Reverse gaslighting and Stockholm Syndrome

Gaslighting is when somebody controls a relationship by leading you to believe that you are always the problem. People begin to question their own sanity in such situations. The perpetrator does this by manipulating the victim’s perceptions. I talked more about it here:

Gaslighting children in “alternative” families

So there is gaslighting, and then there is reverse gaslighting.  I coined that phrase to describe when the victim is forced to participate in the lie over an extended period, thereby gaslighting himself. It is an extension of regular gaslighting and goes on for a long period of time. The adage, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes true,” comes to mind. The perpetrator has succeeded in embedding the lie into the victim to enough of a degree that the victim gives apparent assent to it. This assent fools those around him, and even himself. The victim finds evidence as to why the lie is true, rather than rejecting the lie.

Perhaps another way to describe this is Stockholm Syndrome. That’s when hostages feel trust towards their captors. During the last few years when I was in the cult, I occasionally wondered if I had Stockholm Syndrome.

 

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Author: everybodysdaughter

I'm an adult child of divorce, having been raised in multiple divorce/remarriage situations. I'm writing in order to shed light on the problems of divorce from the perspective of the child. I will also discuss problems with other non-triad family structures, since there is a lot of overlap. People often think that better parenting skills will overcome problems in non-triad arrangements. While I agree that parenting skills are important, they cannot overcome the problems I discuss such as fractured ontology and perpetual liminality. I converted to the Catholic faith in 2012, and will discuss Catholic things from time to time as well.

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