|Gotye and Kimbra|
Gaslighting may also occur at the hands of those who have a vested interest in protecting potential offenders, or protecting themselves from acknowledging a disturbing reality. For example, CNN recently reported that a number of women in the U.S. military were diagnosed with personality disorders and discharged when they came forward with allegations of sexual assault. Veterans advocate Anu Bhagwati told CNN, "It's extremely convenient to slap a false diagnosis on a young woman... and then just get rid of them so you don't have to deal with that problem in your unit." Unfortunately, this "blame the victim" mentality compounds the trauma of assault, making victims feel even more alone and ashamed. It is important to note that this problem is not specific to the military (nor is it the experience of every woman in the military)–it can happen in a range of contexts.
According to Robin Stern, author of The Gaslight Effect, tell-tale signs that you might be a victim of gaslighting include constantly second-guessing yourself, having trouble making decisions, frequently asking yourself, "Am I too sensitive?," and making excuses for a partner's behaviors to family of friends. If this sounds like you, it may be helpful to seek professional support. Gaslighting is powerful, and overcoming it is not easy to do alone.
Gass, G., & Nichols, W. (1988). Gaslighting: A marital syndrome Contemporary Family Therapy, 10 (1), 3-16 DOI: 10.1007/BF00922429