Gaslighting: All you need to know about Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Source: The post is based on the article “Gaslighting: All you need to know about Merriam-Webster’s word of the year” published in Indian Express on 5th December 2022

What is the News?

Merriam-Webster, America’s oldest dictionary publisher, has chosen “Gaslighting” as its Word of the Year.

What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting
Source: PESI

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Gaslighting as “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability and a dependency on the perpetrator”.

Gaslighting involves an imbalance of power between the abuser and the person they’re gaslighting. Abusers often exploit stereotypes or vulnerabilities related to gender, sexuality, race, nationality and/or class.

What is the origin of the word Gaslighting?

The term “Gaslighting” comes from the title of the 1938 play “Gas Light” by Patrick Hamilton, and the movie based on that play, the plot of which involves a man attempting to make his wife believe that she is going insane.

What is the impact of Gaslighting on mental health?

Gaslighting is an abusive practice that causes someone to distrust themselves or to believe they have a mental illness. The long-term effects of gaslighting may include anxiety, depression, trauma, and low self-esteem. 

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