one is really arguing that they do. But you know what does qualify as crazy? The following:
      – “Oh my gosh you’re such a nice guy! I need to find a guy exactly like you…but not you.”
      – “I can never find a nice guy anywhere! Lets go look for one at a bar.”
      – “Everyone thinks that my boyfriend is an a**, but I know he’s really a sensitive, caring guy underneath. Trust me, I’ll get him to change”
      – “If I want him to like me, I have to wait at least 20 min in between each text. Otherwise he’ll think I’m desperate:
      – “Oh my gosh, why don’t guys pay me any attention? I could go up and talk to them, but that would be putting my self out there and making myself vulnerable. That’s their job.”
      – “You know what would be an awesome way to attract guys? Act like we want nothing to do with them when they come up to talk to us!”
      – “You’re so caring and deep! I love talking to you! But you know what? That dude’s got a nicer car., so see ya later buddy”
      – “Oh my gosh, you know who I can’t stand? Becky at the office. She is such a B****!” “Oh hey Becky! How’s it going girl? I love your skirt!”

      Women pull that stuff ALL. THE. TIME. I’ll stop believing they’re crazy when that stuff stops.

      • Let’s “be honest”. You’re a sexist, gaslighting, prigg.

      • Way to generalize an entire gender!!!
        -Because men never miss the perfect woman who has been under his nose all along.
        -I know absolutely NO women who thinks they can find anything other than a one night stand at the bar!
        -Because no man has EVER stayed in a bad relationship for too long!
        -Maybe she had something better to do than have a lengthy text chat with the likes of you…
        -In case you didn’t notice, times have changed…women are a lot more pro-active now a days!
        -Maybe they DIDN’T want anything to do with you. Lol!
        -Right, because ALL women are materialistic. (In case you didn’t notice, that sentence was dripping with sarcasm.)
        -Oh, yeah…and we are all two-faced!

        Moderator Note: Edited to remove personal insults

  261. Patrice Australia says:

    I found this site when I Googled “Good Men” because a part of me believes that there is still some out there. Unfortunately I have read comments from very few of them so it’s getting harder for me to believe it.
    “If there is war between the sexes then there will be no people left”

    Looks like the war has well and truely begun… God help our children!

    • It’s the internet. There are always a heap of really bad comments anywhere on the internet. There are plenty of really good men here too. 🙂

  262. “But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?”

    You act as if only men are capable of gaslighting and only women are ever gaslit. That women can’t gaslight men or even gaslight each other.

    You’re just contributing to the gender assumption that women are always victims and men are always perpetrators.

    “Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life.”

    Feminism is *supposed* to be about breaking down gender constructs, you’re just reinforcing them.

  263. Holy crap was that a painful read. Let me first state for the record, intentionally manipulating someone into thinking they are crazy is screwed up on so many levels, I do not think I have to go on with why. However, I think that this is just talking about unintentional communication issues between the sexes. That being said, don’t you think that if the author had an issue with communication differences, he could have gone about it a different way.
    Big surprise women think differently than men do. A women’s mind is on a much different plain then us dudes. It is a scientific fact that women have a larger corpus callosum, the link between the two sides of the brain. Men generally have a one track mind, not just sex, but in general, we think about one thing at a time and put the though to rest before moving onto the next one. We, generally, might start out with a feeling, like I am hungry, horny, bored ext, and sort through logic and facts and make our decisions based on the info that we have. Women, with their mighty ability to make a lot of instance connections with a single thought seem to go through a different process, (Definitely not a straight line of logic, generally speaking of course.) From my experience women tend to feel the world and, base many things on the feeling that they are in right then, and how they think it will make them feel if they do it. Women also seem to be very very adaptable to different situations, and their feelings in them, can be very different from place to place and who they are with. This behavior leaves us dudes scratching our heads.
    Long story short, we perceive the world in very different ways, duh. When I guy comes home 30 mins late for dinner without calling, he is most likely thinking, “got to get home to eat, got to get home to eat.” Or “I will knock this out on the way home so that I don’t have to do it later and I will still catch dinner. Or that meet went long, I am late, I had better just hurry home.” Meanwhile, the girl is feeling the situation and feels putout that he is not there when expected. If left unchecked, her mind can go off in to strange, sometimes dark tangents. (I am not saying all, just from my personal experiences.) The guy walks in the door thinking, “I made it home, Food time!” while the girl is in whatever feeing state that her mind has carried her to by that point. So when she blurts things out, when he walks in the door like, “Where have you been, you don’t respect me and my cooking at all. Is it because I can’t cook like your mother? Or are you cheating on me? Or you did this on purpose, didn’t you? Or why is everything that you do always put in front of me?” The guy, in his one track mind is trying to catch up to what is going on around him and says something stupid like, “WTF, Stop acting so crazy!” It’s not manipulative, it is because we are dumbfounded and blindsided by the situation. We aren’t conditioned to get it or what to do with it when it is dished out.
    All that I am saying is that I think that the author missed the point and instead of writing a sensationalized “Men are manipulating women into thinking that they are crazy when they are really not and it is just a male conspiracy to keep the women down.” He/she could have attempted to address the issue in a way that might make it understandable and useful to each sex. I feel bad for all of the poor bastards that significant others read this, get all pissed off, and go pick a fight for no reason only to be call crazy or over reactive. SMH, the author is just feeding the cycle.

    • Patrice says:

      Because women are just there to cook and clean right??
      I think it’s great to put so much effort into your work… shame you can’t make the same effort in your relationship… it takes 15 seconds to send a text!
      If you’d just taken 15 seconds maybe your girl would feel like she is part of your world… not an unappreciated slave.
      I found this article after I googled “good man” because some part of me wanted to believe that there was such a thing… However, it has just left me disappointed yet again!

      • Wow Patrice! In one fell swoop trying to judge Bob and all men wrong for not texting, you managed to prove Bob right. Ever think that maybe they don’t like texting? Did you ever think that the man may think his wife knows to trust him? How about if that the same woman has said things like “you don’t have to call or text every time about everything” in a condescending tone, followed by a contradiction that today he should have texted her simply because she wanted it? It’s happened to me. Care to explain to me why some women I’ve known and dated got on my case for not texting or calling, when they didn’t bother to text me in previous, similar situations? Only their judgement counts? This is why many men also can become emotionally mute, and want to leave, but don’t want to hurt the woman and stay, hoping, until she deems him as “not enough man” and leaves him. I actually didn’t break up with a girl who, after a fight, begged “don’t break up with me”, because I felt sorry for her. She knew I was close to doing it. She broke up with me a couple months later after I paid for various things and helping her move. Sadly, many women I’ve known simply used me after I gave them more respect than I give most men. I was careful about what I said and how I said it until they started to talk like only their opinion counted, just like some men do to women. This happens partly because of how I was conditioned to treat girls and from my own instincts to go easier on them, even when I didn’t want to. A female friend once counted my girlfriend cutting me off 14 times to my 1 interruption in a conversation. The friend counted because I had accused my girlfriend an earlier time of cutting me off and she said I was manipulating her. Several women at my job (even some that I supervise) feel free to critique, insult, ignore and interrupt me on a weekly basis, far more than the guys do, and they back-stab each other and swap alliances and friends every couple months at the job. Guaranteed, those women always come back to giving each other chances and respect instead of to me, when I have never, ever been even close to their biggest enemy or “gaslighted” them. They are nice to me when they are having a fight with another. I know my job and they have echoed my ideas as their own, more often than the guys. I noticed several women newly hired learn to talk the talk before they have much skill at the job, and complain about being “overlooked” and “unheard”, while many guys have been in the same level for years, quietly doing very good work, and never get promoted. The women where I work (and at other jobs I’ve had) are obviously their own worst enemies, sometimes admitting that to me when working alone with me, then they go back to smiling in each others faces and slighting me. They have no ability to see me as a victim. They don’t see me as human. They treat me as an appliance; and that’s funny to some of you. It’s funny when it’s going the other direction, and you’re comfortable right? But I am still respectful to them. Yeah, I need the job, so I’m staying, but don’t expect me or other guys to believe we’re the only problem while that crap is going on. The article is necessary, but some women are going to take it as justification to feel they could never be wrong, or misjudge anything they feel is offensive. If they feel someone’s words are offensive (and I’m not talking about the obvious idiot boss of Abbie in the article, or the husband’s remarks about weight), then realize they took the words wrong, they will still see the speaker as guilty and offensive, and don’t feel the need to apologize for making them into a villain from their own creative opinion. Some won’t need to be called crazy, they’ll just assume any remark that seems against their opinion is an insult, and the speaker is guilty until proven innocent, because they say so. Say what you want, but this already happens all the time. Some men do what the article claims, some don’t. It will unfortunately increase the idea in some women that they are the final judge no matter what, which is what we are trying to teach some men not to do. Don’t make a second wrong.

        • Patrice says:

          WOW!! Where did that come from? I think I hit a nerve LOL
          I never said women were perfect, there is good and bad in us all!

          All I was trying to say to Bob is that a little bit of common decency and mutual respect would go a long way. Women like to feel valued, loved and appreciated; and I was referring to personal relationships, not working relationships. Having said that, I would expect if Bob had been running late for a business appointment, he would have attempted to communicate this. I can appreciate that men may not LIKE texting but I can assure you that anyone who has made an effort to prepare a home cooked dinner and was looking forward to dining with their partner (and possibly children also) would LIKE to be notified if the partner was going to be delayed getting home.
          The fact of the matter is that we live in a man’s world and women will need to constantly endeavour to have equal standing within it. Unfortunately, the only hope we have for equality starts with the relationships we have with our fathers and partners.
          Professionally successful women are the minority, not the majority and to be frank, most women do not give a rats **** about professional status; preferring instead to measure success within their relationships and the values and ethics they install in their children.
          And yes, some PEOPLE will lie and take credit for the work of others; however, they will generally be caught out down the line when they fail to live up to the standard.
          I too could go off in a tangent about how I’ve been wronged; however, all I have to say to you E is “Build a bridge Princess… learn from your experiences and get over it.”

  264. C. G. Jung suggested that men are burdened with irrational emotions and women are burdened with irrational opinions.

  265. Notice how when citing suicide stats among men from ‘fatherless’ homes, the blame is intended for the parent who remained. The one in charge and obviously responsible for EVERY facet of parenthood, because we’re assuming they also had no positive male role models… Why wouldn’t you blame the MISSING father? Or society as a whole? Why blame the incidentally remaining mother? What good comes of that? I’m sure you’d put a spin on ‘motherless’ households causing emotional damage due to the mother being gone. Either way you slice it, it’s always going to be Eve’s fault.

    • Why wouldn’t you blame the MISSING father?
      Because he’s already being automatically blamed for not being there regardless of why he is not there.

      Now if we want to get down to the nitty and gritty and blame the ones that ran out on their responsibility I’m all for it. But that’s not the way it goes around here (by that I mean in the States). No its become quite the sport to simultaneously come down on men that don’t stay around and actively ignore men that are trying to stay around and are being blocked by everything from vindictive mothers to the anti-dad parts of the system.

      A few days ago I read a story about a child that died in the care of a single mother. Even though the mother in question had search terms on her pc about “how long does it take to suffacate” and “ways to die” there was apparently not enough to show intent on her part to kill the child. And to make it funnier the writer I read about this from then goes into the “why not talk about the father?”

      No its not fair to always say its Eve’s fault but honestly I think some of that blame is backlashing from the fact that there are people that simply refuse to believe that anything, no matter how vile, could possibly be Eve’s fault.

  266. I just want to call out an important distinction that is not made in this article: acting crazy vs. feeling crazy. I am 100% on board with the idea that we need, as humans, to validate each others’ feelings. But we do not need to validate each others’ actions. Punching someone in the face, angrily, because they didn’t call to say they were late is “overreacting,” in a very important, abusive way.

    Everyone has to choose for themselves the line they are willing to accept in terms of appropriate response vs. instigating act. Words like “you’re overreacting,” and the rest listed by Ali are often judgments on level of response, and not necessarily comments on the validity of the emotions themselves.

  267. femjournalist says:

    Thank you so much for this article… it really rang true for me, and I felt relieved to know that someone acknowledges that this type of emotional manipulation occurs – too many times subconsciously – on an everyday basis. While I agree that gaslighting is something that happens in both sexes, I also feel that women certainly receive the brunt of its negative effects. One too many times I feel as though I have had my voice stifled because of someone’s denial, cowardice, fear or dishonesty, and I’m happy to discover I can spot it when it happens, and refuse to put up with it. Thanks again!

  268. James Britton says:

    I enjoyed the read, but I’ll take a bit of time to express my thoughts.
    I DO appreciate all who expressed themselves here.
    PS: I’m NOT the final answer to this project (& I don’t know one either !).
    XX

  269. Accept Yourself First says:

    While I agree that this seems to be a mostly male problem, I feel like men not only “gaslight” women, but other men. When a man feels a need to express his emotions about something, that is to express them in ways other than the sanctified male aggression, he will be “gaslighted” in exactly the same way that a woman is by his male peers, usually in a way that implies a bias towards womens. I’m sure every man has been called a “p*ssy” or a “b*tch” for expressing something that shows his vunerability to his peers. On the surface the problem seems to be the way in which men regard womens’ opinions, but I believe the root of the problem lies in the way that men perceive themselves. Until men can embrace all aspects of our own emotions and opinions, not just what we have deemed to be “manly”, we will continue to degrade all that is not “manly”, and that inevitably includes women, but just as importantly, ourselves.

  270. The act of dismissing women is one of those activities that as soon as you recognize it, you start to recognize it *everywhere*. Many good points in this article.
    HOWEVER, it definitely needs to be edited for length. Too many points are repeated such that they lose their urgency and immediacy. This is written as though trying to meet a certain word count. Sharp, more succinct writing will make your posts and articles more powerful.

  271. Unimpressed says:

    Oh look! Broad blanket statements about how an entire gender treats another gender regarded as the scientific basis for the conclusions of workings of entire civilizations on a sociological scale! An anecdote about one time with one lady that said one thing? It must be SCIENCE!

    And what’s the first comment? Role reversal with inflated, skewed, and otherwise meaningless statistics! More broad blanket statements about how an entire segment of the population acts! Appeals to emotion!

    …And I was worried the internet might not deliver my daily dose of hocum. How silly of me.

  272. Tomathy Jones, Ph.D. says:

    As a male feminist, I agree completely with this article. I’ve had a long journey of understanding my privilege and unlearning the misogyny of American society. All too often I would silence my partner Jennifer with phrases like, “You’re overreacting,” “That’s crazy,” and “No, I don’t want to try pegging.” Now, however, I’ve learned that I’m the one that needs to sit down, shut up, and LISTEN to her–as she’s been the one told to sit quietly and let the men tell her what to think since the day she was born.

    Men, it’s time we gave our privilege and acknowledge the tragic plight of women in America. Women in the Western world may not be stoned for being raped and their genitals might not be mutilated at birth, but the silent indignities heaped upon them day after day produces just as much a crushing burden upon their most valuable asset: their minds, their consciences, their will. It’s been almost a century they gained universal suffrage with the Nineteenth Amendment, and they are still oppressed despite having an equal voice in society. Something needs to be done–and that something is a radical shift in our opinions and our ideas.

    Women are NOT crazy. It’s a patriarchal society that’s crazy. With white men running the show, America became the world’s foremost superpower, helped win WWII, and triumphed over the USSR. Just imagine what we can do once true gender equality is achieved!

    • All too often I would silence my partner Jennifer with phrases like, “You’re overreacting,” “That’s crazy,” and “No, I don’t want to try pegging.”

      “You’re overreacting,”

      Ok, that phrase is not the most constructive to use in an argument and migth be harmful in the way the OP describes

      “That’s crazy,”

      Ok, the same can be said for this.

      “No, I don’t want to try pegging.”

      Say what?
      NOT ok. If one does not want to do a certain sex act then voicing that should never be wrong and to consider voicing one’s non-consent as silencing and gaslighting is just … my mind boggles. In fact, I think I’ll have to say that this is a case where the phrase “That’s crazy” is justified.

  273. staceynae says:

    Wonderful piece, thank u so much. Shared on FB so that more people can appreciate!

  274. I’ll admit that I don’t read a lot of articles or comments on the Good Men Project…are these comments normal? This article is about gas lighting women, or, manipulating women into thinking they are “crazy” not about why a woman has not been president of the U.S., what the percentage of women abusers are, etc. etc. Manipulating women by convincing them that their emotions are somehow not normal is as old as dirt and still happens. I applaud this author and I hope that if I read any more articles on this site, I don’t see the same kind of “crazy”, defensive, insecure and nonsensical comments that I see here.

    • It’s daft because men and women use gaslighting all the time. It was a favorite trick of my mother’s and I can cite thousands of examples. Same with my sister. “You’re mad!”. “You’re just like your father!” “What are you talking about? I’ll get you locked up! They’ll put you in a mental hospital if you talk like that, they will!” What mother talks to her young son like that. when he’s angry and frustrated? I can think of plenty of examples of “good” women saying and doing appalling things to people within and outside their own families. Women you’d think of as “exceptional” or “heroic” or “beautiful”. I’ve witnessed women saying things about their kids and to their kids which in my opinion caused enormous damage to them. We must get the idea out of our heads that women are good and men are bad, or that men are the transgressors and women are the victims. It simply isn’t true.

  275. This article is amazing. Thank you much!

  276. grammasandie says:

    A rather lengthy response from David in regards to the gas light issue has finally sparked some hope in me. I was about to give up on this site because I presumed it to be nothing more than an opinionated, social media with some professional input. David, I have no idea of your credentials nor do I care but your response was over 90% professionally sound to me. It may have been opinionated; of which I am sure some of it was; but welcome to that club. Please note I will copy and print your response to forever remind me that there is hope with this gas lighting dilemma, if it is a dilemma or is it a disease? I do not know but one thing I do disagree with was your closing statement in that knowing various answers would not solve this particular issue; “bringing out the problem will not solve it in this case,” you may very well be right; but I believe that nothing can be solved until we know what we are trying to solve. In my opinion, sometimes we have to work backwards to get to the solution; kind of like a “catch-22” we have to solve a problem that is not yet a problem to get to the solution of that problem….I think I have just paraphrased the meaning of the mathematical classification known simply as “algebra” Anyway thank you David.

  277. I do agree that women deserve better than this and that this is an injustice of which the female population is very undeserving but I can’t help but notice that there is a flip side to this coin. This article focuses directly on how women are mistreated and blamed for their emotions having gotten out of hand and such but it is more complicated a topic than that. This article has done a rather good job singling out men for being the culprits of this crime but I can personally attest to the fact that women are just as capable of being “gas lighters” as men are. What this article also fails to talk about, is any real psychological causes towards this of which there are several. Nearly, if not every, human on the planet is born with what are known in the Psychological world as ‘Defence Mechanisms’. These methods to defend ones self take very many different forms but projection discusses this topic almost exclusively. Projection in a nut shell, is when a person feels rather strongly about a situation and knows that their opinion is not accepted, so in response they project the way that they feel about the circumstance onto the other person which intern can negate personal negative feelings. For example: A husband lacking rationality in a lapse of judgement tells his wife to be rational, or A wife insisting that the husband never listens but then fails to hear his side of the argument. Another way in which this can be seen is through defensiveness in an argument. Many people when they feel that they are being attacked personally in an argument, lash out and bite back against their attacker which often leads to more conflict. These are some common issues that are faced by BOTH genders and they do not show preference to discriminate primarily on females. That being said, the concepts of “stay at home moms’ is not dead and neither is the male dominance of the business world which can easily both translate to a negative outcome where the woman is manipulated as an end result and by that token can mean that women have the potential to receive a great deal of negative attention.

    This problem, unfortunately, has no real definitive solution because there is no definite problem. There are instances where women get along beautifully with their husbands, male coworkers or male bosses but there are always others that say the opposite. No two situations are alike and bringing out the problem will not solve it in this case.

  278. Many thanks for the great article from Mr. Yashar. It’s 100% true. If a man (like Valdez) has problem in his life, it doesn’t mean that this article is not right. They are different matters.

  279. elizabeth says:

    I have a male coworker who has admitted to me that he does this. This was before I knew it had a name. But he acknowledges that he uses it as a tool against women. He’s even done it to me before and I’ve called him out on it.
    It is a very real thing and not just a new thing for feminists to whine about. I’ve been in a relationship where I dealt with it all the time. It really can have an extremely detrimental effect on a woman’s psychological state. When I got out of that relationship I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had lower self esteem than I did during puberty. I don’t have any background in psychology beyond psych 101. But I am a woman and have lived as one for 23 years.
    And just because some people can pull out lots of nicely cited statistics on how often men are victims of homicide or die at war, does not mean that this issue deserves any less attention. There is a time and place for that argument and I do not think it is here.

    • Thank you for the post Elizabeth; although I am confused. I agree every argument has a time and a place; were you referring to my post or just in general. I will await a reply. I so want to stress the importance of your reply where you stated the effects that your situation left you with; and want to say that you are definitely correct in labeling how this makes a woman feel. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

  280. First of all let me state that I am not a politically correct individual. I shoot straight from the hip, so those of you who are feminist or guys sporting a man-gina will not like what I’m about to say. You’ve been warned.
    Now that my little disclaimer is out of the way, I’m glad Mr. Ali stated that he’s not a psychologist (obviously) because he doesn’t have the slightest clue what the hell he’s talking about. I suspect that he came across some hot chick that he wanted to impress which prompted him to write this little piece in hopes that it would get him, “a little piece.” But I digress.
    As for those of you who think this article is good, I can only say that you are entitled to your opinion, no matter how convoluted it is. This article is bullsh*t. It’s a half truth that is often used as a form of manipulation (by feminists). You see, although, “gas lighting” is very real, the fact that it’s a tool being used by men to manipulate women is bullsh*t. Not to say that men are not capable of the act, however it’s not a man’s first choice in abusive acts. Everyone knows that psychological warfare is a tool more often used by the fairer sex.
    In arguments it is usually the male who attempts to find a logical solution to the issue. More often than not it is the female who chooses to deflect, project, and assume the, “victim role.” All forms of manipulation. Now granted there are a huge number of injustices that are perpetrated against females every year. However statistics show that the number of females being mistreated or abused is no greater than the number males being abused in our society. In fact in some cases the number of male abuse is greater.
    So why am I saying this? Why is this article BS? I’m saying this because even though men are abused and manipulated just as much as women (if not more); the amount of programs and help set up for men is almost non-existent. The reason why this article is BS is because; with all the programs, support groups, and charities set up solely for women, (which is very sexist by the way) why do we need to beat another d*mn drum for women (perpetual victims)? With 4 Billion dollars in government grant money going solely to the feminist movement every year, why do we need another book, article, rally, or speech for women?
    I dare any of you to try to find support groups for abused men. Try to find books dedicated solely to the development of young boys in their journey to manhood. Try to find shelters for abused men. Try to find anything that targets helping men that isn’t in reference to how he should be treating a woman. If you want to make, “A Good Man” Mr. Ali… Try being one first.
    Men and women lie, but numbers don’t. Here are the facts:
    Men are the real victims
    • 99.999% of American combat deaths and casualties (historically) – we die for everyone’s freedoms
    • Men are 94% of industrial deaths and accident (NIOSH)- we die to provide for our families
    • Men are 76% of homicide victims – DOJ – We are killed (often by our significant other) more
    • Men are 80% of Suicide victims – CDC – Gee, I wonder why?
    • 300,000 male rapes per year in American prisons and jails only. 200,000 female rapes a year in total.
    • 2.1% of men reported forced vaginal sex compared to 1.6% of women in a relationship in the previous year
    • 94% of sexually abused youth in correctional facilities reported being abused by female staff. From: Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2008-09.
    • 50% of homeless youth reported being sexually abused by a female. From: It’s Not What You Think: Sexually Exploited Youth in British Columbia.

    Incentive for Divorce (A wife’s lottery ticket)

    • Women receive custody in about 84% of child custody cases.
    • In the spring of 2002, an estimated 13.4 million parents had custody of 21.5 million children under 21 years of age whose other parent lived somewhere else. About 5 of every 6 custodial parents were mothers (84.4 percent) and 1in 6 were fathers (15.6 percent), proportions statistically unchanged since 1994
    • According to Los Angeles divorce consultant Jayne Major:
    “Divorced men are often devastated by the loss of their children. It’s a little known fact that in the United States men initiate only a small number of the divorces involving children. Most of the men I deal with never saw their divorces coming, and they are often treated very unfairly by the family courts.’”

    The impact of single moms (When women run the household)

    • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
    • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
    • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
    • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
    • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
    • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average. (Rainbows for All God’s Children)
    • 70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
    • 85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)

    The economic disadvantage of women myth

    • Women make 88 percent of all U.S. retail purchases. Some experts even predict that, by 2020, women will control most of the money in America.
    • Women control 88 percent of all purchases.
    • Women handle 75 percent of family finances. 43 percent of those with assets over $500,000 are women.
    • Women influence two out of every three of the 3 trillion dollars spent in the U.S. each year!
    • Women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men.
    • One out of every 11 American women owns her own business.
    • Currently there are over 10.6 million women-owned businesses employing 19.1 million people and generating $2.5 trillion in sales.
    • Women make or influence over 85% of all purchasing decisions.
    • In 2010, women have the majority of wealth in America

    In conclusion, here’s the dirty little secret that most Men are scared to state out of fear that they will be castrated by the feminist movement; “Due to the feminist movement and our societies belief in the perpetual female victim, most women have taken full advantage of this situation. For the most part a large number of the female population are crazy, delusional, manipulative, and psychotic. This is a problem that is affecting the very fabric of our society and until we stop lying to ourselves by placing the blame on the entire male population, it will never get solved. I’m sorry ladies; you can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s time for all of you guilty of these things to grow the f*ck up and take some responsibility for your bullsh*t and stop using men as your scapegoats. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we’re done taking the blame for everything that’s wrong with the world. We finally have started to see through your bullsh*t for what it really is, because just like this article, your whole entire feminist movement is a, “gas lighting” project on a mass level that’s gonna blow up in your face. You and you alone are the reason for these high divorce and low marriage rates. You’ve gotten to the point where it’s impossible to live with you.”

    WAKE UP! IF EVERYONE’S TELLING YOU YOU’RE CRAZY, IT’S NOT EVERYONE ELSE… IT’S YOU.

    • I’m delighted that you were able to use the word, “man-gina” in your first paragraph so as to spare any sensible persons from reading it. Perhaps your wit would be better appreciated on 4chan.

      • Jessica says:

        I couldn’t have said it better myself. I didn’t bother to read it, so I can’t comment on it’s relevance, however it is very clearly a hateful response and I’m glad I didn’t waste my time.

    • Educated Individual says:

      You perhaps, sir, do have a college degree in psychology? Judging by your rather defensive retort and your loosely related statistical arguments I’m going to say that if anyone did grant you a college degree, it certainly wasn’t in psychology or any other scientific field.

      Men being involved in military action, which often strongly correlates to suicidal behavior, and being prone to experience violence first hand due to a myriad of social issues does cause more death, but the idealistic claims you call out of freedom fighting and defending families, thereby dying are in many ways far fetched, and do not do justice either to the men those statistics represent, or the scientific process you are claiming to represent in your “shot-from-the-hip” diatribe.

      Abuse of male youth is also a serious issue in our society, but not the area that Mr. Ali is addressing with this particular article. As an individual with a bachelor’s degree who works with young men in similar situations, I understand your concern. Perhaps read and comment on articles addressing that difficult issue, and if someone has abused you in such away, I am truly sorry, and I hope you can find the strength to seek professional help and healing. This kind of trolling you engage in will not bring you what you are seeking.

    • sandra cecconello says:

      I spent my entire life defending my abuser. I learned from him why he was abusive. I learned from him the patterns. I learned from him what set him off and when it set him off. After over 45 years of “studying” our situation; I have lost a 27 year old daughter as a result of abuse; I now have a 30+ year old daughter that suffered abuse; her husband is yelling he is the one abused meantime and I say this loudly because if this is not abuse I do not know what is–he lives with a married women and abuses her husband; she has 5 other children to different men; not her husband and she has denied me and my daughter access to the children–I could fight for grandparents rights but my daughter left the children with me while she worked and he spent time with this computer affair that turned into a nightmare. I am sure you are aware that there are three sides to every story–his side, her side and the truth but as a grandma; guess what I get the privilege of speaking the truth….oh I did forget to mention that he threatened not only her but the two children with a “302”—come on now; as I said there is so much more to this but the framework has been set in motion for some understanding about “gas-lighting”. Trust me I do not know how to help her this woman involved has threatened me and every time we go to the cops they tell us we are threatening her….trust me at least with honesty I can state I am not; I did have a problem with Facebook communication for a bit but it got very nasty on her part and I realized I was being immature so have ceased and desisted any communication even with my grandchildren. By the way my son in law defends his mistress; something he never did for my daughter even when she lost her sister. Professional counseling is not the answer I am sorry to say; if someone is being gas-lighted we need to have the police have a more thorough understanding of what gas-lighting is and signs to recognize the existence of it. No I am not a professional by academic standards; meaning I do not have my degree but I am a Psych Major and have over 100+ credits; as well as life experiences to support my comment. I do realize they are not acceptable to all for that I apologize but emotional and verbal abuse is my focus.

    • @Valdez

      It seems like you are making an argument that is outside the scope of this article. While it is beyond my knowledge to comment on the relevance or the reality of the statistics you present, it seems you are concerned with the manner in which societal institutions deal with social issues. I don’t want to discount any of the issues you presented such as prison rape or work related deaths.

      However, is promoting a healthier interpersonal communication style based upon mutual understanding in good faith incompatible with addressing the issues you presented? Why can’t we fix both?

      • @Nathan

        Interesting point. And I can agree that we do need to fix both. However the problem is, just like what is presented in this article, all we ever do is address the issues of women. We never address the issues that men face which is why this problem hasn’t went away. Men are currently in the same position women were in before feminism.

        Well, you might say no, because men can vote and have equal rights. Take a look at family court statistics and you find out real fast that we actually don’t have equal rights and even if we do vote it doesn’t matter because politicians and law makers always bend to the will of the feminist agenda even if it’s a sexist agenda.

        Now you may not think that what I have to say is relevant to this article, but I think it’s very relevant when someone writes an article that perpetuates the myth that females are still the largest victims in our society by a patriarchy that no longer exists.

        Female programs are the recipient of over 4 billion dollars in government funding every year. These aren’t my number. Every statistic I posted can be found. There are more programs and organizations for women than any man ever had.

        And despite what this guy thinks, women are crazy. Women’s behavior has been accepted as some type of right based on fictitious oppression. Women have the highest percentage of domestic violence but the lowest percentage of convictions. Every year we hear a case about some mother murdering her kids only to receive a slap on the wrist. Women mutilate men on a regular basis and people get on national television and laugh about it.

        Everyone on this site can call me crazy, misogynistic, and whatever but the fact remains we’re pointing the finger at the wrong gender. At some point women are going to have to start being held accountable for their actions, just like men.

        • Valdez, I don’t think you and the OP have contrasting opinions, necessarily.
          there’s awful ppl in both genders.

          my Uncle got totally screwed by his ex wife. messed up the kids pretty bad.
          And yet, there are however many bajillion women running around w/ deadbeat babydaddys. the number of guys that just checkout or fail to support their kids is crazy.

          The military thing is interesting, I wrote a paper once about that in college, lol, about how we chicks had a good scam going- no working and no fighting in wars… I was given a raised eyebrow and a ‘B’. my prof was awesome 🙂

          sigh, I wish everyone could flip-flop genders for a year, just to see what it’s like. I have 2 brothers that I love dearly, and I have experienced their heartaches with them. but I’ve had my own heartaches, and I’ve been called crazy a couple of times, and it hurt really bad. how crazy that I want to love you! how crazy that I have a libido and get curious about why you didn’t ever call me back? that’s when I get called crazy, when a guy gets turned off bcz I was too vulnerable.

          now that I’m a little bit older, I realize both genders need a good chase. and when the time is right, you find somebody you don’t have to chase as hard, it just clicks.

        • I don’t think you’re crazy. There may be more to discern as far as the causation of some of the social issues go, but to some extent I believe you and the author are both right and both wrong.
          Telling someone they’re overreacting doesn’t make you a “gas-lighter.” And as you and others, including the author have pointed out, there is a need for change to still continue. When the author says that an emotional burden is placed on women, he’s only half right- men have a burden too, and that’s to not be burdened. To be emotionally void unless it’s about something traditionally macho. Both sides of an inequality coin are where the patriarchy of old and the matriarchy of the new are failing all of us. Equal consideration do both sides (all) is what creates equality. Legislating women’s bodies (abortion laws, anti-woman) and making legislation that presupposes custody (wedlock, anti-men) are ugly beasts birthed from the same family.
          Many of your statistics, though I even agree with some, are being taken out of context. Again it’s usually the causality of the issues that society and those studying it have still been unable to determine. Men make more in average than women. They also have more instances of paying, and paying more, when it comes to child support. There is a strong correlation here, but strong correlations do not prove causation. It’s chicken and egg and sadly, no study will ever seem to adequately explain if one is the cause of the other, or just similar in impact.
          Saying the feminist movement has too much steam, or should be reared back, gives us as men no room to stand for the very issues you brought up.

    • grammasandie says:

      There are in fact now; places set up for abused men. Contact the Domestic Violence Center and inquire if your area has one yet. This is a new concept that finally is not being ignored.

      • grammasandie says:

        I prefer to go by grammasandie; rather than Sandra Cecconello; for through all my abuse the main thing I found to dedicate myself to was that Cecconello was his name and not who I am. I am Sandra Lee; I choose not to even use my maiden name because it belongs to my father. Now I choose grammasandie because “I made it” to gramma status which means there is a lot of living, experience, and life behind my years. It may not be as glamorous, or prestigious or even as accomplished as most but none the less a life not wasted. I stand by my communication and leave it for you to interpret or misunderstand any way you choose as long as it does not result in violence but simple give and take communication. That way at least one of us will continue to grow.

    • grammasandie says:

      Please credit your statistics with their appropriate sources.

    • TL; DR

    • Dude, I don’t know who she was, but she clearly left you with issues. But, those are YOUR issues. Recognize and deal with yourself. Stop blaming all the females for whatever it is that one of them did to you.

      • not for nothing, isn’t this author just blaming men for “gas-lighting” women because those women have issues, and those are THEIR issues that they need to deal with?

        And stop blaming all the males for whatever it is that one of them did to you?

    • Oh, gosh. Thanks for the “warning” that you’re un-PC and totally edgy. Do you realize when you brag about not being PC you’re just bragging about being an asshole? That’s not a trait to be proud of.

    • Deliaaaaaa says:

      Someone got dumped.

    • This fella sounds like every abusive man I’ve ever heard. I’ll bet his wife divorced him b/c of it and took the kids for their safety. Here’s a stat for you, Valdez:

      A total of 1,687 people were killed by intimate partners in 2000. Of those, 1,247 were women and 440 were men. In recent years an intimate killed about 33% of female murder victims and about 4% of male murder victims. Between 1993 and 2000 the proportion of all male murder victims killed by an intimate was relatively stable while the proportion of female murder victims killed by an intimate increased slightly.

      (Intimate Partner Violence, 1993 – 2001. Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, February 2003, NCJ 197838) http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php?factsec=8

      • John Schtoll says:

        @Cathed: You just made a classic mistake (or perhaps it wasn’t a mistake) when dealing with DV and IPV, you used percentages without pointing out the (at least) 2 factors that are missing from your stats

        1) Men are murdered at much higher rates in NON IPV Murders which means that even if the same number of men were murdered by an IP, the percentage would be lower

        2) The definition of IPV murder is different across states, A person who contracts someone else to kill an IP would not fit the definition of IP murder.

    • Wow, you are obviously bitter and twisted about life. Go to university. Even women do it. How hard it be, right? 😉

    • I’ll never understand how a commentary on our society can somehow lead someone to think they are being personally insulted. This was not an article that said men are horrible people. It was an article about a problem in our society, our culture.

    • “2.1% of men reported forced vaginal sex compared to 1.6% of women in a relationship in the previous year”

      Men don’t have vaginas? Am I the only one who caught this? Guess so.

      • Don’t you think it means that 2.1 were reporting being forced to penetrate? Envelopment?

        • Julie, for some reason I feel, that you are biased against women, because when I as a woman, come on the blog and write comments about men, you all jump all over me, but now you are as quiet as a mouse after all the venom against women he put out!! What’s the deal??

          • Wow, I’ve actually been out of pocket and “off duty” as a moderator the last week. I don’t read every comment every day. I have no idea what you are talking about. But considering I”m producing a festival for and about female comedians this week, and am a feminist who happens to be exploring what it means to look towards equity, thanks for assuming negative things about me.

    • ” For the most part a large number of the female population are crazy, delusional, manipulative, and psychotic.” Dude… way to prove the point the article is making….

    • As I women I really don’t see this as a problem for all womankind . Are there abusive men who stoop to mental manipulation to gain power over their victim, of course. Mr. Ali makes it sound as if every American woman is a “victim” , and I flatly refuse claim the victim moniker.

      In fact I find Mr. Ali’s world view as offensive, as if women require kid gloves ;not because we’re “crazy” but because we are women and women need to be treated with more “respect” . I don’t want your extra respect I want your equal treatment . Am I gonna be able to open every can , lift every box or perform other physical feats a man is better suited to ? No, but that doesn’t make me weaker it makes me different but not SO different I need to be dealt with in a way that is emotionally different than another man. In fact I think women need to drop the damsel routine and learn to hold their own , not depending on the Mr. Alis of the world and their kid glove treatment.

    • Oh Valdez…posting ‘statistics’ that fit your irrational ideologies is akin to religious extremists who focus merely on the parts of the bible (for example) that they agree with…the rest doesn’t exist to them. Learn how to conduct authentic research and then start trying to converse with the rest of us logical people.

    • Wow!

      A long time ago I read “refusing to be a man” by John Stoltenberg. It informed me just how bad I was as a man. It was my “feminist” phase, and let’s just say it fucked me up.

      I’ve often pondered on why it is that the majority of prisoners are male. The whole world over, men outnumber women in prisons. It’s kinda drummed into us that it’s because men are bad, and women are good. Men do bad stuff, and so they end up in prison and luckily, women being the delicate victims that they are, manage to be rescued from this one awful indignity and injustice.

      And yet at the same time those same women will very often be in uproar that some higher percentage still are black males, as if the fact that one is black somehow makes for a victim rather than a white male will presumably be as guilty as hell.

      But then it occurred to me that it just might be ridiculous to think that women are incapable of evil, and it just might possibly be so that women are just better at not getting caught, or even blamed for the wrong that they do.

      I certainly think that there are evil men. What I do believe, though, is that a vast proportion of evil women never even get recognised as so, let alone punished.

    • Gotta say, Valdez, I’d like to keep in touch with you. Would love to continue these ideas.

  281. Bilbo bagins says:

    Women aren’t crazy society makes them that way lol you’re so funny. Are you gay? Is you’re boy friend mean to you making you feel crazy with the things he says? Or is it you’re biological make up? When you attend your feminine activist groups do they tell you what to say? Or did you feminine boy friend wisper this in you’re ear. Ok sorry had to say it im a mean man lol. Jkwo should of wrote you’re blog well done bro couldn’t agree more with that dude. Ok yasher explain my story to me please and why women aren’t crazy please my mum is the only women that i know that’s sane!!!! And she would put you in you’re place to. I respect women and always have. Ok hears my story i was 20 got married ya i know i was young but whatever so i married my ex wife mistake she was crazy like all women. Introduce me to a sane women and i’ll pull rambows and unicorns out of my ass!!!!!!!! So i married her treated her good great actully. I. was there for her emotional needs and worked cleaned every thing you know what she dose ahe cheats on me divorces me takes every thing. And guess what she dose realizes she was wrong a. nd trys to come back. Like most women out there insane. So tell me the logic of that please ok after that got with another girl treated her like a queen never disrespected her or made crazy comments shur as shit she did the same thing even her dad was in shock told me i was the best man she’d had in her life. Thats 2 women there not to mention all the others. Most older women will agree that womens morel and mentel well being have decreased sence women activities have started all this. Dont get me wrong treat women right and with respect with out judgment or degrading remarks. But seriously women are crazy cuz they are biological it’s. In there dna and not cuz of men. Are you religous there a our rib and god is a man or we would all have boobs. Duh i hate women activest and black activest fuck the world is pretty fucking even now people and gay activist are the worst ugh gross. Should you be abel to cross dress at you’re job you’d probly say yes to that to. To sum this up my thought are women are crazy cuz they want to be!! Don’t hit a women ever or diss on crazy chicks cuz there crazy. Peace out my beautiful people much love 🙂

  282. Brujakitty says:

    Those who say it isn’t happening, aren’t paying attention and are likely perpetuating the problem; they’ve been conditioned so long to stifle their own emotions they can’t even recognize when they do it to someone else. This is true for men and women.

    Women do it to women, men do it to women. The tolerance for real display of emotion in our society can be exceedingly low. I can’t count how many times I felt like crying that I “sucked it up” and carried on. I can’t count how many times I was given tissues as a child and told to stop crying: by both parents. It took me years to unlearn that crappy conditioning so that I could say to male coworkers “No, I won’t do your job for you,” instead of just being upset, saying nothing, and letting them heap their work on me.

    One of the absolute most powerful things we can do in this life is learn to express our emotions authentically and to allow other people to have their own emotions; unlearning the desire to stifle our own and another person’s process. If your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/partner/child is upset, let them be upset. If you’re upset, BE upset, don’t stifle how you feel to make -other people- comfortable. Don’t try to stop another person’s emotional release because it makes -you- uncomfortable. Someone expressing emotions in present moment will not kill anyone, but someone bottling them up for a long time… might.

  283. B!TCHES AINT SH!T BUT HOES AND TRICKS says:

    look, women are crazy sometimes… men do not manipulate you into thinking that you are crazy… we say you are acting crazy because thats what we literally think… there is nothing manipulative about that, it is just like the women saying your behaviour is inconsiderate… like the woman saying that isn’t trying to manipulate you into thinking your inconsiderate… she’s just telling you that is what she literally thinks

  284. Great article, thank you so much for writing it. It’s really true that this is something women get a lot. I used to get in fights with my husband where he would be really snide and nasty to me, talking down to me, treating me like I was stupid, then when I got mad he’d tell me I was too sensitive, he didn’t know what I was talking about, that wasn’t how he meant it. He’d get mad at ME for objecting, so I had to defend myself. And even though it was clear as day, his response was enough to make me worry that I was just being over-sensitive.

    Then one day I walked away realizing that in a harmless conversation about some academic topic, he’d just literally screamed the same sentence, at the top of his lungs, into my ear, every time I tried to say a word, over and over again, so that I couldn’t speak. So eventually I gave up and walked away, and he never seemed to think he’d done anything wrong. And I realized that the only “crazy” thing I’d done was in ever worrying that maybe his disrespect for me was all just in my head!

  285. I think you are all overreacting. Women are physiologically more prone to emotional responses. Where the heck do you think pms comes from? Its like people of certain ethnicity finding things offensive when they are not. For instance, I have a non-white friend with children in spanish class. When the kids were practicing their colors she freaked out because they shouldn’t say negro. An overly emotional reaction to something if I ever heard one.

    #Idiots

  286. carla theriault says:

    The U.S. like many other countries, is sexist, and racist. it’s the truth, women are viewed as weaker, irrational, and they are conditioned to be that way. They are paid less, and put through the wringer. Being a woman in the military who works her butt off and never used my sexuality to get what I want, I have seen this first hand. While yes, women and men both “gaslight,” the subject here is how men use gaslighting to play down a womans rational thoughts and feelings.
    yes women can be irrational, but so can men. men and women have temper tantrums. when a woman does it she is called crazy. when a man does it, he get’s catered to because women are natural caretakers. I imagine if a guy throws a fit and his significant other tells him to stop overreacting he will get even angrier and more adamant about his feelings. the woman, because she is conditioned to “not overreact” will concede to her mate’s demands.
    I’ll tell you a little secret, stand your ground if you feel that adamant. if he downplays you and does not have consideration for your feelings, then leave him. A good man, will have some consideration. I suspect that the writer was saying women allow themselves to be sold short and not to let that happen by some cowardly, inconsiderate, hollow kind of man due to the very visible conditioning of society. Yay for good men! Yay!

  287. The only this article is missing is that, often, women are the worst gas-lighting offenders towards other women. This is because we know of effective and how much of an impact a statement like “You are just being dramatic” or “Wow, you are so sensitive” is, and how much it can hurt and make you doubt yourself. We know this because we have gone through it many, many, many, many times ourselves. Being sensitive is a good thing, it helps us read people, children, animals and situations better, and helps us make better decisions. The next time someone calls me sensitive I am simply going to reply, “Thank you, that is a compliment.” Women will have to set the stage, we will need to stop calling ourselves crazy and stop gas-lighting each other and soon men will follow the trend.

  288. The only thing left out of this article is that, often, women are the worst gas-lighting offenders to other women. This is because we know how much of an impact a statement like, “You are just being dramatic” or “Wow, you are so sensitive” and much it can hurt–because we have experienced it ourselves, many, many, many, many times. Women need to step up and stop defining ourselves as crazy and stop gas-lighting each other before men will take notice and follow the trend. Being “sensitive” is an amazing tool to have, it helps us read a person, the situation, children, animals, etc better. We are better in tune with our surroundings, which ultimately should help us make much better decisions. From now on, if someone calls me sensitive I will simply say. “Thank you, that is a compliment”

  289. Thank you! My own mother was a huge gaslighter, so was my father, so of course I married one and that has kept me single for 16 years after I unloaded him in a divorce. Tired of being diminished because I have feelings, I morphed into a being without feelings, at least not outwardly…and have tried not to repeat this error in raising my sons or my daughters. My sons are feminists, great communicators and they don’t engage in gaslighting. My daughters are confident and capable. Now…to change myself and swing my pendulum back toward the center.

  290. Geoffrey Wenzlau says:

    Great article. As a man, I have ABSOLUTELY said things like this to my (now ex) girlfriend. Almost word-for-word sometimes, and so this really struck a nerve. It is true that when gaslighting occurs, it is usually unintentional, but the effect, nevertheless, is the same. shot down, ignored… Whether or not people agree with what you say in this article, it is never a bad thing to question what our instincts are, because at this point in time, our instincts come not from nature, but from our parents and television, which are all products of other people.

  291. The man who wrote this lives in a cave and has not ever had to deal with females of the human species.

  292. This really touched a nerve in me…in a sort of painful but good way. I recognized myself in it and discovered a way to verbalize what I have been feeling. I am not sure how just yet, but I think I will be able to use this for my own healing and becoming a stronger and more authentic me. Thank you for this. You are an unusually gifted person (and esp. for a man) to be able to see so clearly. I hope others will learn from you. Blessings.

  293. Yashar Ali,
    So young man, sit back get comfortable
    and let’s talk about your father.

    Hmm, I see.

  294. I absolutely LOVED this article! Glad I stumbled on this site, it should be interesting exploring!

  295. thnk goodness, this article has been renamed.
    although, i preferred the ‘popular posts’ to be numerated, and the larger number (12/13 versus the current 7 posts)

  296. Esto Zeta Vir says:

    First, gas lighting occurs by both sexes, and shaming tactics for expression of facts or opinions are often viewed as more prevalent by females.

    Gas lighting is not telling someone that they are “over reacting”, or to “calm down”.. that’s ridiculous, you’re really reaching on this one! Are you now going to accuse law enforcement or medical staff of gas lighting when they encourage people to “Calm Down” or “Relax”? Come on..really? Deal with the pattern of abuse not some simplistic phrases that may be used in a larger and more complex pattern of deception. That gives an unrealistic explanation of what gas lighting actually is.

    Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. An example is the denial by an abuser to a victim that previous abusive incidents ever occurred. …

  297. Boring article with the same ole sht… women are perfect, and any fault on their part is because men make them do it.

    Somehow women aren’t manipulative, never throw tantrums, never get emotional, never act crazy, never go psycho, never lie, never have hormonal flunctions, and if they do any of that it is because men are just inconsiderate.

    Right. *yawn*

  298. It’s a shame so many people feel the need to react angrily against a such great article. Surely anything that encourages us to reassess our approach to other human beings in order to communicate better with one another is a good thing? It’s true that in relationships, when I have become upset by certain things a boyfriend has done, I have been told all those things – you’re overreacting, you’re oversensitive, you aren’t thinking rationally. I NEVER accept these comments as I’m not prepared to have my feelings disregarded or invalidated by such a simplistic argument, designed to shut me up and close the subject. It’s true that men and women do think differently – and some things that upset women don’t upset men, but that doesn’t absolve men from trying not to do those things – not if they are in a relationship where they genuinely care about the women and want it to last. A good relationship is built on compromise, and it is both sides’ responsibility to work out how to behave with one another so that neither feels resentful, frustrated or angry.

    • Leroy Joseph says:

      I have never heard the term before, but I have observed other men treat their spouses or GFs this way. It is awful to constantly put someone down and intentionally lower their self-esteem. This is nothing less than emotional and psychological abuse. It is certainly not a loving thing to do.

      I tell me wife I love her several times a day. I complement her on how good she looks, smells, or whatever. I try to be encouraging in everything she does and never criticize her or put her down. If she does something that annoys or bothers me, I try to find a loving and tactful way to deal with it. If she needs a shoulder to cry or or just a hug, I am there. I want to spend the rest of my life with this wonderful woman; I try to treat her like the most precious thing in the world because she is (to me).

      • empathologicalism says:

        Histrionics met with calming language is not a bad thing.

        You are a perfect white knight sir, she is lucky to have you.

      • empathologicalism says:

        Hush Hush sweet Charlotte is gas lighting

      • She is very lucky to have a husband like you!! So many of us suffer with men who are not tuned in. Many of us from the time we are little girls are told we are not good enough etc Keep up the good work…inform your men friends.

  299. A fair bit of gaslighting going on in the comments itself I see.

  300. This article largely disproves itself right from the beginning. Not that there’s no truth to it (guys are of course very often inconsiderate of girls’ feelings), but the part regarding the manipulation cracks me up because it’s so incredibly off base. Are you serious about this? The fact is that our culture becomes more feminormative, if you will, with every passing year (with the giant exception of the business world, addressed at the bottom). This is particularly true in terms of which views are acceptable for discourse in the public sphere.

    Flipping through the channels you see the sitcoms with the neanderthal “can’t do anything right” male at every corner. You see the main characters from family guy or american dad or king of queens or the idiots in the commercials who couldn’t sweep a floor or ask for directions if there was a gun to their head. And your argument here that it is we who need to shift over to the female POV in emotional disagreements, while framed as a minority view in your column, is anything but. With your presumptuous and heavy-handed essay, you’ve taken all circumstance out of the picture. If a guy tells a girl she’s overreacting, she can’t possibly be overreacting. It must be that he is being unreasonable and manipulative. It can’t be that we should meet in the middle, because clearly the woman is inherently more closely calibrated to the spot along the spectrum where genuine human emotion should lie.

    That’s not far off from the widely held feminist view that every single “stereotypically masculine” opinion or attribute that can be exhibited by a male is a learned behavior completely disconnected from the gender-neutral truths espoused by themselves and their self-affirming female peer groups. They tend to ignore the parts of their biology textbooks that describe differences in brain composition (such as percentage of white vs. grey matter in men vs women) and often won’t even admit to size/speed/strength differences, which really hints to how far they are off their rockers. Basically, women and men are exactly the same physiologically, and if I like football, heavy metal, or performance autombiles, it’s because I’ve been indoctrinated by the patriarchy, and if I were born in a neutral, healthy environment, I’d be drinking kombucha and dressed like an extra from “Portlandia” just like them. Please. Think about how infuriating that would be to the progressive crowd if the same sentiment was aimed at any other group.. that the things they tend to like and value are inherently “less natural” than the interests of others. Oh wait.. it has happened and continues to happen, and the outcry has been deafening.. right up until now. These are the kind of people who share your view.

    Women still need support while making their way up. They need to be protected against domestic violence, to be given fair wages for their work, and they should receive their fair share of opportunities for promotion, amongst many other things. It does them a great disservice when these reasonable goals are packaged with an ideology that’s founded on a vindictive attitude that seeks to extract feelings of guilt from all (not just actively oppressive) members of the perceived party in power (always males, usually white ones). That guilt (experienced vicariously by reasonable men on behalf of dirtbag men due to stereotyping by the anti-stereotype crowd) has been successfully imposed upon many of the writers on this site, and pervades through most of the columns I’ve read. The way to combat one double standard is not to institute a different one in the other direction. Relationships between people often require meeting in the middle and this is no different. Women are awesome, but so are men.

    • I think it’s important to remember that Yashar doesn’t suggest that the manipulation he describes is intentional. Most of it probably isn’t. So for example, a man, who is traditionally taught not to deal with emotions is confronted with someone who is emotional, and so he does what he can to shut it down. It’s not malicious, it’s both people trying to deal with a situation.

      Also, this article isn’t saying that masculine or feminine behavior is better. I too believe a lot of our behavior is learned, both masculine and feminine, but I try not to value one above the other. The point is that neither masculine or feminine behavior is inherent to being male or female.

      It is true that our culture devalues emotions, full stop. Men are taught to ignore them, and women are taught that if they express them they will be ridiculed for it. It’s also true that the majority of the times I have encountered this form of emotional gaslighting it has been from a man. However, women also do this to each other. It’s unfortunate, because it really does lead to qualifying every emotional response I express. I might know that my emotional response is valid, but I also know that it will likely be criticized.

    • what about the menz?

    • You’re mistaking an article about how women are affected by gender essentialism for an article about how the problem affects everyone. What you’re talking about with the “male=brute” norm in things like advertising is true, but that’s something that happens on top of how women are being told they should act, not instead of it. The fact that as men we are expected to be aggressive and detatched doesn’t make how women are treated any less real – just take this advert for example:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLUkpyTUi5M

      Who’s apparently NOT having a big day, because she’s a stay-at-home mum? In fact if you believed daytime advertising women can only possibly be fulfilled by a clean house and a well-fed baby. That doesn’t go away if you acknowledge that jokes are also made about men being incompetent in the home (which actually is also a reinforcer of gender binaries).

      The key thing in what you write is the idea that men should feel guilty the whole time, which isn’t what this article is about at all and is entirely the wrong way of looking at things. We all (me included) act unconsciously in ways which reinforce gender stereotypes because we have grown up in a society which takes these stereotypes for granted, not because we’re bad people. You only become a bad person if you stick your fingers in your ears when presented with the evidence.

    • I believe that this issue is completely taken out of context when applied to gender. “Gaslighting” is a personal issue – a thing that needs to be taken on an individual basis and not applied stereotypically. Men do it, women do it; intentionally or unintentionally – it is a form of gender neutral manipulation. Turning a human problem into a gendered problem is simply asking for a new stereotype.

  301. Monte Mitchell says:

    Leslie-
    What the hell are you commenting about? I tried to keep up with your comments but kept getting distracted or falling asleep. You are the kind of woman that makes me want to rip my arm off and beat myself to death with it. Call it gaslighting if you want.

  302. NoNameNecessary says:

    Holy cow, the comment thread was a better description of gaslighting (and invalidation-bullying) than the article itself! And the article was very well written, in my humble opinion. Which, of course, is valid if I’m a guy who people think is cool, and not valid if I’m a guy who’s “not cool enough”, or if I’m a female… Apparently the validity of a human being’s opinion is not based on experience, point of view, understanding, IQ, or practical knowledge, but only on whether other people think they’re cool or not.

  303. Not only was I gaslighted by my husband and others for a long period of time, they tricked me into believing our house was bugged. It stressed the heck out of me. Why are people so cruel?

  304. Sorry, but the truth is that (to men) women are crazy. Maybe men seem equally crazy to women. I don’t know. However, I do not understand women – even women I love like my mom, my sisters, and my wife. maybe crazy is a strong word, but most women:

    1. Are sensitive.

    2. Are emotional.

    3. Are defensive.

    4. Overreact.

    5. Freak out.

    I don’t know how other women perceive that, but to men that is nuts.

  305. Anyways, well, i am a feminist in my own terms. Feminism is not defined as What Is by the believers who have different interpretations, but by its core tenets. It is like defining Communism by Stalin.
    I’m glad you do that.

    Personally, i no way deny male oppression or female privilege. And neither do all the feminists i know.
    Thank goodness. Because while you and that feminists that don’t deny those things exist, there are plenty who do. I wouldn’t call it a universal truth among feminists but the denial of female privilege is widely accepted enough that its on FinallyFeminism101. And the denial of male oppression (or at least acknowledging it under the condition that it is immediately mentioned that “they do it to themselves” in an effort to absolve women of responsibility for their part in the system) is quite common as well.

    Though if you talk to some of them about female privilege, they’ll probably roll eyes at you, because they are talking about something different, and you are making it about something else. Like when someone is talking about female rape, and someone interrupt and says “well females rape men too” (and as in the US, 1 in 6 women get raped and 1 in 33 men – something else entirely is going on with women that is not happening the way it is to men). Women have always often been relegated to a paragraph, and when they want to speak about their rights, other people shoot them down, and i think that’s why lots of feminists may be defensive – as i said, though i shouldn’t make excuses, these may be some reasons why.
    Yes those are SOME reasons why as you say. But as can be seen in the recent “I have female privilege” post here there is quite a bit of denial of female privilege.

    And if one has a conversation with a feminist and say “what about your female privilege?” what do you think this is doing?
    Probabaly about the same ting that happens when a feminist has a conversation with a man and said feminist says, “what about your male privilege?”. But for some reason one is considered insight, “calling out”, “striking a nerve”, etc… and the other is considered whining and denial.

    It is no conversation at all when woman speaks about male privilege and men say “what about men” and so when will it ever be about women?
    True. But by the same token that says men should not avoid coming to terms with male privilege shouldn’t the same hold true about women? Sure that means that conversations shouldn’t be dreailed but at the same time I think that derailing happens for the express reason that there are feminists that actively deny female privilege, thus prompting people to want to throw it in their faces at every chance, even when the chance isn’t fair.

    The longer woman is kept in stasis, so are rigid roles of masculinity for men to be pressured into. Maybe we should take oaths of recognition of privilege before conversation first? Hm.
    Sure as long as everyone is taking the oaths and not hypocritically demanding that they are the only ones that should have to take said oaths.

    I see. I am sorry that you have encountered unsavory feminists. To be honest, there is no negativity in feminism for me. Feminism is ideology; it is not the radicals, it is not me, even. It is the core of its ideology -which is equality. It is like you have gone fishing in the ocean, but have caught foul fish all the time -but that does not capture the ocean, does it? Anyways, it’s okay, I am not looking for favor.
    Fair enough. Not only do I have issue with the negativity itself but I also have issue with the way that even those who are not a part of the negativity themselves are quick to dismiss it and pretend its not there. And while that doesn’t mean the entire ocean is bad again its like that person that caught nothing but bad fish being told that the reason they don’t like that ocean is because they are being naive and have never actually fished it before….despite the fact that they have a history of bad fish from that very ocean that says otherwise.

    “Which do you think came first. The stereotyping of black men as violent criminals (or criminals in general) or the prison industry in the US?”
    I am sure slavery by white colonial powers came first &etc.

    Slavery that came after white colonail powers visited those locations and wrote the men off as savages and the women as displays of biological curiosity (even to the point where some were literally displayed like living museum pieces). In fact part of the rationale behind slavery was that they were “taming the savages”.

    Thanks for understanding that. Well, it is not acceptable damage, but really, it does seem like a lot of the pressures men put on themselves comes from the obsession of binary genders! Well, sometimes the truth hurts.
    Yeah I’ll agree that men do put those pressures on themselves, as well as the fat that women are putting those pressures on them as well.

    Though yeh, it is not acceptable that there be injury (though i don’t know any feminists who says it is???) Woman are trying to reverse damage done to them, it is the fact that the improvement of their welfare is in their best interests.
    Actually I shouldn’t have said aceeptable damage. Its not that they find it acceptable, but more like they think its actually not as important as the damage that’s done to women.

    At the same time they have taken a lot of damage from being women in man’s quest for masculinity, we must ask ourselves then: is it so unfair for men to bear with it as they seek progress which will ultimately benefit both? Though, yes, it should not be acceptable in ways that no hurt is, but it is. Ultimately, we must also be active and work in co-operation. Don’t we have a role to bear it? Since, don’t men hold much responsibility for the status quo? Anyways, most importantly: it is definitely not the case all the damage men undergo are from undermining women, so i don’t know about others who say so.
    Yes I’ll agree that men must to their part. But again let us not act like women have played no role in the damage that’s done to men. And I don’t recall saying that all the damage men take is caused by women.

    I would be wary; nonetheless, it is ultimately what does the tree mean to me? Not the rotten apples with worms. I will still cherish the tree and tend to it.
    What does the tree mean to me? It means that while that tree has produced bad fruit and I’ll likely never eat from it again I can still respect the existence of the tree and be fair to the people that do eat from it. So by all means cherish the tree and tend to it and eat from it as you wish. I won’t bother you. Well actually from time to time I’ll come visit and might even help you tend it a bit (analgous to my previous mention that I do agree with a lot of the ideas of feminism).

    Well it seems you have a lot of feminist frustration. But what will telling me do?
    To address the your belief that the reason a person gets frustrated with feminists/feminism is because of naivete, ignorance, or prejudicial hatred.
    You give me all these examples of what other feminists say: what am i supposed to do?
    Its not that you are supposed to do anything. Its that I hope you can see that there are plenty more reasons that someone could have to be frustrated with feminists/feminism other than what you mentioned.

    As you see the difference between feminists, there is no use telling me what you find wrong with feminists as it is not wrong in me. And you are talking to me. What you hold towards feminism seems to be mainly this: feminists. As opposed to Feminism itself.
    Ah but the kicker to that is a movement is influenced by the people who take part in it. In fact that’s the same measurement feminists use when talking about MRAs. A lot of them say that they don’t want anything to do with that movement because of how some of it members act don’t they? There are feminists that even go as far as to say that they agree with a lot of what MRAs are saying but don’t want anything to do with the negativity of its members. (Mind you a lot of feminists will then take the negativity of its members and then try to define the entire movement by it, something that they don’t take kindly to when it done to them.) Based on your line of logic why don’t they just go find some fair minded MRAs and see them as “an example of the men’s movement”? (Of course I don’t expect you answer that if those aren’t your feelings about MRAs.)
    Why should feminists get to have a differentiation between “the movement” and “its members” when they don’t extend that same courtesy to other members of other movements? I’m sure you do but again, you don’t represent the entire movement.

    And anyways; remember my argument which all this come from is:
    That this article is not is no illegitimate just because it solely focuses on women.

    True but not what I was talking to you about. You had an exchange with commentor “I don’t believe you” on that angle. Yeah early on I did have that feeling and even said so. But that was literally 3-4 months ago and I’ve managed to cool off and lean back a bit.

  306. Wow. Getting pretty seriously long here Leslie.
    I don’t know, you should do a survey. Yes gaslighting is! And it is tied intimately with masculinity! Masculinity which is defined by that which is not, a negation; if women went around doing school shootings, it would be “Girl’s gone wild!” not “what is wrong with our kids?”
    No it would be “what’s wrong with our girls” with people suddenly wanted to add gender to the mix when talking about school shootings.

    Because masculinity is negation against women, if you want to fight against male gaslighting then you must stand by women, as most of the language used against women, is that used to define what men should be.
    And I’ll do that as soon as long as women stop using that language. If most of it is used against women then it should be easy for them stop using it even against men right?

    You should also point your fingers at the media, at advertisement, too. They enforce the status quo in the minds of millions. Why did men originally pay for meals? Open doors? why were woman originally barred from higher education? &et cetera; that is to reinforce dependence of the woman, that the woman needed the man, in which the man presided over the woman. This is in the past. Yet still some of these etiquette exist. Is it woman’s fault who expect men to still do these? Men who feel like they have to? The fault of past patriarchy? They may be all responsible, but who can we hold accountable? (Should we even look there?)
    I’d be fine with holding them all accountable. But to me it seems like people want to pick and choose with the accountability. I think all three were getting some sort of benefit as well as two of them getting some sort of punishment. But some want to act like only two of them were getting some benefit and only one of them was getting punished.

    Most of the collective ideals men face; they have set up themselves (which makes me go out of my mind in frustration) -for example being stoic and self-denial -dates back all the way to ancient greece and what it meant to be a ‘real man’ -that is a man who goes to war and is able to abstain from his desires. And i think you will find this interesting: men who denied this and decided to chase skirts, and make them self attractive to women (make-up, perfume), were called effeminate. Effeminate for their over-indulgence of heterosexual desires and refusal to resist desire and go to war. The modern world, has turned this world over onto its head.
    Actually I don’t think its been turned on its head. If anything depending on where you are and who you are dealing with a “real man” could be considered one that is all about war and abstaining from desires and/or one that chased skirts. But what makes me go out of my mind is that when I’m trying to break down those collective ideals women are the biggest barriers, in my experience anyway. I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea that a “real man” is a man who is a man on his own terms? I happen to agree with that. And that idea seems to run common among even men who embrace stereotypical ideas of masculinity. That exact idea is preciesly why I’ve had a much easier time dealing with men who question my masculinity that women who do.

    Example: in past china, at a time many women bounded their feet, is it fair to say women themselves contributed to the collective ideal of beauty (which as legend goes, was something made desirable by a king)? It is not false that they didn’t contribute, but at the same time, it feels unfair to say they did. A precarious position, and i think that it is almost like that with women and reinforcing male ideals. Except, of course, i think in this case women carry more responsibility in the status quo.
    Actually I have no feelings of unfairness about saying they did as long as the entire story is told. And that’s my thing. People get selective about when they want to tell the entire story. Sure people will trip over themselves to talk about how those women did contribute yet it “wasn’t that simple” that same courtesy isn’t extended to men who sign up for military service because they had to support their families. No that just ends up as “wars happen because of men”.
    I’d be fine with neverminding the “who is more responsible” part of the arguemnt. Problem is people seem to want to try to render entire groups as having no role to play in it.

    It is bad for me to mention this: but at least some men’s worth aren’t discredited if they aren’t ‘beautiful’. Anyways anyways. I won’t go there again.
    Sure we can go there. On the other side of that coin is fact that men just aren’t discredited if they arne’t beautiful but being “beautiful” is actually held as a strike against men. Might as well say “at least some women’s worth aren’t being descredited if they aren’t lustful” (which is because being lustful is pretty much regarded as a strike against women).

    Hm, I think i made my gender clear in the beginning?
    I saw “Because we males always need the attention, too, don’t we?” earlier but I took that as quoting/paraphrasing men possibly so I wasn’t sure.

    • Yes, it is getting too long; and too off topic!

      Actually; no, because even with all these boys and school shootings, these headlines don’t go “What’s wrong with our males?” or “What is wrong with masculinity?” etc.,

      “And I’ll do that as soon as long as women stop using that language. If most of it is used against women then it should be easy for them stop using it even against men right?”

      Both parties should stop; but what is the route: to say; Hey, there is nothing wrong with being a woman, a woman should not be an insult or shame. So stop saying it like so to other men. Doubtlessly, woman need to be aware too. Socialization runs deep. But if men are role models for other men, then it should be them first who need to be very active in doing this too, no?

      Who is accountable for the status quo but everybody; though some