A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”

You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling—that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

I think it’s time to separate inconsiderate behavior from emotional manipulation and we need to use a word not found in our normal vocabulary.

I want to introduce a helpful term to identify these reactions: gaslighting.

Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.

The term comes from the 1944 MGM film, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman. Bergman’s husband in the film, played by Charles Boyer, wants to get his hands on her jewelry. He realizes he can accomplish this by having her certified as insane and hauled off to a mental institution. To pull of this task, he intentionally sets the gaslights in their home to flicker off and on, and every time Bergman’s character reacts to it, he tells her she’s just seeing things. In this setting, a gaslighter is someone who presents false information to alter the victim’s perception of him or herself.

Today, when the term is referenced, it’s usually because the perpetrator says things like, “You’re so stupid” or “No one will ever want you,” to the victim. This is an intentional, pre-meditated form of gaslighting, much like the actions of Charles Boyer’s character in Gaslight, where he strategically plots to confuse Ingrid Bergman’s character into believing herself unhinged.

The form of gaslighting I’m addressing is not always pre-mediated or intentional, which makes it worse, because it means all of us, especially women, have dealt with it at one time or another.

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction—whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness—in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.

My friend Anna (all names changed to protect privacy) is married to a man who feels it necessary to make random and unprompted comments about her weight. Whenever she gets upset or frustrated with his insensitive comments, he responds in the same, defeating way, “You’re so sensitive. I’m just joking.”

My friend Abbie works for a man who finds a way, almost daily, to unnecessarily to unnecessarily shoot down her performance and her work product. Comments like, “Can’t you do something right?” or “Why did I hire you?” are regular occurrences for her. Her boss has no problem firing people (he does it regularly), so you wouldn’t know that based on these comments, Abbie has worked for him for six years. But every time she stands up for herself and says, “It doesn’t help me when you say these things,” she gets the same reaction: “Relax; you’re overreacting.”

Abbie thinks her boss is just being a jerk in these moments, but the truth is, he is making those comments to manipulate her into thinking her reactions are out of whack. And it’s exactly that kind manipulation that has left her feeling guilty about being sensitive, and as a result, she has not left her job.

But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel.

While dealing with gaslighting isn’t a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships.

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.

Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

They say, “I’m sorry,” before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings.

You know how it looks: “You’re late :)”

These are the same women who stay in relationships they don’t belong in, who don’t follow their dreams, who withdraw from the kind of life they want to live.

Since I have embarked on this feminist self-exploration in my life and in the lives of the women I know, this concept of women as “crazy” has really emerged as a major issue in society at large and an equally major frustration for the women in my life, in general.

From the way women are portrayed on reality shows, to how we condition boys and girls to see women, we have come to accept the idea that women are unbalanced, irrational individuals, especially in times of anger and frustration.

Just the other day, on a flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles, a flight attendant who had come to recognize me from my many trips asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I write mainly about women, she immediately laughed and asked, “Oh, about how crazy we are?”

Her gut reaction to my work made me really depressed. While she made her response in jest, her question nonetheless makes visible a pattern of sexist commentary that travels through all facets of society on how men view women, which also greatly impacts how women may view themselves.

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face. Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice. This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

I don’t think this idea that women are “crazy,” is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as “crazy.”

I recognize that I’ve been guilty of gaslighting my women friends in the past (but never my male friends—surprise, surprise). It’s shameful, but I’m glad I realized that I did it on occasion and put a stop to it.

While I take total responsibility for my actions, I do believe that I, along with many men, am a byproduct of our conditioning. It’s about the general insight our conditioning gives us into admitting fault and exposing any emotion.

When we are discouraged in our youth and early adulthood from expressing emotion, it causes many of us to remain steadfast in our refusal to express regret when we see someone in pain from our actions.

When I was writing this piece, I was reminded of one of my favorite Gloria Steinem quotes, “The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

So for many of us, it’s first about unlearning how to flicker those gaslights and learning how to acknowledge and understand the feelings, opinions, and positions of the women in our lives.

But isn’t the issue of gaslighting ultimately about whether we are conditioned to believe that women’s opinions don’t hold as much weight as ours? That what women have to say, what they feel, isn’t quite as legitimate?




We will be soon releasing our first short e-book, entitled, Why Women Aren’t Crazy: A Message From A Man.

If you are interested and want to be notified when the book is released, please click here to sign-up.

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446 Responses to “A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy””

  1. Avatar of London
    London April 11, 2013 at 7:45 am #

    Yes, us women can be “irrational.” However, if you take thought in the process of this happening, the chain of events, the situations that lead up to the irrational behavior, can you see that mens “irrational” behavior and dismissal of our wanting validation for our feelings contributes to this? You as men I am sure, appreciate when your woman sits and listens to you, your point of view, the criticism you expect us to take objectively – do you not? That is what we want too, but the more irrational you treat our thoughts and feelings, the more irrational we become, and then we are completely overwhelmed and “crazy.” It’s a vicious circle. I am not saying that we as women are right by becoming this way. But you as men, are certainly not right for encouraging this behavior with your dismissals and condescending comments. If you as men believe that we as women don’t know what you say about us when we aren’t around, think again. And that goes both ways. Women wanted to be equal, and in some areas we got that. But in regards to this subject, no one sex should be above the other. This is where society has gone wrong, and the communication between people has stopped. We bitch to our friends about our partners because our partners don’t wan to listen. It’s brutal, and it’s wrong. If we can learn to break the barriers, we might have a chance at understanding one another.

  2. Avatar of hugh-jazz
    hugh-jazz December 20, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    So once again we’re being told that whatever women do is completely okay and there’s absolutely nothing irrational about it and in fact we’re being irrational – not just irrational either, downright emotionally abusive and manipulative – if we don’t like the way the women in our lives behave. I often wondered why it was my wife felt like she could basically behave however she liked towards me, but I was sleeping on the couch for the slightest indiscretion. Now I know. It’s because she’s not ACTUALLY being unreasonable; it’s all in my mind.

    Of course, whenever I get angry about something she does, or when I don’t feel like things are right, or that her behavior is okay, she tells me that I’m overreacting, that I’m just being paranoid, that I need to get over myself, that I should learn to see things more positively, and so on and so forth. In doing this she completely refuses to acknowledge that her behavior had any part in my reaction to it. I’m sure that that’s okay though, because a woman is doing it to a man. Women can never be emotionally abusive and they must never be held accountable for their actions. It’s always the man’s fault.

    Remember those movies and TV shows where the woman slaps her boyfriend for doing something bad, like cheating on her, or simply threatening to break up with her? Remember how it’s played as though it’s this empowering thing and that it’s completely okay and normal and what should be done? Remember those other movies and TV shows where the man slaps his girlfriend for doing something bad, like cheating on him, or simply threatening to break up with him? Remember how it’s played as though it’s this absolutely despicable evil thing and a criminal act and should never be done under any circumstances ever?

    I’m all for women’s rights and equality. I don’t want to see women being abused or having their feelings belittled or unacknowledged. But I do want to see equitable treatment for men. Men are victims of abuse too, and more often than not, women get away with it simply because they are women. It’s messed up. Articles like this don’t help.

    • Avatar of copper
      copper March 8, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      Why are you married to this woman if she is so horrible? And why don’t you talk to her more instead of posting on the internet about how you really feel? This article isn’t saying women are innocent. It is speaking about the stereotype that women are crazy. I didn’t know that men were stereotyped like that. Maybe you should write an article speaking for men like you.

  3. Avatar of gloriaburghliegh
    gloriaburghliegh August 8, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    A message from a human to the other humans who have been subjected to this blog post: When men attempt to write about women’s issues it can go seriously wrong, and this blog post is a fine example of that.

    “Gaslighting” as presented in this blog post by Yashir Ali boils down to “head games,” an unfortunate but well-known human behavior. What’s more unfortunate than head games as a behavioral phenomenon, however, is the lack of any meaningful revelation in Mr. Ali’s stunningly obvious treatment of the subject.

    But obviousness is not the only vice of Mr. Ali’s post. Misguidedness is one, too, given the post’s presentation of head games as a male behavior affecting females. Both men and women play head games with men and women. Male and female adults — and even children, at least by the time they’re school age — are all too familiar with the head games their male or female peers can play.

    After peeling back the layers of this post’s misguidedness and obviousness, what remains is a sort of fluff piece that comes off as a pandering apology by a man who has played head games with the women in his life. It’s unclear why that revelation wasn’t left as an entry in Mr. Ali’s diary or made as a private apology to Mr. Ali’s initial victims. But, as a recent victim of this blog post, I’m hoping that Mr. Ali’s next feat is silence on the subject of gaslighting. Unless, of course, he wants to consider apologizing to his acknowledged victims. But that’s a private matter for Mr. Ali to attend to.

    • Avatar of calmdown
      calmdown August 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

      :)
      -Calm D.

    • Avatar of chantelnm90
      chantelnm90 November 9, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      First off, nowhere does he say that women don’t do it… his article is just specifically about the affect on women.
      Secondly, as a woman I appreciated the mere fact that a man wrote this, the “obviousness” and “human-nature behavior” of “head games” IS affecting the sexual equality of women in today’s society. So if you believe that NOT talking about the subject because people are supposedly already aware to this fact is in all plain English DUMB. No passive aggressive here… just aggressive.

      ALSO you were not subjected to this article… you chose to read this… stop playing the victim…

    • Avatar of nb
      nb December 28, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      I would think that it would be a positive event that someone, man or woman, would recognize their own less than helpful actions, admit to them, acknowledge and make amends for them.

  4. Avatar of azblue1
    azblue1 June 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    I like this article. The author is speaking from experience and cautioning others to think first. The ‘gaslighting’ I’ve seen lately has come from a female teacher. She is such a bully and thinks she is right all the time. She is very condescending- especially about any sort of emotions…
    I this article has advice that transcends gender. This kind of behavior can come from anyone and hard to detect.
    Related links :
    http://www.ideamarketers.com/?emotional_manipulation&articleid=657119

    http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/11268/1/How-to-Recognize-Emotional-Manipulation.html

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5834570_detect-emotional-manipulation.html

    http://www.friedgreentomatoes.org/articles/emotional_manipulation.php

  5. Avatar of Reirei
    Reirei June 12, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    I really like this article. I thought it was a very good read. But looking through the comments, people seem to think this is saying that you have to put up with irrational behaviour. This article is about when men dismiss the emotions of women when their feelings are valid.
    This is about when a man does something to upset a woman, such as insulting them or something else insensitive, and instead of recgonising their bad behaviour they instead dismiss the woman’s feelings about it.
    I know this is about men specifically, as not every article can address everything, but anyone doing that isn’t nice.

    For instance, I had a boyfriend who would say he would come over on Monday at 3pm. On Monday, I’d get ready and wait, 3pm would come and go and I’d give him a call. He wouldn’t answer so I’d send him a text. 3 hours later I’d call again. When I’d finally get through he would say “I went out with my friends instead. I can do what I want, you’re not the only person in my life. Stop being so clingy and needy.”
    He did something wrong, by not doing our plans without telling me, and then say it was my fault.

    This is what the article is talking about. It is not talking about having a normal argument with someone and saying a couple angry words, then talking it out later.

    My bf was being a dick and blaming me for him being unreasonable and dismissing my feelings about it. They were not valid.

  6. Avatar of jerryseinfeld
    jerryseinfeld June 3, 2012 at 2:44 am #

    Allow me to provide some male perspective here. Men and women are different creatures. We both have strengths and weaknesses.

    Most men, not all – but most, define themselves by their ability to provide for their family. That is not only what we have been taught, but what is hard wired into our brains since caveman days. To most men, this is our expression of love – action, not words.

    Women talk. Just go to any startbucks and witness females taking turns talking about everything and anything – and how they feel about it all. To many men this is nonsense – it’s shuffling deck chairs on the titanic. How you feel doesn’t matter as much as what you do.

    You can choose to criticize this mentality all you want, but if you do, recognize you are just as guilty as what you accuse men of being – insensitive to how someone else sees the world.

    Men have feelings. To say men are not emotional is simply incorrect. We simply don’t react to the world in the same way that women do.

    I can understand the intent of the author, namely to proclaim that being emotional creatures doesn’t make women crazy. However if you read his column again, he makes a stunning jump from a clearly abusive boss all the way to “any man who says you’re being too sensitive is gas lighting you” in less than a paragraph. This is wrong, and frankly, divisive. I can picture women across the country saying to themselves “see? I had a right to throw that plate at him!”. What he’s doing is giving license to irrational, potentially violent behaviour under the guise of feminist liberation.

    As a feminist, it’s disturbing to me that fringe elements of the women’s movement would resort to this kind of thinking. All self respecting women I know would look at this kind of propaganda and see it for what it really is: an insult to women.

    Essentially his argument is: women can’t be held accountable for their actions, because they aren’t able to have adult conversations about emotional issues without getting out of control. Is this feminism? Hardly.

    • Avatar of amandak
      amandak June 9, 2012 at 3:17 am #

      I’m guessing your statement that women talk means that men aren’t talkers. It’s been proven that men talk just as much as women. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11762186) A personal anecdote, my husband talks far more than I do and many times, he is frustrated with me not being as talkative as he is. Yes, I’m sure this will be seen as the “exception to the rule”… However, the rule is a stereotype that you are continuing to propagate.

      It is completely unknown how cave men and women lived their lives and thus, we must question the images we conjure up in our heads when thinking of these people, including, but not limited to, the idea of a family provider. I doubt that they had defined families. They had groups/communities and the community thrived with the work of all members. A quick search of hunter-gatherer on Google produced a Wikipedia page that you may just want to check out. This paragraph in particular is in stark contrast to your idea of what the caveman did:
      “A vast amount of ethnographic and archaeological evidence demonstrates that the sexual division of labor in which men hunt and women gather wild fruits and vegetables is an uncommon phenomenon among hunter-gatherers worldwide. Although most of the gathering is usually done by women, a society in which men completely abstained from gathering easily available plants has yet to be found. Generally women hunt the majority of the small game while men hunt the majority of the large and dangerous game, but there are quite a few documented exceptions to this general pattern. A study done on the Aeta people of the Philippines states: “About 85% of Philippine Aeta women hunt, and they hunt the same quarry as men. Aeta women hunt in groups and with dogs, and have a 31% success rate as opposed to 17% for men. Their rates are even better when they combine forces with men: mixed hunting groups have a full 41% success rate among the Aeta.”
      Again, the survival of the group was directly impacted by ALL members sharing the work. Your idea of cavemen needing to provide for their family is probably skewed by your modern conceptions of what “manly” is.

      Yes, men do have feelings. It is asinine to say that men don’t and I do not think that in any way, shape or form, the author of this post is suggesting that. He is also, I hope, not suggesting that a woman throwing a plate at her husband or significant other in a fit of anger is without responsibility. The picture here is that there are plenty of women who are submissive because of gaslighting in our society. He even states that women stuck in this kind of thinking are quick to roll over, or shy away with their tails in between their legs. If someone is teasing, ridiculing or making them less of a person by saying, “you’re overreacting”, then that is not okay. It is rampant in society.

      I don’t understand you believing that this is an insult to women. I did not find it insulting. This happens quite frequently and is a constant theme in pop culture. Watch a sitcom, like the author suggests. It is a good place to find examples of this behavior. It’s there and we are continuing to support women becoming submissive with just sweeping it under the rug.

    • Avatar of Reirei
      Reirei June 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

      I didn’t get any of that from what was written. I agreed with all of it, to be honest. I didn’t see any mention of him saying men don’t have emotions.

      To be honest, I find you quite sexist. People are individuals, not genders. Men and woman are humans, we’re all humans, what makes us different is who we are, not our genders.

      Please open your mind a bit.

    • Avatar of Neith
      Neith July 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      It’s interesting that you are responding to the article and not seeing the comments.

      Firstly, I disagree very much on your ‘This is the difference between women and men’ ideas. As as woman, I’m not really the kind of talker you describe, more of a doer, and I wonder if maybe you’ve only really known talkative/reactive women who throw plates when angry? You could also claim that ‘since cavemen days’ women have HAD to be ‘do-ers’ because of being mothers to multiple young children, and so talking is only part of what they do.
      It seems a little dismissive of women, that statement, a little ‘They’re all talkers who get emotional, who don’t do anything and throw plates at the smallest argument’ and a little insulting.

      Yes, while I agree that not all comments along the lines above ARE directly gaslighting, I also notice that there are a great deal of women who’ve read this article and it’s brought them clarity and understanding with their own emotionally abusive relationship.
      Because that’s what it is. When it IS gaslighting, and it can be, it is emotional abuse that is mentally harmful to women.
      It’s also not limited to men. Women do it too.

      It’s no insult. It’s just awareness that in some relationships, this kind of behaviour has gone from ‘I care about your feelings and about you but I feel you’re over-reacting’ to ‘What you’re feeling is invalid BECAUSE you’re over-reacting and so I don’t care in the slightest.’

      That being said, the author could probably have brought up that it’s something women can do to other women and to men as well. But the article was directed at women in these kinds of relationships so it’s understandable why it wasn’t.

      • Avatar of jerryseinfeld
        jerryseinfeld September 26, 2012 at 5:11 am #

        Emotionally abusive? Really? Every guy i know, his wife won’t shut up. She’s always on him, berating him, f*cking with his brain. Women are hugely emotionally abusive, because they constantly expect their spouse to be available to their non-stop emotional needs. And now you made up trumped up term to make women feel OK about consistently demanding emotional attention from their spouse, even when he doesn’t want it. Why? because your entire premise is female-focussed; why don’t you take half a second to consider what the other half of the relationship wants? Oh. I forgot. This is all about HER. As per usual.

        • Avatar of DeeWriteful
          DeeWriteful December 10, 2012 at 2:51 am #

          such a lol that you called yourself a feminist, Jerry!

        • Avatar of nb
          nb December 28, 2012 at 1:42 am #

          Wow, reading these responses makes me wonder if people really understand
          the real meaning of the phrase. I think the article was pretty spot on.

          In my experience, the men who engage in gaslighting are in fact very
          abusive. Perfect example would be telling your spouse
          that you’re uncomfortable with the amount of time they spend with a
          female coworker and they respond in a very hurtful and harmful way
          by telling you that “you are overreacting, jealous, crazy and controlling.”
          When in fact they are having an affair and trying to deflect any attention from
          the truth of what they have been up to by being emotionally manipulative.

    • Avatar of Beryl
      Beryl July 13, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

      Sorry, but to me, this article is not an insult to women.

      Women talk and so do men. Why would you need to say this is nonsense to men. So what Jerry. That was really a negative thing to say. How would it sound if I said it’s nonsense when a man wants to have sex with a woman. What women say and do IS NOT nonsense and that is why I keep telling women that we have got to be united and stop allowing these men to get anything from us. They undermine just about anything we say and do. They was uncalled for and straight ugly, Jerry.

      Women tend to be a little more friendly, and warm when they chat with other women. We try to share and feel each other when we talk. Nothing wrong with that. Men have been conditioned not to show too much emotion. This doesn’t mean that women are too emotional and definitely not crazy. If you notice, men can get excited and rowdy when they get toether in a leisurely setting. We don’t say it’s nonsense about you all, Jerry.

      There is nothing wrong with women. So we as women have got to stand up for other women and support each other and get these men to stop demeaning us just because we are not like them. Women we have got to stand united.
      Maybe it’s a good thing that women are a little emotional(as men call it). After all both persons in a relaionship can’t be cold, distant, and shut down. Can you imagine how the world would be if both persons in a relationship, displayed a laid back, cool attitude. The breakup rate would skyrocket. “Stand united and strong ladies.”

    • Avatar of Justice4all
      Justice4all September 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Seriously? You are going to criticize the author for jumping from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other when you just did the same thing?

      You said, “I can picture women across the country saying to themselves ‘see? I had a right to throw that plate at him!’. What he’s doing is giving license to irrational, potentially violent behaviour under the guise of feminist liberation.”

      I read no where in this article about justifying a woman’s right to violence against men.

      The point this author is trying to make, is that women along with other more emotionally expressive types of people, may definitely be more easily upset and have the need to discuss these issues with a counterpart or associate. This need is being shoved and slammed back into their own faces because having these types of feelings or needs to be expressive and communicate are a common characteristic of women that is really not worth the time because it is just how they operate.

      To that, I say…”you’re being ridiculous!”

      Why, because some people, including women, need to talk, or even argue to settle their concerns or worries, is it right to disregard others’ feelings or opinions?

      It is that simple. It is not right, nor fair to believe that a woman’s emotions are trivial because she has more of them than men.

      And no one said that men do not have emotions. That is not the issue. Because if it were, then it would not be right to ignore them either.

      This is really not a discussion about women or men discriminating against each other because of the way each sex is built…It is about how to adapt to the needs of each other no matter what. A woman could, and should, be understanding of the needs and nature of her husband’s personality, needs, wants, and goals. As well, so should a man consider his wife’s feelings and desire to communicate to some point.

      Ignoring, demeaning, or using a woman’s nature against her is cruel, deliberate, and narcissistic rationalization of a truly important issue contributing to so many abusive relationships in the world today.

      Think about it. Please.

    • Avatar of Aly2642
      Aly2642 September 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

      1) The fact that you can observe women and men behaving differently at a public coffee shop is not evidence that the differences you perceive stem from biology. (In fact, I would say it is evidence of the opposite.)

      2) This article isn’t saying that women can’t be held accountable for their actions. It is saying that women should be able to hold others accountable for their actions, and that women’s genuine reactions should not be dismissed as irrational moments of emotional weakness. The fact that you think women ought to be offended by this notion gives me little doubt that you regularly dismiss women as such.

      3) Yashar is a feminist. You are not. I needed only to read as far as “witness females” to know that.

    • Avatar of chantelnm90
      chantelnm90 November 9, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      WHAT?! He does not say that women are now accountable for their actions… BUT that women’s self-esteem are truly affected by gaslighting. That our place in today’s society is hindered by this behvaiour. Quite frankly, I think the way you “see” this article is interesting, to say the least

  7. Avatar of CapricornINFJ
    CapricornINFJ May 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    How do you put out the gaslighter? My boyfriend does this to me all the time.. I just cry out of frustration.
    I’m not perfect but if I came at him wrong…his reaction is always magnitudes harsher than my complaint or annoyance. The other day I had a business idea and I asked if he would help… he said he had other priorities (and I understood). I was a lil disappointed. Although he was great at analyzing my project, afterwards a bunch of negatives followed (it’s not a priority, you don’t have time for this…it’s not gonna make a difference, etc)..then he goes on about how I’m not comfortable in my own skin so want him to do the grind work. I said that comment was rude and it was hurtful and he said..that I’m being overly sensitive and he can’t have a mature conversation with me. Always, it’s me being immature, too sensitive, unrealistic, living in Narnia, insecure, I need to see someone…etc…

    Truly, I think that he can’t apologize b/c to apologize means that he is admitting to a flaw and I think he’s too arrogant to apologize (He’s a Scorpio and 6 years older than me). His way of apologizing is “I’m sorry you feel that way”, followed with a explanation on how I made him act aggressive, mad, frustrated. When I explain how that’s not an apology… I’m complaining again and I’m crazy and need to see someone. Is it me?????

    He’s very analytical and critical. Like I said, I’m not perfect… but geez… isn’t there something wrong about putting a magnifying glass to my flaws? I don’t feel safe with telling him how I feel anymore. This gaslighting is hurting my self esteem…the other day…I was so upset I couldn’t articulate myself very well. And he took that and said “you can’t articulate yourself. You always do this. You don’t know what you’re talking about”…

    Am I crazy? He says I’m in control of my emotions.. true.. but I don’t think that he can have free license to harsh criticism and accuse me of being too sensitive… I’m listening to the words you chose to use. I’m listening to you. Don’t blame me if I’m listening. ay yi yi… :(

    • Avatar of cryptess
      cryptess June 5, 2012 at 1:49 am #

      Tell me, darling, what would you do if he was doing this to you physically? Kicking you in the shins or jabbing you in the ribs and telling you to buck up because he didn’t hit you that hard? What would you say to your girl-friends if they told you the same story?

      No, for goodness sake, you’re not crazy.

      I personally might try to point it out in the most flat, monotone, unimpressed way possible: “No, I am not being too sensitive. I am sharing something important to me, I want to be taken seriously, and I don’t feel that I am.”

      Try very calmly paraphrasing everything that he says, as it comes across to you, and ask if that is correct. If he’s misworded, he will eventually correct himself against this Socratic method; if, at some point, he concurs with something that is still hurtful to you, say (again calmly) exactly why that is hurtful to you.

      And if he stands by his guns that you are irrational, immature, too sensitive, unrealistic, living in Narnia, insecure, and claims that you “MAKE him act aggressive,” then perhaps it’s a good thing you’re not married.

      • Avatar of bridgetjones444
        bridgetjones444 June 12, 2012 at 3:49 am #

        A great article…shedding light on an important issue facing a lot of women. I recently dated a guy who is divorced. He told me his ex early on in the marriage had told him he was self absorbed and never showed her how he felt about her. I asked why they got divorced…his response…”she was crazy.” Then he told me about an ex girlfriend who was “crazy” as well. In our short relationship, he was an hour and a half late for a dinner I made him. (btw, his 1st time coming to my place). The first time he invited me to his house, he wasn’t even there when I got there at the time we agreed on. He would consistently take days to return my calls/e-mails and wait until the day of an invitation to RSVP, even though I sent it days or even a week earlier. Once he told me he hadn’t met anybody like me in a long time and that he would do anything for me. How about showing up on time or being home when I get to your place? How about showing me I’m important to you once in a while? (the same complaint his ex wife had) A few times, out of sheer frustration and hurt, I ended the relationship, saying I didn’t feel i was being respected and he didn’t seem that
        into it, adding I wanted someone who was enthusiastic about seeing me. But then I would second guess myself and end up giving him another chance. His response was that I was “yo-yo’ing” him around and “there you go acting like Cybil again.” He said he wanted consistency in a partner and the only thing consistent about me was my inconsistency…and that I may want to go talk to someone about that. He said I had a “vitriolic” need to blow things up. No responsibility for his own actions!! Sometimes I think gas-lighters use their comments to avoid having to take responsibility for their own issues, by focusing the blame on the other person and making them feel like they’re crazy. His turning things around on me worked, i blamed myself and ended up apologizing to him for “yo-yo’ing” him around. My problem was that I didn’t listen to my gut instinct that something wasn’t right here and I kept giving him chance after chance, wanting to believe he really was a good guy. I’m several months out of it now, but not completely over it. Love some feedback……
        best in him.

        • Avatar of Klynn
          Klynn July 3, 2012 at 10:08 am #

          This sounds too familiar… I’ve been yo-yo’ing in a relationship like this for a few years now. The frustration finally reached a breaking point a few months ago and I exploded, I did go crazy. It’s hard because I don’t think that he is a bad guy or ever intended to purposely hurt or belittle me. I believe that he truly loved me like no one else, but there’s something missing….I too longed to feel like I was higher on his priority list, but dealt with the same issues. He’d be late for dates, not answer calls or texts until days later, suddenly back out of plans and not answer the phone… Honestly, for him it was that he had a traumatic experience years ago that has left him afraid to trust anyone, of course followed by major anxiety and depression issues. He would try to explain this, and assure me of his feelings for me, so of course I gave him the benefit of the doubt a thousand times trying to be understanding and patient…but the instability does start to make a person feel crazy. I wish I had answers…don’t want to give up on the guy…the love of my life. But… :(

          • Avatar of Neith
            Neith July 7, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

            man, do I feel for you. Having suffered from depression myself, I understand what he’s doing, but I also know it’s cruel to you…
            Hun, you’ve got to talk to him. Let him know- you care about his trauma, and his insecurity, and that you do want to support him through a healing and recovery because you know he can do it. But you need him to help you as well, as much as he can. Let him know how he can help you, give him clear things, tell him that you’re not judging him for his trauma. But it does hurt you when he doesn’t communicate and when he misses things- and you want to be able to trust in his ability to be in a relationship with you.
            You could ask him to contact you, no matter what he’s feeling, via text or email if he needs… he doesn’t have to call you. Ask him to commit to X amount of dates… say, 2 a week, and then anything on top of that is awesome.

            You need supporting too in this relationship. It’ll be hard, supporting him through this crisis, but if you care for him you can do it. But you don’t have to take on the role of mother or healer… you’re his lover, his partner, it’s a relationship that needs support and love both ways.

        • Avatar of Beryl
          Beryl July 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

          Hi Bridget,
          I totally understand what you’re saying. I feel ya’. I am a married woman, but I can identify with everything you said. I remember the same situations when I dated and some of the same stuff during marriage, because husbands act the same way that boyfriends do. I know that some men will jump all over me for saying what I am about to say, but, men never do grow up. Many of them do not put a lot into their relationships, it’s often the woman who makes all the sacrifices. We are always wanting to be honest and open and affectionate and. Our men ask us why we need all that. They don’t want us to deny them sex but they deny us all of the openess and honesty. They are like over-sized boys with bigger toys. They want to stay on the playground all the time and not come inside.
          What I can also tell you is that women nor men are perfect, but in the arena of relationships, men don’t want to open up and feel vulnerable, don’t want to give all of themselves to their women and when we try to be straight up with them, they get all panicky and start to run all in the disguse of evasiveness, avoidance, close down, label the woman as paranoid, too clingy, too sensitive, and too emotional. Some of the weaker females buy this and feel guilty as if they are the ones in the wrong. We as women tend to be gullible and allow ourselves to be brainwashed. Why, I don’t know. We don’t stand strong in relationships. We buy what society tells us and so take the blame for everything that goes wrong, and that includes our relationships. You get my drift? Men say WE play games, but truly we don’t, they do.
          We show our hand too soon to the guy and he bucks and runs.We have got to hold back, stay cool, and allow them to prove that they are serious about us before we jump into bed with them
          I’ve said this to ladies on other blogs and the men get upset and jump all over me and tell me that I am a prude or I hate men, or I must not be getting many dates. It is hilarious. But I go on to tell the ladies that many men are selfish and egotistical and do not want to give as we do.

    • Avatar of missmeow
      missmeow July 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

      Sounds like you aren’t a good match. You do sound young so don’t waste your 20s on a jerk. Please move on and find someone who supports and appreciates loves you as-is. You won’t regret it.

      Too many women hang on to these horrible relationships out of fear of being alone. Being alone is freedom and after awhile your mindset about yourself changes. You find you are no longer willing to put up with other people’s crap. Then you’re in the best state to find someone who is right for you because you’re no longer desperate for acceptance.

    • Avatar of Pepper
      Pepper July 17, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      Get out now! Sounds like you are dating my ex. DANGER DANGER. Narcissist. You will never be good enough and gaslighting is the least of his bag of tricks to make you feel useless.

    • Avatar of oneelusivegirl
      oneelusivegirl August 8, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      Dear Capricorn….you cannot put out a gaslighter. He will not change and you will live a miserable life always feeling inadequate and wronged. I was married to a man who sounds very much like your partner. I left him and I am now with a man that says he would rather know how I feel about things and discuss how we can change whatever is bothering me or us. You partner sounds like an arrogant ass that likes to put you down. Fun fact…my ex was a scorpio too…coincidence?, I think not.

      PS “I am sorry you feel that way” is in no way an apology. What a jerk!

  8. Avatar of eastnileuc
    eastnileuc May 8, 2012 at 10:20 am #

    Why this article isn’t useful:

    1. There are some situations where person A is truly “gas-lighting” person B; that is, person B is expressing a “legitimate” or “acceptable” emotion, and A is simply dismissing them off hand.

    2. There are other situations where person B might truly be overreacting, and the emotion being expressed is inappropriate – for example, a child throwing a tantrum.

    3. The article gives no criterion by which the former situation can consistently be separated for the later.

    Look, everyone would agree that it’s a dick move to dismiss someone who’s upset for a legitimate reason – particularly, when it’s your actions which are the reason. But at the same there, there ARE times when people are being hypersensitive, or throwing a tantrum, or otherwise not in control of their emotions – and need to be told: get a grip.

    Author: Propose such a criterion, or otherwise there is no way to map what you are saying to how someone should actually act.

    • Avatar of cerrasponda
      cerrasponda May 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      actually no. You are wrong. NEVER is it appropriate to tell someone how they are reacting. I do not CARE what you’re opinion is. If you feel they are overreacting, LEAVE. DO not engage that person. YOUR PERCEPTION OF THEIR EMOTIONS IS NOT REALITY IN TOTAL. You do not get to judge their feelings or project your own judgement on them because you see it one way. If you would get off your own ass for a moment and listen to the person who is “overracting” maybe you would learn something about WHY THEY ARE UPSET. BECAUSE THEY’RE FEELINGS ARE GENUINE, even if you do not value them.

      GO fuck right off.

      You are Part of the problem. You are not the person EVER to needs to tell anyone how they should be behaving. Maybe if you’re talking to your children, MAYBE. But if you are talking to another adult who is actively upset at you or something else, YOUR OPINION OF THEIR FEELINGS IS INVALID.

      Sit and spin until you wake and realize you do not run the world.
      YOU are the reason this article is SO IMPORTANT.

      How would you like it if someone just followed you around and told you everything you felt was wrong or “too much”. Fuck You. Seriously.

      This article perfectly illustrates all situations. You are just excusing the actions of emotional manipulators who may not be aware what they’re doing is hurting others.

      • Avatar of Gaha
        Gaha May 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

        I think you are being extreme. Same could be applied to both parties. If the one “overreacting” is allowed to overreact, then the other one is allowed to honestly say the other is overeacting.

      • Avatar of Chris
        Chris May 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

        Yes that’s the spirit. That’s how you tell someone what they feel or think about an issue is just worth a simple “fuck you”.
        Great job at simply doing yourself what you critize yourself.
        So if someone feels someone else is overreacting just leave? Wow, great solution this really gives the emotional person the feeling you care about what they express.
        Trying to calm someone down who just might be overreacting is NOT telling them how they have to behave. Or not taking serious what they feel. And I’m sorry to say, but no, my opinion for example about the emotions of my girlfriend, a person i know very well, is not invalid. Nor is it an excuse.
        I can perfectly take emotions of people serious and still give my honest opinion if I THINK they are overreacting. I do not force anyone to agree when I say so. But there are overreactions, there are overemional situations and so on.
        Gaslighting or emotional abuse are bad. NO doubt at all about that. But dismissing anyones opinion that is not in line with you with just a “Fuck you” is nothing else then that.

      • Avatar of knowthingman
        knowthingman May 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

        i TOTALLY agree.

        for example, recently my wife confronted me with my infidelity. looking back i thought i might have overreacted, but now i know i didnt. she actually called me “crazy” for getting mad about her forcing a confrontation about what SHE called “my BAD behavior”!

        now, however, i know that she had no right to judge my actions OR my reaction in the way that she did. like you said, “NEVER is it appropriate to tell someone how they are reacting”. AMEN. if she thought that i was overreacting, then she “should leave”. who is she to “judge my feelings”?

        i really wish she would have just listened to my feelings without judging me and “learned why i was upset”.

        like you said she and no one else is “the person to tell anyone how they should be behaving”. her “OPINION OF (my) FEELINGS IS INVALID.” well said!

        im going to show her this article an your post right now, its PROOF that she was WRONG to judge me for what SHE so insensitively calls “MY BAD BEHAVIOR” when she was so abusive as to GASLIGHT MY FEELINGS and even call me “CRAZY”!

        • Avatar of sarakay
          sarakay May 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

          loooooool. Awesome dude. So surprised no one else has pointed out how great your response was.

        • Avatar of DeeWriteful
          DeeWriteful December 10, 2012 at 4:42 am #

          Yeah, no. It doesn’t work that way. You getting angry because someone calls you out for cheating is one thing, because that IS shitty and hurtful behaviour.

          What would be gaslighting is exactly what you did in your hypothetical scenario, which is to undermine how upset she is due to something very hurtful you have done, and say that you don’t want a ‘confrontation’.

      • Avatar of cheeflo
        cheeflo June 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

        At the risk of infuriating you further, I have to say that you are overreacting. Tantrums only serve to prove the assessment correct. Your rage and dismissal of the perceptions of others falls right in there with emotional manipulators who trivialize and dismiss the feelings of others. It seems that you’re the reason this article is so important.

        Your feelings may be genuine — no one is arguing that what you’re feeling isn’t real. The question is: are your feelings appropriate? Is the basis of your emotion valid? Emotions aren’t a guide. They’re a response. Sometimes people feel emotions that originate from their own problems and project the source of those feelings on to other people.

        In that case, the feelings are certainly real, but the reason for those feelings may actually be invalid. You would do yourself a favor to reflect on that.

        Not to say that there aren’t people out there whose purpose is to harm, but malicious intent isn’t always the case — more often it’s just simple blunders of human frailty that interfere with understanding between people. Wisdom, sensitivity, and maturity are ongoing processes.

      • Avatar of Jayb
        Jayb November 30, 2012 at 5:05 am #

        Whoa that is extreme to tell someone to f* off just because they expressed an opinion that you didn’t like. I thought eastniluec’s opinion was reasonable to be honest and I didn’t feel it was meant in an insensitive or dismissive way.

        No doubt there are people out there with sociopathic tendencies, true gaslighters, who enjoy manipulating people, but I believe for many people out there when they dismiss others’ feelings it is not necessarily done with intent but because it comes from their own genuine worldview, which unfortunately may lack awareness and emotional intelligence.

        I like anyone else gets annoyed and upset when people dismiss my feelings, but I don’t see it as a gender thing as I find I can get that treatment from both men and women. I make a point myself to try not to dismiss other people’s feeling, however there are a minority of people out there that are way sensitive, and being around them is like treading on eggshells. For example you could tell one oversensitive person that I know that they look nice today and somehow they can twist that around and say snarkily, oh so do you mean I don’t look nice the other days. So yes in my opinion sometimes people can be oversensitive and overreact and it’s not gaslighting to bring it up – nicely and in a non-dismissive manner of course.

    • Avatar of cindyg
      cindyg May 20, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      I am sitting here in bed, sick with fever and a bad cough. I’m a single mom with a 12 year old daughter who lives with me full-time, and an 81 year old mom who lives with me also. I have a demanding job, a house and cars to pay for, so let’s say I have a lot of responsibility and I’m doing ok. But I AM exhausted.

      I only say all that because my bf knows I was very sick, taking care of two other sick people in my house and did not once offer to help. When I called him crying, because all my friends had OFFERED to help me – to go food shopping for me, to get us soup, he did NOTHING. I got fed up during my fever and coughing and told him I was hurt that he wasn’t there, not today, and for not showing up to my daughter’s huge theater performance when he KNEW I wanted him to be there and be supportive – and it wasn’t just a kid’s show – it was a professional production. not a tedious little kid’s play (I could see an outsider thinking that of a school play, honestly).

      When he told me he was going home early I told him not to worry, to get some rest. But I really was hurt, and hiding it. He then claimed he thought her play was another night but would have wanted to go He just didn’t seem to care enough.

      He also didn’t acknowledge mother’s day to me – he KNOWS how much I value being a mom, and especially a single mom. That day he asked me what I was doing, and I said I was celebrating a special day. He said, “Oh yeah, Happy Mother’s Day.” I got a card from him a week later when he knew I was hurt about him not showing up to the play.

      Well, as I said, I was sick all this week, worked through it, didn’t complain to him or ask him for help with anything. Yes, he was working hard too, but he doesn’t have the complicated, hectic, hard life I have. I’m serious – I know what his responsibilities are, and I know what mine are – my life is much harder in a physical and emotional sense than his – anyone looking in would see that. I don’t diminish his life at all – I am very supportive of anything he is going through, always encouraging, always there.

      He doesn’t need to ask me. But apparently, if I need him to be thoughtful enough to see if I need anything while I’m sick, he says, “That would be doting on you, and that’s just not in my makeup. If you need something, you have to ask me, that’s all.”

      Am I crazy here? Isn’t a loving partner supposed to be thoughtful enough to know when he sees his partner tired and sick, overwhelmed with responsibilities, that he should at least ASK if she needs something? I’m NOT saying he had to read my mind for every little thing, but when you’re sick, my god, everyone knows you should say something, do something, or at least offer, if it’s your partner.

      I had platonic friends male and female calling me asking how I was doing. But just a simple, “Hey babe, what’s going on,” from him.

      Am I crazy for being hurt? I think not.

      • Avatar of cindyg
        cindyg May 20, 2012 at 11:27 am #

        Oh, and one more thing, apparently, I’m whining when I’m hurt, sick in bed with a fever needing him to be a little more thoughtful. At least that’s what HE says.

        • Avatar of cryptess
          cryptess June 5, 2012 at 2:11 am #

          To be honest, no, you’re not crazy for being hurt, sick in bed with a fever and feeling like you need support. You’re not crazy for being fed up. You’re not even crazy if you are being a little irrational — and everyone is irrational at some point, so take this as license rather than condemnation. Being hurt, sick, and fed up often means we can’t be the staunch rationals we might pride ourselves as most of the time. It’s normal.

          But you are sending mixed signals. When you asked him, he said he would come home early, and you declined the offer; this can be very confusing. Did you want him to say “No, really, I insist?” Are you going to resist every time he insists just in order to look more gracious, and instead end up looking petulant and inconsolable?

          Sometimes, when you want something, you have to say “I need this,” and then “OK, thank you, that really takes a load off.” And also, don’t wait so long after the fact that you’re telling him about every opportunity he didn’t notice but missed. “I’m really looking forward to Mother’s Day!” would help avoid disappointment. “I think I’m coming down with something, can you get soup?”

          Don’t be sick, work through it, not ask for anything, and hide your pain. He might need direction, but he doesn’t sound like a gaslighter to me.

        • Avatar of Beryl
          Beryl July 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

          Cindy, I don’t mean to sound harsh, but sometimes we as women need to give our guys a little taste of their own medicine and that may mean not being available everytime they call, want us, or even need us, unless they have a serious emergncy.
          You see, sometimes they have us just where we want them. Whn they are horny wear there, when they want some emotional time we are there. Well, we need to give them a little tough love sometimes. It works!! Really!!

      • Avatar of bzagaja
        bzagaja June 27, 2012 at 7:56 am #

        I don’t think you’re crazy. I’d like to shed some light on one thing you said though. When you say that you know you have to deal with more responsibility than he is you are automatically expecting more out of him. The key to a good relationship is to give love and support and expect nothing in return. This goes both ways and I do believe he definitely should be more supportive of you as you are obviously a real trooper. With that said though I’m sure he feels like he carries a great deal of responsibility as well. You can go on and list the things that you take care of and he doesn’t take care of but relatively speaking he doesn’t know the difference. It’s like how someone living in poverty can be truly happy while a rich man is depressed. You don’t know anything other than your own life and emotions so you don’t really know how the other person feels. I am absolutely NOT saying you are wrong and I’m sure you do work very hard but I just think that partners should put each other on equal footing. For the record I do agree with the article but I believe there is such a thing as overreacting. Not in the sense that the person shouldn’t feel the way they feel but when somebody throws a tantrum and can’t have a rational conversation about the subject without being emotionally charged I think sometimes they need to be calmed down or left alone until they can sort it out. A person cannot think rationally when they are emotionally charged but a rational conversation with their partner is something that needs to happen in these situations. Communication is key. A lot of men need to learn how to listen to their partner.

    • Avatar of chantelnm90
      chantelnm90 November 9, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Of course there are times when a person is being hypersensitive… however, I don’t understand why people are thinking that he is encompassing all of these… he is simply saying that WHEN women are being acceptably sensitive and are called crazy, it affects us negatively… AND that this is something that has been imprinted in our beliefs that women are oversensitive, crazy-prone humans.
      Men & women use this as an excuse to get out of trouble… this should not be considered acceptable behavior simply because it’ “human behavior”

  9. Avatar of Kellebelle
    Kellebelle April 27, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I love this article. I actually stood up for myself once to an exboyfriend. He had said something that begins with, “I don’t care if you are PMSing…” when I got huffy about something(this was a while back, and I don’t remember the whole argument). He came out of the shower and we had a little chat. I said, “Number one, it is never OK for you to blame my anger on PMS. And number 2, even if I am PMSing, my anger didn’t just appear out of nowhere. You did something wrong and it has upset me.” I said this very quietly and firmly. He immediately apologized and admitted that I was right. I felt 10 times better having my feelings acknowledged. Point in case, people just want to have their feelings accepted, put yourself in the other person’s shoes (man or woman) and try to see where they are coming from.

    • Avatar of sarakay
      sarakay May 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      I do not love this article, but of all of the responses on this page, yours is a perfect example of the way that this issue should be dealt with in real, viable relationships that intend to endure.

      As much as I relate to what’s being discussed in this article and I have seen many other women experience it as well, to blanket over confrontation within relationships like this is something I wish feminism would curtail. As much as some guys do this, those who do it purely a a manipulative tool are not people who deserve to be in a relationship. On the other extreme, there are women who use their greater license to emotional expression to manipulate just as much, and they don’t deserve to be in a relationship either.

      The real problem here is that so few people take the logical step you took in your relationship to fix this problem. Women who don’t like having their feelings invalidated need to A) evaluate their feelings before expressing them and make sure that they are appropriate in the situation B) express those feelings assertively and with tact. If their partner’s responses don’t change they need to have a frank discussion about the way that makes them feel the way that you did with your boyfriend. If their partner accepts, great. If their partner explains why they feel the need to react the way they have then those feelings should be taken into consideration and worked through. If their partner still shows no interest in the importance of respecting her, she needs to evaluate whether it is a viable relationship to be in or if its time to cut your losses.

      To oversimplify a relationship to the degree I felt this article did is simply unhelpful. That’s why the first comment was, in essence, “that’s nice, but what do I do about it?” and why your comment, ever so intelligently was “this is how I did.” Bravo. You’re a smart and assertive lady.

  10. Avatar of mexanesevian
    mexanesevian April 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Other studies posit an evolutionary cause for these gender differences in emotion. Men serving as hunter-gatherers needed to take more risks and be more dominating, while women who stayed home and cared for young needed to be more nurturing and cautious. These roles have resisted change as human society has progressed, and indeed, progress may cause these roles to become even more pronounced.

    This was found in an article about the emotional differences between men and women. I recall years back a study that showed a connection in the brain that deals with the emotional responses and dealing with daily things to be very close to each other in the brains of females, which was theorized to cause the heightened emotional reactions women have to small things, where as in men the same two parts of the brain are apart, which would leave to reason why men don’t sweat over the small things as often, or throw fits of emotional anger over something we can brush off.

  11. Avatar of rudeboy
    rudeboy March 28, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    What an enlightening article? I’ll remember that it’s my problem and my lack of sensitivity the next time my friend cries all day, because of a TV commercial. Or my girlfriend thinks that she is going to go blind, because she wore her contacts past their recommended date. They irritated her eyes and her next thought was that I wouldn’t date her anymore if she was blind. Or my mom disowns me for receiving mediocre grades in my first semester of college, and refuses to pick me up from home after my first months on my own. I feel much better now to know that it has always been my problem, and not that the women in my life ARE occasionally totally irrational and inconsolable.

    • Avatar of InnerOuter
      InnerOuter April 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      To rudeboy: I started reading the first two sentences of your post, and could immediately see that you need to start taking responsibility for making your own bad decisions regarding the women you choose to spend time with and how you react to them. Once you started talking about your mother, it became completely clear why you have this problem. I recommend talking to a professional about this, rather than continuing to blame everyone around you for just not being the people you want them to be. Trust me, you’ll be happier in the long run.

      To Everyone Who Keeps Giving Examples of Why Women are Nuts: STOP. Just stop. You’re gaslighting in the comment section on an article about gaslighting, how far in denial do you have to be to keep going at this point? So far, the examples given here are largely either describing behavior that no one thinks is healthy (and in many cases would be categorized as abusive or the reaction of any abuse victim in a stressful situation), or you’re highlighting incidents where you completely ignored the feelings of the person in question and categorized their concerns as trivial/not worth being upset over (and therefore women really are crazy).

      Neither of those is an indication that all women are nuts, or that they always overreact. It’s an indication that the time we as a society most often notice that people are potentially overreacting is when they’re women, and that we feel safe just writing them off as being irrational when we don’t want to deal with the problem. And this is happening with both genders.

      Try this: next time you find yourself starting to say (even to yourself) “Calm down, I was just joking” or “You’re just being overly emotional right now”, take a step back and ask why you don’t want to deal with what is going on. I guarantee (if you’re seriously doing this and not just mouthing the words) that you’ll start finding answers that you’ve never really thought about before.

      • Avatar of BuddyDinosaur
        BuddyDinosaur April 29, 2012 at 2:10 am #

        Inner Outer. I’m sure RudeBoy was only demonstrating that there are times when women (as with all people) are over-sensitive or times when they act crazy.. such as when they are pregnant.. menopause.. that time of the month.. maybe they are high strung about something completely separate.

        But this article and your comment both suggest that a man who tries to make a woman aware of ANY over-reaction is ALWAYS in the wrong. Although it may be insensitive to offend a woman in some way, no matter how trivial, and then act like they are acting strange.. there are cases when those reactions have nothing to do with the man’s minor offenses at all. There are many variables to any situation.

        There ARE crazy people on the planet.. as there are crazy men, there are crazy women. And we all have moments where we behave irrationally. I certainly want to be set straight when I wrongfully lash out at someone who is only trying to make a playful comment.. even if it did seem a little negative or insensitive, it pays to be more understanding of these situations. Perhaps someone told me that my hair looked messy and I slapped them in the mouth or something.. and they told me I’m over reacting. That’s completely legitimate.

        While I agree with most of the article and a lot of it holds true it seems to claim some form of a universal truth behind it.. I noticed that there was no real opposing argument involved and nearly every portion was one-sided…

        The truth is that women do act crazy sometimes. And men do as well. It’s all a matter of specific situations and specific contexts… what reaction fits what offense and what a person does compared to that defines how normal they are acting compared to usual.

        And by your comment.. trying to directly apply what he said to the article and especially making a judgement by the first two lines of rudeboy’s comment.. you are showing severe signs of a confirmatory bias.

        • Avatar of BuddyDinosaur
          BuddyDinosaur April 29, 2012 at 2:31 am #

          Also.. keep in mind that a persons reactions to another do not have to directly correlate to that other person and can be extremely affected by outside variables. Like say maybe I got pregnant and my husband was late for dinner one day. and previously that day I had seen a T.V. show about a man who was late for dinner because he was sleeping with another woman and I started to wonder about whether that was what was happening in my relationship..

          BUT… the real reason why my husband was late was because he got held up in traffic and had no way to get home in time for dinner. Yet, I treated him in an un-trusting manner and lashed out.. it would be perfectly alright for him to tell me to calm down.. because he had done nothing wrong.

          Now unless you are being completely literal about this and you think that men are suggesting that women are ACTUALLY mentally ill and that there is something really seriously wrong with them.. I’d say this article is a little off base.

          • Avatar of kdoctor726
            kdoctor726 May 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

            You are completely right in this situation. But I think he is not talking about these times. He is talking about the times when a women is being called crazy because let’s say she is having a bad day and her boyfriend comments on the way she is making dinner when he is sitting idly by doing nothing to help her and then she gets upset. Or let’s say a fiance knows that his partner has a low self-esteem and comments negatively on what she is wearing out to a meeting one day and then she becomes tearful and he says she is overly emotional. These things are not “crazy” or being “overly emotional.” These are things that would normally make anyone upset. I think the point here is that when a man gets upset in a situation like this is it considered a breach of respect and taken seriously. But when it occurs with a women she is labelled as imbalanced or off-the wall. And yes as women we have to work on speaking up. The women cooking dinner could have asked assertively yet politely, “you know I’ve been having a bad day and I really would appreciate it if you could help me out with fixing the salad.” Or the women becoming tearful could explain her tears and say, “I understand you’re looking out for me but it’s still difficult for me to take criticism, please respect that this is something that has shaken me, I need some comfort.” But why should we have to? Do men have to ask these things? No. I think these are the situations which Yashar are alluding to.

        • Avatar of testy testy
          testy testy June 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

          In all the examples people are giving about women having emotional reactions, they’re being called ‘irrational’. But in none of the examples am I seeing guys say how they responded, or make any attempt to put 2 and 2 together to have any comfort, which is usually probably all the girl needs, for whatever reason. That’s a normal human need (for safety) that everyone is born with. People’s experiences just lead them to try and get that comfort different ways.

          The SITUATIONS may seem to come out of the blue, but the trigger and need is always pretty easily arrived at if you take 2 seconds to think compassionately about what the upset person is expressing.

          Rudeboy is a perfect case.
          He called this example to play: “My girlfriend thinks that she is going to go blind, because she wore her contacts past their recommended date. They irritated her eyes and her next thought was that I wouldn’t date her anymore if she was blind.”

          What was his response to her? Instead of annoyance, wouldn’t it be very simple to just reach out and say “Honey, I’m here for you through thick or thin.”
          Unless… he wouldn’t be. Which sounds like the case, since he’d rather consider her crazy, than comfort her clear insecurity, which he’s only making worse (and validating) by not being compassionate.

          Reacting like a woman is irrational or over-emotional, is usually what CAUSES a women to get that way, whether she started that way or not. Everyone has the power to Comfort and provide a minute of compassion instead, and that would save so much heartache and stress, if that adjustment could be made. We’d all be healthier.

          • Avatar of iSoulShines
            iSoulShines July 25, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

            When someone feels emotions like anger, jealousy, and frustration it is a reaction to their basic needs that are not being met, whether it be the need for trust, appreciation, communication, companionship, acceptance, or happiness. We are not traditionally taught to recognize these things, but we all have the same human needs, regardless of gender, race, or age.

            Because we haven’t learned to properly recognize and express our emotions and needs, we often ignore them ourselves, and allow others to ignore them as well, which often creates resentment. We may begin to search for more extreme ways of having our needs recognized, sometimes resorting to crying, lashing out, using “the silent treatment”, or violence. We all know that these behaviors are not usually a productive way to have our needs heard or met, but we don’t often have the tools to express our true needs.

            It is important to remember that we all experience pain and we all have unmet needs. When someone is upset, angry, crying, “digging for compliments”, using violence, or any other type of “crazy” behavior, please try to recognize that they are experiencing pain and an unmet need that they are having difficulty expressing and that they would like to have, at the very least, acknowledged.

            It is a challenge to want to offer your compassion and empathy to someone who is acting “crazy” or “out of line”, but addressing their needs is an important step to finding a solution to make all parties happy.

            It might be helpful to ask things like “Can you explain to me why you’re upset?”, “Have I done something to hurt or offend you?”, “Do you need to feel confident knowing that I care about you?”, “Do you want me to acknowledge that you’re feeling this way?”. It may take a bit of practice and encouragement to get them to dig for the real unmet need at the bottom of all the emotions.

            Of course, it is not your responsibility to always know and understand someone else’s needs. It is always our own responsibility to speak up about our own needs. Though, it is just as important to take responsibility of how our actions may inhibit or help others meet their needs.

            This is not a common part of our culture, language, and understanding to recognize these needs. It takes a lot of practice to recognize in ourselves, to speak about clearly, and to then recognize them in others and help them express them as well.

            It is very important to understand that the purpose is to make a connection with the human soul that you are speaking with. Really try to listen. Really try to understand how they are feeling, and clearly express how you are feeling, remembering no one is right or wrong; we’ve just miscommunicated about what we each need. Relate, empathize, and realize that you have the same needs, even though we all go about meeting those needs in different ways.

            That’s what this is all about: the human connection. Life is impossible and unfulfilling without other humans. We are all more alike than we are different. Men and women, black and white, young and old, we are all 99% the same!

            I have learned most of this information from a book I have been reading on Nonviolent Communication called “Don’t Be Nice, Be Real,” by Kelly Bryson. Other books and sources of information on Nonviolent Communication also encourage making the connection between emotion, behavior, and unmet needs in resolving conflicts.

            You can read more about Nonviolent Communication here: anchor text

            “Resolve conflicts with more ease, learn to ask for what you want without using demands, begin to hear the true needs of others with less effort, strengthen your personal and professional relationships, and start living your full potential.”

      • Avatar of elfen_berzerker
        elfen_berzerker May 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

        I had to laugh my balls off at you for telling people they’re gas-lighting while you’re gas-lighting. The whole damn article and every response to it is gas-lighting.

        Yes you’re gas-lighting by the very definition these articles on gas-lighting uses. You are telling the original poster that they are overreacting and that their concerns are not valid. You even go so far as tell them to get professional help.

        If every guy that ever responds on any of these threads is posting examples of how the women in their lives do irrational and often outrageous things it stands to reason that WOMEN ARE FUCKING NUTS and you can’t claim otherwise.

        I’m not sure if the people that come and cheer these things on are in a completely different alternate reality where their actions don’t matter or if they’re just stupid.

        • Avatar of cryptess
          cryptess June 5, 2012 at 2:20 am #

          How can comments between strangers on a website be equated to the systematic emotional bait & switch that is gaslighting?

          That’s right, it can’t. It’s unlikely that many of us have the rapport necessary for such invasive manipulation. So all of the comments throughout this page about gaslighting happening here are pretty much moot. Thanks for playing.

    • Avatar of dh
      dh May 4, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      you are 100% correct that women can go places a man never knew existed when responding to something. a more active imagination perhaps?
      i mean no disrespect when i say
      i kinda wanna put your girl in the “big busted blonde bimbo ‘ type here as that does sound like a crazy reaction to contacts .
      to me the issue here is why she becomes paranoid that you will not like her if she has any imperfection. where did she get that idea?
      i would have been like, ‘screw what you think of me….i don’t want to go blind here’. but her concern is being unattractive to you. if she gained a few pounds would you stop seeing her?
      if she were in an accident would you be there for her thru possible long term recovery? deep down she probably feels you would not. or she is finding goofy was to get your attention maybe ?
      there is a comedian named mark gungor that does a very funny skit called a ‘tale of two brains’. how men and women think. on you tube…the one uploaded by lovinglast is about 5 mins.
      you will instantly see why your girl came to the conclusion she did and why men can’t even begin to get it….nor should they try.also shows us women what guys are really thinking… puts a very funny twist on things ! watch it with your girl.

      • Avatar of dh
        dh May 4, 2012 at 9:41 am #

        sorry…above reply was meant for rudeboy about the women in his life….

  12. Avatar of tornado
    tornado February 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    I’ve got a theory that Ms. Daisy Cutter is actually a misogynist fella who is imitating a woman posting foolishly misandrist comments in order to make any men reading this page hate women like he does….

  13. Avatar of hiddenbarrier
    hiddenbarrier January 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Well, I don’t think men would be so inclined to gaslighting and berating women’s mental and emotional condition if it weren’t for the millions and millions of female misogynists who are happy to observe and contribute their own trash in an effort to demean other females. Whereever there’s a man calling a woman crazy/nuts/overemotional, you can be sure there’s a group of females behind him echoing his every word to his satisfaction and validation. Look in the mirror ladies and you’ll see a big part of the problem.

    • Avatar of mistyblue
      mistyblue February 2, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      I thought the very same thing. Society has portrayed women as overly emotional beings in every situation I can think of. I too have been guilty, I suppose. Recently I have been suspecting that my daughter, which is 13 almost 14, is either menstruating or having an issue with a friend, every time she snaps at someone in the house. Instead, it may be that she is genuinely frustrated with something, or someone. I have always taught my children, through my own actions, that their feelings are important and aren’t wrong. I will take this article and change my way of thinking and acting. Thankfully I have never verbally expressed any of this to my daughter. I am offended at the thought of what I was thinking!

    • Avatar of Lostsoul1995
      Lostsoul1995 February 8, 2012 at 1:34 am #

      Gaslighting is why I don’t speak to my mother anymore. Everything I said was either an exaggeration or I simply couldn’t understand. I turned 18, moved half way across the continent and lost her number in the trash. My ex-wife’s mother was the same way. When my wife started to show the same symptoms I tried to talk to her about it. Her statement and I quote was “You’re just being a man.” I handed her the divorce paperwork the next week.
      My point is that as a male I feel very resentful of this article, not because gaslighting doesn’t happen or even that women are more often the focus of it than men. It’s the fact that if something happens to women more often than men it is treated as a woman’s problem.
      What about it just being a problem for people? I mean, I could say you’re right, that this is a woman’s problem, because men like myself just won’t tolerate it and will send you on your way. But that is a very sexist attitude. Just like the attitude of this whole article.

      • Avatar of wilpri
        wilpri April 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

        Good point.

      • Avatar of kdoctor726
        kdoctor726 May 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

        I applaud that you were able to break ties so easily. As women though it’s not as hard. We (unfortunately) have a lot more oxytocin than men do. Oxytocin is often dubbed the “relationshop hormone.” It is excreted during sex, during breastfeeding, and all around it is in higher levels in women than in men. It is was creates the strong bond between mother and baby and women and their partners. During caveman times women who didn’t try to seek out and work out relationships often were vulnerable because they could not protect themselves since our bodies are physically weaker. Men would be better off if they didn’t care so much about relationships, they could hunt, they could build houses with more stronger/heavier material, etc. This is something that is just genetically programmed in our bodies. But the oxytocin, coupled with years of socialization of what being a “good girl” is leads to the fact that we suffer through gaslighting and can’t get out of it as easy as men. You simply left and broke ties. But because of the oxytocin women have, and because as “good girls” we need to stay with our men, we need to for the children, we need to adjust ourselves to maintain the relationshop, we feel compelled by our own brains to suffer through the gaslighting. So yes it is a problem for everyone, but I feel women suffer from it a lot more simply because of socialization and biology. The good thing, however, is that as people we have the largest frontal lobes out of all animals and because of this we can change the way we think. As women be less affected but also men and women can stop using these tactics. It doesn’t change the fact that women may suffer more.

    • Avatar of anon123
      anon123 March 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      And why do you think this is? Do you think that women are just naturally inclined to hate themselves and other women? Where do you think this is coming from? I think that both men and women are capable of gaslighting, yes, but the example “you’re late :)” was brilliant in that I think that we can all agree that we have seen this before, and much more often, if not only, with women. Why is that? Being a “girl” or a “woman” or a “sissy” or being “feminine” is both an insult for men AND women. How often do you hear “stop being such a man” as an insult, from either sex?? Many women become misogynists themselves, either unconsciously or consciously. Unconsciously you often see this expressed as the women who make derogatory remarks about other women, often remarks that had been made about them in the past or that had greatly offended them initially, if they were being honest. It’s the projection of a shadow. Less often, but still frequently, sadly, you get the more feminist women deciding that their more “feminine” qualities are repulsive, and finding the same in less “liberated” women, because they often feel that these qualities have been used against them and that women who do not see or feel this are not as intelligent or experienced. Very rarely is it that you see a feminist genuinely standing up for femininity.

  14. Avatar of Izzy Peasy
    Izzy Peasy January 26, 2012 at 3:44 am #

    Ok. Often enough, this is very true. But you know what, some women are crazy. It’s called premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and about 4% of all women have it. I have it. What do I do? How do I fit into your story of it all being just a myth? Gaslighting is very real, and it can happen to me too – people who want to invalidate my feelings can use my high sensitivity as a tool. But you know what, my high sensitivity is a tool for me to notice other people’s manipulation. Yes, I’m very sensitive, but that doesn’t mean what I’m feeling isn’t real. Most of the time, it just means I’m more perceptive than people saner than me. So my point is, even if I am crazy, people don’t get to tell me my feelings are invalid or I’m imagining things. If I’m sensitive, it’s not an excuse not to listen, it’s a reason to listen very carefully.

  15. Avatar of Sarah B
    Sarah B January 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    This article is so PERFECT; it addresses a very harmful habit that men have – constantly demeaning women. Another similar thing that I notice that men do is that they imitate their wives (or moms/girlfriends, etc) using the “nagging voice,” when they are relating a story about something their female loved on said or did. I hear it all the time at work. A man tells a story and mentions something his wife said. Whether she was nagging or not, he will ALWAYS give her the “nagging” voice when he retells the incident. It makes me furious!!

    • Avatar of Coleen
      Coleen April 6, 2012 at 11:44 am #

      Women do the same… the “male voice” is what women do when they mock men and complain about them. What drives me nuts, is that women I know can never see things from both sides; they just blame, accuse and complain. Women routinely are shown in peer-reviewed research to be more psychologically (and physically) abusive than men -but will they ever openly admit it? No, because “responsibility” is something they don’t like. Women have very harmful habbits as well, but instead of changing them, they just focus on men’s.

      • Avatar of cryptess
        cryptess June 5, 2012 at 2:37 am #

        Interesting broad strokes you paint with there.

        Does anyone else find it interesting that a commenter with a female name feels the intense need to turn an article advocating for female abuse victims into a critical review of female flaws?

        Well, ok, I’ll play. I’ve gone through periods in my life where I blamed my partners for my own indecisiveness and played the “Guess My Grievance” game and fell into the stereotypical “If you don’t already know then I’m not going to tell you!” cycles. I was in my late teens / early 20′s at the time, and when I realized it was happening, I worked DAMN hard to correct myself AS IT HAPPENED (because habits can be tough to break without catching them in the moment) …

        I’ve learned, bit by bit, to state my point of view directly rather than passive aggressively, and to approach the people in my life with more constructive tones and less accusation. Sometimes I will say “Maybe this is irrational / paranoid / overreactive, but I still feel X / Y / Z. Can you help me deal with that?”

        Am I perfect? No. (Maybe this should be HELL no.) But I somehow manage to take responsibility and hold myself accountable for bad habits, despite the horrific disadvantage of my vagina!

        And I dare you, dare you, DARE the FUCK out of you to turn to those same girls and say “He is such an asshole! You should leave him right now! I’ll help you pack up his stuff and throw it out on the lawn and I know how to change locks.” Their tune will switch straight over. Sadly enough, moreso if they are, in fact, abuse victims. You’ll hear a sudden outpour of “No really he’s just frustrated at work and I antagonized him and he’s really really really TRYING FOR REALLIES.”

        But then again, with your self-hating anti-feminist ways pouring out, maybe I don’t want you around abuse victims, because you might jump right onto that “Yeah, maybe it is in fact your fault, you silly girl you” stance that self-hating anti-feminists seem to so love.

  16. Avatar of edie98
    edie98 January 15, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    I just want to say that I really enjoyed this article and got something out of it both because as a woman I’ve been on the receiving end of this behavior, and also because I can apply the terminology to gaslighting I’ve encountered elsewhere, including from other women and especially my own mother.

    Coming from that perspective, I think it’s time someone pointed out that this is an article, not an encyclopedia.

    In other words, the author’s choice to point out a specific form of gaslighting pervasive in our culture, does not preclude the existence of other forms of gaslighting, including predominantly female-on-male forms, attacks on “sensitive” men, or women gaslighting other women. It just so happens that so many women have experienced this, and the author’s heard so many stories from them, that a pattern has formed demanding recognition.

    The problems of men’s treatment of women, and our society’s support for that, deserve a place on the internet. They do not need to be buttressed with five million disclaimers for all the other problems in the world, any more than specific charities should be compelled to explain why they only address hunger, and not also cancer, homelessness, AIDS, etc. If you want to write an article on how the term gaslighting applies to something specific that many women do to men, go right ahead–there’s a space on the internet for that too. And it will get more respect from me and a lot of other women reading this than just defensively reacting about your issues on an article thread about other people’s issues.

  17. Avatar of NobodysAingyl
    NobodysAingyl January 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    I’m only part way through the comments, but I feel the urge to leave my two cents.

    Yes, I’m a woman. Yes, I’m a bit sensitive, I’m definitely emotional, and I fully acknowledge that I tend to over-react over a plethora of things, some important, some so trivial to be beyond silly. However, I am in therapy in order to unlearn bad behaviors and ingrained responses so that I can learn to actually be an adult instead of the child I’ve been for far too long.

    Gaslighting is definitely a problem in our society, but so is handing out ‘doctor’s notes’ left and right to people (men AND women) that excuse their behavior because of the situation, their upbringing, their personality traits, etc.

    Emotions matter, yes, but so does behavior, and there is NO excuse for hurtful, damaging, abusive behavior. Temper tantrums are for children, not grown adults.

    If you’ve ever been to therapy, or more specifically DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you learn that emotions themselves are not bad. They just are.

    However, you learn how to examine your emotions and the situations that trigger them, and to see if how you feel fits the situation or if they are unjustified. You may be being triggered by an unconscious (or conscious) memory and not by the actual event you’re currently responding to.

    You also learn that irrational emotions and behaviors are ones that do not fit the situation and that only make things worse. Using elfen_berserker’s (apologies if mispelled!) post as an example and responding to ohwowreally reply, blowing up over a knife, kitty litter, or cigarettes does not fit the situations of using the wrong knife to cut an onion, using more litter than necessary in the kitty box, or not correcting a cashier when they give you the wrong cigarettes, even IF the true underlying cause is a repeated dismissal of requests over something perceived as trivial and unimportant.

    Being upset over not being listened to is logical, but going over the top in reaction is NEVER ok.

    Being genetically dispositioned toward certain behaviors is also not an excuse. My biological father’s family is legendary for their tempers, and how quick they are to fly off the handle and get out of control. I used to be the same way, but I’ve learned to reign in my temper and THINK before going buck nutty.

    Being emotional is not a crime. Standing up for yourself is not a crime. Calling people on their bullshit when they invalidate you in an attempt to avoid the issue of their own behavior or so they don’t have to deal with what you’re trying to talk to them about? Also not a crime, but the way you do it is just as important as doing it in the first place.

    I will never apologize for being a bit sensitive to some issues, I will continue to work on myself so that I am able to respond appropriately rather than irrationally in situations that upset me, and I will continue to encourage the women I know to do the same thing.

    Also, my bf occasionally tells me to calm down when I get over the top. Our therapist has only cautioned him on how he goes about it, since his entire purpose in doing so is so we can discuss the issue instead of me going all RAWR and making things worse.

  18. Avatar of KIA
    KIA December 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    very interesting article. I agree that the “gaslighting” phenomenon is a problem but I think the author is overlooking one key point; I think it is important to clarify between irrational feelings and irrational behavior. Feelings are subjective. By that nature no one can really tell another person how they should FEEL about something. So irrational feelings is almost like an oxymoron. SO, the author is correct in asserting that men should not label a women’s strong emotional reactions as “crazy” or even “irrational.”

    I acknowledge that this concept is difficult for me as a “typical” man to accept and I’m sure it was a problem in some of my past relationships. However, I think women in particular also need to understand that emotions often lead to some truly awful and inappropriate BEHAVIORS. And this is simply unacceptable.

    For example, in my past relationships with certain highly emotional women the slightest provocation would often lead to behaviors that included violence, verbal abusive, and/or uncontrollable crying. Instead of calmly talking about feelings, these women would lash out and/or cry to the point where effective communication was impossible. That kind of excessively emotional behavior is unfortunately typical of women and it is something that men around the world have to deal with on a daily basis. When irrational behavior like that occurs, pointing it out is not psychological manipulation, it is an attempt to let the person know that what they are doing is wrong and will not be tolerated.

    • Avatar of Aisly
      Aisly December 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

      I fail to understand your logic in saying these are unacceptable behaviors, considering mens’ emotions lead to some pretty ‘unacceptable’ behaviors as well. You cannot be so quick to judge one sex without judging your own lest you want to sound hypocritical and bigoted. Women are programmed to think more emotionally and sympathetically than men, men tend to think more logically, more mathematically and methodically, therefore you can’t say these are unacceptable to the predisposition to think thusly. Men act just as irrationally when their emotions come to the surface, you can’t deny that, we have all seen it happen.

      Telling a woman she her behavior is unacceptable when she upset is probably why those relationships didn’t work for you, not to mention if there’s been so many of these women in your life you might have learnt a thing or two by now. If you want someone who isn’t so ‘unstable’ then try dating a man who does these things to women, or maybe just a man in general considering they don’t ‘get emotional’. I find this completely overreaching and for you to say such shows your lack of understanding the psyche.

      • Avatar of Chris
        Chris December 23, 2011 at 4:38 am #

        “You cannot be so quick to judge one sex without judging your own lest you want to sound hypocritical and bigoted. ”

        Usually I would fully agree to this sentence and applaud to it. Because it is just so true. The problem is, in this discussions it is like that in 99% of the topics, isn’t it? Or where is the judging of the other sex in so many posts or comments here?
        Also I don’t see KIA unfairly judging one sex. All that he does in his post is differentiating between feelings and behaviour. Yes, feelings are subjective and one should accept the ffelings of his/her partner. Point. But actions and behaviour are somethin different. And there simply are behaviours that are over the top, wrong or simply “crazy”. And why is it wrong pointing this out? And Yes, this is the case for men too.
        But in this topic, emotional reactions, it is more often something women do. Again, more often, not always.
        And no this is not about reacting emotional or being emotional it is about completely irrational behaviour.

      • Avatar of KIA
        KIA January 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

        I never said it was ok for men to act irrationally, I said that women in particular should be careful about letting their emotions lead to irrational behaviors because, as you also stated, women tend to think and act more with their emotions, and this can often lead to irrational and unacceptable behaviors. I also never said womens’ predisposition to thinking more emotionally is unacceptable. I actually stated the exact opposite by saying that no one has the right to tell another person how they should think or feel.

        With regards to me personally, I concur that (like the vast majority of men in this world) I do have a rather narrow understanding of the female psyche and that has certainly lead to some issues in my past relationships. However, I am also part of the minority of men who is willing to extend time and effort to learn and improve in this regard. Your suggestion to resort to homosexuality instead of making the above mentioned efforts is a terrible suggestion. Aside from the fact that I am not physically attracted to men, taking that approach would mean that I am cheating myself out of an opportunity to learn and improve. At the end of the day, I think that is what life is all about.

    • Avatar of wilpri
      wilpri April 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

      It sounds to me like you get involved with this type of women so they will always be to blame when something goes wrong. Protecting yourself from being the bad guy. Maybe you know why….. I am a woman not like this at all. I have never yelled at a man for any reason and have thrown something once. That’s it.

  19. Avatar of letty
    letty December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Thank you so much for this article. I stayed in an abusive relationship for 11 years because I was made to feel like I was over-reactive and unstable. My ex husband used many of these techniques with me and still does because we have to communicate for the sake of our 4 kids. When I see him he always raises a sensitive issue and undermines my feelings and when I get worked up he says I’m nuts. He often organises things and leaves out an important piece of information and then treats me like I’m stupid when I don’t understand. Just yesterday I had to pick up some money from him and he let me know that he had it and I said that I was just at Bunnings and would collect it when I was finished there. When I went to collect it he wasn’t there. After unsuccessfully trying to contact him I went home. A while later he called and said he was at his parent’s,I asked “why didn’t you tell me?” He said “I’ve been here the whole time.” I asked again “then why didn’t you tell me that’s where you were?” He then brushed me off saying that it wasn’t a big deal. It was a big deal to me, I went out of my way to collect it and he has been stuffing me around with child support since we separated. It is so much easier to deal with though now that I can see what he is doing and I now realise that I am not neurotic, that most of the time he is setting me up to react and then putting me down. That was also a tactic that he used a lot when we were married, he would build me up and then when I was feeling good he would tear me to pieces, it got to the point where I was actually afraid to feel good about myself because I knew what was coming next, and when he treated me badly it was always because of something I’d done. I have a lot of girl friends that are treated the same and this is that type of behaviour that traps them in abusive relationships because there self confidence is so greatly diminished. It is a whole new form of domestic violence that we need to shine a light on. My husband used to think he wasn’t abusive because he didn’t bash me. We have made progress on making domestic violence socially unacceptable but how do we address something that is so subtle.

  20. Avatar of sarahmay
    sarahmay December 7, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    Thank you so much for this. I’d never heard of gaslighting before. But I am going to print out this article for my boyfriend for the next time he tells me to stop being over-sensitive or to calm down. It’s great to have specific vocabulary to identify a problem rather than just a discomfiting feeling that he’s playing power games to refuse to listen to me. Thanks

  21. Avatar of Dedees World
    Dedees World November 27, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I think that the intention behind this post is great, but at the end of the day women need to wake up and set up boundaries for the “abuse” they are willing to accept. At the end of the day I think that society is only reflecting back to us the inner beliefs that we’ve been ingrained with. It’s our responsibility to manage our inner beliefs and to know that we’re not “crazy” for acting or feeling the way we do and then society won’t have a choice in respecting that. The Dalai Lama said it best :” Be the change that you seek in the world.”

  22. Avatar of Coleen
    Coleen November 22, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    It’s just like the slap on the back and “be a man; big boys don’t cry” that men and boys get when they show emotions at any given time when others would rather not hear of their plight or admit that they hurt males too. Then, they are told they are defective because they “don’t know to express themselves” after bieng raised in a society that psychologically beats any emotional expression out of them. They’re mad = controling/domineering/crazy. They’re sad or complain about being abused, hurt etc = baby/wussy and many more. “Gaslighting”, the term used in this article, is applied by both sexes against their own sex, and the other. When journalists can finally write articles which shed light on both sides of equations instead of “blaming” one for all social and psychological ills, perhaps we will be on the way to “healing” instead of applying salt to the wounds of one group whilst accusing the other.

  23. Avatar of lesath
    lesath November 20, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I am a woman. When I can disagree with a woman about a matter of gender issues, such as this one, without her becoming hysterical and disbelieving (rather than arguing with me in a reasoned way), then I might accept the point you are trying to make.

  24. Avatar of elfen_berzerker
    elfen_berzerker November 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Lets toss out a few examples from my life, all of which have taken place in the last 72 hours.

    Used the “wrong knife” cutting onions. I used an expensive knife instead of one of the cheap knives that we got at the dollar store. Her response? Elevated voice (to the point that the cats hid) and me being thrown out of the kitchen.

    Too much litter when I changed the cat box. She yelled at me about wasting the stockpile of litter (We only have six boxes left!!!!).

    The clerk at the gas station gave me king size cigarettes instead of 100s when I stopped to get her cigarettes on the way home from work. She threw them at me and told me to go get the right ones.

    My cell phone was turned off because I was in a doctor’s appointment with one of my clients. She tried calling to tell me she would be at her mothers when I got out but obviously couldn’t get through. When I turn my phone back on after the appointment there’s a dozen missed calls and several voice mails accusing me of having an affair.

    I beg someone to, with a straight face and not just being a troll, tell me that I am not justified when I respond to her by asking her if she is out of her ever loving mind or tell her to chill out in situations like these.

    • Avatar of cruztacean
      cruztacean November 9, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      But the article is not about men who tell women they’re crazy and overemotional when they’re actually being crazy and overemotional. The article is about men who say hurtful, insensitive, verbally abusive things to a woman, and then when it hurts her, he tells her she’s crazy and overemotional. My ex was a lot like that. He would deliberately work me up so that he COULD tell me I was crazy. If it didn’t bother me, he’d keep going until it did. As for your (wife? girlfriend? You didn’t specify) it sounds like she’s highly unstable. She’s the exception, not the rule, just like my ex is. Most men are like my normal, healthy, non-abusing *present* husband.

    • Avatar of yantu
      yantu November 14, 2011 at 1:36 am #

      She is not being oversensitive, “crayzeee”, or overly emotional. She is being an abusive and manipulative asshole. That’s the danger of using the wrong words, you do not realize the seriousness of it all. “Crazy” keeps being used for all sorts of casual purposes, and is passive. She is not doing anything the slightest bit passive, nor is this something you “just” have to learn to “suck up and take it like a man”.
      Please realize you are being emotionally abused if this is a common occurrence for you, and that women are perpetrators of domestic violence too: meaning that if she starts getting violent with you, it IS domestic abuse. It’s not “oh those crazy women”, it’s downright genuine abuse, by someone who happens to be female.

      Being abused by a female spouse does not mean you are any less of a man, and just because women often use tools when physically abusing their spouse does not mean it’s not as bad as someone who uses their fists, or any less real. Your partner badly needs therapy, as she currently promotes a heavily toxic relationship. Please consider leaving her and save yourself, or at the least insist on couple therapy if the relationship is not to end. Mental abuse is mental abuse, no matter if the source is male or female. You too deserve to be treated like a human being.

      Besides, most people use too little kitty litter, and clean it too seldom.

    • Avatar of ohwowreally
      ohwowreally November 14, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Now, it’s entirely possible that this woman is simply one of those people who have not exerted the effort necessary to control their emotions like an adult. We all know men and women like that, who regardless of gender just need to grow up a bit and stop letting their gut reactions rule their behavior.

      It’s also possible that she has a biochemical issue. I knew a guy who was incessantly irritable to the point of being kind-of-an-asshole, and eventually found out he had a gluten allergy and it was messing with his moods fiercely. Now gluten-free, he’s so much more chill.

      But, in the interest of seizing upon a potential teaching moment: Perhaps she was not actually upset about the knife or the kitty litter.

      Perhaps she was upset because those are details she has asked you to be aware of repeatedly, and you’re still not considering them.

      Maybe she’s asked you a hundred times not to use her good cheese knife on the onions because it corrodes the metal, and you did it again anyway. Maybe when she pointed that out, you told her to chill out instead of acknowledging that she had made a request that you have once again flaunted, and maybe that’s when her voice raised.

      Summary: She wasn’t yelling about the knife. She was yelling because you are refusing to hear her (not obey, but listen and work together like a partner should), and when she tries again to be heard, you blow her off instead of listening.

      Maybe she told you at length a couple weeks ago that this favored brand of cat litter has been discontinued, so she bought all the boxes the CVS had, and asked you to be a little sparing when using it so you could make it last. Maybe you blew this off as trite or irrational, and so you didn’t even think to actually be sparing as she’d asked.

      Summary: She wasn’t yelling about the litter. She was yelling about you, once again, dismissing her concerns and not hearing her.

      Maybe the fact that you didn’t bother to correct the clerk and get her the cigarettes you know she smokes (King vs. 100s is a big difference to a smoker), showed her a total lack of concern on your part for noticing the details that are important to her.

      Summary: She wasn’t yelling about the cigarettes. She was yelling about the fact that when doing something for her, you chose to only consider the details *you* thought were important, and ignored her wishes. Again, not hearing, dismissing her concerns.

      And maybe, amid an established pattern of her perceiving dismissiveness, lack of hearing, and lack of caring on your part, she has lost trust for you and your dedication to your mutual partnership. Maybe, in that vacuum of trust, many innocuous things can trigger a storm of fear and doubt.

      … And, you know, maybe not. But hopefully this illustrates the fact that depriving vignettes of their context renders them skewed, potentially misleading, and ultimately useless to those of us reading what is, in fact, only your non-contextualized version of events.

      And maybe if none of these scenarios illuminate your situation, they’ll give readers who see themselves in your vignettes fodder for thought.

      Very often what looks like “crazy” and “overreacting” looks like that because you are not actually seeing the real problem: It’s not the knife. It’s the listening.

      • Avatar of ManeMaster
        ManeMaster December 5, 2011 at 10:03 am #

        Bravo@OhWowReally..for saying so eloquently what oftentimes is hard to say. In the heat of moment it’s tough to formulate the right words to not only defend yourself but also speak clearly without looking even crazier to your partner. Well said..

      • Avatar of Famaroux
        Famaroux December 17, 2011 at 1:22 am #

        Thanks so much for this…. excellent. Taken out of context we could think the woman in the story above is a garden variety bully ( and she might be). But yes we do need to hear her side about why she is so trigger happy and angry.

    • Avatar of Amykins
      Amykins November 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      I made an account just to respond to this. Frankly, i think the response from “Ohwowreally” is a bunch of bullplop. Even if she had told him that she prefers not to use the “good” knife or to use “too much litter”, these requests in and of themselves are so trivial, that to get upset over it really is irrational. Berz, if I were you, I would get a divorce. I know it seems like I throw that work out casually; believe me that is far from the case.

      As a woman, I know I’m sensitive, and damnit there is NOTHING wrong with that. :p Being engaged to a tender, sensitive, loving man who also happens to be built like an ox and teaches kung-fu, I like to think that sticking to my guns and not backing down from bullies about my emotional state has paid off. But I also know to listen when someone says that something I get mad about isn’t worth getting mad about, you know? I stop, and think it over, and sometimes they’re right and I apologize, sometimes I feel justified and we continue discussing it. Sad that your wife chooses to shut you out and simply abuse you instead.

      • Avatar of ManeMaster
        ManeMaster December 5, 2011 at 10:22 am #

        Amykins- I feel that your missing the point. When you choose to share your life with someone, what you feel is important should be considered as important to your partner. If I like to see the Tupperware stacked neatly and my husband wants to throw it in willy nilly, nothing is going to make me change how I want it stacked. How I react is more important than the Tupperware, I agree, and that is why I gave him a choice. Do it right or don’t do it. Just like Buddha said, “Believe nothing…unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense”. Although he may feel that taking care to stack our Tupperware by size is trivial, I will never change my mind about how it should be done. Now, when he puts away the dishes he either does it by size or not at all. Works for me. Besides, as trivial as some of his pet peeves are, I go with it or let him do it his way.

    • Avatar of elfen_berzerker
      elfen_berzerker November 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

      My post was responded to in exactly the manner I had hoped. The idea of context was brought out. While none of Ohwow’s ideas for what MIGHT have happened are accurate (They really have knives just for cheese?) they did bring up the context of it.

      My post, while completely true, was intentionally lacking certain information that could shed light on the matter. Like the fact that every woman in my wife’s family, from the youngest to the oldest, behaves exactly the same way and this behavior can be seen as somehow inherited. Even the ones that never spent time around other members of the family until they were adults react this way. I’m wondering if there is something possibly genetic going on here.

      Oh and there isn’t a single woman in this family that has not been divorced. Most have been divorced two or three times.

      The author of this article is touching on what could be a very good point but it is too hard, for me at least, to take it seriously. There is no differentiating between justified outbursts of anger and random “freakouts”. I know I’m not the only one who has witnessed inappropriate outbursts of tears or anger over a miniscule problem (Not just my wife and not just women). The vagueness of this article takes a man that thinks being yelled at over a spilled glass of water is going too far and turns them into a villain.

      But this also brings about a very good point. Who decides what is justified? Ask the women in my wife’s family and they would tell you that my wife is justified in yelling because I used too much litter. Why? Because. Others say she’s not over emotional but abusive. Perspective. I never see yelling as justified unless you’re trying to get someone’s attention… from across a field. And even then I have a hard time raising my voice.

    • Avatar of Kellebelle
      Kellebelle April 27, 2012 at 9:00 am #

      I am not going to say that her behavior is appropriate, however, telling her that “she is out of her every loving mind” or “chill out” will not help. It will only make the problem worse. I won’t begin to say I know your situation, but maybe try sitting down and talking with her about these things that have hurt you, why you don’t appreciate her actions and such, that would be a step in the right direction. However, if this is continual or she just doesn’t validate your feelings then atleast in my unprofessional opinion it is an abusive situation, that you really shouldn’t be a part of.

    • Avatar of oneelusivegirl
      oneelusivegirl August 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      I can’t do that, I think you are justified. Sounds like you are dealing with a charming person there (note sarcasm). Sometimes people do over react and act crazy and sometimes they are just plain nasty (men and women alike). This article should not be an excuse for anyones bad behaviour.

  25. Avatar of Granpa
    Granpa November 1, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    You failed to mention a very important point in your article:

    Though there are a lot of guys that are inconsiderate, manipulative jerks, the truth is that’s the kind of men women like. That’s the alpha male. If you’re anything but, they will get bored with you. I learned that a while ago.

    In that sense, women are indeed crazy. Everyone likes to be treated nicely, except for women, you also have to be an a jerk, to keep them around.

    • Avatar of cruztacean
      cruztacean November 9, 2011 at 9:05 am #

      Please don’t say ALL women want insensitive jerks. I don’t.

    • Avatar of Cauldroness
      Cauldroness November 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

      I am really, really sick of hearing “The Nice Guy Rant.”

      Memo: You’re not nice at all.

      Here’s the “nice guy”: he’s interested in a woman who’s not romantically or sexually interested in him. Alternately, he’s interested in a woman but doesn’t have the courage to approach her, or believes if he did approach her, she would reject him.

      So he becomes her “friend” because he expects that after some period of supposed “friendship,” a romantic and/or sexual relationship will occur. Although real friends give their friendship freely, and expect only friendship in return, his “friendship” comes with strings attached (but he never tells his supposed friend about these strings, of course). He assumes that by accepting his “friendship,” she’s also whole-heartedly accepted these strings (despite never being told about them).

      The fact is, the “nice guy” friend expects romantic dating and/or sex as “payment” for his friendship. After all, he’s been there for her, comforted her after her last break-up, listened to her complain about her asshole boyfriend, picked her up that time her car broke down/she was too drunk to drive/she got off at the wrong bus stop, etc. He’s been so “selfless,” he deserves — heck, he is OWED — something in return, right?

      Never mind he doesn’t hold any of his male friends to this standard. Never mind he did not do those things out of the sheer goodness of his heart, but because he expected some kind of romantic or sexual reciprocity. Never mind he never told her that he expected “payment” in return for these acts of “friendship,” and maybe she would have never accepted his “friendship” in the first place if she’d known that. And never mind she was probably never interested in him romantically and/or sexually in the first place.

      And then, when she doesn’t date and/or sleep with him, or when she dates him out of pity or guilt but gets “bored” with him, because (AGAIN) she was never interested in him in the first place, the “nice guy” reveals his true face: he’s not nice at all. He rants about how girls only date those “inconsiderate, manipulative jerks.” He insults women. He becomes who he really is, who he was the whole time: a jerk. A disingenuous, manipulative, passive-aggressive, bitter jerk.

      And THAT is why women don’t date the “nice guy.”

      • Avatar of elfen_berzerker
        elfen_berzerker November 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

        …wow.

        Just… freaking… wow.

        At the risk of seeming to gaslight you… but is it really necessary to take out your frustrations on someone that just stated what pretty much everyone, male and female, repeats over and over again?

        You’ve probably accused yourself of always being attracted to assholes. If you haven’t then I’m almost certain you’ve had friends that say it. No matter what the modern woman tells herself, genetics will still pull her towards males that have Alpha characteristics. Ask yourself this; When is the last time you were drawn to a frail, timid guy with no job?

        • Avatar of Yonmei
          Yonmei November 25, 2011 at 1:08 am #

          Whenever an article like this is posted, it’s amazing how men who can provide illustrative examples of the kind of behaviour this describes, just show up to provide them.

          Odder yet, they never seem to realise that they are demonstrating the exact behaviour described for the benefit of anyone who reads the article and might think the author is exaggerating a bit.

        • Avatar of jonesy
          jonesy November 28, 2011 at 8:08 am #

          A little over two and a half years ago. Okay, maybe he wasn’t frail. He was shy and sensitive, thoughtful, considerate, introspective- and I loved it. He didn’t have a full-time job until about six months into our relationship. By then he had created a “we” identity for us and I had already decided I was gonna marry him when he asked- something we talked about constantly. He needed my help to get and keep the job, so I got behind my man and invested in our future. Once he started working full time his feelings got buttoned down and his sensitivity was gradually lost- he’s become an antagonistic, manipulative, disrespectful prick who won’t own up to our agreements. He’s been gaslighting me, like serious terror. One example is: I have been receiving emails from him, while he’s at work, designed to shock and provoke me. Some have caused me to shut down completely. When I tell him I’m upset and ask him to not send this type of content- he minimizes my feelings, tells me to calm down, that I’m too sensitive, that I have no sense of humor, that he can’t even joke with me, and sends even more of this variety. Now, though I seem to have ended up with one, I don’t think for one minute that I am attracted to assholes. There’s nothing attractive about someone working this hard to keep me vulnerable and off-balance. It’s sick.

        • Avatar of ten
          ten December 16, 2011 at 10:58 am #

          Last week was my one year anniversary with my boyfriend who is perhaps not quite ‘frail’, but is probably the second physically weakest person I know, who has issues with anxiey and insecurity, and who has been unemployed the whole time I’ve know him.

          He’s geeky, talented, dedicated, loving, funny (according to my weird ass sense of humour, anyway), compassionate, unintimidated by how unrepentantly dirty I can be, capable of holding a discussion about feminism with me without feeling intimidated or putting me down, and he loves spicy food.

          Now kindly stop assuming you can tell what sort of thing I’m attracted to based on what’s between my legs.

        • Avatar of Sanae
          Sanae January 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

          Oh please. Because if a guy is “strong and confident with a job” he is automatically a jerk? What kind cartoons do you watch? “Alpha characteristics” equal the characteristics of a leader and a insensitive, manipulative jerk cannot be a leader. Thus he does not have “Alpha characteristics”. Thus your claim that women are attracted to jerks because it is in their genetics to be attracted an Alpha male is contradictory.

          But, furthermore, your argument was baseless anyway because some women want to actually wear the pants in the relationship and thus don’t care for those “Alpha characteristics” you speak of.

      • Avatar of VanCityChic
        VanCityChic July 1, 2012 at 12:45 am #

        Brilliant response. Kudos to Cauldroness. You are a fine writer, you could write professional articles for the best New York women’s magazines. Of all the responses on this site, yours is by far the best. I would say so even if I didn’t agree with you. But I do! The truth cuts sharper than a two-edged sword . . .

    • Avatar of JPM
      JPM November 29, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      That’s a curious sentiment. I’ve been dating the sexiest woman I know for the past few years. I wooed her by doing volunteer work with her. I don’t play any sports, spend most of my day on my computer, and am a huge fan of Star Trek (I’ve got a Next Generation uniform hanging in my closet right now).

      Seems we kids have a funny definition for the manipulative alpha-male in this brave new world of ours.

    • Avatar of fullmetalguitar
      fullmetalguitar December 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      Maybe you’re the one who has a problem with only liking assholes. Eh? Am I blowing your mind yet? Huh? It’s true, maybe you are just really bad at falling for nice people. Maybe, just maybe, you are the one with the problem. I also can’t help but notice that you sound bitter and resentful about your past romantic failures, which I will tell you is likely also what makes you unattractive to your partners. Your willingness to generalize the behavior of some women as the behavior of all women is also a likely cause.

      I would also like to say that I have been involved with people who were jerks, and that I currently am not. Right now I am with a guy who thinks I’m what makes the sun rise, who spoils me and is happy when I’m happy. I’ve had a long day and I’m exhausted? The second I walk in the door he’s taken off my coat, taken off my boots, offered me a snack/tea, led me over to the couch, and put a blanket on me (true story). I plan to marry him someday. But wait, he’s not acting like a jerk, so why the hell am I not bored with him? Is this secret manipulation? Will I find out one day this is all a master plan? Because the only other answer would be that you sir, are just jaded and incorrect.

      And now I will take this even further, and share with you why someone women date jerks. Why I myself have dated them in the past. And it’s not just because we’re “crazy women”. First of all, they almost never start off jerks, or seem like jerks. They become that way. And we have been taught that if we love a person, we, as women, need to put up with all their emotionally abusive shit. Women have been raised to keep their complaints quiet, to carry people’s emotional burdens, to be the comforters and the fixers. Especially fixers. They’re not like “WOW I LOVE THIS GUY BECAUSE HE’S SO ALPHA”, that’s just a really ridiculous excuse you made up because someone did not love you back and you just couldn’t understand why. Women have just been trained to accept really shitty behavior as okay.

      And that’s not okay.

    • Avatar of Gaeamethod
      Gaeamethod January 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Alpha male and asshole are not synonymous. I would call my husband an alpha male; he’s a self starter, enthusiastic, persuasive, business minded, smart as a whip, well-dressed, 6’8″ and tough as nails.

      That whole package comes with a man who would NEVER mistreat me intentionally. He listens to me. He asks me what I’m feeling and thinking. He supports me in whatever I do and drives me to be better than I was yesterday.

      • Avatar of sarakay
        sarakay May 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

        My sweetheart wooed me by sharing graphic novels with me in our science class. He’s gorgeous, 6′ 4″, tall dark and handsome, took cosmetology classes and works as a carpenter but can explain every Starbucks drink’s composition to you in detail. He’s extremely sweet to me and is there for me when it counts but he is incredibly self-assured and never gives into my bull shit.

        Men cannot be equally divided between Nice Guy Who Finishes Last and Alpha Prick Who Gets Laid.

  26. Avatar of Beatnik Betty
    Beatnik Betty October 6, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Just a gigantic ‘Thank You’ for writing and posting this article.

    • Avatar of womenAREfat
      womenAREfat November 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

      This is completely bullshyt. Women are crazy and if they stopped watching tv all day and bitching and learned things like going to the gym and cooking, the world would be a better place. peace love and dont forget to workout, obesity is a killer….but being single is a consequence

      • Avatar of cruztacean
        cruztacean November 9, 2011 at 9:09 am #

        So how come I’m plus-sized and married? To a decent, middle-class man with a steady career, not some drunk, foulmouthed, trailer-trash slob.

        • Avatar of JPM
          JPM November 29, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

          No worries Cruztacean, this is just a troll. He doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying, he’s just fishing for negative reactions.

      • Avatar of mizzquagmire
        mizzquagmire January 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

        meh

  27. Avatar of Dormouse
    Dormouse October 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Finally, I have a way of explaining my boyfriend from college! He was all about this gaslighting business. Key example: he had told me all about his dirty little secrets from past relationships, including how he cheated on one of his past girlfriends with another girl–a girl was still a close friend of the family.

    Then he went home for summer break between our sophomore and junior years and told me he had a GREAT idea to go on a kayaking/camping trip with this girl. Just the two of them. In the great outdoors. No one around. Alone. Overnight. Of course, I flipped out. (I mean, who does that???) And he said that I was overreacting, that I was being emotional, etc., etc., etc. Although it never “worked out” for them to take the trip, he never apologized for putting me through that emotional roller coaster, and I was stupid enough to stay with him for another six months.

    And then, after we broke up, I accused him of being emotionally abusive/manipulative and the women in his family called me crazy. Yep, there is definitely a problem in American culture.

  28. Avatar of SpiffyMaster
    SpiffyMaster October 5, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    It’s hard to come across a troll who has at least minor intelligence. Bravo Ms. Daisy Cutter, bravo.

  29. Avatar of justinpoet
    justinpoet October 4, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I have lived with this behavior all my life it is hard to imagine anything other life. As a man who is “too sensitive” I am like an alien lifeform upon this Earth. I jokingly comment that relatives came from Roswell. It’s as much admission that I am different as it is a separation from my own family who thinks that my brother who abused me growing up should be put in control of my life. I am too sensitive to live my own life. My marriages have all gone terribly wrong. Even now, with “How can you be so stupid not to realize I am joking. You are too sensitive.” And that was from last night. I hear variations daily: sometimes dozens of times daily. I have lost track of how often I hear it. She even buys me power-tools and demands I use them around the house to fend off my phobia of power-tools which is ridiculous. Sometimes I am not even “male” in her eyes. I need to start acting more like a guy, grow up, be strong, be less stupid.

    • Avatar of yantu
      yantu November 14, 2011 at 1:40 am #

      Eh, your last line is dubious. It is very true that you need to not accept gaslighting and cut ties with people who do this sort of shit when possible, but to become emotionally stunted (which is what I associate with the stereotype of manliness) is not the key. Just work on gaining more self-respect for your boundaries and less patient when people trample all over you and take advantage of you.

  30. Avatar of sweetsue
    sweetsue September 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    I tried reading many comments… but there are just too many. I would like to say that, when I first read this article, my jaw dropped. Because this has happened to me SO many times. Mostly by men. BUT, the first, most powerful instance that immediately sprung to mind involved a female friend. She had invited a former college classmate (male) on a long road trip who had once tried to, basically, rape me. He didn’t succeed, but I told my friends about the incident after it happened, so they’d A) Know to steer clear of him, and B) Understand why I didn’t want him around. Years later, this road trip happened. When I confronted her to express my disbelief/concern, she told me I was being too sensitive, needed to get over it, and that perhaps this was a way to heal & deal.

    I stood there in her kitchen listening to this, and though my gut was screaming “What the hell???!!! WHO ARE YOU? Whose side are you on?”, I was gaslit (is that the correct past-tense?). And I actually left feeling like I was wrong for feeling repulsed by the nothing of spending 8 hours in a car with my attacker.

    So, my point, is: yes, it happens to men and to women. And probably more so to women. But also to women BY women.

    I read an article years ago about jury selection for court case, where, if a man is the defendant and a woman is the plaintiff, the defense attorneys try to have more women on the jury than men – because women are harsher judges toward other women, and more likely to side with a man.

    I’m not saying ALL women are this way… but we have to be careful. You are entitled to your feelings. It’s best to say how you feel or what you want, without commenting on the other person’s behavior. Leave it to them to either acknowledge and accept your legitimate feelings, or not. Then you know the lay of the land. Someone who cares for you will care about your feelings. Whether you or they are male or female.

    • Avatar of womenAREfat
      womenAREfat November 9, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      This is completely bullshyt. Women are crazy and if they stopped watching tv all day and bitching and learned things like going to the gym and cooking, the world would be a better place. peace love and dont forget to workout, obesity is a killer….but being single is a consequence!!!

  31. Avatar of Valus
    Valus September 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    It’s not about women. It’s about sensitivity.

    As a man who exhibits sensitivity on a regular basis, I’ve been subject to gaslighting my whole life. The people who do it most, in my experience, are not primarily identified by their gender, but by their lack of sensitivity. Likewise, the people who suffer it are not primarily identified by their gender, but by their sensitivity.

    To an insensitive person, every insensitive remark is “just a joke”. A meanspirited attack is a premise, and your hurt feelings are the punchline. Anything remotely refined or poetic is promptly labelled pretentious and met with some degrading remark, intended to “clear the air” by dragging the tone of the moment back down into the gutter where Mr. or Mrs. Insensitive Brute sincerely believes it belongs. If you object that such remarks are out of place, well, you just don’t get the joke. :/

    I want to make clear that this phenomenon is less about the devaluing of women than it is about the devaluing of traits which have been traditionally associated with women, or “the feminine”. That may sound like hair-splitting, but it’s actually a very important distinction, as it draws attention to how society views particular traits (in this case, sensitivity), rather than how society views women; which is far more arbitrary, as it deals with a law of averages (i.e. on average, more women exhibit these traits than men). Here, we can deal with the concrete reality of what exactly is being stigmatized, rather than focusing on “the average woman” and thereby reinforcing the prejudices we claim to abhor.

    Once we understand that the traits are what is being stigmatized, whether they exist in men or in women, we might be ready to consider the possibility that AN EVEN GREATER STIGMA IS APPLIED TO MEN WHO EXHIBIT THESE TRAITS than to women, since women are traditionally expected to exhibit them.

    People will say to a woman, “be cool”, but to a man they’ll say “be a man”.

    People will say to a woman,”calm down”, but to a man they’ll say “grow up”.

    A woman is likely to be told she is overreacting when she shows that she is hurt, whereas a man may be told this when he barely expresses any discomfort at all. Consequently, men rarely express their sensitivity, not necessarily because they do not possess it, but because they are not expected to. Women’s sensitivity is suppressed, definitely, but men’s sensitivity is suppressed to the point where many of us barely express it at all.

    IF women are more often the subjects of gaslighting, it may only be because they are expressing their sensitivity, while the men don’t dare to express their sensitivity at all. In both cases, there is suppression, but, in the former case it is overt, while in the latter case it is less obvious, yet even more effective, and far more insidious.

    Seeing it this way is less divisive and more realistic.

    • Avatar of TroyB3
      TroyB3 September 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you so much. I feel attacked just being a guy and reading this. NOTHING is easier to laugh at than a guy who has feelings in our culture, and guys with feelings are the hurt female’s NUMBER ONE ALLY yet we are the first people to get laughed at and mocked. :) Not on a soapbox here, but I think kitties are cute, sunsets are pretty, and that is the same as liking little dollies to so many people.

    • Avatar of flux
      flux September 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

      “I want to make clear that this phenomenon is less about the devaluing of women than it is about the devaluing of traits which have been traditionally associated with women, or “the feminine”. That may sound like hair-splitting”

      No, it’s not hair splitting and I agree with you on that point, but going on to negate that men go on to use those tactics against women undermines the point Yashar is trying to make. What many seem to be missing is by using emotionality as a way to dismiss what a women is saying takes away any power she may have which shifts the responsibility from actually addressing the issue to one about who’s feelings are right with the women always losing.* Take the Abbie example where her boss leaves her floundering to figure out what it is she is doing wrong so that she won’t repeat the same mistake. Her boss should be telling her what she is doing wrong since that’s part of what his job entails, or pass it on to the person who can tell her. Instead, what he does leaves her feeling guilty and confused because she wants to do a good job, but has no clue how to rectify the problem because he won’t tell her. He otoh, skirts responsibility in refusing to show her how to do something correctly by making it all about her reaction to his broad criticism. It’s a catch 22 probably rooted in the sexist idea women can’t take criticism. If I were Abbie I’d ask the boss precisely what I was doing wrong (action oriented) vs. telling his criticism isn’t helpful (shame based) if she hasn’t already, but he may be one of those bosses who uses this tactic intentionally to keep everyone walking on eggshells as a way to exert power.

      But going on to describe what suppressing emotion is like for a guy and how that is somehow more egregious than when is done to a women? You’re missing the point; men take the tactics used on them then go on to use them on women. Women in turn suppress their emotions, we just suppress different feelings like anger and aggression.

      *There’s a quote from a famous playwright Nathaniel Lee that comes to mind: ‘They called me mad, and I called them mad, and damn them, they outvoted me.’

  32. Avatar of dennisrodmanlovesyou
    dennisrodmanlovesyou September 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    The issue of “gaslighting” is clearly not a strictly male/female relationship. It IS, however, strictly institutionalized in that realm. I think to attempt to wash the issue as genderless is to refuse recognition of the institutional status of gas lighting and the fact that we as men are able to get away with it if we so choose. I have been on the receiving end of gaslighting. Ive noticed it and as a result I made a conscious effort to not propagate that in the future. Im sure I still do it, though maybe less than others, but the difference is in the perception based on it.

    Other men I talk to, routinely make statements about women being overly emotional, unpredictable and unexplainable. They say it when women arnt around, as though I am supposed to readily acknowledge how correct they are (kinda like when white people make racist jokes assuming everybody around them is white, so its alright). My inability to agree with them will commonly attach feminine characteristics to my perceived personality. It makes me feminine to be sensitive about other peoples feelings. However if I was to agree with them I would fit on the boat, unrocked. If I were to provoke that conversation I might even be endeared as a person who gets them.

    Women dont seem to have that luxury as a vast amount of both men and women perceive overly emotional outbursts as being feminine and yet resent when women make unemotional coherent arguments. There seems to be one safe road and that is submission and an ability to simply keep their mouth shut.

    Though its clearly not positive, I understand when people like daisy make cracks about manpain and the like. Its hard as men to be emotional but not in the same way that it is for women because if we so choose we could shift our deck and fit in with the crowd. Its called privilege and its eomthing we should all be aware of.

  33. Avatar of BSup
    BSup September 21, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    A Message To Women from a Woman: All the “women” on here like Ms Daisy and Howitzer who continuously bash men/women for legitimate comments and take this women are holier than thou attitude. This article is NOT for you because you ARE Crazy, sensitive, over-reactors, melodramatic, over dramatic, bullies and gaslighters. Have women been oppressed? Yes. Have men typically been the culprits? Yes. Can it go the other way? Yes. But “women” like you are the reason women have a bad name and looked upon like this. “Women” like you, use feminism and articles like this as a self serving platform to spew your hatred for men because you looking in the mirror is too damn hard. How dare you claim to be fighting for women and yet use a forum like this to act in such a manner. You are using the tactics described in this article against men who have suffered the same. Were women oppressed, Absolutely but don’t you DARE say you are fighting for my cause with language and behavior like that! If you continue, I will be more than happy to deal with men who do wrong and know it, than women who do wrong but say it is in the cause of right. That my female friends, is gender terrorism.

    • Avatar of sketchysk8er
      sketchysk8er September 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Damn straight BSup! You said it all.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      Waaah. Please to be learning the difference between “man bashing” and “not putting up with shit from men who think their pee-pees entitle them to dominate the conversation.”

      • Avatar of TroyB3
        TroyB3 September 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        I just think that people who dwell on negativity attached to entire demographics like ‘red hair’ or ‘man’ or ‘skin color’ should wake up and smell the ugliness of systematic demographic rejection. Why couch yourself in the terms of the bigot if you aren’t playing the bigot’s game?

    • Avatar of K of the T
      K of the T September 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

      My comment apparently got moderated, so let me just say…boo to collaborators, and Ms Daisy and Howitzer are my heroes!

  34. Avatar of sketchysk8er
    sketchysk8er September 21, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    I have commited and been the victim of this. I will say yes, it’s probably men doing it (much) more than women. But I read ALL of the comments below to get a better idea of what other people think before I came to my own opinion. First, is this epidemic more serious than young boys who are taught to push down emotion very early on? I was raised by a single mother, how was it instilled in me? Society in general? There is an obvious gap but could it be defined as women = over emotional or men = under emotional?
    Second, to contradict my first point. Should we treat this as a problem of people or sex? Would it be right for the president to only address black unemployment rather than unemployment in general just because it has the largest rate?
    I am glad a name has been put to this as it is a good first step to helping bring awareness to it but I think this article should be used inspire more questions and not be used as a scapegoat. The truth is some PEOPLE are over emotional and some are under.

  35. Avatar of jeffreyjames
    jeffreyjames September 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    I think this article is taking a scenario dependent and gender-neutral problem concerning human interaction and turning it into a feminist issue.

    Picture a mean boss that does this gaslighting business. Do you picture man that only does this to females? If you do I think you have a warped perception (in my humble and probably offensive to some opinion). People that love that their position of power and get their jollies by the abuse of others do indeed use tactics like this to make others feel wrong about objecting to his/her poor treatment. It’s a power issue not a gender issue. if the person that is in power is a man that disrespects women then it becomes a gender issue. Meaning yes, there exists a man that is exclusively degrading to women, but “there exists an chauvinistic ass hole somewhere in the world” is not the point this article is trying to make.

    Let me respond to the obvious retort:
    “but men are in more positions of power because they have oppressed women into submission over the years.”

    I so totally agree, and that is a horrible rotten thing – but that is not a reason to make this a gender issue. Just think for a moment how pathetic it is to basically say “but men are/were mean to us so we get to have this issue.” While I can appreciate the desire to focus on the gender where we can suppose it happens more often, it is not helpful in coming up with the most effective prognosis.

    it’s a feminist issue: you can do it to men, not women
    it’s a human issue: don’t do it

    if men think “I can’t treat anyone that way” they will work on ejecting the very notion out of their head, Hopefully to never be seen by anyone again. If they feel that they need to be sensitive towards women because the feminist movement says so then they’ll live in this dichotomy and poor behavior might cross over because it’s permissible in one area of their interaction with others and not in another area.

    Treating this (and many other things) like a feminist issue is self-defeating because it doesn’t make men better as people it makes them cater to feminism’s self interested role definition. In accordance with this, all than men can aspire to be is based on feminism’s well being when it should be mutual (note intentional use of “feminism’s” instead of “women’s”). Though this sounds like sweet tasty revenge on paper, in the long run it is the world being full of better people that will serve womankind the best.

    *Reading some comments*

    OK, have women been treated discriminatory throughout history? Yep. Does that mean now every issue has to be weighted to be more exclusive to women as some sort of penance for the sins of men? please don’t take away my hope for feminism’s future and say yes to that. I love the concept of feminism but I think the movement suffers from group conflict issues. I feel that in a very short amount of time you can go from curious about feminism to “kill all the men unless they kiss their S.C.U.M. manifesto every night and worship the ground we walk on.” I have yet to decide but some days I think the entire movement is based on hatred and inequality (and i mean the notion that men are/should be worth less than women).

    back to the subject at hand – you could write the same article without any gender finger-pointing and it would sound just as valid and complete. It’s written like propaganda. There are two suppositions that set the stage and aren’t presented as fact:

    “this is a feminist issue. this is bad.”

    Personally, I do not think this is a feminist issue, and it is not always bad. I’ve overreacted and have been told I’m overreacting and thought “yeah, I’m a bit more pissed of than I should be.” I wasn’t offended. I didn’t feel my voice was silenced or like I didn’t have to right to speak up about something in the future. I honestly am grateful when I have the opportunity to evaluate myself in the moment because someone told me to look in the mirror for a second. I realize I’m a bit more cool headed (sometimes) than other people but I also think that “toughen up” training would do immeasurably more good for society than sensitivity training. imagine a world where people didn’t take this personally. that doesn’t sound better than a world where we learn how to deal with people who take things personally and have no idea how personally people are going to take things? I know it can’t happen but what if it was important to us to teach people that we can be mature adults that talk about things in a civil manner or immature and not worth even considering, let alone be offended by.

    if I called someone sensitive for being offended by something I said that IS offensive and their reaction was akin to “because of you’re behavior you mean less than nothing to me and I have absolutely no respect for you has a human being” well… I just might stop calling people stupid because I’m ashamed of myself and want to co-exist with people that value being treated well. I don’t want to get any more preachy here, but I just don’t think anticipating and evaluating what is offensive to whom and how offensive is it to them is effective. Humans cannot jump into each others skin and glean a perfect copy of another’s outlook. It is the offended that need to stick up for themselves, and not let themselves be gaslighted.

    solution 1: everyone in the world needs to stop telling me I’m sensitive when I’m offended so my voice isn’t silenced.
    solution 2: I need to persist and be strong when I’m offended by something and not let the offending party derail me by saying I’m being too sensitive.

    which one seems more viable? call me crazy but I think the most effective way to fight is to fight. at best this article is cozy but idealistic. “everyone will stop being dicks if we tell them to stop” is the cozy, “they will listen” is the idealistic.

    • Avatar of jeffreyjames
      jeffreyjames September 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

      forgive my typos. Corrections:

      “[...] all THAT men can aspire to [...]”

      “There are two suppositions that set the stage and ARE presented LIKE facts:”

      • Avatar of jeffreyjames
        jeffreyjames September 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

        yeah, I think real feminism is about equality and then there’s “step 1. synthesize sperm. step 2: kill all men.” – which is more like an attitude of faux justified revenge on the male species. shoot I’m going to be banned cause I said “faux”

    • Avatar of MikeFromCanada
      MikeFromCanada September 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

      This is a really good post. I would tread carefully when posting this kind of stuff on feminist issues. (Although I don’t, I enjoy debates) I have been banned from blogs when I’ve pointed stuff like this out. It doesn’t matter how sincere or sensible you write it, some feminists will say, “You are privileged male, you just don’t get it.”

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      It’s not a gender-neutral problem, men do it so much more than women, that its woven into the fabric of society. It’s not “scenario-dependant” , because that kind of sick manipulation is never okay.
      You said “Do you picture man that only does this to females?” No, I picture a man who regularly does this every single day to every single female, and doesn’t even know what he’s doing is bad, he thinks he’s “convincing her to shut up and listen to his logic”. And that’s not just a “serial-killer” type of thing, either. It seems like every single man tries to do it at some point. EVEN YOU!!!

      ” If you do I think you have a warped perception (in my humble and probably offensive to some opinion)” YOU SAID THAT.

      First you popped off a straw-man fallacy, then you GASLIGHTED FEMINISTS.

      Evil evil little man. Shame on you.

      • Avatar of dubbzee
        dubbzee September 20, 2011 at 8:37 am #

        You’re the brand of feminist that gives other feminists a bad wrap. I am a 22 year-old male, recent university graduate, and am very much interested in feminism. FROM A YOUNG MAN’S STANDPOINT: stop with your harsh words and out bursts. This is the internet. If I was AT ALL interested, perhaps I’d look… oh, I don’t know… anywhere else pretty much.

        My point being that you are going to end up pushing away more potential male feminists because YOUR pride is in the way. Get over yourself as a realized feminist and educate others instead of putting them down. Revenge on the male gender won’t send a million DEAD men to prison for the acts they committed. Think BEFORE you think.

        • Avatar of unitled
          unitled September 21, 2011 at 5:16 am #

          As a young, educated male in your position, you’re going to find it hard at first to see past your priviledge and get to grips with feminist issues.

          From a male, can I please give you one piece of advice, one which has had many, many articles written on it? SHUT UP AND LISTEN.

          Howitzer is refuting the unfortunately common argument that ‘hey, but women do it too!’ Check any article on the concept of Mansplaining for more examples of this. Please listen to what he/she has to say, about how men do this more than women because of how society is set up. After some time (and not very much time, I would add) reading feminist articles and blogs you will see how sickeningly true this is.

          • Avatar of dubbzee
            dubbzee September 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

            Advice taken. Duly ignored.

            Explanation:

            Does anyone on here really actually give a (insert expletive) about the words written in responses/critiques? Or is it that keywords(flint) and opinions(steel) are the only things making their way into the “liberal” minds online?

            Point:

            Your “SHUT UP AND LISTEN” technique has so many holes/flaws that you could prospect for gold with it.

            Evidence:

            “…refuting a common argument…”

            A common argument is common. Why is it common? Most people are familiar with it.

            “…check any on the concept of Mansplaining…”

            Why else would I be on this blog…?

            “…Please listen to what he or she has to say…”

            I listened, and gave a rebuttal. Much like she did. Not a single soul said (insert expletive)ing anything about Howitzer’s uncalled for posts.

            “…how sickeningly true this is…”

            If I wasn’t interested/aware/concerned/WANTING TO BE MORE INFORMED, then why would I even read here?

            I’d like to point out here at the end of all of this that if you reread the reply I gave to Howitzer, you’ll notice how many of her FACTS AND TRUTHS I tried to dispute. Zero.

            Final point being that if you really want to impact someone, then do it. Don’t “bible thump” feminist teachings in to someones head. I honestly didn’t think it would take 2 posts to determine that intention.

          • Avatar of tanzkate
            tanzkate February 14, 2012 at 4:44 am #

            The point that the young man made was that women are guilty of gaslighting men as well. This is not an argument against the original point(let alone a straw man argument), but rather an expansion of it. He also makes a valid point that the issue could more completely be addressed if all aspects are taken into consideration.

            Telling someone that came here to learn to “Shut up and listen” is demeaning, and it makes me sad that one of the alpha feminists feels the need to attack a visitor that didn’t even disagree with anything anyone said. Especially since she is attacking him for being male, and educated. (Would uneducated be better?) I hope I am not overreacting.

            I am upset because we need feminism; nationally and globally. We are far from equal. I don’t mean that men are mean to us, I mean we make less money and don’t get promoted as often. I mean that we are often discounted out of hand (young, old, white, ethnic). With all respect, ma’am, please don’t go and do the same just because this young man is not in your demographic.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:14 am #

          “You’re the brand of feminist that gives other feminists a bad wrap.”

          It’s “rap,” Dubbzee, not “wrap.” And, no, Howitzer is the brand of feminist who separates the people who are actually interested in gender equality from the privileged whingers who want to pretend they’re interested in gender equality.

          I am a 22 year-old male, recent university graduate,

          And so you’re going to proceed to lecture and mansplain to women, many of whom are much older than you are, on how to “do” feminism right. And the main criterion? That we don’t alienate teh poor, poor menz and hurt deir dewicate widdle fee-fees.

          Society, in particular the media and hte internet, constantly inundate us with “a young man’s standpoint.” I really give a fuck about how your entitled, privilege self perceives me or anyone else like me. And if “harsh words” is all it takes to drive you away, then you weren’t my “ally” to start with, and I don’t give a flying fuck what you claim you are.

          • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
            Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:15 am #

            I forgot to close the italics tag, but it should be obvious what part is my comment and what part is whining from yet another privileged entitlefuck who thinks he gets to tell women the way we should fight for our rights (i.e., in a way that never, ever makes him feel bad).

          • Avatar of dubbzee
            dubbzee September 26, 2011 at 10:44 am #

            THANK (higher power).

            1) Now I’ll never forget to press the W.
            Its funny, both of the people who responded to me have directly attacked me for being a specific demographic…

            2) I didn’t have to point out your subtle forgetting of italics tag. (bad troll is bad…
            Quote:

            “I really give a fuck about how your entitled, privilege self perceives me or anyone else like me. And if “harsh words” is all it takes to drive you away, then you weren’t my “ally” to start with, and I don’t give a flying fuck what you claim you are.”

            =]! This is such a good day for feminism!

            I offer an alternative point of view in a literal IDENTICAL manner, and I am the mansplaining gaslighter.

            I’m glad that you are making me out to be an example of something WORSE that your average chauvinist.

            Let ME go ahead and DO WHAT YOU WANT ME TO.. and (possibly) BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT ME TO.

            Truth is, if you want to go throwing around quotations, 1337speek and claims of UNACHIEVABLE KNOWLEDGE, maybe you should teach intro. at the nearest university. Kids there eat that stuff up.

            Fact: not every individual who goes to college is privileged. The first of my family, coming from meager means of a 2-bedroom home for 5 people, paying my own loans and earning my own keep. Paid for my own car and lived on my own since 17. I’m 75k+ in debt, with no income but MY JOB.

            Now the question: What on (Diety)’s green internet gives you the SLIGHTEST notion that you have any grasp on who the other people pushing little black squares, sat in front of a screen are.

            Whining for the sake of whining is whining. Always has been, always will be.

            The internet makes you a wealth of wit, humor and insult.

            If “harsh words” are all you have, how can you say you’re surprised when people turn away from being your “ally.”

            You can parade around with your nose in the air pretending you are what you are, or look people in their eyes and tell them, and tell them why. (Try to avoid the unnecessary male-bashing parts.)

            In close: flame me for being a “bad feminist” and not for being a man. DOES NO ONE UNDERSTAND WHAT I’M SAYING ON THIS ENTIRE SITE?

          • Avatar of Theonepong
            Theonepong October 7, 2011 at 11:03 am #

            Is cursing [I]really[/I] going to help you get your point across more effectively? I find that cursing makes people seem as if they have no other [I]real[/I] evidence to back up their own claims and is just an attack on the character of the party you argue against which, looked at objectively, provides nothing substantial.

          • Avatar of sarakay
            sarakay May 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

            You know you’ve made an intelligent, mature argument when you open by attacking a spelling mistake.

      • Avatar of jeffreyjames
        jeffreyjames September 21, 2011 at 3:30 am #

        Actually I did not because I was not addressing feminists. I was addressing anyone reading what I wrote. you actually proved my point in thinking I was gaslighting feminists. Besides that – sharing one’s actual opinion is not gaslighting. It was not a tactic or maniuplation attempt. I really honestly have the option that if any human believes that, their perception of man/womankind is warped. I think you’re confused as to the definition. Gaslighting is not just just anything you don’t like or merely being a man and opening your mouth. It must be in your plan to simply annihilate the entire male part of the species because you obviously have no desire to have us interested in actual feminism.

      • Avatar of asdf
        asdf November 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

        It doesn’t seem like it’s always a bad thing to tell someone “you are overreacting.” Of course people overreact at times. It’s bad when this is done in order to manipulate the other person. To make them feel like they, or their feelings, don’t matter. Jeffreyjames, the example you gave in which you appreciated being told you were overreacting does sound like a good thing. But only because the person helped shed some truth on your behavior. I don’t think it was actually an example of gaslighting, which involves the intention to silence and deflect blame–to cloud truth. With its full meaning, how can gaslighting ever be ok?
        I appreciate your point–stand up for yourself. Don’t rely on others to fight your battles. But that doesn’t conflict with bringing awareness to the consequences of gaslighting for women.

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

      >” Just think for a moment how pathetic it is to basically say “but men are/were mean to us so we get to have this issue.” While I can appreciate the desire to focus on the gender where we can suppose it happens more often, it is not helpful in coming up with the most effective prognosis.”

      Okay buddy, the author said that men are and were repeatedly mean to women in this very specific manifestation, and they needed to stop it because it wasn’t fair.

      That’s it.

      The most frequent pattern of gaslighting, both throughout history and current day? Men gaslighting women. It’s an epidemic.

      Can women gaslight too? Yes, they human. Do they? Hardly ever.
      Scum manifesto? Nobody takes it seriously. Revenge on male species? No, feminists like lots and lots of men, who see women’s complaints as righteous indignation, not the ravings of a hated lunatic.

      • Avatar of MikeFromCanada
        MikeFromCanada September 19, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

        You need to take a look at this.
        http://i.imgur.com/OGt9y.jpg
        I call this the debate pyramid. I would think that anyone who wants to address certain points, or disagree with someone, should strive to be making comments that reflect the top portions of the pyramid.

        And frankly, shouting straw man at people who argue with you is hardly effective. And if anyone looks close enough, they can usually find a straw man in almost every argument.

        • Avatar of Howitzer
          Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

          ……………..I see now that my posts will not penetrate.

          May I repeat, “No, I picture a man who …..doesn’t even know what he’s doing is bad, he thinks he’s “convincing her to shut up and listen to his logic”.

          • Avatar of lourali
            lourali September 28, 2011 at 5:54 am #

            It is really quite sad to see that there are still individuals out in the world that feel that feminism means to at any opportunity treat men as though they are scum. Females are not ‘better’ than males, just as males are not’better’ than females. We are equal and both genders have their own strengths and flaws which is why both are necessary in our survival.

            The comment that suggests that this is an epidemic…is simply ridiculous. Although what this article outlines is correct, I would also agree that this technique is used by females towards other females as much as males use this towards females.

            I for one am very excited that there are males that are willing to have a look at issues such as this and take a positive action to ensure these are resolved in the near future. You (howitzer & followers) have not contributed any information that is useful or supportive…so keep your sexist opinions to yourself and come back when you have realised that the world doesn’t owe you anything (eg, woe is me).

            Ps. Because it seems important whether I am male or female to have these opinions I will let you know that I am of course a female. I have gone to university and completed a dual degree and yes I got there myself. Oh and yes I did grow up in a family that valued equality and respect of both genders.

      • Avatar of jeffreyjames
        jeffreyjames September 21, 2011 at 4:06 am #

        can you qualify “hardly ever?” No, you can’t.
        I don’t actually believe it happens more to women. It is out of the fact that no one can be certain that I am willing to go with the article’s assertion. Even if it happens more to women, I believe it must a negligible difference. Even still. no one can know these types of things. It’s like that urban legend “statistic” that we all swallow 4 spiders per year in our sleep. how do they come up with that? do they record thousands of people sleeping every night for a year and count?

        This is an emotional appeal to feminists. Please note that I’m not targeting women when I say “feminists” and half my male friends are feminists. I even consider myself a feminist enthusiast. I can’t quite get serious about it because of the amount of “women should govern men like cattle” feminists I run into. “Feminazi” is kind of an offensive term even to my ears, but both ideas are at play with many feminists I meet so it’s sadly fitting. I wish there was a term for feminists who had no interest in equality – Then I could be a feminist.

        Addressing it as a women’s issue doesn’t fix the problem as well as addressing it as a human being issue. I think that idea captures the sprit of feminism more than a unverifiable statistic and a call to action that eludes to special treatment instead of equal treatment.

        Is the feminist movement that desperate to have issues that it feels the need to take genderless human behavior issues and try to put the feminist stamp on them? I say NO! There are plenty of issues that are very specific to women.

        I must again stress this point:
        Treating things like this as women’s issues offers a very poor solution.
        Men should treat people equally and should not treat women better than other men. Men and women alike should stop gaslighting. Feminism is about equality not revenge/control/rage/etc.

        Treating it as something EVERY HUMAN BEING should stop doing is a very good one.
        Equality good. Inequality bad. if women get treated better than men then this whole thing starts again in 500 years and men will realize they’ve been oppressed by women and we’ll take the power back and keep it for 1,500 years because our muscles are bigger.

        • Avatar of jeffreyjames
          jeffreyjames September 21, 2011 at 4:08 am #

          P.S. that last sentence was a joke. Don’t crucify me for that – I’m sure you’ll easily find something else.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:21 am #

          I don’t actually believe it happens more to women.

          And you’re the one with the penis, so your “belief,” which is all it is, is supposed to be accepted here as the correct one, right?

          Even if it happens more to women, I believe it must a negligible difference. Even still. no one can know these types of things.

          Argument by assertion. Wait, not even that. You’re still qualifying it with “belief” and claiming “no one can know these types of things.”

          This is an emotional appeal to feminists. Please note that I’m not targeting women when I say “feminists” and half my male friends are feminists. I even consider myself a feminist enthusiast. I can’t quite get serious about it because of the amount of “women should govern men like cattle” feminists I run into. “Feminazi” is kind of an offensive term even to my ears, but both ideas are at play with many feminists I meet so it’s sadly fitting. I wish there was a term for feminists who had no interest in equality – Then I could be a feminist.

          In other words, you approve of feminism only if it caters to your ickle fee-fees and never makes you question the privilege you unjustly enjoy in this world. Feminists have to be polite and use the right tone with you, or you’re going to take your ball and go home and not contribute what I’m sure would be your immense support to the cause of gender equality.

          Here’s a clue, Jeffy: we don’t need you.

          • Avatar of ohwowreally
            ohwowreally November 14, 2011 at 10:31 am #

            For the love of god, stop demeaning a human being’s right to be sensitive by derogatorily referring to sensitivity as “ickle fee-fees.” You’ve done this repeatedly, and it is revolting.

            It is not ok when a man sneers at a woman for expressing sensitivity, it is NOT OK FOR YOU TO DO IT EITHER.

            Do you not see that by doing that, not only are you acting like a cruel person without a solid argument (who then must take nasty swipes to make up for it), but you are also playing right into the terrible gender stereotypes that feminists have been fighting against in principle for decades?

            Men are allowed to have feelings just as much as women are, and you should not tolerate grotesque and dismissive “baby talk” bullshit towards either gender.

            You are a female chauvinist pig. Don’t you dare use abhorrent tactics and then pretend you’re fighting for equality.

  36. Avatar of kyrax2
    kyrax2 September 19, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I feel like there’s another layer to this that isn’t being addressed, too, and that’s the cyclical nature of gaslighting and women’s reactions.

    Women are sometimes afraid to speak up, for a variety of reasons. Maybe they are afraid of being perceived as ‘irrational’ or ‘hypersensitive’. Maybe they are afraid of losing their job/spouse/home. Maybe they come from a background of abuse. Regardless, the fear is there, and it keeps them silent – until they “can’t take it anymore”. Until they are so angry or frustrated or scared that they *have* to speak out. And when they do finally speak up, sometimes they *aren’t* being rational, or aren’t willing to listen to reason. The phenomenon is a cliche: for example, the woman who’s so tired of the male’s patterns of behavior that she ‘explodes’ one day when he’s yet again left the cap off the toothpaste.

    This leads to the man gaslighting her: “What’s the big deal? Why are you being so irrational?” And the woman feels bad for yelling about such a “small thing”, and decides the man is right, and she really just needs to keep her mouth shut from now on.

    Until she once again can’t take it anymore.

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      No matter how women react, somewhere there’s a man who’ll say they’re irrational, unable to listen to reason, or explosive.

  37. Avatar of Mr_Horizon
    Mr_Horizon September 19, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    I’d like to ask, are you saying there is no such thing as an overreaction? That over-reacting is not possible for humans?

    That sounds like a good idea, I will think about it. :)

    Since I often find myself on the emotion-less side of things, I’d also like to know if there is an opposite of gaslighting?

    Thanks!

  38. Avatar of bergholt
    bergholt September 18, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I recognise the behaviour as something I’ve been subjected to, something I’ve done, and something I’ve witnessed. Thank you for putting a name to it for me. In my experience it’s ‘power’ related, rather than strictly gender-specific. Someone who has, or wants to have, some control over an individual or to duck responsibility for their own unreasonable behaviour manipulates a challenge to their position by belittling the other person’s reaction.

    I’ve had bosses and partners who have done this to me. I’ve done it to a partner. I’ve seen friends and colleagues being subjected to it. Women are more ‘done to’ than ‘doing’ in my experience, but not exclusively (I’m female – and I have done and been done to by women). It’s insidiously abusive behaviour, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the recipient.

  39. Avatar of napalmnacey
    napalmnacey September 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm #

    The number of men going “What about MEN, though?” in this post is astounding. Of course women can emotionally manipulate men, but it’s not an institutionalised epidemic. A lot of men here need to stop peering into their own navels and try to understand what is being said in this article and how it must feel to have to face that every day of your life.

    • Avatar of MikeFromCanada
      MikeFromCanada September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      I think you should read twiggy365′s reply to this post. It’s a very helpful view on the male perspective.

      Almost every guy is raised to ‘act like a man’. And so we often act and converse with others in a direct manner. For example, when guys make fun of each other, either by calling them idiots, or perhaps making fun of a bad haircut, they know subconsciously that their friends won’t react emotionally. They will probably assume that their friend will say, “Your mom has a bad haircut.” and then laugh it off.

      So perhaps when a man does something to upset a woman, he has a hard time understanding why she is so upset. From his perspective, she isn’t reacting normally. What is maybe going through his head at the time is, “If she said that to me, I wouldn’t be upset, so why is she overreacting?”

      And I believe someone else pointed this out earlier. But I do agree that this is an issue with society, and so we should not fault entire genders.

      • Avatar of Howitzer
        Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

        This ISN’T ABOUT MEN.

        A MESSAGE -> “TO WOMEN” <-

        • Avatar of dubbzee
          dubbzee September 20, 2011 at 8:39 am #

          This IS ABOUT MEN. However it is specifically a message to women.

          A message to women from women about only women wouldn’t include the word men in it, right?

          • Avatar of Dave
            Dave September 21, 2011 at 7:05 am #

            That, my friend, is a win.

      • Avatar of Jill
        Jill September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am #

        I desperately wish I could infuse you with my collective memories so that you can see clearly how many men dismiss or become angry or frustrated at women for conversing in a direct manner. They do indeed “react emotionally” when it is a woman speaking this way to them. Woman who speak directly to men are labeled “pushy” “cocky” “bitch” “arrogant” and so on.

        What you are describing is men’s comfort with MEN speaking in a particular manner, not their comfort with a particular communication style with all humans in general.

        It seems that such men are only comfortable with woman in a submissive role.

        • Avatar of MikeFromCanada
          MikeFromCanada September 20, 2011 at 10:18 am #

          I wish I could infuse you with my memories so that you could see how many women dismiss or become angry and frustrated at men for conversing in a direct manner. They do indeed “react emotionally” when it is a man speaking this way to them. Men who speak directly to women are labeled “jerks” “cocky” “aggressive” “oppressive” and so on.

          “What you are describing is men’s comfort with MEN speaking in a particular manner, not their comfort with a particular communication style with all humans in general.”

          It’s not about men’s interaction with men. Or their interaction with women either. It’s about their PERSPECTIVE, or their perceived reaction of the person they are conversing with. Most guys are raised not to express feelings openly. So when someone else does it, regardless of gender, it comes of as alien to them. So whether it’s a man or a woman who’s over reacting, all the man is probably thinking is, “I wouldn’t act that way.”

          “It seems that such men are only comfortable with woman in a submissive role.”

          And where are you drawing this conclusion from? It seems that you are drawing this from the male stereotype that men want women to submit to them. Which is sexist.

          I don’t see this as a gender issue. I see this as a communication issue. It’s not exclusive to gender or race. Some men and women do it. And some don’t.

          • Avatar of flux
            flux September 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

            It may be sexist, but its very much true. I just finished reading a book from a shame researcher, Brene Brown, where she talks about the roles men and women are expected to play in society and how shame is used to control. The top three for women are: nice, modest and thin (I’d add attractive to the thin bit myself) and men are expected to be aggressive, powerful and buried in all the other things we expect men to be is, “control the women in their lives”* We chastise men for being (pussy) whipped. She henpecks, he cows to her whims. When a women takes charge he’s asked, “who wears the trousers?” All around us are these expressions meant to shame men when they’re seen to relinquish control/power.

            I don’t disagree that ultimately this is about poor communication skills, but I disagree that men are merely speaking directly; if they were we wouldn’t have this problem.

            *ebook from the library now expired or I’d quote her exactly

        • Avatar of Beryl
          Beryl July 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

          Jill, I know that your post is from Sep 2011, but I just wanted to say, girl, you on right on with that comment. Thank you.

      • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
        Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:23 am #

        Yes, all men and all women are the gender stereotypes you paint them as being. There are no sensitive men. There are no chop-busting women. All men are cavemen, and all women are delicate little flowers who, I guess, like Sex and the City.

        Nobody, including the OP, was “fault[ing] entire genders.” There are a great many men who are decent human beings. There are a great many women who enable sexism.

        Perhaps you ought to read about feminism from its sources, rather than from caricatured portrayals of feminism.

        • Avatar of dubbzee
          dubbzee September 26, 2011 at 11:15 am #

          “Perhaps you ought to read about feminism from its sources, rather than from caricatured portrayals of feminism.”

          The kind where all men are drawn with big heads?

  40. Avatar of llee611838
    llee611838 September 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I had a boyfriend who, when we would disagree or argue, would always say, “You’re being selfish, you’re only thinking about your self.” Initially, it made it difficult to express my point of view because it was generally something about how I would prefer things to be– myself. After a couple of these times being shot down with this I said, “So you’re saying that I should only be thinking about you? Is that how this works?” He had to admit that this was not exactly how relationships are supposed to work, and that there should be some mutual thinking about the other’s point of view involved. After that he couldn’t use this argument any more. It made our style of arguing much more productive.

  41. Avatar of BigHmmm
    BigHmmm September 17, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    There is some validity to this, however I feel that a good many men and women would use this as an excuse for angry, irrational, behavior towards each other or their significant other. People see and feel things as part of their programming. That doesn’t mean that their behavior or reaction is the right behavior or action regardless if someone was the catalyst or gaslighting as you termed it even unintentionally. We ultimately are responsible for how we feel. Someone only makes you feel a certain way if you give them the permission and power to do so. Sometimes those closest enough to the person who is reacting is just telling them the truth about their behavior. I see this as another “excuse” to say YOU make me feel like this. Or you are telling me how I should be feeling. It’s not about addressing how you’re feeling. You are feeling that way. No denial. It’s about addressing the underlying issues and causes as to why you are feeling this way. Why you are reacting in this manner and how in a relationship you can both help to better each other with the willingness to hear the truth about yourself. Now don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of men who provoke this and engage in this type of behavior, but more there also those who are self-deprecating and beat themselves up. There are those who have been programmed and project this on the others surrounding them who are truly their to help them grown and to uplift them. You have to decide which place you end up in categorically. The point is the answer is always in the mirror. And for those who engage in this behavior and put others down to lift yourself up, shame on you.

    • Avatar of BigHmmm
      BigHmmm September 17, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      Also shame on you who will use this as am excuse, justification or reason to blame your significant other or “ex”

      • Avatar of BigHmmm
        BigHmmm September 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

        One more addition. My self deprecating comment was focused on those who have been gaslit by others and then perpetuate the behavior even when someone is not “gaslighting” them. They were manipulated by others prior or in some cases like a parent may still even be in their lives. They revert to the learned behaviors of dealing with this person and bring it into their current relationship. PErhaps the person in their current relationships is sharing that there are better ways to deal with things from their own experience and having walked this path and broken this cycle of reversion.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:42 am #

          Three whole comments devoted to victim blaming. I suspect BigHmmm is a gasligher par excellence.

          • Avatar of Undine
            Undine September 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

            That suspicion is a hard one not to harbor.

          • Avatar of MikeFromCanada
            MikeFromCanada September 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

            Isn’t the whole point of gas lighting to make the other feel like their action was wrong, or not normal, by using dismissive remarks? Then when BigHmmm writes his response, you reply with a sarcastic and dismissive comment calling him a “gas lighter par excellence.”

            Instead of disagreeing with him, you feel the need to make a reply solely dismissing his comment without any attempt to retort the points presented in his post. You’re gas lighting.

          • Avatar of BigHmmm
            BigHmmm September 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

            Funny but that comment is gaslighting and once again reiterates taking responsibility rather than placing blame which our society has embraced. (and if you did read I took both sides and do find someone who gaslights shameful, hurtful and controlling I did not lay blame on a “true” victim in any way)

          • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
            Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:24 am #

            I can’t reply to either Mikey or BigHmmm, but I would say that “If you call my gaslighting out as gaslighting, YOU’RE the gaslighter!” is on the same level as “If you call my racism out as racism, YOU’RE the racist!”

          • Avatar of dubbzee
            dubbzee September 26, 2011 at 11:20 am #

            or, oh.. I don’t know. ANY PREJUDICE EVER. ANY.

            doyouseeyet?

          • Avatar of BigHmmm
            BigHmmm September 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

            Wow talk about minimalist as in lack of cognitive ability. Ms. Daisy Cutter. I witness,recognize and call out your racism, therefore I’m a racist. I witness and see your anger so therefore I must be angry. I witness and call out your “gaslighting” therefore I must be a “gaslighter”. Sound reasoning? I think not. That’s not even a legitimate emotional response. Oh see what I did there…I returned the gaslighting favor….Yes contrived. That is what is commonly called “projection”. Funny thing about projection, it’s usually reflective.

    • Avatar of wilpri
      wilpri April 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      I agree completely. Someone saying they’re ‘sensitive’ shouldn’t prohibit your saying what’s on your mind. Really, try listening to what the other person is saying and stop thinking about how it affects you. (I don’t intend to negate the premise of this article.)

  42. Avatar of Raka
    Raka September 17, 2011 at 11:17 am #

    I’m not going to read the inevitably defensive, dismissive comments loaded with Red Herrings, Straw Mans, ad nauseam (I need to preserve what sanity I have left) but I just want to say, GREAT ARTICLE! If more men were like you, we would live in a MUCH better world.

  43. Avatar of synthonaplinth
    synthonaplinth September 17, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Me ex girlfrined tried pulling this stunt on me…after 5 months of a non- sexual realtionship, $400 dollars in lent money to help cover her expenses, and countless criticisms, she had the nerve to criticize me for buying somthing for myself (I was working five days a week, she was working none)to the point of being profane about it. When I assreted my boundaries and said that she wasn;t going to talk to me like that, she stated that I was ‘trying to control her’. Needless to say, the relationship ended not long after that. Although we hadn’t had sex in the last five months of our relationship, I was accused of being ‘sexually abusive’. Women are not the only sensitive beings in this world. Many times sensistive men have their feelings used against them.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:41 am #

      Indeed. Some women being mean to men, which will happen because women are human, negates thousands of years of legalized discrimination, violence, and belittlement aimed at women.

      /snark

      • Avatar of dubbzee
        dubbzee September 26, 2011 at 11:24 am #

        Here we are talking about a specific girl, and a specific boy.

        Where did this turn into a generalization/exists over thousands of years? Your response has nothing to do with this person’s post, are you aware?

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

      And ALL YOU HAD DONE was complain endlessly about your EXPECTED AND DESERVED “happy ending” and treat a human being with severe financial problems as a latex vagina you wanted to use. right. now.

      Maybe you should have given up on sex after the first “no”, like everyone who’s not a rapist.

      • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
        Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:27 am #

        Howitzer, I just wanted to say I love your comments in this thread. I wish I could say I couldn’t believe that a rapist would come in here whinging about how mean his victim was to him, but given the overall level of d00d entitlement to women’s bodies, work, time, and ego-stroking, I can totally believe it. I hope his ex has found some peace.

        • Avatar of Somenone
          Somenone January 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

          The only reason synthonaplinth seems to be mentioning the lack of sexual intercourse in the relationship is to point out the unfair claim that he was “sexually abusive.” If there are events he is not mentioning, fine. Different conclusions could be drawn if that were the case and those details were exposed. However, from the information given, there is nothing to suggest that he is a rapist. YOU jumped to that conclusion, you and Howitzer both. Why? Because he is a male, and did not treat his girlfriend like she was the only thing in the world?

  44. Avatar of cryptess
    cryptess September 17, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Throughout my experience, melodrama and overreaction follow certain events:

    1. Someone does something that causes hurt, probably unintentionally.
    2. The hurt person responds plaintively: “This may be irrational, but …”
    3. A good discussion happens. Everyone is relieved.
    4. The hurtful action, or one similar, is repeated.
    5. The hurt person responds more vehemently.
    6. The discussion is rehashed; everyone is relieved, but wary.
    7. Repeat until blowup.

    Sometimes during rational discussions, the “offender” (for lack of a better term) will state that the “accuser” is not forthcoming with their emotions, and that their calm rationality belies the depth of their concern.

    The real gaslighting, rather than miscommunication or simple evasion, happens when the now true capital-O Offender realizes that if s/he can convince the accuser that s/he is overreacting — paranoid, deluded, dramatic, over-emotional — they will be able to continue their hurtful behavior and receive less and less accusations, because it would be crazy and unjustified to challenge them.

    So later on it goes this way:
    1. Offender does one or many subtle things to make the accuser feel hurt for vague, almost unidentifiable reasons.
    2. Accuser may start out easily angered, due to the previous cycle of misunderstandings.
    3. Offender demands concrete explanations, examples, etc; no response is satisfactory, and any explanations or examples are dismissed as “keeping score” and “paranoia,” but lack thereof is dismissed as making the complaint “unfounded.”
    4. Offender demands absolute emotional sobriety, but occasionally returns to counter-accusations of the accuser being unforthcoming with emotions. “If you trusted me, you could get upset with me.” or “You’re overreacting. We need to discuss this like adults,” whichever’s clever.
    5. Accuser breaks down into apologies, to which Offender is initially supportive and “forgiving”; as the accuser’s spirit is broken, however, less support is offered and more accusations of paranoia and delusion are brought to the table.

    It’s classic abuse psychology right there: Upset someone, make them justify being upset, act with righteous indignation, and then forgive and comfort them until you “just can’t handle [their] mental instability anymore.”

    I’ve lived through this situation in such a way that I spent a year nearly unable to speak; I had monitored my thoughts, feelings, actions, and speech to such an extent that I had unnatural pauses in my speech where all of the self-censorship occurred. I was unable to connect with human beings in any more than the most fundamental way; day-to-day interactions were about as engaging as clicking on an informational website link.

    Years later, I ultimately gave myself license to “be crazy” and scream my guts out if I wasn’t being heard in crucial matters; I didn’t take license to say cruel things, just to lose my composure while saying what needs to be said. And now, when people say that I’m overreacting, I scream at them that I know, but I won’t stop, because I currently have to “be crazy.”

    • Avatar of petunia
      petunia September 19, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

      cryptess, you just gave me a mini-epiphany. The consistent choice my life partner makes, (and continually points out when we discuss anything that either of us are unhappy about), when he chooses to simply not reply if he thinks my response will be in any way negative has always annoyed me. Until I read this. He came from an abusive past and while I thought I understood all of his baggage my now and reacted with compassion to his needs. I just realized that his choice to not respond has everything to do with a connection he has been missing. (I type while he chews me out over something mundane and trivial) You see, we are not perfect, we have abounding love and yet I never really understood that one small thing he does. We communicate easily most of the time, without any passive-aggressiveness or anger. His pausing always threw me off a little in our day to day life. It seemed very unlike the rest of our rather normal life. I think I get him a little better now. Thank-you. Of course, I do hope he doesn’t decide one day to just go crazy but if he needs to I’ll make sure to keep some old dishes around. Just in case. ;)

      • Avatar of wilpri
        wilpri April 8, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

        “while he chews me out over something mundane and trivial”? OUCH.

  45. Avatar of JustEric
    JustEric September 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    First, I would like to say that this is not even remotely related to any sort of perceived gender inequality. Men and women, straight or gay, everyone is capable of — and most people guilty of — overreacting, or calling someone on their overreaction. Welcome to life; please enjoy your stay.

    I’m sorry, but sometimes people DO overreact and it’s NOT okay. Yes, it’s generally considered a good thing to express one’s feelings, and often bad to keep them bottled up (which is what the author is suggesting the “gaslighter” do by NOT “gaslighting”…which isn’t at all what this article was about). However, we live in a civilized society, and certain behaviors are considered unacceptable.

    When someone IS overreacting, it is our duty as fellow human beings to let them know. To pretend that their overreaction is normal and acceptable is to do them — and everyone around them, including ourselves — a disservice.

    Overreaction is due largely to one of two issues: either the “overreactor” has failed to either be taught or learn the proper emotional response to certain situations, or there has been a misunderstanding.

    The human mind is an incredible machine, and it’s capable of much more than it gets credit for. If someone has simply missed the opportunity early in life to learn appropriate emotional responses, they can — through repeated feedback from those around them — recondition their mind to react in appropriate ways.

    If there’s simply been a misunderstanding, pointing out the overreaction provides an opportunity to highlight the misunderstanding. Put things in a new perspective, and the “overreactor” has an opportunity to reassess the situation and adjust the reaction accordingly.

    Either way, there IS such a thing as an overreaction. Is everyone accused of overreaction guilty? No. Is everyone that points out an overreaction guilty of “gaslighting” (I’m simply reusing the term the author incorrectly used for the sake of congruence)? No.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, my friends.

    • Avatar of flux
      flux September 17, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      Who decides what a proper emotion response is? Right out the womb we begin to teach men that showing emotion, or expressing moments of weakness are signs of being a sissy girl. Conversely we teach women they must be nice, modest and to reign in aggressive tendencies lest they be thought of as bitches. The whole system is dysfunctional.

      But, bullying a women by shaming her in the workplace is not an appropriate emotional response to encourage increased worker productivity.

      Nor is using shame an appropriate response in a relationship.

    • Avatar of Diacritic
      Diacritic September 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

      This article is about women’s normal reactions being treated as if they were overreactions. About people being told they’re overreacting when they are in fact just reacting. Your responding to it as if it were a claim that it’s wrong to tell anyone anywhere that they’re overreacting is, in fact, a massive overreaction.

      You’re just being too sensitive. You’re making a big deal out of it and getting all inappropriately emotional. You probably weren’t taught proper behavior as a child, but you can learn to control your emotions if you really want to.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Aw, Eric, did this article make you feel uncomfortable? Perhaps even testerical? Perhaps you ought to go make yourself a nice cup of tea and hug a blankie, which will help you deal with your irrational urge to mansplain women’s experiences to them.

      • Avatar of Andrew
        Andrew September 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

        You don’t even realize you’re doing exactly the same thing to Eric that this article talks about, do you Daisy. Interesting.

        • Avatar of Tully
          Tully September 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

          By posting again & again, Daisy is pretty much justifying all the comments that she is also railing against… interesting that she shares the traits which she also claims to find so offensive. I find that most people– men or women– who spend a lot of time complaining about the people they date are, for the most part, dating stupid & annoying people. So that’s step one in my opinion: Don’t stay in relationships with people you don’t like.

          • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
            Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:30 am #

            Right, calling out stupid, patronizing, and privileged comments makes me just as bad as the people who said them.

            I smell copious butthurt and wounded privilege.

        • Avatar of Howitzer
          Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

          But it IS an irrational urge to mansplain women’s experiences to them.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:28 am #

          Nah. Pointing out that someone else is being a patronizing git does not in any way equal gaslighting them. Any more than pointing out racism makes one a racist. I’m sure, though, that you react just as inanely to any threat, real or perceived, to your privilege.

          • Avatar of Somenone
            Somenone January 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

            However, Ms. Daisy Cutter, claiming someone is being a “patronizing git” when they are stating a VALID OPINION is absolutely wrong. Just because someone’s opinion goes against your (admittedly rather extreme) one does not make them wrong. Neither is your stating something which is against someone else’s (however extreme) opinion wrong. But attacking someone because you cannot stand the fact that they do not share your opinion – or attacking the fact that they happen to have a Y-chromosome – IS wrong.

            As a woman, I have no qualms saying that men do not have a monopoly on sexism. I am not saying that you are wrong to have the opinions you have, however you may have obtained or developed them. I AM saying that your attacks (because they are attacks) have been unjustified, unwarranted, and absolutely sexist.

      • Avatar of Noah
        Noah September 20, 2011 at 12:43 am #

        That was rude Ms. Daisy. If you disagree why don’t you state your argument instead of basically mocking JustEric?

        Using the term “mansplain” takes away your credibility. Clearly, poor communication skills exist in both genders.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:29 am #

          Awwww, I offended poor widdle Noah by being rude. Because we all know that no matter how condescending, misogynist, or clueless men are, it’s up to women to always be polite when we rebut you.

          You don’t deserve politeness from feminists, and neither do any of the whiny-ass d00ds who showed up here to complain that someone was paying attention to women’s issues instead of their own for a few minutes.

          • Avatar of mismud
            mismud June 3, 2012 at 1:03 am #

            You MS.DAISY CUTTER are flat out the epitome of ‘butthurt’ my friend – the very page you linked to states:

            “I’m not saying it’s okay to say ‘You stupid shit how dare you write this!’ There is a difference between being angry when addressing racism (or sarcastic or “rude”) and insulting people.”

            Anger, frustration and rage may all be well justified, and most people here – with or without ‘pee-pees’ (YOUR pathetic term), degrees, feminist ideals or not – have made respectful points; whether you think they are legitimate or not you have absolutely no credibility when you resort to condescending abusive retorts and spelling corrections, no less! You talk about men being condescending and clueless (and I don’t necessarily disagree with you) whilst spewing forth ridiculous name calling to make your point. As a strong proud feminist woman I can certainly become enraged and exasperated and bloody well livid at the lack of understanding that some men and women have about these issues, but you Ms. Daisy Cutter have made my blood absolutely boil. Your small-minded childish remarks indicate the level you are operating on, and any valid points you and your friend may have made are completely drowned out by your disrespectful and utterly insulting manner. Before you start some rant about not pandering to the misogynists by being polite, no one (especially not me!) expects any level of pandering or denies your right to be angry as hell, but never, EVER does feeling (justifiably) enraged give you the right to perpetrate abuse against another by using pathetic names to put them down when you obviously don’t have the intelligence or the energy to refute their points without resorting to blanket comments about their ‘pee-pees’ and male over-sensitivity. Doing exactly what you purportedly are fighting against, and justifying it by saying “it’s not the same, because women are oppressed” is utterly ridiculous, and I’m ashamed to be associated with people like you. I believe the pendulum needs to swing the other way before there can be balance, and I believe in the right to be bloody angry, but saying “I have the right to be an abusive w*nker because my people/gender have been abused” is not feminism, it is a disgusting example of small-minded petty bullies adopting the banner of ‘fighting the cause of the oppressed’ to perpetrate hatred and abuse and to excuse their own lack of respect for others. You do not represent feminism. You need to read your own link. That is all.

    • Avatar of Noah
      Noah September 20, 2011 at 12:34 am #

      Thank you JustEric.
      It’s important to define our terms for appropriate reactions and styles of communication.

      Sometimes I react very strongly (my standard emotional reaction happens to be anger) to seemingly small events like disagreements, arguments, and traffic jams. That reaction is inappropriate. It’s an emotional overreaction, not a valid self-expression to be shared. If anyone else is present, my reaction is a burden on them and if it’s directed at them it’s quite offensive.
      If anyone were to tell me I was overreacting, they’d be right even though it would be difficult for them to confront me, especially at that moment. That’s not gaslighting, it’s called being a brave friend. The distinction needs to made.
      Emotional outbursts have only recently become potentially acceptable in our society, maybe because of sentiments like the one expressed in this article. But there are still plenty of people who believe that interpersonal communication and the sharing of ideas works better if we leave the screaming and venting separate. To feel emotions is separate from trying to make others feel them.

      At my best, I try to feel the emotions, not block them. In doing so I might be able to clearly see that perhaps I’m tired that day, I haven’t had enough food, or I’m overworked. Perhaps the catalyst event triggered a response to a series of events that had been building up. Whatever the case may be, it’s always better for me to feel the emotions fully without reacting (don’t punch the wall) and then later try to deal with the source of the problem.
      As I grow older I’ve gotten better at processing feelings quicker so I can react before the event has passed by completely.

      Remember, emotions are chemical responses like anything. They don’t define us, and they don’t control us. You can’t always choose your feelings, but you can certainly always choose your behavior.

  46. Avatar of Nature Made
    Nature Made September 16, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    There is a difference between just being dismissive and manipulative. Addressing dismissive is easy enough but how do you address gas-lighting?

  47. Avatar of Marcos
    Marcos September 16, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    I think the emotional abuse in our society is totally nuts, and that there is a lot of work that we all have to do to rectify our own behavior.

    However, there are times when people do over react and are using the cover of histrionics as another form of manipulation.

    Further, there is some lingering hangover from the feminist movement which tends to emasculate men and deem certain aspects of maleness as wrong in order to fit the expectations and demands of the feminist ideal. this can cause some confusion and developmental issues among men.

    Finally, in a world where transgender people are encouraged to express their true inner gender identity, feminine gay men celebrated for the expression of their softer side and bull dykes expressing an outwardly male fashion idiom, there is an emerging denigration of what might be termed traditional male ego, or “Jocks”. If we are to live an a society with broad acceptance of individual freedom to self-define gender association and attitudes, then there needs to be space left for men who simply want to be men like John Wayne, Al Bundy, or Clint Eastwood’s character in Dirty Harry. There can be no freedom without freedom for all, with exceptions for violence, abusive or intolerant traits which have no place in society no matter what sort of outward manifestations of individualism are intended.

    • Avatar of Diacritic
      Diacritic September 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

      “However, there are times when people do over react and are using the cover of histrionics as another form of manipulation.”

      How is this relevant? There is nothing in the article that claims that people don’t ever overreact.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      No, actually, there can’t be freedom for men who want to go around blowing other people up randomly (Dirty Harry) or making excuses for genocide (John Wayne).

      Can’t even be bothered to address the rest of your ill-informed screed. I’ll suggest, however, that you invest in a steel cup, to ease your testerical fears about the evil feminists attacking your manhood.

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

      You REALLY think society is encouraging femininity in men, and transgender identites, at the exact same time society is concerned that real masculinity is “disappearing”, and we need to masculinize the shit out of those little feminine boys who were already happy doing their own thing.

      That’s the most important thing: Boys who don’t fit your traditional image of masculinity are happy doing their own thing. Or they would be happy if you’d stop making them ashamed of themselves.

      • Avatar of petunia
        petunia September 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

        Oh this was by far your best response of the evening. Well said and with aplomb.

  48. Avatar of hazmatdance
    hazmatdance September 16, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    Forget about trying to reform other people. You’re just giving away your own power when you base your expectations on what other people do. You can’t make your parents be less critical, or your boss less of a jerk, by pleading. Even the belief that somehow you can, if you just “say it right” is itself crazymaking because it’s totally unrealistic. It says if you can’t reform your gaslighting partner, it’s your fault.

    You can’t talk Haley Barbour out of his racism, either – he’d just deny he was a racist. And it gives all the power to this denying spouse, instead of keeping that power for yourself. And what powers do you have really? The power to determine YOUR OWN REACTION. You determine what you feel, how you will act. Self control is the only real form of empowerment, but it’s always available to you.

    The problem is when a dismissive person has power over you: boss, parent, spouse, cop, judge. Generally, anyone who’s dismissive of me, I don’t keep in my life! If you can’t just walk away (as in a cop or judge), you have to view them as an obstacle you can’t avoid, but you don’t try to be friends with it, you don’t even expect them to play fair.

    If it’s a spouse, and you’ve already got a life together, kids, commitment, and suddenly now this not-being-heard is a huge problem, you may have very limited options, none of which will be very appealing. Most people who are wrong never EVER admit it or even comprehend it, or if they do, it’s on their own timetable.

    It’s very hard to cultivate an attitude that would allow any dignity in the face of powerlessness, maybe a polite go-to-hell attitude.

    The whole “I-statement” practice works well if all parties are committed to working with it, but it doesn’t work so well with people who aren’t. For habitual dismissers, I’d stick with the facts – wxpressing to someone about how their lateness inconveniences me is different from expressing to them how it MAKES ME FEEL when they’re late. Stick with the facts but don’t expect miracles.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:35 am #

      What victim-blaming horseshit. Yes, we CAN change others. Not every single person, not overnight, but over time and across a broad swath, through political action.

      I have almost never seen “the only one you can change is yourself” used except to justify the status quo.

      • Avatar of sarakay
        sarakay May 31, 2012 at 12:03 am #

        Does that mean I can change you? Because there is nothing in this world I would rather do than change you. You’re just awful.

    • Avatar of Howitzer
      Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

      Spoken like someone with full civil rights!

  49. Avatar of HuicTerra
    HuicTerra September 16, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    Oddly enough, my life experience of this has been largely in the form of one woman to another. First, it was my mother, who I believe was likely gaslit by her stepfather and thus disrespected my emotional earnestness with sardonic commentary and displays of mockery. She called me “Hormona,” which I’m sure she thought was clever and endearing at the time, due to her own conditioning in her youth. It has scarred me sufficiently to the degree that even typing it makes me feel belittled.
    That was followed with a string of abusive female teenage peers, and some aggressive female bosses who used gaslighting to obscure how threatened they felt working with a woman who valued her own intelligence and self-respect.
    The men in my life have rarely been guilty of this conduct, but I know many women who have different stories, different perspectives and different experiences. I value this acknowledgement of abusive behavior that so often goes unchecked. Yashar does not seem to blame only men for perpetuating these subtle lies, yet he recognizes that the dynamics of our culture create an environment that encourages men to act in this way in response emotions they do not have the tools to understand.

  50. Avatar of GoddessofJava
    GoddessofJava September 16, 2011 at 7:01 am #

    For what it’s worth, it’s not just men gaslighting women. While I’ve been on the wrong end of it from both sexes, the more damaging instance was definitely from a woman.

    • Avatar of Noah
      Noah September 20, 2011 at 12:59 am #

      I’ve been more appalled by things I’ve heard women say to women than by things men have said to women. I laugh at the notion that women are somehow less equipped for emotional manipulation than men, or less inclined to it.

      • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
        Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:31 am #

        I wonder how often you’ve been around other men who say nasty shit to women. Because I’ve heard plenty of it. And so have other women. It’s so much easier to just blame women’s oppression on women, isn’t it?

  51. Avatar of twiggy365
    twiggy365 September 16, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    I created an account here purely to speak for the other side.

    I am a survivor of ten years of emotional and psychological abuse by a woman. That woman was my mother, and gaslighting was her weapon of choice. Any emotion I expressed which didn’t suit her purposes would be explained to me as something else; I was “difficult”, “angry”, “aggressive”, anything but how I really felt. By characterising my dissent against unreasonable demands as aggression, she effectively denied me any voice at all. As an adult, I have difficulty even naming my emotions, because I was so rigorously conditioned to deny their existence outright. My family believe my mother’s side of the story: that she is the sweet-natured youngest child of her generation, and that I, even at thirty years of age, am a troublemaker who probably has some kind of mental health issue.

    I am also male.

    The actor Simon Pegg once tweeted that he thought the origin of misogyny lay in men’s realisation that we are “powerless against women in every sense but the physical”. I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken. Having lived the life I have, I believe that for every innocent and damaged female angel, there is a cynical manipulator who is using the very emotional skills we teach to women as a weapon against both men and other women. It can be hard for an outsider to tell the two apart – and men should never for a moment forget that we are outsiders. Women are very careful what they let us see and hear, and the balance of opinion in society is such that their emotional reactions – whether genuine or cynically faked – are given much greater weight than men’s. I’ve come across examples like twenty-year-old female students who write bad coursework, then quite cynically claim a second chance based on the claim that the tutor’s quite justifiable criticism of bad work upset them. The course in question was for a childcare qualification, and the coursework was about recognising meningitis. Some time soon, there will be a qualified child carer in Britain who can’t recognise meningitis in a child, but got the rubber stamp to say she can by manipulating the system. She could be looking after your child.

    To the author of the post, I would say: how many of the men who claim their partners are overreacting say that because their partners dominate the emotional stage in the relationship, and deny men the space to express their own feelings? Men in this society are not taught emotional skills; we are taught repression and stoicism, the toxic tools of self-denial. Women aid and abet the word in teaching us not to express our feelings; pull yourself together, stop whining, be a man. And then they judge us for our failure to express emotion in terms they understand. Effectively, we are constantly told that to be “better”, we should be more like women; the sum total is a message that it is, in essence, wrong to be ourselves.

    I do not believe it is wrong for men to be male – that it can in any way be wrong to behave, feel, react and think in ways which are not stereotypically similar to those in which so many women feel and think. And therefore I cannot accept that it is wrong for men to find that women look crazy for behaving the way they do. Everyone looks crazy to someone. Unchecked narcissism and morbid sensitivity (the sins of typical women) are as insane a way to live as unchecked detachment and callousness (the sins of typical men). I do not for a moment believe that it helps the entire situation to claim that one party in the eternal debate between the sexes is wronged, and the other is to blame.

    • Avatar of Diacritic
      Diacritic September 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      “I created an account here purely to speak for the other side.”

      You’re not “speaking for the other side”. You’re telling a sad but irrelevant story about your own life. The fact that you were emotionally abused by a woman is not a counterpoint to an article about epidemic bad treatment of women.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:33 am #

      Oh, you poor, poor thing. Because your mommy was mean to you, that means sexism doesn’t exist, and that means women are victimizing men.

      I play the world’s tiniest, tiniest violin for your crushing man-pain.

      • Avatar of Stevenav
        Stevenav September 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

        Wow, what an amazing internet troll you are. Seriously. The guy made solid and cogent points that you simply can’t deal with. In fact you just reinforced precisely the point he made.

        That men aren’t supposed to or even ALLOWED to voice even the idea that they too get to experience gaslighting. Why? Because men in our society are told that our emotions do not matter. In fact that we’re not supposed to HAVE emotions or if we do to repress them till we die of stress related diseases decades earlier than women do.

        Yes yes… do go on, DC show us how women scorn men for having feelings. Please do… you just make twiggy 365′s point all the more clear and correct.

        • Avatar of Howitzer
          Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

          Men aren’t supposed to voice the idea in the comment section of an article titled “A message to women”. See, its the LOCATION.

          There are boards and websites devoted to deconstructing modern and historical conceptinos of masculinity and male image. If twiggy wrote an article THERE, that’d be awesome.

          Men ARE supposed to, and ARE allowed to voice their ideas there. Doing it here is dismissive jerkass behavior.

          • Avatar of Noah
            Noah September 20, 2011 at 1:02 am #

            And yet you, Howitzer, are a truly compassionate ideal for the rest of us to look up to.

      • Avatar of Noah
        Noah September 20, 2011 at 1:11 am #

        Wow Daisy Cutter, I hope you don’t treat your children, friends, and co-workers the way you treat other posters on this site. You would be creating another generation of heartless gaslighters.

        “man-pain” ???? As if pain felt by men is somehow different from pain felt by women?!?

        Again I laugh at the notion that women are less capable or less inclined to emotional manipulation. You Daisy Cutter, are living proof.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:33 am #

          I love the ASS-umption, first of all, that I have children or even want them.

          Second, there you go again, accusing me of “gaslighting” when calling out misogynist bullshit. Once again, it is precisely the same tactic used by racists who don’t want to own up to their own racism.

          “Man-pain” is a term not for any psychic pain that men feel, but the idea that men’s psychic pain is SO precious and special, especially if a woman can be blamed for it.

          I haven’t manipulated anybody in this thread. Far from it. I’ve stated the blunt, honest truth. A lot of whiny-ass privileged entitlefucks like you don’t like it. Boo hoo fucking hoo.

          • Avatar of NobodysAingyl
            NobodysAingyl January 11, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

            4 months later…

            No, Miss Daisy, what you have done is not call out misogynist bullshit. What you’ve done is repeatedly posted highly demeaning insults, liberally peppered with profanity and mean-spiritedness.

            Instead of calmly and maturely discussing the topic at hand, you have continuously proven yourself to be hypocrite and engaged in the very behavior you’re professing to fight against.

            Just because this is something that has been done for hundreds of years does NOT mean it’s ok to turn around and do it BACK. Grow the hell up, put on your big girl panties, and come back when you can post without being a righteous bitch.

            (Oh look. See what I did there? I can do it, too!)

      • Avatar of sarakay
        sarakay May 31, 2012 at 12:05 am #

        You are such a thoroughly bad person.

  52. Avatar of llama
    llama September 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Nope. As it turns out, women are just crazy. Thanks for playing though.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:34 am #

      HI there, abuser! I hope your decision that “women are just crazy” means you’ll no longer be romantically involved with any of us, because we deserve better than your misogynist ass.

  53. Avatar of alicexie
    alicexie September 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this article. I can’t express how much it means to me to have you put into words the frustration I have felt so acutely in the past. Thank you for taking the time to write this defense of women. Having male understanding and sympathy for these issues means so much.

  54. Avatar of Xavier Pattonson
    Xavier Pattonson September 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    Nuanced clear thinking, the writer to be commended for insight, and to counter some of the offended male posters, yes, it does work both ways, it is irrespective of sex, it is for domination and ego reasons that consciously or not don’t care about the affect on the object. Men do it to women more that the reverse, though, for sure, probably a carry over in part of the male role in early civilizations. The one’s who do it are probably the ones who think it is sexist to point it out, since it is usually a man to a woman or a kid to a kid (?), but you would think hardly ever a parent to a child but may be a main problem in child-rearing that goes unrecognized? The writer is right, it is an ultimate cowardice to put it on someone who has no choice in the matter, by age or relationship or conditioning.

  55. Avatar of focalmatter
    focalmatter September 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    Fantastic article and very rich food for thought on an issue we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another, but I feel like in the process of making your point, you’ve overlooked the Occam’s Razor scenario: communication breakdown between the sexes.

    Men and women communicate within their genders in wildly different ways, and men are often much more confrontational and direct with other men. A lot of times they will talk to women the way they talk to other men and insult or offend them in the process. Their ensuing cries of “You’re just being sensitive!” are, more often than not, evasion rather than gaslighting. It’s still WRONG on their part and they should instead be owning up and apologizing instead of being dismissive, but it’s not manipulation.

    To borrow one of your scenarios, if a man were to comment on another man’s weight, the response would more likely be an equally-direct response (“Looking a little pudgy there, buddy.” / “Says the guy whose ass has its own zip code.”) than hurt feelings. The reason men don’t gaslight other men is because men are direct and confrontational on both sides. It’s only when women internalize their response that men suddenly feel guilty or embarrassed and lash out in a deflective manner, calling them sensitive or over-emotional.

    This isn’t to say gaslighting doesn’t happen. It does, and it’s prevalent enough that you are very much in the right for shining a light on the phenomenon. I just think it’s unfair to paint these situations solely in the light of emotional manipulation when, as often as not, it’s a reflex action devoid of any motivation beyond cowardly evasion.

    • Avatar of Xavier Pattonson
      Xavier Pattonson September 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

      Gaslighting is a means of subjugating. Men don’t do that in regular society by this means they do it in other ways such as “shut up, stupid.” This is a way that works superficially between sexes in a way that probably has had at some point socially justifiable reason for needed roles in gender differentiation to achieve a joint social aim all the better — which in this day probably has little relevance, and is more like an appendix that still digests the abuse of the unenlightened.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:32 am #

      Yep, it’s all women’s fault for “internalizing” it. It’s not like we ever experience backlash for standing up for ourselves, do we? Nah, we’re just weak pushovers. There’s no political context there AT ALL.

      • Avatar of Arbitration
        Arbitration September 19, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

        insecure

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:35 am #

          About what? Also, I really hope you’re not an arbiter of anything relating to personal relationships, because it sounds like you always play the “both sides are equally culpable” game. I’d hate to be a victim of domestic violence relying on you to work out “differences” between me and my SO.

  56. Avatar of ooshrooms
    ooshrooms September 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    This isn’t really a gender issue or at least isn’t a primary issue. It is more of a symptom of how we treat kids imo.

    When a man has an emotional response that someone else (male or female) thinks is excessive, do you think gaslighting is less likely to happen? The ridicule and backlash against sensitive men for not being a stereotypical macho man with ice in his veins is almost guaranteed and can be brutal. Habitual culprits of this bullying aren’t just dismissive of men’s emotions (as they are of women’s). They’re aggressive towards them. Replace Abbie with Bobby. If Bobby tells his boss his feelings are hurt, the boss probably won’t just say, “you’re too sensitive.” I’d expect additional ridicule from the boss or other coworkers for it including homophobic slurs (or now that that can cause firings and lawsuits, blackballing).

    Obviously women deal with this attack against emotion more than men especially in situations where a woman enters a space filled with men where traditional male-male social interactions are standard. I can appreciate why this seems like a critical gender issue, and I’m sure sometimes it intentionally is, but I think looking at children illuminates the cause.

    One could argue that the reason it’s not a more prevalent problem for adult men is that our society conditions them from a young age to not express weakness including a variety of emotions. Girls are allowed to be emotional and then are abruptly chastised for it in certain situations as adults. Adult women will be more certain of their feelings than young boys, and while not necessarily willing to stand up to a boyfriend or boss, they’re more secure than a child being told how to think by parents and the media. Moderately sensitive boys don’t just comply with their actions to fit the mold but mentally distance their allegedly improper emotions so far from themselves that they effectively disappear during emotional development. It can take many years for something as critical as sexual identity to surface after being repressed. Moderate emotions are likely to never come back. It’s possible that the only reason this seems like a gender issue, is that a real gender issue hides instances where it affects men. Those affected probably seem and feel normal. This statistical reduction of emotions in men skews the expected response to a given impetus leaving the average woman appearing far outside the norm when compared to the standard for men alone or men and women together.

    tl;dr It’s not specific to men against women, and its prevalence in that respect is contributed to by the disparate way we raise boys and girls.

    • Avatar of Xavier Pattonson
      Xavier Pattonson September 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

      If this were not a male-dominated society, you could expect the same common inter-gender behavior were it reversed and you were a Ulysses at Lesbos. The writer is right on that this is a facet of all ways of domination, and this one particularly tends to be between the sexes and parallels the authority structure of the particular society. The nature of the abuse depends on status of high to low. It can be a male boss to an employee but if a male is the object, the rebuke is of a different kind, as “I would expect more than that of a man, Fred” — relating in the competitive stance — than if a woman, in which the false coddling of “Really, its not as bad as it seems,” relates in the protective stance. In either case, it is from an inner insufficiency in the speaker, taught by society to complement roles socially deemed needed, and particularly “dangerous” if a society is truly egalitarian, which it isn’t to the extent these inequities are in play (in nature’s sacrifice of the individual for survival of the whole). In the parent to a child–the competitive-parallel modes remain–but the formative value is deadly to the self when the father teaches a son to be a man too soon and stifle his fears and thus not deal with them, creating the vacuum that causes the behavior to continue when the son is the dad–or to his daughter, in preparing her for domination and teaching her to seek outside help in a rescuer through the inner void he helps create in the only parenting he knows. The parental installation of weakness in character is even worse when the mother does it to a daughter, teaching that her feelings are not valid and opening the mother as the main role model to copy; or the mother to the son, not letting him grow in a natural give and take with his inner self, but to a role as a leader expecting subjugation of certain relationships, like female or younger female or wife, in the male-run society. Confusion and weakness is taught in each case. Every culture on earth does it. They all look different but achieve the same end–a network of stability paid for by individual incompleteness. This is about how we raise our kids to respond, and the writer eloquently expresses a little noticed way we teach our kids that having a partially unfulfilled life is ok, such that when the environment gives you just what leads to that, it is already your normal.

    • Avatar of Noah
      Noah September 20, 2011 at 1:33 am #

      As boys we are taught to control our reactions to our emotions while young girls are allowed to express more freely. Boys are ridiculed for crying or showing fear. There are benefits and drawbacks to that, just as there are for free emotional expression.

      It’s important to control one’s emotional reactions, but the not the emotions themselves, so as not to allow the feeling to interfere with clear communication and sharing of ideas. However it’s important to recognize and allow our own feelings so that we can be honest and self-aware (and not bottle it up and go postal).

      It may appear to some that man-to-woman gaslighting is the most common form, but as boys we are gaslighted so fiercely that our emotional reactions are beaten out of us early on.

      This article brings out so many good points, but it seems the one point so many here disagree with is the writer’s assertion that it’s mainly a man-on-woman phenomenon. I think it’s more universal than the writer chooses to see.

  57. Avatar of Ms.Gom
    Ms.Gom September 15, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I enjoyed your perspective on this topic very much. There is much that rings true here in my own life, where I’ve spent forty years trying to find the courage to speak up and pursue my own dreams.

    All the same I agree with some other commentators who said this is more of a human to human thing than a man to woman thing.

    Upon reflection, I think people do this “gaslighting” of other people not so much to be intentionally manipulative but simply because they are scared. When my child, for example, is crying over something and I feel powerless to help, sometimes I might find myself making a snide comment to her about it. I feel bad doing it, but my fear in the face of my own inability as a mother to make my kid feel better in that moment, sometimes overwhelms all sense.

    Keep writing interesting articles!

  58. Avatar of LazyL
    LazyL September 15, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    It’s true both genders can gaslight: my mother was excellent at it to me as a child, and through a lot of work I’ve managed to not replicate it.

    A response that “You’re too sensitive,” etc., often has two sides to it: If the “sensitive” person is calling out bad behavior in the other person, then the gaslighting emerges from that person’s guilt or attempt to escape responsibility for the behavior. But if the “sensitive” person’s response truly is “over the top” given the situation, it’s an opportunity to see what is underneath the response relating to the behavior, the relationship or the argument.

    The bottom line is always that no one’s internal emotional reaction is “wrong”; you feel what you feel. What isn’t helpful is to ignore what the emotional reaction is trying to reveal. What’s abusive is to end the conversation/denigrate the reaction or to act out on the emotions (hitting, etc.). So if a woman starts crying because she is upset, that is real; if a man gets angry because he feels she is manipulating him, that is real. The most helpful conversation in the situation is to stop and ask each other/yourself: What is it that is making me feel X? Why is that hurtful? Where in my life experience is this from? In other words, talk about it, don’t denigrate or argue to see who can “win.” That way lies more pain and madness — and more gaslighting.

    Thanks for a great article and a useful term to prompt comments and thoughtful responses in our own lives.

  59. Avatar of boilermaker
    boilermaker September 14, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!? Um, note to the author: This is not a “Men are from Mars/Women from Venus” issue; this is a “some people are bullies and other people take it” issue. I’m a man and I take this sort of abuse from my wife. I’m not proud of it, I wish I could escape it, but (familiar refrain) I put up with it for the sake of the kids. Bullied people tend to be of a personality type that Elaine Arons, Ph.D., has defined as “highly sensitive” (http://www.hsperson.com/); I’ve always been drawn to strong, domineering women, and they to me, at least once they realize what a pushover I am. I’m on maximum doses of two antidepressants and a tranquilizer to keep my anxiety and depression under control, because in my wife’s opinion all of “our” problems stem from “my” mental-health issues. Never mind that I bring every cent into the household and she gets time to herself while the kids are in school; I’m not allowed to spend any money without her explicit permission, nor am I allowed any downtime/time to myself (what the HSP craves most) when I’m not at work, because then I’ve got to relieve her of child-care duties. Just the other day I got lectured about not letting her know of my whereabouts in the house for an hour, when I was in our bedroom trying to overcome a migraine; she once again told me that our division of labor is unequal and that I need to get her permission to NOT be on duty. Two hours after this she blithely informed me that she’s attending a mommy-blogging event this weekend and I’ll be on child duty from Friday afternoon ’til sometime Sunday.

    Oh, and dawnnewton, your generalization that “men tend to be very unemotional creatures” is utter BS. I’m frankly more emotional than most people of both genders I know–not all, certainly, but most.

    So, a message from a man to the man who wrote this and the women who swooned over it: It works both ways.

    • Avatar of thisrunsthrough
      thisrunsthrough September 15, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Do you really think that every woman is just like your wife? And you honestly believe that every other man is JUST like you? I would like to see where in this article that it explicitly says that this cannot happen the other way around.

      • Avatar of boilermaker
        boilermaker September 15, 2011 at 10:10 am #

        Um, no, I’m saying that the original article makes the assumption that this scenario plays out only one way, with men subjugating women, and that that ain’t the case. Given the “oh, men, we’re such evil creatures” tone of the piece, it’s not unreasonable to ask for an explicit statement that this can’t happen the other way around.

        • Avatar of Barbara
          Barbara September 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

          Frankly, it appears to me that you are versed in emotional manipulation via word choice as well. Replying with “um” is setting the stage for your dismissal of the person to whom you are responding. It does indeed work both ways; your tone directly impacts how a person receives your message.

          • Avatar of Automatic
            Automatic September 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

            Really? You see a comment written with such emotional pain, and you jump on him over a two letter word? I consider what you’re doing a case of pile-on bullying.

        • Avatar of Justin
          Justin September 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

          Before examining and fractionalizing your opinion of this article there is a basic idea that must be discussed. The idea that you must understand is that people in general base their actions and reactions in situations upon their own past experiences. Believe it or not, most of a person’s responses in a situation are determined in their subconscious mind without them even realizing that they had made a choice to act or react a certain way. The key here is to learn and understand this type of behavior and then try to make more of your decisions consciously rather than subconsciously. This subconscious thought process must be brought to your attention to relieve the stresses of people misinterpreting your actions and reactions but also to allow you to portray your thoughts and ideas in a healthier, more communicable method.
          If I say, “Hey! You are worthless!” then you are going to react in a negative way or at least have a negative feeling based on the comment. Negativity attracts negativity. If I am the victim in this situation naturally I would want to retaliate with a sarcastic negative comment back at them. The author here is stating that the bully in this case would then just say “Oh well, I was just kidding. You are overreacting.” While I may be overreacting to the comment, I have made a choice to react the way I did. It is a person’s actions that label them as crazy. Not their feelings involved in a situation. Divorces for example are a prime situation when people react without thinking. You both feel victimized so you retaliate in a rage or in spite with the method you subconsciously chose to do so with. In reality, you both have feelings of betrayal, distrust, jealousy, or whatever it may be that need to be discussed with each other or with a third party entity.
          The author here should not be gearing his article towards any one gender but rather towards society as a whole. He clearly explains that this process can work both ways but then explains how it happens more to women with men being the culprits. I believe, according to my ideas described above, that this is a societal problem rather than a gender specific issue. In times of debate it is best to remain neutral until your facts can prove true your opinion. Please respond as I may need to be more specific or may not have explained my argument on this subject clearly. Sorry up front if so.

        • Avatar of Diacritic
          Diacritic September 17, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

          The original article makes no such assumptions.

      • Avatar of Automatic
        Automatic September 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

        Did you read what he wrote? He made no such assertion.

        Do you really think that all giraffes are magenta? And you honestly believe that every other Etruscan trombone player is JUST like you?

        • Avatar of Justin
          Justin September 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

          Was this question/comment meant for me? If so, please indicate yes or no. Thanks!

    • Avatar of LazyL
      LazyL September 15, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      Dear Boilermaker,

      As someone whose parents stayed together “for the kids,” I had so much damage and so many bad examples of how to run a relationship that I’ve been in therapy multiple times to try to cope. I didn’t marry until over 50, largely because of those issues. And that relationship took five years to stabilize into something resembling a loving relationship.

      I hope you find the strength to get out of your marriage, because you are not doing your children any favors. If you stay, you continue the cycle of dominance and nastiness for their future relationships. Show them how to value themselves by leaving your wife. Your body is trying to tell you, with your migraines and anxiety and depression. Please listen.

      You deserve a better life. You are sensitive and loving. Get out of that situation; believe me, being alone is preferable to being in a situation where you are constantly fighting for your emotional well-being. Good luck and bless you.

    • Avatar of redladyj
      redladyj September 15, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Boilermaker,
      You’re right. At least in my opinion. Everyone in my family, including my aunt who is a PhD in Psychology, is both being abused and controlled and is consequently, abusing and controlling of others. I woke up one day, and after 10 years of seeing a couselor, discovered a book series/author who helped me figure it out, process it, and figure out what the heck to do about it. And, 6 years later, I’m a different person and totally reborn. And you can do it to. I’ve been bullied all my life, from a child, and as an adult, and I am highly sensitive, a target for bullies. My parents, and later, my brother, then my aunt and her husband, would still be treating me as you say your wife did/does to you. But you can put a stop to it, and reclaim yourself. And move on to create a whole new you. Patricia Evans is the author. The books- ‘Verbally Abusive Relationship’, ‘Controlling People.’ The best of luck to you. Email me if you want.

    • Avatar of fortheloveoflight
      fortheloveoflight September 15, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      I like how this response is so charged with passion – use this passion and strive to get out of your bullshit relationship.

    • Avatar of npalombo
      npalombo September 16, 2011 at 9:09 am #

      boilermaker,

      The description you gave for your marriage is very similar to how mine was. I agree with your assertion that this is not a gender issue but a form of bullying. It’s unfortunate that the current state of our culture that political correctness seeks gender neutrality until it comes time to choose the victim.

      Thank you for presenting the information from Elaine Arons. I had not seen that before. I describes my own personality type, as well as that of my children. I definitely read her books.

      I count myself lucky that I am separated from my wife with custody of the kids. Though the way it ended was ugly, our life is much more peaceful. My anxiety is lifted.

      I wish there was some useful advice I could give you. Maybe a few links too look into, though you may have seen much of this. Dr Tara J. Palmatier has a lot of good advice on men’s mental health issues (http://www.shrink4men.com). Dalrock has some good insight into how our culture has reshaped marriage and some decent advice on how to take a stand for yourself (http://dalrock.wordpress.com).

      I understand why you are staying there “for the kids.” I’ve been there myself. I would like to add that just being there is a start but it’s not enough. The best thing for you to do is be a good example of a father and husband. It’s starts by taking a stand. There is no telling where you will end up. Your wife may thank you for it, or she may divorce you for it. But the important thing is to be that man.

    • Avatar of Noah
      Noah September 20, 2011 at 1:45 am #

      Brother I feel your pain and I empathize. Your letter sounds like a cry for help.

      I strongly encourage you to seek professional help for your lack of self-esteem/ assertiveness which is clearly taking a huge toll on your mental and physical well-being. If you don’t do it for your own sake, do it for the sake of your kids who may find themselves homeless when you eventually suffer from a nervous breakdown or psychotic episode.
      I’m not kidding man. Your letter almost sounds like it was fabricated or greatly exaggerated. If it’s not, you need help fast, do it for your kids.
      Martial arts courses are a good way to build self confidence. It’s not about beating anyone up. Try brazilian jiu-jistu. You might really like it, and it’ll relieve the anxiety in a big way.

  60. Avatar of jd
    jd September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I wonder how much gaslighting would stop if women stopped using either their emotions, or the threat of an emotional response, as a way to manipulate others?

    Every female I’ve asked has used guilt trips as a way to get something out of their partner. Everyone I’ve asked has used emotions as a way to control their partner at some point. Does this conversation sound somewhat familiar to anyone?

    “Do these pants make me look fat”
    “yes”
    “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU JUST SAID THAT!”

    So my questions are these: Should I just shut up and dampen down my emotions so that you don’t feel like you’ve been gaslight, or should I express myself when you do something I don’t like? (see Abbie above. Maybe her work quality isn’t the best, but not bad enough to get fired for?)

    Or, if you’re gaining weight and I find myself less sexually attracted to you, should I just shut up and not say anything? (see Anna above) Maybe my communication skills aren’t the best, but you do have to look at why something is being said.

    • Avatar of anbuladies
      anbuladies September 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

      I assure you the emotional guilt trip isn’t just a “woman” thing its more a human thing. Men do the same thing. Also, telling the truth has nothing to do with more so how you say it. If you have an insensitive non caring tone to your voice of course someone is going to think your being an ass. Men do the same thing though they seem to love to point out the follies in women usually the same follies they have problems with. I’m sure if a woman talked about your man hood or anything that makes you feel like a man you would take offense to that. We seem to always focus on gender instead of what it means to be human. Men have the same emotion as women its just that they are also conditioned by society not to express it because its considered “unmanly”

    • Avatar of LazyL
      LazyL September 15, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      Hey jd,

      Who says you have to reply to the question? Try asking, “Why do you want to ask me that? What are you trying to do for yourself?” It will open up a whole new level of conversation. Prepare for initial shock, though.

    • Avatar of SWAnderson28
      SWAnderson28 September 15, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      How would you react if your “female” called you harshly and in a completely unnecessary way? You would probably be offended, right? There is an enormous difference between “I think maybe those pants aren’t the most flattering” and “You look fat”. Say the former, and no woman will be offended. That fixes your oh-so-common conversation.

      Before I go any further, though, let me explain something to you: women in this country (and most of the world) are taught from birth that their value lies in how attractive they are to a man. No matter how smart, or funny, or successful, or nurturing, or talented they are, their attractiveness is rated first and foremost by what they look like. Men are never ever taught this. If a man is fat or unattractive, they are told that it is enough to be “nice” or “funny” or “make money”. Any woman who doesn’t go out with a man who’s really nice and funny and wealthy, she must be insane, right?

      No matter how much money a woman makes, her face and body are more important. No matter what she does or how she acts, all that will ever matter are her looks. This is why women get upset when you say things like “you’re fat and I’m not attracted to you anymore”. Because you are essentially telling her that she is worthless. Let me guess, you never suggest something along the lines of you joining a gym TOGETHER, do you?

      Next time you get offended by one of the basic facts of feminism, why don’t you look at WHY and HOW you are saying something, instead of why a woman might be offended by it.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:28 am #

      Maybe you should shut up and stop engaging in ridiculous sexist stereotypes. Maybe you should refer to women as women, instead of “females,” which is always the sign of a jerk who doesn’t regard us as fully human.

      And maybe you ought to go find yourself a blow-up doll who will never gain weight, get old, or bother you with any negative “feminine” emotions.

      • Avatar of Andrew
        Andrew September 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

        “…which is always the sign of a jerk who…”

        Talk about a ridiculous assumption/stereotype.

        How about this: Maybe you shouldn’t use the title ‘Ms.’, which is *always* the sign of a man-hating, second-wave feminist. Of course that sentence is ludicrous… but makes as much sense as your overgeneralizing assumption.

        • Avatar of Howitzer
          Howitzer September 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

          Okay, disagree with women about what women like.

          • Avatar of Somenone
            Somenone January 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

            I am female; I use the terms female and male to refer to the sexes. Or just, collectively, humans, but that’s not relevant here. Do not take one person’s statement as proof that all people think that way.

            Yes, that includes mine. But since you weren’t considering the possibility…

  61. Avatar of Rachel Whalley
    Rachel Whalley September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Amazing article. Thank you so much for writing this. It brought tears to my eyes as well, like several of your commenters here.

    I would love to be able to republish this article and distribute it to my audience. I’m a psychotherapist who focuses on helping women recover from EXACTLY this kind of issue. I help them stop being “good girls” so that they can be Great Women. Women who speak up for their feelings and needs, and who still are caring and compassionate, as they like to be.

    Would you be willing to give me permission for reprinting? With your author and website credit, of course…

    Thanks,
    Rachel Whalley
    Healing for Good Girls

  62. Avatar of happydork
    happydork September 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Gaslighting is a very useful concept for understanding one way in which patterns of gendered behaviour common in our society teach men to deny women their voices.

    Another pattern of gendered behaviour which does this is often termed “mansplaining”. When men explain to women something these women already know (often something of which they have direct experience and the man does not) as if they are teaching these women something new and fascinating.

    A great introductory post on this concept can be found here — http://fanniesroom.blogspot.com/2010/02/art-of-mansplaining.html — or you can just google the term to get thousands of examples!

    I applaud your efforts to examine yourself and become more feminist. I hope you will treat this comment in the manner it is intended — not as a slight, but as a gentle nudge from a woman who agrees with everything in your above post, including the final paragraph.

  63. Avatar of gecc1
    gecc1 September 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    While I agree with most of this article I take objection to the manipulation charge.
    The simple truth is that men and women are different and neither side makes much of an effort to adjust to the other.

    What you call “Gaslighting” in the examples above is the way most men interact with other men every day of our lives. We put each other down, we insult each other, we play practical jokes of very poor taste, and we curse at each other constantly.

    Men learn very early to shrug these comments off and reply in kind. It is part of our social conditioning.
    By agreeing that men and women behave differently, I totally acknowledge that women will be hurt whenever men “forget” that they are talking to a woman, and shoot out one of those endearing comments they would shoot to a buddy.

    Examples of manly endearing terms used on me just today include: “Your man boobs look great” (from my nephew), and “Get your lazy ass over here” (from my Dad who is a couch potato).

    Now.. These comments are almost never targeted at men that we do not know well, but very common between men who are close friends, related or work together day in and day out.

    I’ll also be the first to say, that when a woman reminds us that we are not speaking to a work buddy and their feelings are hurt, most men compound the offense by saying to them what we would normally say to another man that replied that way. Basically, “You know I’m kidding. Get over it.”

    This is not emotional manipulation or a master plan to put women down. It is men being too lazy to think before they speak, and not taking into account that women are different from us. Not different bad, not different good. Just different.

    Not trying to be polemical, but men’s feelings and behaviors are just as valid as women’s feelings and behaviors.

    Women are right to be offended by a male put down remark.
    Men are indeed insensitive and clueless when they say “get over it”.
    Once men understand that they are hurting unintentionally, they should make an effort to be conscious of this.

    But please understand that men are not “broken” for behaving like this any more than women are “broken” for reacting the way they do.

    Perhaps the solution is not to make the other side change and accommodate to our way of thinking, but understand where the other side’s behavior comes from and make an effort not to hurt those we love.

    This works when communicating with anyone that does not think like us. Different gender, different culture, different religion. Whatever.

    Understand the difference.
    Accept the Difference.
    Don’t try to make them like ourselves.
    Be aware of the difference when communicating.

    Works when talking to a Man, a Woman, a Russian, an orthodox Muslim, you name it.

    A topic for great conversation, in any case.

    • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
      Ms. Daisy Cutter September 18, 2011 at 8:25 am #

      The simple truth is that men and women are different

      There is more difference between individuals within each sex than between the sexes. What you describe as being inherent to men is greatly affected by cultural conditioning. Your gender essentialism, please to be checking it.

      “Get your lazy ass over here”

      is a sentence that women speak as well. Perhaps you ought to widen your social circle to include women who don’t behave like stereotypes.

      This is not emotional manipulation or a master plan to put women down.

      Intent: It’s fucking magic! You can reinforce oppressive ideas in society, but if you didn’t really mean it, you get a free pass!! ….except, not. The only “laziness” I see here is you regurgitating sexist excuses.

      But please understand that men are not “broken” for behaving like this any more than women are “broken” for reacting the way they do.

      Not all men behave like that. Not all women react in the way to which you refer.

      And, quite frankly, I don’t give a damn about the hurt feelings of sexist men who are called out on their sexism.

  64. Avatar of Jens Jen
    Jens Jen September 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I love this – the only part I would disagree with is that gaslighting is only done to women. I have a dear friend who has been seriously emotionally abused by his wife. Gaslighting is one of the things she did the most.

    Gaslighting is serious emotional abuse.

  65. Avatar of AmyC
    AmyC September 14, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Thank you for a great article. Like enike, it brought tears to my eyes. As a recipient of gaslighting in my past, it speaks to old wounds that I’ve worked hard to address and work through (still working through). Finding my voice has been a challenging process, yet incredibly rewarding and liberating.

    These days I work as a life coach with women, many of whom are seeking to make significant changes in their lives (via healthier lifestyle, a career that’s aligned with passion, or simply living out a long-held dream) and despite the variety of reasons they seek out a coach, this issue seems to be a central theme and crux of the resistance each feel as they work to make their dreams a reality.

    Thank you for giving words to an issue that permeates our society. Educating both women and men to look out for and be aware of it will, I’m sure, bring consciousness to our words, and ultimately, our voice.

  66. Avatar of madtolive5
    madtolive5 September 14, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    I couldn’t disagree with your article anymore. Yes I believe that this happens at times to a population, but to make a jump that it is a wide spread problem is just irresponsible. Or am I gaslighting you too?

    First – All you do is jump to conclusions without any real facts, just anecdotal knowledge of your experiences. For example your friend Abbie. I think it is ridiculous to assume that she hasn’t left her job and “Jerk” boss for 6 years when she is treated poorly because he dismisses her emotions as crazy, purely because has been “gaslighted” I think there are a lot more complex emotions on why she hasn’t left other then that. Maybe if it was a factor, i could buy it, but the sole reason? No.

    Second you use your opinion as fact. Saying You’re so stupid or “No one would ever want you” is not gaslighting. That is verbal abuse. Gaslighting, which you explain in the paragraph before is attempting to make someones reactions are off base. Calling someone stupid or saying no one will ever want you is not accomplishing that. It is making them feel terrible for an entirely different reason, which isn’t any less important, but has no place in this article.

    Another example is how you make a jump that woman respond to uncomfortable situations by using a smiley face and claim these are the same woman who stay in a abusive relationship and don’t follow their dreams. This is 100% an assumption by you. You have no actual evidence of this except in your own travels. So to use this as a basis of your argument is completely false. The reader has no idea how many do this, or if this is the sole cause of staying in an abusive relationship or if someone disagreeing with someones emotions even constitutions are abuse.

    Third you flat out lie. You have never called any of your guy friends Crazy before? never accused one of overreacting? I also don’t believe this theory that men are not emotional. Is anger not an emotion? or happiness?

    So basically i am curious. When faced with the proposition of a belief that someone is overreacting to a situation, what are you supposed to do? Male or Female? just let it go? Lie to them and tell them they are not? or just accept their feels and suppress your own?

    What am I supposed to do? I completely disagree with your premise. How do I handle myself? How do I not gaslight you and call you crazy? because that is honestly what I believe, I am not trying to manipulate you into calming down, since i believe this entire article is an over reaction.

    • Avatar of Jens Jen
      Jens Jen September 14, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

      Saying, “I completely disagree with you,” is very different from saying, “You’re overreacting,” or “You’re being too sensitive.”

      It’s important to recognize that I can’t know what another person is feeling, should feel, or if their reaction is an overreaction. That is something I can know for myself, but no one else.

      You brought up a lot of good points that I didn’t see the first time I read this article. I read it through the eyes of 1. being a woman who has been in more than one abusive relationship, and 2. watching friends of mine who believe they are crazy, overreacting, and too sensitive, and somehow the abusive behavior of others is their fault.

      Sometimes I forget that MY experiences are not everyone’s experience. This article made a lot of sense from my experiences.

  67. Avatar of loisleader
    loisleader September 14, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Thank you so much for this article. Your have perfectly articulated the stinking, tiring, repressing, hurtful attitude I have put up with every single year of my life. I am certain that this sort of behaviour is a major contributing factor to mental illness in women. Nothing worse than society being ok with making an individual unsure of themselves every single day. Sadly it is ok with society and it needs to change.

  68. Avatar of K of the T
    K of the T September 14, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    A message to men, from a woman: Cut it the F out already! This message needs to get to THE MEN. You’re putting it on (already abused women) to call out this abuse in people that have already silenced them. Way to go. Tell us again how it’s our fault that we haven’t yet put a stop to it.

    GO TELL THE MEN!

  69. Avatar of enike
    enike September 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    This brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never had words for this but have been on the receiving end so many times that I don’t bother to communicate anymore. Thank you for giving me the words.

  70. Avatar of soulblisszen
    soulblisszen September 13, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    I have always held a personal belief that it takes a lot more strength to express emotions and feel emotions than to avoid or deny them. Feeling pain, grief, fear, anger, anxiety and allowing yourself to really experience that feeling, letting it pass through your body, affect your breathing, your heart rate, your being, and letting it stay as long as it needs until it passes all the way through is so much harder to me than shutting down.

    I am raising my son, and my daughter to believe that. To believe that expressing emotions without letting them run your life is far stronger than denying them. If you hurt you feel it, you may need to cry, and then when all is said and done it is gone and you are healed. It does not fester to come out in passive aggressive ways down the road.

    Thanks for a great article.

  71. Avatar of dawnnewton
    dawnnewton September 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Men tend to be very unemotional creatures. Or more precisely they are taught at a young age to tamp down their emotions and as a result become very disconnected from them. So in their eyes women are extremely emotional. I would like to see men raised where they are allowed to be upset, frustrated, hurt and sad. That they be allowed to experience negative emotions besides just anger and have it be acceptable.

    If men and women were treated the same from the very beginning we would certainly still have differences but the gap wouldn’t be as wide as it is now.

    When women experience gas lighting they need to realize it for exactly what it is and have the courage to address it. I’m in my mid 40′s now and have become very aware of gas lighting in the past few years and have made a commitment to address it each and every time it comes up. I don’t yell or scream. I simple look the person dead in the eye and say “Excuse me? Did you really just say that to me?”. It’s funny. When I do it I almost always am greeted by a guilty look and a sincere apology.

    • Avatar of Stevenav
      Stevenav September 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      FINALLY! Thank you, Dawn.

      Someone gets it. You say that men tend to be unemotional creatures, or more accurately we’re taught to be that. Why? Well to be honest you need to go back in western history to the Spartans and Greeks and its influence on what became the prototype for the modern western male.
      The facts are, for a society to be successful back then it had to be a militaristic culture. And to be a successful military you have to have order and that means suppression of base desires and emotions to achieve goals. A lack of mercy, the willingness to be ruthless.

      And if you go back to the writings of Marcus Aurelius you you see precisely this. Meditations and the letters of a Roman emperor detail the exact sort of characteristics were determined to be “desirable” or “manly” in a man. (desirable in terms of what is proper, not as in desirable in a mate)

      Men are taught, from the first time we’re told “big boys don’t cry” that we, as men, are not allowed to express emotions. That if we do that we are somehow letting others down or are being wrong or bad. Mothers, Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, all teach us this and chide us if we show any weakness in this area. I’ve seen mothers with daughters be far more lenient with their girls expressing emotion and far far more strict with their little boys.

      The long and short of it is that men do have the same emotions that women do, we’re just not allowed by society to express them. We’re told “man up”, “Be a man about it”, or “Take it like a man” I’m sure you’ve heard these expressions plenty. But think about what it is actually telling men. It’s saying “Shut up. Stop complaining. Calm down. Push those feelings down deep inside and get back to work.”

      And you are ABSOLUTELY right Dawn, that men should be allowed to experience negative emotions besides just Anger (the only one it seems okay for us to express) but the truth is men and women both make this impossible. Men, because if you crack and show emotions, you’re now labeled by other men as less than they are… and by women because women have been raised to expect a man to be “manly” and part of that is an expectation of self discipline. Is it fair? absolutely not. Is it the way things are? Yep, afraid so. I’m in my early 40′s too and we both know that life frequently isn’t fair. Something funny and sad I recently read on a blow was this. http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/emotions-threat-or-menace/ It’s funny, till you realize how much truth there is in the humor. Then it’s just tragic.

      But here’s the point… part of the reason that men do this gaslighting… is because they’re placing masculine expectations on women. We’re told constantly to sublimate our emotions, to repress them. So is it any wonder that men project that onto women? We’re taught that one copes with emotions, not by expressing them, but by repressing them. And a lot of men see emotional issues as problems that need a solution, so we apply the only solution we’re given.

      That said, is it used as a form of bullying. Oh you betcha it is. Especially when it comes to declaring women as “hysterical” just because they’re expressing emotion. It’s wrong to do because it denigrates that person’s opinions and experiences and makes it about a reaction and not what caused the reaction. But I absolutely disagree with Yashar when he says that men don’t experience gender based gaslighting too. We do, it just takes the form of telling us that we, as men, aren’t allowed emotions (other than maybe rage), so we have to stop complaining because that’s an emotional response.

      Both sexes get the short end of the stick here. Both are being defined by gender roles that do nothing but create toxic emotional backlash.

      • Avatar of the.wealthy.poor
        the.wealthy.poor September 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

        I was reading through this entire page of comments, trying to find something polite, well thought out and not sexist in any way…

        These two comments have made my day. Dear sir and madam, your posts were sublime.

        • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
          Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:41 am #

          “Not sexist in any way”? You mean, pretending that men and women are equally harmed, and not calling out misogynist-apologist bullshit for what it is?

      • Avatar of Ms. Daisy Cutter
        Ms. Daisy Cutter September 24, 2011 at 8:39 am #

        Yes, patriarchy hurts men. But it oppresses women. Both sexes are NOT harmed the same way.

      • Avatar of mmmickey55
        mmmickey55 December 10, 2011 at 11:47 am #

        I liked the article and the description about men here. I have been accused of gaslighting because I have a hard time remembering some of the requests of my wife. I don’t remember, and she thinks I’m purposely lying. Example: she is perfectionist about home-making and puts labels in the fridge, insisting that everything must be placed according to her system. However, what she didn’t explain was that she has a difficult time remembering where things are in the fridge and needs the system for that reason, not for house-making orderliness. Once I heard that, her system was more imperative to me. But was I “gaslighting” (even unintentionally) when I ignored her requests to obey her system?

        • Avatar of deez
          deez May 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

          Lots of assumptions. Clearly, calling someone “crazy” or a more strategic and/or nuanced telegraphing of behavior is manipulation; but it can also mean other things to other relationship-types. To me it read as if the concept of emotional manipulation had recently attached itself to the writer with an understanding that’s finally rateable. That being said, an important concept to digest for people who haven’t been illustrated with the argument’s subject. For me, oversimplified, it comes down to the moment of communication, and whether or not you are comfortable with how the others express themselves. If it’s a relationship that is consistent, then weight becomes divided into not just the moment, but the path of maturation in the expression.

          • Avatar of deez
            deez May 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

            This was not a reply mickey.

    • Avatar of Pepper
      Pepper July 17, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      In addition there are generations of us who were taught to “suck it up”, to push down our emotions because it was weak. Yes women too! This creates a woman who is so used to repressing her thoughts and feelings. Teaching our daughters to express themselves positively and effectively is a life skill we could all benefit from.

      My best relationships are the ones in which my outbursts, and they are outbursts, are not engaged. Responding with “what’s really bothering you darling?” or “where is this coming from?” is much more effective than telling me to calm down….or telling me I am overreacting.

      I’m nearing mid-40 and I still have difficulty with negative emotions. I can’t deal with it from others. So I avoid it. I know it’s better to deal with it effectively and surround yourself with those who are mature and thoughtful with their words.

      Most of us just want and need validation of what we feel.

      • Avatar of Pepper
        Pepper July 17, 2012 at 8:53 am #

        John Gottman’s 7 Principles to Making Marriage Work, is applicable to all relationships. This is where I first discovered the term gaslighting, as I was notorious for attracting these types of people to my life.

        Too bad they don’t make effective communication a mandatory course in High School.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks:

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  6. Hear it from a man! | ahn-drey-ah - May 6, 2013

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  8. “Little” Things | Own Your Shit - April 24, 2013

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  12. Gaslighting: what it isn’t | Rhetoric, Philosophy, Politics - March 29, 2013

    [...] most of these entries are the worst sort of pop-psychology and pseudoscience, because they will say things like “you’re overreacting” qualifies as this. Something like “you’re being crazy” can be as simple as a refutation in an [...]

  13. Words Used to Silence Us — A Glossary | Make Me a Sammich - March 26, 2013

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  14. Upcoming Topics to be Discussed… | A Femme Out of Time - and Patience - March 20, 2013

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  15. Gendered Dogs | Small Strokes Fell Big Oaks - March 19, 2013

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    [...] go,” because even if she’s capturing Public Enemy #1 a woman’s still just an irrational bitch, ha! Oh, and the extended bit where a teddy bear went on and on about how the Jews control [...]

  18. Gaslighting, Self-Deprecation and Doubling Down On Being An Asshole (...and Other Things Guys Do) - Larissa Heart | Larissa Heart - February 17, 2013

    [...] Gaslighting, in case you were wondering, is the act of making someone think they’re crazy or irrational. In serious cases, this can be something you manipulate and then deny. The term comes from a movie (1944′s Gaslight, with Ingrid Bergman) where a husband does something to the lights to make them flicker (hence, the term) and when his wife asks about the flickering, he tells her she’s imagining things. But it can be a lot more insidious than that. You know when a guy says, “Calm down” or “Relax” or “Stop being so emotional”; basically deflecting so that everything you say thereafter seems hysterical? Yeah, that’s a form of gaslighting too. There was a pretty good article about that form written last September. [...]

  19. Trust me, you don’t have issues « Amanda Brock - February 14, 2013

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  20. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” « The Bad Gurlz Club - February 9, 2013

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  21. En besked til kvinder fra en mand: Du er ikke ’hysterisk’ | F-Frekvensen - January 30, 2013

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  22. Gaslighting – what is it and how do you respond to it? | systemsthinkingforgirls - October 8, 2012

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  23. Here’s a “Short” Version. | Lori Needs Help - September 25, 2012

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  24. Gaslighting « Hope Wears Heels - September 11, 2012

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  25. No excuses for rape apology « tough tea - September 9, 2012

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  26. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” « clareminnies - August 31, 2012

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  27. Marilyn Monroe | saddlebaggins - August 15, 2012

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  28. ” ‘Cause I’m A Creep/I’m A Weirdooooo…..” Part I of II | Magstheaxe's Blog - August 10, 2012

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  29. Gaslighting: Feeling crazy and being made to feel crazy | Canada-Supporting Women in Geography - August 8, 2012

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  30. Trying to figure out what to do - August 6, 2012

    [...] Originally Posted by Lazarus_1_506 Its true, im not the best spoken at getting my feelings/thoughts across, and i simply meant that to be a funny statement to lighten a very serious topic that makes me uncomfortable to talk about. Funny how I thought you were very articulate. And then came the common and expectedI was just joking. [...]

  31. Weekly Unnamed Post « I'm not whispering - August 4, 2012

    [...] 2. Have you ever considered that the sexist characteristic applied to an entire gender (in this case, women) could be used as tools of manipulation? [...]

  32. first run in with the sociopath « Love, Actually, On Second Thought… - July 22, 2012

    [...] where doing the same thing will get varied results from great to meh to complaints.  Ignoring, gaslighting, and arguing against her wants, needs, feelings and opinions.  It’s not a happy place to be [...]

  33. Not my Nigel: on mothers, sons, responsibility, and denial | Feminist Current - July 18, 2012

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  34. The Stepford Wives | A sail leaving harbor… - July 16, 2012

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  35. Wednesday Perk-Up! (4-11 July) - July 11, 2012

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  36. Gaslight - July 8, 2012

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  37. Have You Been Gaslighted? | Clutch Magazine - July 3, 2012

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  38. Sorry. I’m Not Sorry. | thefracturedpanorama - June 27, 2012

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  39. Flurt! | Manipulation: The Worst Form of Abuse - June 23, 2012

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  40. Fiona Apple Is Not Insane | - June 20, 2012

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  41. Gaslighting is Not Okay « Nice Girls Like Sex Too - June 18, 2012

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  42. » Happy Father’s Day from Fed up. Single. Mother Amanda Lynn Sanders - June 18, 2012

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  44. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” {The Current Conscience} - June 9, 2012

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  45. Anatomy of a Dress - June 5, 2012

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  46. The Myth of the Weaker Vessel - June 1, 2012

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  47. Cherry Cherry, Quite Contrary » Rewriting internal scripts - May 31, 2012

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  48. “the myth of the weaker vessel” | Morven's Blog - May 26, 2012

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  49. Girlie pink crap is bad for boys and girls alike | Sex Positive Parenting - May 12, 2012

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  50. When we all win, we all win | MaRS Discovery District - May 2, 2012

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  53. Maestoso Amore » Blog Archive » Gaslighting - April 27, 2012

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  54. BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN YOUR BOYFRIEND*: Part I « Women Well Loved - April 20, 2012

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  58. Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance - Some People Enjoy Being Prostitutes……… Get Over It - April 11, 2012

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  59. Sexism in Tech: The Revolution is being Tweeted » Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology - April 10, 2012

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  60. Piecing a Life | Gaslighting – a term I’d never heard before - April 1, 2012

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  62. We’ll get there… | Emo Crap - April 1, 2012

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  63. Pagan Blog Project – G is for Gwersi « Journal of a Wandering Witch - March 29, 2012

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  64. My vagina’s angry. It is. It’s pissed off. « Curator of Dialogue - March 15, 2012

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  65. I’m Bossed Up! « Female Gazing - March 14, 2012

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  66. Ringing all the Bells - March 11, 2012

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  74. The Myth of the Weaker Vessel - Eric Pazdziora - February 6, 2012

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  75. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience « My Little Space - February 5, 2012

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience. [...]

  76. Gaslighting » mythago - February 4, 2012

    [...] in the interests of self-help: No, you’re not crazy and yes, s/he is a complete [...]

  77. Gender wars! « Stories From a Climbing Life - February 3, 2012

    [...] gaslight. Your partner is allowed to be emotional. Your partner is allowed to get frustrated. Most [...]

  78. To Watch | Pearltrees - January 21, 2012

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience While dealing with gaslighting isn’t a universal truth for women, we all certainly know plenty of women who encounter it at work, home, or in personal relationships. And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting. But gaslighting can be as simple as someone smiling and saying something like, “You’re so sensitive,” to somebody else. Such a comment may seem innocuous enough, but in that moment, the speaker is making a judgment about how someone else should feel. Why? [...]

  79. Disputes – Part 2 | The Asexual Sexologist - January 21, 2012

    [...] oppression, or negative consequences for being out (which makes me think you’re trying to gaslight aces). But that means they aren’t really *accepting* non-hetero-romantic aces either, because [...]

  80. Everything in moderation « workaholiday - January 19, 2012

    [...] an interesting article today titled A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”. The author makes some interesting points about gaslighting and emotional manipulation. And of [...]

  81. Project X: The definitions. « Women Are From Mars - January 19, 2012

    [...] Great article on it here: http://thecurrentconscience.com/blog/2011/09/12/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-%E2%80%9Cc… [...]

  82. Project X: Glossary « will somebody read a book, please…? - January 19, 2012

    [...] article on it here: “A Message to Women From A Man You are Not” (The Current Conscience.com, [...]

  83. Why are gay people always talking about being gay?: Challenging normativity in everyday conversation | commentsjournal - January 17, 2012

    [...] people seriously when they correct you and writing them off because “dude chill out!” (That’s gaslighting and it’s an oppressive way to discount marginalized groups and it’s not [...]

  84. My Humps: I’m not crazy, you’re just an ass « The Hungry F'in Scholar - January 11, 2012

    [...] so that he could collect her pricey jewelry. The term gaslighting was recently discussed in Yashar Ali’s “A Message to Women from a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy’“: Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals (I am not one), to [...]

  85. The ‘Crazy’ Word | luishdz38 - January 8, 2012

    [...] I woke up to an email from a friend with a link to this article. [...]

  86. An Injury to One « The Mormon Worker - January 7, 2012

    [...] month I read Yashar Ali’s “A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy’,” about what happens when men are cruel, and then when women confront that cruelty men blow it off as [...]

  87. Gaslighting | CPR: Creative People in Recovery - December 30, 2011

    [...] For a little insight into what gaslighting is, read this article. [...]

  88. Link Bytes 12.30.11 | SRSLYLIZ.COM - December 30, 2011

    [...] Really great and insightful article by a man reassuring women that they aren't crazy. Loved [...]

  89. Gaslighting: So I’m Not Crazy. « stripped bare - December 30, 2011

    [...] This post originally appeared on The Current Conscience. [...]

  90. Can anyone offer me some advice to set me straight? - December 23, 2011

    [...] to say YOU need help? He does need to understand there are differences between men and women… A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not It sounds like he's trying to blame you, instead of seeing his contribution to your mutual [...]

  91. CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey | No, Seriously, What About Teh Menz? - December 21, 2011

    [...] person who talks about (for instance) gaslighting as if it were a thing that only happens to women (glare) will be fed to the laser-headed [...]

  92. Sometimes I’m a crazy | Kate's a Cliché - December 19, 2011

    [...] the moral of the story and I figured it would get me somewhere. Luckily, the second result was the story I was thinking about. The website above it, youarenotcrazy.com, is a website dedicated to [...]

  93. Men to Avoid #1: The Self-Loather « One Year of Fun - December 19, 2011

    [...] long-term relationships. This includes the lead-up to the break, which was a downward spiral of gaslighting, avoidance, obfuscation, jealousy and betrayal, to the actual event itself (a trumped-up public [...]

  94. Does Feminism Need a James Bond? : Ms Magazine Blog - December 16, 2011

    [...] are often paid more than female speakers. Male feminist blogger Yashar Ali, whose piece “A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy‘” was one of the top-ranked Facebook articles of 2011,  agreed, saying “Sexism [...]

  95. “The N-Words For Women”: Racial Tone Deafness and Gender Politics - December 7, 2011

    [...] about society and politics at The Current Conscience. With insightful articles such as “A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy,” he regularly provides well-written, sane deconstructions of gender politics from an [...]

  96. Kettle sweater | sucka sc: knit & crochet - November 30, 2011

    [...] become the same thing, and it took a long time to unravel them. There’s already enough cultural bullshit against women, and the most insidious of all is the kind women and girls do [...]

  97. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience « Women's Words: - November 30, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience. Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  98. Advice for Women in the Workforce: Helpful or Not? | Expat Sisterhood - November 20, 2011

    [...] Questions I’ve read about the glass ceiling. I’ve read apologies from men, and articles on who is to [...]

  99. Why Women Aren’t Crazy « Ange's Web-log - November 18, 2011

    [...] This post originally appeared on The Current Conscience. [...]

  100. Gaslighting: Yashar Ali’s Brilliant Piece On The Sneakiest Ways Our “Advanced” Society Stifles Its Women | All American Indian Girl* - November 16, 2011

    [...] a feminist as a person can actually be without, in fact, owning a uterus. The title says it all: A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” (by Yashar Ali, The Current Conscience 9/12/11). Here’s an [...]

  101. All the Warring Ladies « Gunpowder and Lead - November 8, 2011

    [...] if you feel compelled to tell me I’m being too sensitive, I’d ask you to read this first, then go ahead. Share:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. from → War ← [...]

  102. It’s Not You, It’s Him: Men Who Gaslight « Queens and Bees - November 6, 2011

    [...] Read the rest and the comments that follow at  The Current Conscience. Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed IBM's [...]

  103. Strength Vs. Sensitivity: Is “stronger” really “better?” | Jesse Lawson - November 3, 2011

    [...] concerns and accept the harmful situation.”[/rightpullquote]In a recent article entitled “A Message to Women from a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy,’” Yashar Ali explores the practice of “gaslighting.” Gaslighting, according to Yashar, is [...]

  104. On Gaslighting | The Polyamorous Misanthrope - November 2, 2011

    [...] A Message From Men To Women: You Are Not “Crazy.” [...]

  105. Gaslighting – a term I’d never heard before « Piecing a Life - October 30, 2011

    [...] people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy.” That blog, A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”  helped me think about the number of times I’ve experienced comments like those above and seen [...]

  106. “Do I Have a Right to Be Mad?”: Addressing Negative Emotions in a Rational Way « thefeelgoodwoman - October 26, 2011

    [...] to an INCREDIBLE blog post from The Current Conscience that helped me analyze my own life experiences, I have realized that I [...]

  107. Manipulative behaivors | Weiteren - October 24, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The … [...]

  108. Yael’s Variety Hour: Steve Jobs, PR Fail & Some Tips for Freelancers | Yael Writes - October 12, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”. I’m not sure this is really as much of a gender issue as the author makes it out to be, but found the overall points interesting. [...]

  109. lisa jones crowley » On Gaslighting - October 5, 2011

    [...] Gaslighting My daughter commented on this article, “A Message to Women from a Man:  You are Not Crazy” on Facebook, [...]

  110. Gendered Name Calling and the Solace I found in Feminism « - October 2, 2011

    [...] (For an amazing article from another male author on gaslighting, visit here.) [...]

  111. Gaslight: A Man Feeds the Notion that Men are Driving Women Crazy | DBKP - Death By 1000 Papercuts - DBKP - October 2, 2011

    [...] State Feminists stumbled across a very interesting blogpost entitled, “A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy,’” written by [...]

  112. Strength Vs. Sensitivity: Is “stronger” really “better?” | Lawsonry - October 1, 2011

    [...] a recent article entitled “A Message to Women from a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy,’” Yashar Ali explores the practice of “gaslighting.” Gaslighting, according to Yashar, is [...]

  113. {Link Love} the pink tech ghetto, women aren’t crazy & love like | Meg's Mumbo - September 29, 2011

    [...] open letter to the ladies of the world {from a man}: YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. for some reason it just feels better to scream it. this amazing post is [...]

  114. I Don’t Trust Men « Twatwaffle - September 27, 2011

    [...] *This article was inspired by another: http://thecurrentconscience.com/blog/2011/09/12/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-%E2%80%9Cc… [...]

  115. Links 9/26/11 | Mike the Mad Biologist - September 26, 2011

    [...] Went to Jail We Have No Idea Who’s Right: Criticizing “he said, she said” journalism at NPR A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” Why David Brooks Misses the Real Source of Moral Decay: Thirty Years of Class Warfare Against the [...]

  116. The ipecac post | the news with nipples - September 25, 2011

    [...] @LucyLu111 sent me this great link on twitter: A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”, about emotional manipulation and telling women they are over-reacting when they object to your bad [...]

  117. Gaslighting: Yashar Ali’s Brilliant Piece On The Sneakiest Ways The Society Stifles Its Women | - September 24, 2011

    [...] a feminist as a person can actually be without, in fact, owning a uterus. The title says it all: A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” (by Yashar Ali, The Current Conscience 9/12/11). Here’s an [...]

  118. Gaslighting and Emotional Manipulation | The Dominican Bungalow - September 24, 2011

    [...] article is a must read. A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy.” “It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our [...]

  119. Gaslighting (What is it?) « The Sound of EmCeeKhan - September 23, 2011

    [...] So someone posted this link in that discussion – LINKY [...]

  120. Blog - September 22, 2011

    [...] piece was originally published on The Current Conscience. Republished with [...]

  121. On being grateful « - September 22, 2011

    [...] is amazing is somehow even further cemented. Yesterday, the realization was that he has never once gaslighted me. (There’s one particular ex who could have been the inspiration for that [...]

  122. On being grateful « - September 22, 2011

    [...] is amazing is somehow even further cemented. Yesterday, the realization was that he has never once gaslighted me. (There’s one particular ex who could have been the inspiration for that [...]

  123. “Gaslighting” Suffocation « The Files of a Logophile - September 21, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”. I could not have put it any better than this. Read how the term Gaslighting shines some light on this phenomenon which is familiar to many of us. [...]

  124. a message to women from a man | thisredheaddd - September 20, 2011

    [...] this article from The Current Conscience by Yashar. Read the whole thing. Just do it. I don’t feel like [...]

  125. All Kinds of Linkage | Stress And Gambling - September 20, 2011

    [...] How to recognize emotional abuse [...]

  126. Settle Down « Surviving Narcissism - September 20, 2011

    [...] post was inspired by some recent comments on this blog; a fabulous post by Yashar Ali on Gaslighting; and a thought-provoking book by Stephanie Staal, entitled, Reading Women: How the Great Books of [...]

  127. Crazy or Conditioned? « Interview With a Feminist - September 20, 2011

    [...] it to my attention).  The article was posted on the Current Conscience and is called “A Message to Women From a Man: You are not ‘Crazy’.”  The article starts with the [...]

  128. Weekly Feminist Reader - September 19, 2011

    [...] On gaslighting, emotional manipulation, and those “crazy” women. [...]

  129. Pick N Mix – 19 September 2011 | Cupcakes and Mace - September 18, 2011

    [...] “You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!” Sound familiar? [...]

  130. thanks a M-I-L | One Shiny Star - September 18, 2011

    [...] was reading this blog, which I found on Kate’s blog today. A short quote to sum up the topic of the article, as it [...]

  131. Why Women Aren’t Crazy — The Good Men Project - September 18, 2011

    [...] This post originally appeared on The Current Conscience. [...]

  132. An Article and a Comment « Katie is a Teacher - September 18, 2011

    [...] I read the article A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not Crazy by Yashar Ali. It really struck a chord with me. It’s no surprise to my friends, family, [...]

  133. Blogging Blogger Blog − Weekly Feminist Reader - September 18, 2011

    [...] On gaslighting, emotional manipulation, and those “crazy” women. [...]

  134. Emotional Abuse: You are NOT Crazy « Your Spiritual Truth - September 18, 2011

    [...] http://thecurrentconscience.com/blog/2011/09/12/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-%e2%80%9cc… [...]

  135. You’re Not a Crazy Bitch, You’re Just Being Gaslighted! - September 18, 2011

    [...] by a man named Yashar Ali, and despite its self-evident ridiculousness, I’m drawing a blank when it comes to saying anything intelligent about it:You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. [...]

  136. Gaslighting and Womanhood « FtM Trans-scribed - September 17, 2011

    [...] I’m going to give you all a link to an article I just read from The Current Conscience: http://thecurrentconscience.com/blog/2011/09/12/a-message-to-women-from-a-man-you-are-not-%E2%80%9Cc… [...]

  137. Quincy: Is It "Over-Reacting" to take Home Security Seriously - September 16, 2011

    [...] article, entitled “A Message to Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy”“is receiving lots of attention on the internet today.  In it, the author discusses the [...]

  138. MAN-ip-U-lation « Booty jams podcast - September 16, 2011

    [...] that justified you being pissed: so, who made you think it was nutso to be irritated about it? Its worth looking into. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  139. A Message to Women From a Man: You are Not “Crazy” at Fem2pt0 - September 16, 2011

    [...] piece was written by Yashar Ali and cross posted with permission from The Current Conscience. Yashar Ali is a Los Angeles-based blogger, commentator, and political veteran whose writing is [...]

  140. Friday Sex Links! « Sex with Timaree - September 16, 2011

    [...] A message to women from a man: you’re not crazy. [...]

  141. Stuff From All Over | Kate Sullivan Blogs - September 16, 2011

    [...] Every woman ever needs to read this article: A Message to Women from A Man: You are Not “Crazy.” (Thanks to Stephanie for tweeting this one). I’m glad I read it and I wish I’d had a [...]

  142. Does That Make Me Crazy? - September 16, 2011

    [...] A message to women from a man: You are not “crazy” [...]

  143. Morning Cup of Links: Chuck Testa - Sopaipleto » Sopaipleto - September 16, 2011

    [...] in an evolutionary sense, although they drive parents nuts. * A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy.” You are being emotionally manipulated. * Chuck Testa makes dead animals look lifelike, even when [...]

  144. Morning Cup of Links: Chuck Testa - Cine Sopaipleto » Cine Sopaipleto - September 16, 2011

    [...] in an evolutionary sense, although they drive parents nuts. * A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy.” You are being emotionally manipulated. * Chuck Testa makes dead animals look lifelike, even when [...]

  145. Divatology » Blog Archive » Doing What’s Expected. - September 15, 2011

    [...] read a blog post just a little while ago, titled A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy,” and I have to admit, I was [...]

  146. Gynomite’s Reading and Video Room « Gynomite! - September 15, 2011

    [...] single person I know should read this essay about “gaslighting”, the act of emotional manipulation that makes a woman feel that [...]

  147. How to be a Disappointment Even if You’re a Relative Success | writtennessa - September 15, 2011

    [...] your facebook account. It’s about coming to a rational solution to the problem without making me feel like I’m crazy for feeling the way I feel.   If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing [...]

  148. links for 2011-09-15 « Embololalia - September 15, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience I don’t think this idea that women are “crazy,” is based in some sort of massive conspiracy. Rather, I believe it’s connected to the slow and steady drumbeat of women being undermined and dismissed, on a daily basis. And gaslighting is one of many reasons why we are dealing with this public construction of women as “crazy” (tags: gender feminism psychology) Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  149. pinboard September 15, 2011 — arghh.net - September 15, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | The Current Conscience THIS, but for everyone: A Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy” | "crazy" via @yashar [...]

  150. Feelings of Females « Splat On! - September 15, 2011

    [...] make up your own mind and read it here, but I would like to know what you think? Is there a societal pressure to write off feelings, [...]

  151. Morning Links - The Daily What - September 15, 2011

    [...] Message To Women From A Man: You Are Not “Crazy.” [...]

  152. Behind the Curtain - September 15, 2011

    [...] [...]

  153. “Gaslighting”- Women are not “crazy” « Behind the Curtain - September 15, 2011

    [...] [...]

  154. 110915 — Och den kvinnliga galenskapen. | Irina Bernebring Journiette - September 14, 2011

    [...] — Sound familiar? If you’re a woman, it probably does.” Skriver Yashar Ali i ett blogginlägg om den kvinnliga galenskapen. Sedan argumenterar han skarpt hur den kvinnliga galenskapen är ett [...]

  155. 110914 — Och den kvinnliga galenskapen. | Irina Bernebring Journiette - September 14, 2011

    [...] — Sound familiar? If you’re a woman, it probably does.” Skriver Yashar Ali i ett blogginlägg om den kvinnliga galenskapen. Sedan argumenterar han skarpt hur den kvinnliga galenskapen är ett [...]

  156. Gaslighting « Fragmental Fascination - September 13, 2011

    [...] A Message To Women From A Man [...]

  157. Med-Updates.com - September 12, 2011

    Why are more women depressed? Is this a real epidemic – or the result of ……

    Last updated at 11:33 PM on 12th September 2011 One in three of women polled had taken antidepressants during her lifetimeMore women than ever are reaching for the happy pills, it was revealed last week. New research suggests there has been a big incr….

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