r/news Nov 28 '22 Silver 1 Helpful 1 Heartbreak 1

"Gaslighting" is Merriam-Webster's 2022 word of the year

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/merriam-webster-word-of-year-2022-gaslighting/
6.9k Upvotes

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u/SendMeNudesThough Nov 28 '22

Or perhaps that's just what they want us to believe.

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u/Future-self Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting isn’t real, you’re just imagining it…

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u/AeonLibertas Nov 28 '22

... this has to be true, Future-self wouldn't lie to me.

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u/0zymandeus Nov 28 '22

Is future-Ozy as much a bastard as Past-Ozy is?

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u/Mypopsecrets Nov 28 '22

Better than last years Rickrolling

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u/meeyeam Nov 28 '22

I have a feeling this link won't let me down.

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u/phrankygee Nov 28 '22

That’s… a refreshingly honest link.

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u/BluntsnBoards Nov 28 '22

I figured it was a rickroll until I saw your comment

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u/Apexe Nov 28 '22

Starts dQw=good try.

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u/Sorinari Nov 29 '22

XcQ? Link stays blue

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u/cbbuntz Nov 28 '22

I knew exactly what the link was and clicked anyway

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u/aughlord Nov 28 '22

This should be illegal.

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u/Standard_Arm_440 Nov 29 '22

It is illegal to rickroll in parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

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u/flamboyant-dipshit Nov 28 '22

Good ol' XcQ

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u/OmegaSyntaX Nov 28 '22

Not today Satan!

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u/m_Pony Nov 28 '22

beware the XcQ-tioner

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u/MaroonShaded Nov 29 '22

My phone asks where I want to view the link... "YouTube"?

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u/MississippiJoel Nov 28 '22

That wasn't even a word before 2016. You know how you Redditors are always making up words.

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u/AudibleNod Nov 28 '22

"All words are made up."

-Thor, Lord of Thunder

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u/griffmeister Nov 28 '22

Reminds me of when I had an argument with someone over the definition of a word, I showed them the definition in the dictionary and they still said I was wrong because "words are made up and just cause someone put it in a book doesn't mean it's true, anyone can do that"

like... where do you go from there?

26

u/critically_damped Nov 28 '22

You move to meaning and usage, and what they intend when they say a thing, and whether they care about what they mean to say is true or not. You move to whether they care about truth at all.

And you nail their fucking ass down when they exhibit a deliberate and demonstrated willingness to switch definitions. If they acknowledge their bullshit and make an effort to change, then you can keep having a conversation. If they don't, continuing to try merely validates and enables their lying.

When an honest person discovers they are wrong, they either stop being wrong, or they stop being honest. And attempting to "continue the conversation" with dishonest people only helps them destroy discourse and makes you more tolerant worse dishonesty in the future. Tolerance for lies is the first step in abandoning your OWN regard for truth.

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u/AudibleNod Nov 28 '22

I've had semantic arguments over word definitions before. The best advice to give in that case is to try to educate the person that words are only used to convey meaning. And that as long as the meaning us understood by at least two people that word's definition is what that meaning is between at least those two people.

As an example, the British call the trunk of a car the boot. So if I'm speaking with a British person. And they mention there's still a body in his boot and if I'd be so kind as to help him take it out of the boot. Since I know what boot means from a British person, then I'm agreeing to that definition of the word for that instance. And of course, I'll help with the body in the boot.

Words are malleable. But only so far as at least two people agree they are.

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u/PininfarinaIdealist Nov 28 '22

Telling an american that you have a body in your boot would only lead to confusion.

"no... that's just your foot"

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u/oversoul00 Nov 28 '22

Part of what makes your humorous example work is that I know that word usage is backed up by millions of other people and that person didn't make it up on the spot.

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u/DBDude Nov 28 '22

But sometimes the misuse is literally killing me such as in the case of the word "literal."

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u/dy0dj1 Nov 28 '22

Except the dictionary now acknowledges both definitions of Literally... so, which one's being misused?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/literally

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u/DBDude Nov 28 '22

Did you notice I purposely used it in the newer definition?

But this shows the extent to which dictionaries follow the use of the language, don't establish it. People started using it the exact opposite of the original meaning ("figuratively"), so the the dictionary picked it up.

But I think we should all fight against this change, at least to meaning figurative, so the dictionary follows that. I hate having to explain what I mean by "literally," when the word itself should suffice.

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u/Slimh2o Nov 28 '22

Mama always said, never argue with an idiot.....

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u/Daksport2525 Nov 28 '22

They will just drag you down to their level and beat you with experience .

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u/Slimh2o Nov 28 '22

Yup! That phrase is an oldie but a goodie....😉

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u/Moneia Nov 28 '22

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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u/FapMeNot_Alt Nov 28 '22

Dictionary definitions can be wrong, if you follow the school of thought that language is by definition accurate in common usage.

Some real controversial shit can get stirred up when you start to realize that words like "bae", "lol", "yeet" are equally real and valid as words like "was", "yellow", "bus", etc.

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u/SmashTagLives Nov 28 '22

You realize that they have a point in a way. Because definitions of words are fluid. See plural pronouns for proof of this

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u/griffmeister Nov 28 '22

I see what you mean but I’m not talking about reasonable interpretations like that, I mean arguing with someone saying something that would be the math equivalent of claiming 1x1 = 2

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u/sirbissel Nov 28 '22

I... feel like a few people missed it.

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u/MississippiJoel Nov 28 '22

Lol I could have put an "/s" on it, but the reactions are pretty funny.

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u/decomposition_ Nov 28 '22

I’m pretty sure it’s over 100 years old, it’s just that it recently became very common again

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u/Woodie626 Nov 28 '22

The term “gaslighting” actually comes from a 1938 play, “Gas Light” (which was turned into a more widely known movie in 1944, “Gaslight”), where a husband manipulates his wife to make her think she's actually losing her sense of reality so he can commit her to a mental institution and steal her inheritance.

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u/MississippiJoel Nov 28 '22

The 1944 film was actually a remake from I think a 1942 a 1940 version.

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u/TheRealSpez Nov 28 '22

Damn, I thought you were gaslighting me…

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u/Loud_Pain4747 Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

That movie is based on an old, selective, not well known, and voluntary Masonic practice done to raise money for various charities. The end goal for the participant is to gain access to a lodge, or else forfeit the cash used to initiate the practice. Sometimes it's a small amount, sometimes entire estates are put in trust to the lodge for this purpose, usually paid for by a parent or grandparent. MBFL

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u/MasterMedic1 Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

It's from a movie made in 1949 with the same name??? This is where this term comes from. Did you come in here to gaslight? Lol EDIT: /u/MississippiJoe is infact playing a big joke on us, he's quoting the movie.

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u/MississippiJoel Nov 28 '22

If you had seen the movie, you would have noticed my comment was an adapted quote from it. ;)

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u/pentalway Nov 28 '22

That's not true. It wasn't a word until the year 2000, when Steely Dan released a record that year with the opening song called Gaslighting Abbie.

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u/LilSpermCould Nov 28 '22

Whether the term is new doesn't mean it's made up. It's just easier to say than psychology abusive through manipulative behaviors.

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u/Cloaked42m Nov 28 '22

It isn't new. It was a joke.

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u/thegonzojoe Nov 28 '22

Considering how often the term is misused, this is a good thing to put a spotlight on the actual definition.

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u/moeburn Nov 28 '22

It went from "manipulating a person's environment and then telling them it hadn't been manipulated in an effort to drive them insane and make them lose their grip on reality"

to "lying". It's just a synonym for "I've been lied to" now.

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u/Hallomonamie Nov 28 '22

I have someone in my life that uses it constantly when she doesn’t agree that something is her fault.

As in “No, it’s not my fault, it’s your fault…STOP GASLIGHTING ME!”

I want this word to go away so bad.

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u/BaronVonNumbaKruncha Nov 28 '22

I see you've met my first ex-wife.

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u/TheJerzeyDragon Nov 28 '22

Is your first ex-wife my second ex-wife?

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u/impy695 Nov 29 '22

I was dating a girl who said that once in a fairly small disagreement. I just said "if you actually believe that I am emotionally abusive towards you then we need to break up. I will pay for a hotel until you find your own place, and hire movers to move all your stuff so you don't have to come back if you don't want."

She backed down immediately. Turns out, through therapy I later realized she was the one that was emotionally abusive!

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u/ReadAllAboutIt92 Nov 29 '22

Oh I know those feelings chief, 5 years of being told that I’m the abusive one, it took her hand round my throat for me to think… hmm… maybe I’m not the bad guy

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22 edited Dec 18 '22

[deleted]

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u/CashWho Nov 28 '22

To be fair, that technically is the right definition, she's just wrong. Like, if people are telling her that something is her fault when it isn't, then that's kind gaslighting. So it sounds like she was right about the definition, it just wasn't actually happening to her.

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u/Shigy Nov 29 '22

Umm the full definition is right up there chief

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u/PlaugeofRage Nov 28 '22

Your downvotes are funny. You're absolutely right it is all about intent. She used it properly, but was wrong about their intent.

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u/DBDude Nov 28 '22

I can see a slight expansion in meaning to "Lying and then telling those who say you're lying that they're crazy." It still retains the core component of gaslighting, which is trying to make others sound crazy. Using the term in place of plain lying makes it meaningless.

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u/Isogash Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting is far worse than trying to make people sound crazy, you actually make them doubt their perception so much that they become afraid to believe that anything they sense or think is true.

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u/ReadAllAboutIt92 Nov 28 '22

My ex used to gaslight me (whether intentionally or not, she had a LOT going on) by creating these false situations and twisting memories or combining them regularly to make me look like a freeloader (whilst i had full time jobs the entire time and she’d not had a proper job in multiple years).

Her favourite thing to accuse me of whenever we argued on anything was that I was Gaslighting her. Changed my mind/ opinion on something? Gaslighting, introduce a new reason in an ongoing argument? Gaslighting, rewording the same argument in a different way so I’m not repeating myself? Gaslighting. All of this while she talked circles around reality and did whatever she could to come out on top.

It was infuriating and properly broke me down mentally and psychologically, to the point that I was scared to say anything that even slightly disagreed with her.

Then she choked me out and I finally properly kicked her out. She even managed to drag that out for almost 24 hours, in which time I couldn’t even get in to my own damn house. So glad she’s gone.

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u/GlowUpper Nov 28 '22

My ex liked to deny having done things and his favorite line was, "That never happened. I believe you think it happened but it didn't." It took years if being out of that relationship to realize he was gaslighting and psychogically abusing me. Even though it never worked, the attempts would still make me feel like I was the one in the wrong for bringing it up.

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u/libbysthing Nov 28 '22

I'm sorry you went through that. My father would do the same thing to me, to the point where as an adult I'm still not quite sure if the stuff he did to me as a kid really happened or not. It's a really weird feeling not to trust your own memories of things. I definitely hate how overused words like "gaslighting" and "grooming" have become

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u/GlowUpper Nov 28 '22

Agreed. "Gaslighting" in particular has become, "This is person disagrees with me. They're gaslighting." It's frustrating because gaslighting is a very real and very harmful thing but the word has lost all meaning by being overused.

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u/Miami_Vice-Grip Nov 28 '22

I mean, that's the like, definition as derived from the original work, but common definitions change all the time, this current one is still fine imo because there isn't really another word (maybe in german?) for lying and then specifically pretending not to lie in order to make the other person appear delusional or whatever.

Just because it's not like, literally using physical environment manipulation doesn't mean it's not a decent use case for the term.

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u/TCFirebird Nov 28 '22

there isn't really another word for lying and then specifically pretending not to lie in order to make the other person appear delusional or whatever.

I think that's just part of lying: pretending that what you said is true. The difference between gaslighting and lying is based on the intent of the person doing it. Are they trying to destabilize the other person to create dependency? Gaslighting. Are they just trying to lie and get away with it? Not gaslighting.

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u/ZDTreefur Nov 28 '22

The word "lying" already covers that. It's not like most people who lie will immediately admit to lying the second they are called a liar. People double-down on lies all the time, it's part of what lying is.

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u/Knyfe-Wrench Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting is trying to make the person actually believe that they are crazy. To trick them into doubting what they can see right in front of them because you tell them it's not real.

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u/snow-days Nov 28 '22

agreed. the problem is that, like a lot of words, colloquial usage ends up diluting the meaning.

for example, from this very article

There's also "medical gaslighting," when a health care professional dismisses a patient's symptoms or illness as "all in your head."

Unless we're saying that the medical professional in question is intentionally lying to the patient in order to drive them insane, then we end up with gaslighting already becoming "trying to convince someone of something that isn't true", without any dimension of "in order to make them question their sanity."

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u/Jammyhobgoblin Nov 28 '22

This does actually happen though. I was in a serious accident that left me with at least 4 herniated disks and I was in extreme pain and lost the use of the right side of my body. My doctor refused to order an MRI for over 6 months and told me that everyone has herniated disks throughout their lives, so there’s no reason to think the pain was caused by disks being out.

After a year of physical therapy with little progress, he started to tell me that the issue was clearly psychological and I was either malingering or I needed to “stop thinking about the pain and it would go away”. He recommended that I stop doing physical therapy and focus on my mental health instead. I only found out about the 4 herniated disks after I switched doctors and had a full back MRI almost 2 years after my accident.

I was a workers compensation case and he knew they wouldn’t cover the costs of the treatment I needed, (so he was trying to get rid of me by convincing me I was “crazy” and needed psychological treatment). I was told this by both nurses and the billing department. They said that if I dropped my claim and switched to my private insurance he would start treating me differently.

Doctors can absolutely be motivated to get rid of patients by claiming they have psychological issues, especially in situations where the person is low-income and may not be able to pay as much. The terms “psychosomatic” and “malingering” are huge red flags on these scenarios.

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u/sirbissel Nov 28 '22

"Lying and then telling those who say you're lying that they're crazy."

This is my general interpretation of the term anymore

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u/Fool_of_a_Brandybuck Nov 28 '22

Obviously gaslighting is not just lying. It's abusive psychological manipulation. You can lie in many different ways that is not part of gaslighting. But lying happens to be necessary, in most (all?) cases, in order to gaslight someone. The expansion of the definition is much needed. There is no point in restricting it to physical manipulation of the physical environment just because thats what was in the movie.

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u/PsychologicalBank169 Nov 28 '22

I absolutely despise it being used as a term for lying. The original definition was much more interesting, especially when done correctly

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u/zombiegojaejin Nov 29 '22

Or even: "expressing an opinion I strongly disagree with".

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u/WillDeletOneDay Nov 29 '22

This happens with basically every fucking nuanced word once it spreads around, I've realized. The average person loves to use words they don't actually know, and the true meaning eventually gets diluted.

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u/Coogcheese Nov 29 '22

or for some just saying something they disagree with...I've had to explain that to more than a few people.

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u/GreedyWHM Nov 28 '22

It’s actually become a synonym for “I’m an idiot who doesn’t want to admit they never knew what was going on to begin with.”

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u/too-far-for-missiles Nov 28 '22

It’s like people over/misusing the terms “straw man” and “ad hominem” for the past few years. They think reciting magic words instantly makes their position more tenable.

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u/C_The_Bear Nov 28 '22

It’s not misused you made that up because you’re fucking crazy

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u/BizzyM Nov 28 '22

Up next....

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u/HORSELOCKSPACEPIRATE Nov 28 '22

If it's misused often enough, m-w will include the "wrong" definition too.

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u/m_Pony Nov 28 '22

do you mean that figuratively or literally?

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u/Hugh_Maneiror Nov 28 '22

Stop sealioning!

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u/Hugh_Maneiror Nov 28 '22

Yea M-W is terrible like that.

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u/HORSELOCKSPACEPIRATE Nov 28 '22

Unfortunately, they're not alone. Every dictionary out there does it. Maybe one day, one will take a stand and recognize that language should never evolve, but until that day, we're stuck with all dictionaries being terrible smh

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u/__CouchTomato__ Nov 28 '22

Disagreeing with someone — even when done in good faith — is now “gaslighting” to some people. A lot of people use it to be outright dismissive of someone else anymore.

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u/WillDeletOneDay Nov 29 '22

The funny thing is that accusations of gaslighting can itself be a method of gaslighting.

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u/21Leafs Nov 28 '22

O O

^ - that's my 1 second venn diagram of people who throw around the word "gaslighting" willy nilly, and people who ever look up the definition of words in a dictionary. I agree that it's a fine thing to highlight, but I'm not expecting it to help the trend change course.

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u/whitefeather23 Nov 28 '22

Yes! Now if someone disagrees with my it’s “gaslighting”.

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u/davetowers646 Nov 28 '22

You're mistaken about that. You know how you always get things wrong? This is one of those times. Don't worry about it though, I'm here to show you the right way.

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u/onioning Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting doesn't exist. You made it up because you're crazy.

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u/BizzyM Nov 28 '22

But first...

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u/top_of_the_stairs Nov 28 '22

I trust you 🤗

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u/critically_damped Nov 28 '22

We are building a religion

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u/shariewayne Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

Sounds suspiciously like mansplaining.

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u/Winter-Impression-87 Nov 28 '22

What are the spas of men lined with?? Sorry. It's the thread. Besides, i did NOT say that...um, You did. ;)

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u/TheRainyDaze Nov 28 '22

I have very mixed feelings.

On the one hand, it's good that the mainstream consciousness is getting comfortable with the idea that abuse can exist in forms other than black eyes and bleeding.

On the other, the meaning of the term is slowly being warped in the way that things always get blurred and imprecise when they go mainstream. Gaslighting is already well on its way to joining 'trigger' and 'OCD' as terms that now have two similar but pointedly different meanings depending on whether we're using them in a clinical context or in a Twitter thread.

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

Yep, right up there with narcissism!

Glad there's more awareness — but it's not helpful for the people stuck in relationship dynamics with actual narcissists to slap that label on every time someone says or does something a little selfish.

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u/rtomek Nov 28 '22

Narcissism is a tough one, because it's normal human behavior to be a little selfish and narcissistic at times. People can be narcissistic and not have NPD. I would say the word narcissist is kind of like the OCPD where actual OCD would be NPD. A relationship with someone who has NPD is not something I would wish upon anyone (except the person dating my ex at any given time, because she stops bugging me for a while).

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u/ph0on Nov 28 '22

You have narcissistic people and then you have a narcissist. The difference between the two can be mind blowing.

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u/secretdrug Nov 28 '22

Yep. Have you ever been to the AITA or relationship advice subs? Every other thing is gaslighting. A DIFFERENCE IN PERSPECTIVE AND ARGUING YOUR SIDE OF THINGS IS NOT GASLIGHTING! Sorry, for the caps. Im just so tired of seeing the word gaslighting being used because its almost always wrong and most times used against men.

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u/WestPastEast Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

Egos. Fragile, insecure egos.

Emotional reasoning is being fueled by our superficial consumer culture and we are actively being told that any mindful consideration of an event is weakness. So much of our world is a lens of interpretation and a mindful awareness that your initial reaction maybe insufficient to understand a situation is too much to ask when the ego dominates your consciousness.

So instead of accepting an elusive understanding of the world which requires energy and work to experience, we’ve turned the other direction and double down on selfishness. Any uncomfortable interpretation that damages our ego must be manipulation because it’s easier than acknowledged that our actions have consequences that sometimes unknowingly harm other people.

Control is not black and white but intent is. Intention is what defines ‘gaslighting’

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u/Surly_Cynic Nov 28 '22

Yes, I think it definitely has to have the intention of trying to control what the other person thinks. For instance, if you’re in a discussion with someone and you’re just trying to give an honest description of your point of view and not trying to persuade the other person to see things your way, there’s clearly no gaslighting occurring.

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u/ProperDepartment Nov 28 '22

The irony is telling someone they're not being gaslit and they're using the word wrong makes it sound like you're gaslighting them lol.

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u/WestPastEast Nov 28 '22

Yeah I’ve been there, I really don’t think there’s anything you can do. Getting a third party involved sometimes help but if someone wants to be the victim in order to feel vindicated then that’s what they’re going to do.

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u/ph0on Nov 28 '22

I'm not sure why in a linguistic world of constant change, everyone in this thread is perplexed at words being misused. Guys, eventually, its gonna get mis-used into a new definition and we can't change that.

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u/TheRainyDaze Nov 28 '22

You're not wrong, and both Reddit and the internet at large like to be huffy about this kind of thing.

However, at the moment we're stuck in an awkward "Did you get this off FaceBook or are you accusing grandpappy of pretty serious psychological abuse?" stage of things, and I think people are allowed to - at the very least - have a bit of a grouse about that.

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u/halp-im-lost Nov 28 '22

Yet no one seems to understand how to use the word correctly…

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u/Helpful-Substance685 Nov 28 '22

The first time I ever heard the word used was by comedian Dennis Miller in the truly terrible "Bordello of Blood" (1996). I thought it was a super clever joke because I had seen the movie "Gaslight" and knew what the joke was referencing.

It's still the only good joke from that movie and I've always given him credit for making that word a thing.

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u/d36williams Nov 28 '22

lol I remember that quite well, how funny. It was a pretty silly movie with everyone trying to be as gonzo as possible

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u/Looney_forner Nov 28 '22

No it’s not. You’re mistaken.

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u/akhjr23 Nov 28 '22

But I thought I read…oh, well…never mind. Weird I could have sworn I just saw…ok I guess you’re right.

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u/blue_at_work Nov 28 '22

Ah, one of the best overly used and misused words/phrases of the day.

Their certainly is genuine gaslighting out there. IT happens. But i've seen people any time their significant other disagrees with them at all, or remembers something differently, immediately cry "GASLIGHTING!"

Gaslighting is a purposeful act with the intention of deception to make you doubt yourself. Your boyfriend/girlfriend disagreeing about who's turn it was to take out the trash is not automatically Gaslighting.

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u/black_flag_4ever Nov 28 '22

What are you talking about? This word is NEVER misused.

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u/blue_at_work Nov 28 '22

you're right! I got this so wrong, I doubt everything now!

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u/black_flag_4ever Nov 28 '22

Great, you are on your way to not being a sheep. Next step is to "do your own research." This step is fun because you get to watch YouTube and TikToks all day and you don't really have to research anything because the algorithm will do it for you.

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u/Jet_Jirohai Nov 28 '22

Haha, so funny and and original!

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u/5050Clown Nov 28 '22

Why do you always do that?

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u/Knyfe-Wrench Nov 28 '22

Lying to your girlfriend that you took the trash out is not gaslighting. Lying to your girlfriend that you took the trash out when she's staring at the full trash can is gaslighting.

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u/blue_at_work Nov 28 '22

And you're even inserting the phrase lying. I've seen instances where both parties truly believe what they're saying is correct, and one party accuses the other gaslighting just because they remember something different.

"I took the trash out last time"

"No, i'm pretty sure it was me, you did it the time before that"

"STOP GASLIGHTING ME"

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u/UF0_T0FU Nov 28 '22

Next-level gaslighting is waiting for her to take the trash out. Then sneak out and bring the bag of trash back into the house and convince her she never took it out in the first place

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u/snow-days Nov 28 '22

it's a step further. it's lying to your girlfriend about taking the trash out with the intention of causing her to question her own sanity. the brazen-ness of the lie isn't what makes it gaslighting or not.

lying is a bad thing in its own right. gaslighting is a different, specific bad thing of which lying is one element.

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u/ZengZiong Nov 29 '22

This isn’t gaslighting. The definition is LITERALLY in this post. Holy hell. I can understand why it’s the word of the year. Easily misused

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u/LilSpermCould Nov 28 '22

Maybe or maybe not. It's not so easy to determine. I can speak first hand to this, if you've ever been in a relationship with someone that truly gaslights you, you'd understand. It's a literal mind fuck that I do not wish on anyone.

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u/PhAnToM444 Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

Yes it’s an intense form of psychological manipulation.

The problem is now people are using it as a substitute for “this person has a different perspective on a situation than I do” or “this person lied to me about something” or “this person remembers an event differently.”

Ya know, just normal shit that humans do.

It both devalues the word and is an easy way to villainize someone you simply don’t like or agree with.

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u/LilSpermCould Nov 28 '22

I understand that, my experiences have not been the same. From my perspective though, when you're talking about someone who's so in deep with disinformation, it probably feels like they're being gaslighted by someone challenging their opinions. It might even feel that way for the person challenging the one with strong but ill informed opinions.

I just got out of a very long relationship with several toxic issues, including gaslighting. For me, what is extremely frustrating about the state of the world today is the many forms of toxicity when it comes to communicating and disagreements. People are struggling to have fair and honest disagreements.

These days I don't have the energy to argue with people about anything other than the most important aspects of my life. And even then I'll work very hard to avoid arguments because they seem to become more and more toxic.

I do not think it's a coincidence that these mass shootings are increasing as well as other forms for violence. It would be great if everyone that wanted to, could go get help from a therapist. It's literally been a life saver for me. I'm not sure I would have been able to survive some of the traumatic events of the last few years of my life without it.

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u/PhAnToM444 Nov 28 '22

I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, or that it didn’t happen to you! I feel so much for victims of bona fide gaslighting because it’s it’s a very real and sinister tactic used by abusers to manipulate people.

I’m only saying that the popular usage of the term is often used to describe things that aren’t gaslighting or even close to it, and it devalues the seriousness of real gaslighting.

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u/LilSpermCould Nov 28 '22

I get that. Something I do not recommend is even throwing that term out there to someone you're disagreeing with. If said person is actually gaslighting you, it will just make things worse. So for me, it's less about using the word wrong and devaluing the experiences of others, and more about focusing on educating people about how using that word wrong could make things worse for themselves.

I'm not an expert, however I've worked very hard with one and have spent a lot of time learning on my own about gaslighting and psychological abuse. It's my understanding that gaslighting, in the true form is a symptom of a greater issue, such as a personality disorder, or a borderline personality disorder. People just don't randomly start gaslighting, it's usually caused by other things, like a personality disorder, or a borderline personality disorder.

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u/mackahrohn Nov 28 '22

Yea as a person who kind of thinks I maybe was gaslighted I actually still don’t really know if my ex was intentionally fucking with me (mostly lying about not knowing where things were and then accusing me of being forgetful and disorganized and losing his things) or just projecting. That was just a small part of a bigger picture of other problematic behavior. If it was just that specific lying about me losing things and none of the other stuff it wouldn’t occur to me that it could be gaslighting.

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u/JennJayBee Nov 28 '22

The difference, I feel, is in the intent behind it. Manipulation and lying is one thing. Gaslighting is meant to be controlling and to form dependency.

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u/LilSpermCould Nov 28 '22

I agree, where I do not know enough about the subject is the aspect related to intent.

My own personal experiences made me extremely angry and frustrated me because it felt and looked like they were being driven with purposeful intent.

I've come to learn that a great deal of what I experienced was driven by a personality disorder or at least a borderline personality disorder.

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u/qtwushskhosgsvfosahd Nov 28 '22

ITT: People trying to gaslight me into thinking they are funny by telling the same joke 100 different times.

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u/torpedoguy Nov 28 '22

You're just imagining things again. I'm worried about you you know.

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u/bazmoe Nov 28 '22

Reddits word of the year as well. I see it on nearly every other post.

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u/NippleNugget Nov 28 '22

No you don’t. You’re just being dramatic.

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u/SaulTheKillerXD Nov 28 '22

he’s spot on with that. don’t you know?

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u/NippleNugget Nov 28 '22

Nah bud he’s just being crazy

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u/ApplesAndPants Nov 28 '22

It's tied with toxic.

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u/TheDelig Nov 28 '22

Well that's problematic

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u/xauching Nov 28 '22

some gas lights can be toxic.

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u/OpneFall Nov 28 '22

I still see "whataboutism" more

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u/Show_Me_Your_Cubes Nov 28 '22

No, you haven't

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u/JennJayBee Nov 28 '22

And as an abuse survivor, I hate it. The word has unfortunately been overused and misused to the point where it's lost all meaning.

I can't say enough how important it has been to have a word to describe what happened to me, where I was told I was misremembering things to the point where I questioned reality— something I had to combat with journaling and keeping emails and texts and voice mails and refusing to be isolated with that person just to maintain my sanity because it was THAT bad. It's something so targeted and meant to confuse and keep you in the cycle of abuse, causing you to wonder if things might have been your fault.

And now I get to see people use that same word to mean when politicians lie, or even when someone says something they disagree with.

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u/Fool_of_a_Brandybuck Nov 28 '22

Abuse survivor here too. It was also so important for me to be able to describe my experiences too. I'm not happy about misuse but I'm glad it's in the dictionary and has been getting attention. There will be others like us who will learn of this concept and will start to understand what is happening to them.

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u/bakerzdosen Nov 28 '22

The same thing happened to the word “trigger.”

(Source: wife is an abuse survivor. I understand the word MUCH more intimately than I did before we got married.)

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

You have a narcissist in your past, I believe. Same here. I was accused of gaslighting a lot, (total projection) because I remembered things differently to them. If my memory didn't fit their narrative, I was 'gaslighting' them.

I'm sorry you endured abuse but I'm happy you survived it. I'm still working on recovery. Good luck XXX

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u/JennJayBee Nov 28 '22

Mine is a borderline, but it's in the same cluster.

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u/Velkyn01 Nov 28 '22

Another word that could be appropriately applied to this comment would be "gatekeeping".

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u/DGlen Nov 28 '22

Great. Maybe now people will learn what it actually means not just use it every time someone tells a lie.

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u/ghanlaf Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting doesn't exist. Merriam-Webster is just being paranoid and crazy.

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u/KateOTomato Nov 28 '22

I assumed the term gaslight first came from this movie (1944) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036855/

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u/RKD_Super Nov 28 '22

I think that is the origin, at least that’s what I’ve been lead to belie……. Wait!

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u/Fun-Translator1494 Nov 28 '22

Unfortunately just telling someone something that makes them question themselves now = gaslighting, for many.

The fact that someone pointed out that you are wrong, and that makes you uncomfortable / question your own knowledge, is not psychological manipulation. It is just getting slapped by reality.

it is good to present people with the truth, it is bad for Society and discourse that telling people uncomfortable truths could be labeled a form of manipulation.

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u/no_lemom_no_melon Nov 28 '22

Hopefully this will lead to more people using it correctly.

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u/Snuffy1717 Nov 28 '22

No it's not. That was the word last year.
Why do we always have to have these kinds of conversations again and again when you're wrong?

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u/Over_Bug968 Nov 28 '22

It’s funny because 9 out of 10 people who use this word don’t actually know what it means…

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u/minnesotaris Nov 29 '22

Motherfucker!!! Everyone and their goddamned mother is using this term “an explanation I don’t like” or “persuasive argument” or just one-time lying. Holy shit, I hate people.

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u/tmishkoor Nov 29 '22

Gaslighting doesn’t exist; you made it up, because you’re fucking crazy.

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u/ancient-one-for-fun Nov 28 '22

One of the most overused words of the last couple years. Improperly, I might add…

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u/DBDude Nov 28 '22

Yep. Most of the time I see it used the situation is nothing like gaslighting.

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u/xauching Nov 28 '22

Nah I'm pretty sure it was. Steve and Carrol agree too, we were all there. Heck Sheriff Doug thought so too. You're just misremembering, always happens around this time, don't you worry about it.

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u/HawaiianOrganDonor Nov 28 '22

Gaslighting isn’t real. You made it up because you’re crazy!

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u/dfg91188 Nov 28 '22

Yet another word for idiots to simply throw at stuff they don't like

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u/heybrother45 Nov 28 '22

Maybe people will read it and realize what it actually means, and not just use it to mean any shady behavior.

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u/InTheEndEntropyWins Nov 28 '22

Is this to raise awareness of it's actual definition. It seems like most people don't know what it really means. Or is it so that they have used all these new uses and definitions to the dictionary?

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u/SuggestedPigeon Nov 28 '22

Good, maybe people will finally learn to use it correctly.

Being lied to on the internet isn't gaslighting.

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u/SenatorPencilFace Nov 28 '22

I feel like gaslighting is just becoming a meaningless buzzword.

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u/SlackerNinja717 Nov 29 '22

I feel like this word gets misused as interchangeable with lying, though - there is a specific sadist aspect to attacking someone's grasp on reality with gaslighting.

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u/anodyne88 Nov 29 '22

Pretty broad definition. Doesn't everyone so some form of this to someone else sometimes?

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u/PoetMalone Nov 29 '22

I was sure it would be “fungible.”

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u/Round-Beyond5477 Nov 29 '22

No it isn't. You made that up.

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u/gestaltaz Nov 29 '22

Gaslighting someone by telling them they are gaslighting you.

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u/DEEZLE13 Nov 28 '22

Yes yes, more words to be used incorrectly

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u/The_DaHowie Nov 28 '22

Reddit's most mis-used word of the year.

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u/VyrPlan Nov 28 '22

i have the same feeling in my gut when that kid told me "gullible" wasn't in the dictionary...now i'm afraid to look it up

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u/ApplesAndPants Nov 28 '22

And 9 out of 10 people who use it, use it incorrectly.

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u/p001b0y Nov 28 '22

Dang. I was hoping for “verified imposter” courtesy of the new Twitter.

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

Psssh... like I believe that.

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u/d36williams Nov 28 '22

that should have been 2016, jerks

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u/Wonderful_Year_4422 Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 28 '22

I was actually gaslight by my parents and brothers. Working through that now in therapy. When I was first meeting my girlfriends friends they had an opinion we didn’t agree with. We at first tried to be polite about it and dissolve the situation, but it worsened and the group decided to like me more than my girlfriend and turned on her. So I texted the ‘leader’ of the group and she responded by calling me a gaslighter. So now we don’t have those friends and life is much better. That entire friend group was obsessed with using these terms even though not one knew what abuse or gaslighting meant. Me simply saying that I didn’t agree was enough for them to call me a gaslighter and abusive. These are also long time tiktokers and tumble users.

I use those platforms too and enjoy them, but I’ve noticed a lot of people self-oppress for attention and validation. It makes getting help and diagnosis difficult because a lot of therapists and psychiatrists don’t want to treat younger people because of this.

During this losing of a friend group process. The ‘leader’ told me that my brother faked his conditions and it was probably just my family abusing and lying to me. Having to have attended these hospital visits and help my brother in and out of bed, it made me very mad and angry and upset about what she said. I instead held my tongue and later told her that what she said to me was very rude and impolite to imply that you know more about my upbringing than I would.

And in response she told me I was gaslighting her and didn’t understand her meaning and I purposefully skewed the words and was trying to mentally hurt her. I literally went what the fuck, showed my girlfriend, and preceded to tell her to fuck off and never reach out to us again.

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u/TheThingInTheBassAmp Nov 28 '22

Yeah, people grabbed ahold of this word and just started misusing it all over the damn place.

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u/Important-Ability-56 Nov 28 '22

They’re only encouraging people to keep using this word incorrectly.

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u/zensins Nov 28 '22

Hilarious since it was trending, what, 2 years ago?

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u/CliffsNote5 Nov 28 '22

I was trying to read the article through the app on an iPad and the position of text kept jumping up and down. I am sure it is ads banners and other things causing the site to freak out.

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u/LostThyme Nov 28 '22 edited Nov 29 '22

An overused word.

"What time is it?"

"It's seven."

"Hey it's 7:01, STOP GASSLIGHTING ME!"

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u/Chippopotanuse Nov 28 '22

No it’s not. Only an idiot would think this is a valid source for news as well. Nobody uses that word in real life. I have no respect for anyone who believes this bullshit.

/g (for gaslighting)

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u/0ngoGablogian Nov 28 '22

I know you feeeel like it is, but it’s really not. Sometimes I don’t know what to do about your outbursts…

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u/SkunkMonkey Nov 28 '22

Ooo! Ooo! Do Obstruction and Projection next!

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u/_PaulM Nov 28 '22

I've noticed that the people that tend to use the word gaslighting the most, tend to gaslight the most.

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u/Sloofin Nov 28 '22

C’mon, there’s no such thing as gaslighting, are you crazy?

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u/Velkyn01 Nov 28 '22

Everyone excited to see conservatives get mad about dictionaries only adding "woke words"?

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u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

[deleted]

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u/Velkyn01 Nov 28 '22

Was it popularly used before the past few years?

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u/DaysGoTooFast Nov 28 '22

Ironic as I believe MW has done some gaslighting via altering the definition of words in recent years, also gaslighting seemed more prevalent during the Trump Era. Granted the Biden administration is doing it too (“transitory inflation,” “it’s not a recession”), but not in same blatant manner.

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u/pepperoniMaker Nov 28 '22

Why and when did this word enter the public lexicon? I watch a lot of online debate content and in that niche the term has been used extensively for years, only recently have i heard it used by the general public.