Just what do you mean by “gaslighting?”

Well, let’s explore some devious behaviors, shall we…..


Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. This form of abuse takes aim squarely at a individuals sense of self-confidence, whittling away at it until they are left questioning whether what they experience, think, and feel is real or some fantasy their mind has invented.

The goal is to confuse and disorient the victim so that the perpetrator can gain total control over them. The more seeds of doubt that can be sown in the victim’s mind, the easier it becomes to invoke doubt about memories or the very perception of reality.

Gaslighting degrades the victims ability and desire to challenge their abuser because each time they do, the goalposts are moved again and again in order to turn their arguments against them.

Eventually, the victim becomes so incapacitated by fear and doubt that they become easily manipulated into doing whatever the perpetrator wishes. They lose all their fight and become the metaphorical puppets of their abusive masters. Sound familiar yet?

Gaslighting is a tactic employed by the narcissist, cult leaders, dictators, and of course those who are Machiaevellian personalities.

Julia Kristina Counselling -M.A. Psych

The Machiavellian

One thing that we always have harped on in many of the articles on the Painful Truth is about the narcissist or psychopaths and how they manipulate others. But we are going to discuss narcissism in the context of Machiavellianism.

Machiavellians place money as a top priority over almost anything else. They see people as stepping stones – as a means to an end – and will gladly walk over them in order to get where they want to be.

For the Machiavellian, winning is the ultimate aim, and if this means trampling over others, then so be it. They only care about their own goals, but they are typically quite realistic about what these goals are.

They desire wealth and power over all else, and there is a detachment from what the normal person considers *“conventional morality.” This defect allows them to chase their lofty goals without remorse and free from conscience.

Machiavellians employ a different face for a different situations as a tool for getting what they want. They will use lies and deceit where necessary, while putting on a face of charm and friendliness.

Their manipulations can be subtle, and they are calculating and careful when it comes to their actions. Everything needs to be planned and executed with precision so as to maximize their chances of success.

They are distrustful of human goodness; they see it as weakness to be exploited.

Dr. Todd Grande

The Difference

While a narcissist acts impulsively and leans towards being more emotional, they are also quick to anger. The type of person everyone want’s to avoid. Now the Machiavellian is able to put some distance between their actions and their emotions. Of course it is entirely possible for these individual to share both narcissistic and Machiavellian attributes.

I just touched on these subjects and in doing so, hope to have made you more aware of these destructive personalities. Knowing the different types of personalities helps you the reader to recognize the ins and outs of those who are trying to exploit you.

* See Lawrence Kohlberg stages of morality.

Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)

1. Obedience and punishment orientation

(How can I avoid punishment?)
2. Self-interest orientation

(What’s in it for me?)
(Paying for a benefit)
Level 2 (Conventional)
3. Interpersonal accord and conformity

(Social norms)
(The good boy/girl attitude)
4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation

(Law and order morality)
Level 3 (Post-Conventional)
5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles

(Principled conscience)

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