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“Gaslighting” is a term that describes the effort to make you question your very sanity by convincing you that your memories (and your very perception of reality) are somehow incorrect, inconsistent, or unreliable. It is a psychological tactic that is often used by narcissists in order to substitute your reality for their own, made popular by the 1944 film Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman.
In this episode, Dr. Keith and Corey take a careful look at the strategies and intended results of gaslighting — in our personal and professional relationships, as well as in media, marketing, politics, and society at-large. How can we can better inoculate ourselves from this pernicious form of psychological manipulation? Watch to find out!
Keith and Corey also take a look at some of the common patterns that gaslighting can take, including statements like:
“That never happened.”
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You have a terrible memory.”
“You’re crazy, and other people think so too.”
“I’m sorry you think I hurt you.”
“You should have known how I would react.”
Finally, they also go on to discuss how immoral or irresponsible spiritual teachers are in a unique position to gaslight their students — after all, spiritual practice is itself designed to get us to fundamentally question our relationship with reality, to doubt our perception of separateness and our most deeply-held attachments and beliefs, etc. Of course this sort of critical self-doubt can be tremendously healthy, both cognitively and spirituality. However, it can be used by unscrupulous teachers in order to deconstruct and then hijack our personal agency, taking advantage of the vulnerability of “ego death” in order to substitute our perceptions and assumptions with their own, in effort to remake us in their narcissistic self-image. All of which is to simply invite us to remain mindful of our boundaries, even and especially when engaging in practices to loosen or dissolve those boundaries.
Previous Episodes of Witt & Wisdom
Dr. Keith Witt and Corey DeVos
Codependent relationships — those relationships where one person needs another, and the other person needs to be needed — are surprisingly common in our lives, regardless of our overall stage of development. In fact, there is a good chance that you have dealt with codependent relationships in the past, or are maybe even struggling with one right now. This discussion will help you to transform those relationships into genuinely interdependent relationships that can transcend and include both healthy dependence and independence.
Dr. Keith Witt and Corey deVos
In this episode of Witt & Wisdom we take a careful look at these narcissistic tendencies and how they express themselves in all four quadrants, and at every major stage of development. We hope that this discussion will help you identify whatever narcissistic traits you may be carrying with you, and to consciously wield your positive self-esteem without being seduced by our own self-importance.
Ken Wilber discusses the many kinds of self, the nature of identity and enlightenment, and the spectrum of deceit that keeps us from knowing who we really are.
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About Keith Witt
Dr. Keith Witt is a Licensed Psychologist, teacher, and author who has lived and worked in Santa Barbara, CA. for over forty years. Dr. Witt is also the founder of The School of Love.
About Corey deVos
Corey W. deVos is editor and producer of Integral Life. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.