Gas Lighting, the act of creating false doubts & thoughts in a persons mind so they believe the misperceptions. Classified as psychological abuse, it is at the heart of Parental Alienation Cases.


The term comes from a theatrical play called Gas Light by Patrick Hamilton.  It is about a husband who attempts to make his wife think she is crazy by inducing and creating false memories and ideas in her head.  The actual definition is a form of intimidation or psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt his or her own memory and perception. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting)  In other words, the victim is made to believe that someone or something is not what they think it is.  In the case of parent-child relationships, this could involve one parent deliberately destroying the positive memories of the other parent with the express purpose of severing all ties to the targeted parent.

Below is a list of feelings and thoughts that one might have who is being gaslighted into not having a relationship with the targeted other parent.  Your own personal experience may not involve all of these experiences or feelings, but if you recognize yourself in any of them, you may be a victim of psychological abuse and parental alienation from one of your parents.

  1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself.
  2. You ask yourself, "Am I too sensitive?" a dozen times a day.
  3. You often feel confused and even crazy at school, work, home, or around friends.
  4. You're always apologizing to your mother/father
  5. You wonder frequently if you are a "good enough" son/daughter.
  6. You can't understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren't happier.
  7. You buy clothes for yourself, furnishings for your apartment, or other personal purchases with your parent in mind, thinking about what he would like instead of what would make you feel great.
  8. You frequently make excuses for your parent’s behavior to friends and family.
  9. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses.

10. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.

11. You start lying to avoid the put-downs and reality twists.

12. You have trouble making simple decisions.

13. You think twice before bringing up certain seemingly innocent topics of conversation.

14. Before your parent comes home, you run through a checklist in your head to anticipate anything you might have done wrong that day.

15. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person - more confident, more fun loving, more relaxed.

16. You start speaking to your parent through another person so you don't have to tell him things you're afraid might upset him.

17. You feel as though you can't do anything right.

18. Your parent begins trying to protect you from your other parent based on things that don’t make sense or you do not remember or that you know are lies.

19. You find yourself furious with people you've always gotten along with before.

20. You feel hopeless and joyless.


Please do not despair if you think this is happening to you.  It just means you need to find someone else that you trust to talk to, who can help keep you from falling into this trap. It also means you will need to learn to be strong and stand up for yourself to not allow this to happen anymore.   Getting counseling help for this is probably the best way to deal with it. 

It is important to remember that you cannot change others, but you can change yourself and how you respond.  In turn, hopefully, the aggressive parent will see that what they are doing is NOT working and that it is time for them to let go and get their own counseling help to deal with their anger, hatred and rage toward your other parent.  Children deserve a relationship with both parents and should not have to take sides or choose one parent over the other.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

yaya October 29, 2012 at 01:51 AM
http://www.coachoutletonlineoe.com/ http://www.louisvuittonbeltspc.com/ http://www.coachoutletsstorebm.com/ http://www.guccibeltsmh.com/ http://www.coachouletbtf.com/ http://www.coachoutletuse.net/ http://www.coachoutletb1.com/ http://www.coachoutlethcs.com/ http://www.coachoutletonlinetpc.net/ http://www.coachfactorystorebg.org/ http://www.coachoutletonlineeu.net/ http://www.coachoutletonlinesm.net/ http://www.coachfactoryonlinemb.com/ http://www.coachfactoryoutletion.com/ http://www.hermesbeltsoutletns.net/ http://www.coachoutletmls.com/
ANGELA WOOLSEY November 12, 2012 at 04:35 PM
i have been reading the blog about parental alienation regarding the Mastrangelo triplets. It's very sad, indeed. However, is it at all surprising? Let's think about this for a moment. You have a women with 3, 7 year old children. Now, any REAL MOTHER, could not even entertain the work that would have to go into having an affair with a doctor or anyone else for that matter. Who would be catering to the needs of the triplets, while mommy was running a muck?? And now married to this Doctor, who, it was stated is a control freak and alienated his last paramours' children from their father! I feel it would be in the children's best interest to live with their biological dad. Because realistically, the marriage won't last and it will be a matter of time before mommy is out and about again with her fishing line. Kids need stability. If you live in the neighborhood, you can tell that it is sorely lacking.
Joan Kloth-Zanard November 12, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Angela: Thanks for responding and sadly, I do agree that once the doctor has had enough of the mother, he will toss her. There is also a strong possibility that he will even attempt to bribe the kids to stay with him so that he can still have control. Some of the things that I have heard from neighbors and outsiders is very disturbing but there is not much you or I can do. The mother needs to figure this out before it is too late for the kids. And yes, your solution is probably the best one for the kids but getting the courts to see that is a whole other problem. We all pray that either the mother finally wakes up or the courts do.
An Honest Observation June 13, 2013 at 01:02 AM
The courts are starting to wake up from their very long sleep because the parental alienation case of Jerry Mastrangelo and his triplets has brought national attention to this horrific form of child abuse. A kind, loving and devoted dad had been forced to sit back, spend thousands and thousands of dollars and hope that a deliberately severed relationship with his children (by their mother) would end. Without the help of the GAL, attorney for the children, the mother's attorney, the mother and the court system, Jerry was able to bring his story and that of so many more alienated parents to the foreground. People are more aware than ever of this hideous crime that manipulates the child's mind and ruins the relationship that once was a healthy one with the other parent. It is destructive and damaging but has gone unnoticed and untouched for to many years because of a deep sense of greed. Why should a good dad be deprived of having his children with him on another Father's Day? I can only think of a malicious and selfish mind that would want this for her child. A good parent should always want what truly is best for their child and having both parents in their lives is that answer. Let's pray for these disturbed individuals so that they may find inner peace for the pain they have caused and be willing to stop the emotional ruin they are bringing into their children's lives.
An Honest Observation September 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »