If you’ve ever felt “grossly mislead or manipulated” by someone for their own benefit, making you question your own reality, then you’ve been “gaslighted,” according to Merriam-Webster’s who has selected the word “gaslighting” as its 2022 word of the year.
Merriam-Webster defines gaslighting under its traditional use as a “psychological manipulation of a person” over time that causes the victim to “question the validity of their thoughts.”
According to Wikipedia, the term “gaslighting” derives from the title of the 1944 American film, Gaslight, in which a husband uses trickery to convince his wife that she is mentally unwell so he can steal from her.
The word is also frequently used by abusers in relationships and by politicians and other newsmakers.
There’s also “medical gaslighting”, when a healthcare professional dismisses a patient’s symptoms or illness as “all in your head”.
This year in particular, interest in the word “gaslighting” has surged, per Merriam-Webster, with a 1740% increase in searches for the term.