Forums Home

Lived Experience Forum

Acceptance, connection, support. Share the journey.

Safe, anonymous discussion for people living with mental illness, moderated 24/7 by mental health professionals.

Read the community guidelines
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Useful resources

Senior Contributor

TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting



I just had this TED talk pop up and found it really helpful.


It's often a big part of any trauma and abuse for the abuser to later deny that it happened, and try to shift the reality of the other person but this author's talk was about how the gaslighting was really the large part of the abuse that she received and how it was something that she had to survive all of itself it's a short talk where she just outlines what happened to her and how she was able to find a way through by taking back control of her own narrative.


trigger warning: refers (a bit flippantly :-() to suicide though the speaker was never suicidal


Gaslighting is an emotionally abusive tactic that makes the victim question their own sanity and perception of reality. In this important talk, Ariel Leve shares some of the life-saving strategies she adopted as a child to survive her mother's gaslighting. TEDArchive presents previously ...

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Hi @Fredd50,


Thanks so much for sharing this! A really interesting and insightful look into this. Also grateful for the trigger warning 🙂

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Thanks @Fredd50

This was an interesting talk. I'd always wondered what gaslighting was and this helped me understand. I guess my world has been full of it from my mum too. Even now she still carries on the same with me, and yes, I've found my coping strategies too; similar to those mentioned in the video.

So again, thankyou...

Hope Heart

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Hello @Fredd50

I have seen the term gas lighting written ..however not understood the meaning...assumed yet another word added to the Oxford dictionary..

no different to my not having heard of let alone experienced narcissism and mysogonysism or however that is spelt..until I was told that was so..

sadly once experienced is recognisable in real and virtual worlds...


a valuable able insight for all using the forums

thank you



Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Hello @Fredd50

I have seen the term gas lighting written ..however not understood the meaning...assumed yet another word added to the Oxford dictionary..

no different to my not having heard of let alone experienced narcissism and misogynism or however that is spelt..until I was told that was so..

sadly once experienced is recognisable in real and virtual worlds...


a valuable insight for all using the forums

thank you



Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

@Sophia1 @Fredd50 @Lauz @Appleblossom


After realising what Gas-lighting was, I assessed my mother's approach to me since early childhood and found many of my dysfunctional beliefs about myself and the world came from her. Some of them include:

1. I was destined to be average as I lacked intelligence. Best to marry a wealthy man.

2. My opinions and feelings were secondary to hers, and in many cases not worth listening to.

3. Showing love to her was weak and stupid. I was pushed away if I tried to cuddle her, even if she was in pain.

4. My sister was always in the right if we argued or differed in opinions. I felt like a bully and was feared by everyone. This hurt intensely.


I was (and still am) berated and humiliated for saying I'm upset and especially challenging her opinions. So I learned not to voice my hurt and thoughts. If I do it infuriates her because it insinuates she's done something wrong so she attacks.


This happened two nights ago where I was so upset about her interrupting me and playing down my words,  ("yeah...whatever") I lost all interest in our conversation. It got the better of me when she kept it up; I yelled at her to get off my back and try listening for a change. She went beresk and insulted me to no end. I left and haven't been back since.


When I eventually bring it up for discussion after things have calmed, she'll deny, deny, deny; and blame me for being too sensitive or making things up. The anger, frustration and helplessness this has caused me my whole life was a major facet in healing my wounded mind.


I've found friends and lovers who've mirrored this technique which keeps me at home and out of harm's way. I've taught myself to listen without comment, but now and then I offer support or my thoughts which can be ignored or interrupted; my norm. Even now I still wonder if I'm the cause of it all. It's very confusing at times.


I guess that's what I enjoy about the forums; I get to speak, be heard, acknowledged and validated. It's an important aspect of the connections we make on here.

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

I first came across it in conversation a long time ago and watched the 1944 movie "Gaslight" with Ingrid Bergman.

I realised I had been a serious victim during my marriage. I am not sure that I agree with A Leve's postion to remain defiant.

I am a bit tired of Americans using Youtube to shame their mothers and gain pity. SHe also had a rich father available to her.

Yes my mother gaslighted a bit, but my ex husband was far worse.  In both scenarios "defiance" was not possible. There are also consequences of continual defiance. I may have spoken up a few times in many years and was blamed.

There are other movies about it too


Woooops that site got it wrong. It assumed the Hollywood movie started it all ... failed to mention:


The 1938 stageplay by Patirck Hamilton was first put in film in 1940 in UK.

I am also sick of Americans claiming to be creative geniuses all the time when they are  just great at stealing ideas.  I try to be careful and do my homework. Dont always get it right tho.


Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Thanks so much for your beautiful post Hope4me.
Can relate a lot, and slowly starting to learn to come out from under the gaslight, so to speak.
Whatever the cause of gaslightinf behaviour, I think the really important thing I've been learning is to remember that it belongs to the gaslight, not to me. It might sound really obvious, but it seems to be a central tenet of the gaslighting: convincing the gaslight person that the behaviour of the gaslighter is:
A) acceptable, normal behaviour that the gaslit person is supposed to put up with and accommodate; and/or
B) never actually happened and was imagined or misinterpreted by the gaslit person; and/or
C) Was caused by the gaslit person who is somehow responsible for the behaviour of the gaslighter; and/or
D) should not have any impact on the gaslit person - if the gaslit person objects or displays any emotional reaction this is considered "clear evidence" that the gaslit person has something wrong with them and pointed out as such.
That's I think why it can be really hard to break out of: gaslit kids run the danger of being groomed to continually put up with gaslighting their entire lives :-(.
For me learning slowly how to recognise, avoid and/or stand up to that kind of behaviour whilst also learning how to avoid being damaged by it is huge.
It also involves stepping back and realising that there was never anything wrong with me - that unfortunately being told there was was just another example of gaslighting behaviour - which can be done without awareness and by groups, not just individuals. 
Saying there was never anything wrong with me doesn't mean "I'm perfect and have nothing to learn", but on the contrary "I'm human and we all have something to learn".
It's about stepping back from the "sick" vs "well" dichotomy in the unfortunate history of 'ment health' and realising it was never really there. Ultimately, it was always an example on (sometimes unconscious) gaslighting or "lack of insight" into the human condition (including, of course, their own) by its historical proponents.
Of course, there are a range of views on this and some people find different things helpful. But for me it was realising that anyone who tried to force this view onto me was gaslighting , trying to substitute by own experience and situation with their own personal belief system. Someone might be a Christian and believe in God and that's not gaslighiting. Until it becomes about forcing another person give up their experience of being an athiest or scientist or Hindu or anything else, especially if that person tries to convince the other that they have a diseased brain if they don't eg, follow Christianity... 
That has been about the most powerful realisation I've ever had. It seems to be a long slog learning what to do from there. But suddenly it's a slog with vigour and purpose and worth. It's not the slog of the inadequate, "abnormal" person who didn't pass the bar to enter "society" and be normal anymore. It's life, with meaning and purpose and awesomeness and even though it's hard sometimes it's recognising everything I so is about being human, as we all are.
So I don't know why people gaslight either. But I know now what I wish I'd always known. That they do. And that one day I can learn how to live a life that does not involve them dictating any aspect of my reality in any way, shape or form. Because more and more people are starting to learn about this too ❤️❤️💜🙏

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Dear @Fredd50

I appreciate your comments re my post. It's nice to be validated. Smiley Happy


When I wrote that post, things were fresh in my mind due to the conflict with mum. As time's passed though, I realise, as I have with so many 'labels' and 'terms', that it's not so much about what 'it's' called; it's more about recognising dysfunction in our relationships and communication with people.


The consequences of Gaslighting are many and even though they may generate similarities with others, it's our personal experiences that create individuality and character. (or lack there of)


I'm also inclined to think genes are responsible for some of our traits. I for instance, have responded to mum very different to my siblings; my biological father's different from theirs. I also had the advantage of being around positive role models growing up that they didn't. Nurture vs nature yet again...


I guess the word that most applies to us and others who've been 'put apon' since childhood, is 'coping'. It's our ability to cope (or not) with gaslighting moreso than the experience itself.


Although you haven't described your experiences in detail, I gather from your knowledge you've 'lived' gaslighting and have explored its conseqences and causes. I spent many a day trying to work my mum out. My conclusions were accurate, but this info wasn't really helpful in dealing with her cruel/ignorant words and outbursts.


It was 'my' actions, words, thoughts and responses to her that mattered at the end of the day. That's where healing begins...


Thankyou again for your reply. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to chatting more.


Kind regards;

Hope Heart

Re: TED talk the emotional trauma of gaslighting

Hi @Appleblossom

As always, you've contributed quality information for us to contemplate. I find 'interested' comunication and intelligence in others really attractive alternatives to my circle of family and friends; there's an abundance of it here on the forum.


I know this sounds insulting to them, but honestly, I so enjoy interacting with people who get it and are able to exchange ideas, information and experiences with 'intent', interest and quality assessing skills.


I agree with your 'Yanky' comments. If Gaslighting could be seen on an international level, they'd be top of the charts! Ha ha... Their ability to make themselves the centre of the Universe has been around for as long as I remember. Mum for instance, quotes them relentlessly. "Because I said so.." doesn't compensate for a lack of emotional intelligence or aptitude. Jeez, I'm full of it today hey? lol


Anyway, I think you've researched this well. Time permitting, I may even explore the movie/stage production you mentioned. It'd be interesting to see how 'then' vs 'now' comes across.


Always nice to converse with you hun.


Kind thoughts;

Hope Heart

For urgent assistance, call: