I have been hearing the term gas lighting around kids in Utah recently and I thought this would be a good time to help clarify for those of us new to the term.

I thought it was like inflating someone else, you know, lighting them up, but that is not what they are talking about.

Photo by Martti Salmi on Unsplash
Photo by Martti Salmi on Unsplash
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The term "gaslighting" originates from the 1938 British play Gas Light. In the play, a husband manipulates his wife into doubting her sanity by subtly dimming the gas lights in their home when she is alone. His goal is to make her believe she cannot trust her own perceptions or memory.

So, when you hear your Utah kids say this, they are talking about a psychological manipulation tactic where one person distorts another's reality, often seen in friendships. It seems to be a growing trend in Utah possibly because Utah ranks high as a state for friendships.

Photo by Sweet Life on Unsplash
Photo by Sweet Life on Unsplash
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Common signs of gaslighting in friendships include:

Lying

Habitual lying, even in the face of contrary evidence, causes the victim to doubt their memory and perceptions.

Trivializing

Perceptions Dismissing or minimizing the victim's feelings and thoughts to devalue or discredit them.

Shifting Blame

Twisting situations to make the victim feel responsible for problems they didn't cause.

Projecting

Accusing the victim of behaviors the gaslighter is guilty of, leading to constant self-defense.

Withholding

Refusing to listen or understand the victim’s perspective, turning to accusations instead.

Photo by Some Tale on Unsplash
Photo by Some Tale on Unsplash
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Gaslighting in Utah is just another reminder to keep the communication lines open with your kids so that if they are feeling pressured, they have someone to support them.

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