Gaslighting – from Angel Street to the White House [a found poem*] | by Clay Sparkman

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting originated with the systematic psychological manipulation of a victim by the main character in the 1938 stage play Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the United States).

The reality you just experienced didn’t actually happen.

Gaslight, the 1944 Hollywood film, starred Ingrid Bergman.

Donald Trump was born in 1946. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

The reality you just experienced didn’t actually happen.

Gaslighting Utilizes persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying; it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslight, the film, tells the story of how a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes.

The reality you just experienced didn’t actually happen.

The original title stems from the dimming of the gas lights in the house that happened when the husband was using the gas lights in the attic while searching for hidden treasure. The wife accurately notices the dimming lights and discusses the phenomenon, but the husband insists she just imagined a change in the level of illumination.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Even today, the word “gaslighting” is used to describe an attempt to destroy another’s perception of reality.

Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically also are convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting leaves some who have been victimized by sociopaths doubting their own perceptions. Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.

The reality you just experienced didn’t actually happen.

Gaslighting involves the projection and introjection of psychic conflicts from the perpetrator to the victim: This imposition is based on a very special kind of “transfer” … of painful and potentially painful mental conflicts.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting may be thought of as a very complex highly structured configuration which encompasses contributions from many elements of the psychic apparatus.

Even today, the word “gaslighting” is used to describe an attempt to destroy another’s perception of reality.

Gaslighting has been used by Russian politicians. British film-maker Adam Curtis suggested in 2014 that “nonlinear” or “asymmetric” war (as described by Vladislav Surkov, political advisor to Vladimir Putin) was a form of gaslighting intended to force political control. Surkov used his influence to finance various political coalitions so none of the Russian citizens could know if an organization was created by the government or a grassroots movement.

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation.

Gaslighting, according to Frida Ghitis of the Miami Herald, writing for CNN, extended into Russia’s global relations, when Russian operatives went to Crimea and the Russian officials continually denied their presence and manipulated the distrust of political groups in their favor.

The reality you just experienced didn’t actually happen.

*Thank you to Wikipedia, from which portions of this poem were extracted.

 

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S. Clay Sparkman was born in Portland, Oregon. A book of his poetry was published as A Place Between Two Voices (by Tabor Hill Press). He has spent much of his life bouncing back and forth between a more conventional existence in Oregon and a less conventional existence exploring and living in an eclectic smattering of places upon this orb. He is married to a Chilean woman, and considers Chile to be his second home—maybe his third. He currently lives in Nicaragua, with his wife, Veronica, his 12-year old son, Javier, his dog, Lola, and his cat, Torcha—along with many geckos, snakes, scorpions, and things that go “bump” in the night.”

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