Spotlighting Gaslighting


Savya Bathla, Staff Writer

Gaslighting. In this day and age, the word is probably a part of your vocabulary. Although it may seem like such a crucial word, it has not even been a part of our everyday language for that long. In fact, the word only rose to such prominence within the past five years or so. But in our quickly-moving society, word choice and the ways that we communicate change rapidly. Even when we watch movies from a decade or two ago, we can see how much our style of communication has progressed over the years.


Every year Merriam-Webster chooses a word of the year, and for 2022 that word just so happens to be gaslighting. According to Merriam-Webster, there has been a 1740% increase in the number of times gaslighting has been looked up this year. The Oxford dictionary defines gas lighting as; To manipulate (a person) by psychological means into questioning his or her own sanity.


If anyone has ever said something to you that made you question your stability, then you have been gaslighted. Gaslighting usually instills fear into the mind of the victim, making them so unsure of themselves that they will succumb to the gaslighter. It is a way of twisting someone’s perception of reality.


Gaslighting is usually most present in our relationships with other people. An example of this could be when a friend tells you that their birthday is on September 9th, but when getting them a gift or sending a card, they tell you that their birthday was actually on September 29th. Now in this scenario, the friend is obviously lying about when their birthday truly is. But the thing is that you do not know that. Little things like this will lead you to believe you are a bad friend because you never listen. This will make you desperate to make it up to your so-called friend in any way you can, leaving them with the opportunity to take advantage of your regret.


The word gaslighting is ever so relevant in our society today with our reliance on the internet to get our information. Nowadays there is so much fake news and misinformation online that it can be hard to know what to believe. You have to second guess everything you see online because it is a platform that anyone has access to and can post things.


Overall, the number of times people have looked up the word gaslighting this year should serve as a reminder for all of us to be cautious about what we see online. So much of what we see on our screens is simply not true. We should never be quick to believe anything anyone says, and we should try to get our news from a credible source.