When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something have done or said?

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In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it’s usually because the perpetrator says things like, “You’re so stupid” or “No one will ever want you” to the victim.

This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer’s character in , where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman’s character into believing herself unhinged.

He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution.

Bergman’s husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, , starring Ingrid Bergman. Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy. I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. I think it’s time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation and we need to use a word not in our normal vocabulary. And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.