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Posted 11/03/2020 in Christian Mental Health Tips

What Does the Bible Say About Gaslighting? Understanding Manipulation in Light of Scripture


What Does the Bible Say About Gaslighting? Understanding Manipulation in Light of Scripture

What Does the Bible Say About Gaslighting (i.e., emotional abuse) verseDo you often feel like you're going insane? Were you a lot more confident in your choices and decisions before than you are in them now? Is there someone in your life that continues to put you down and never takes anything you say seriously? Or do constantly feel confused and hopeless?

If you answered yes to some or all of those questions, you might be a victim of gaslighting. Continue reading to learn all about gaslighting and wha to do about it.




What Does Gaslighting Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, gaslighting means: “to attempt to make someone believe that he or she is going insane”.  To put it plainly, gaslighting happens whenever someone tries to or succeeds in convincing you that what you feel, think, believe, or perceive is invalid or untrue, fostering self-doubt. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse because it is trying to make someone doubt themself.

The term 'gaslighting' stems from a 1938 play called Gas Light. In this play, a husband tries to drive his wife insane by manipulating small things in their day to day lives. He then insists that she is mistaken every time she points out these changes. 

They named the play Gas Light because the husband would subtly dim the gas lights in the house. Of course, she notices this and tells him about it but he insists she's imagining, thus in today's terms 'gaslighting her.'

It may seem devious, pre-planned, and like something only someone truly evil can do. But gaslighting is actually a lot more common than you think.

What is the Root of Gaslighting?

The cause of gaslighting can range from wanting to gain control over someone else’s life, to having a need for power and dominance in the relationship. Sometimes it is even unintentional—people may not be aware they are doing it or don’t realize how hurtful their words and actions are.

But no matter what the root of gaslighting is, it’s always a form of emotional abuse. It chips away at the victim's self-esteem and sense of reality, making them feel powerless and confused.

What does the Bible say about Gaslighting
biblical proof that gaslighting is not of God's WordLike this content on facebook

The Bible speaks strongly against the behavior that leads to gaslighting. In Proverbs 12:18, it says:

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

This passage clearly calls out how damaging words can be and shows that it is important to speak in a way that brings healing rather than harm.

It also talks about the importance of honesty in Proverbs 12:22, saying:

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.”

This shows that gaslighting someone goes against God’s wishes and can have serious consequences. What does the Bible say about being Gaslighted?

What does the Bible say about being Gaslighted?

The Bible doesn’t explicitly mention being gaslighted, but there are many passages that give advice on what to do when someone is trying to take advantage of you or control your life.

In God's Word tells us “Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter" Proverbs 24:11-12.



How does God Deal with Gaslighters?

The Bible doesn’t explicitly mention being gaslighted. However, God's justice assures us that such men or women who imply abusive and deceitful tactics will not go unpunished. The Bible teaches us that wrongdoers will face the consequences of their actions, reaffirming the concept of divine justice.
explore the potential conflict that arise from Gaslighting sinful behavior according to the Bible Pin & Save for Later!

How Do You Tell If Someone Is Gaslighting You?

There are many different ways someone can gaslight you, here are 3 of the most common ways to tell:

They convincingly lie to you - When someone is gaslighting you, one of their very first tactics will be to lie. If they can get you to believe their lies all the time, it will be much easier to make you doubt yourself and feel crazy.

If you've caught someone lying to you more times than you can count, imagine the times you didn't catch them. They have been using your trust against you.

But don’t worry, once you’re able to separate the truth from their lies, they will lose their power over you.

They confuse you and bring you down - You know you're being gaslit when someone can twist everything to make it seem like you're wrong. They will lie, deny, and twist the truth to make you feel crazy and it would be so subtle that you'd actually believe them.

You would begin to doubt yourself and rely on them for truth which is extremely dangerous and it brings me to the last and most obvious way to tell.

They plant seeds of doubt and cause division - If they can get you to doubt and withdraw from everyone who cares about you, you’ll end up relying on them because you feel like they’re all you have and they’re the only one who cares.

When you begin to doubt your own health and sanity and you have no one else to talk to,  they can take total control over you and make you believe whatever they want. 

If someone has taken it this far, they are gaslighting you in the most dangerous and unhealthy way. Seek help immediately if this is the case.

God is with you, He loves you. There are others who love you. You are not alone and you do not have to depend on this person no matter how much they convince you that you do.

They are not good for you and they are wrong about the people they pulled you away from. Do not isolate yourself from Godly friends and family.

Also, if this person is someone you have a lifetime commitment with, seek counseling but if not, if it’s a new friend or someone you're dating, end the relationship now, you will thank yourself later.

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How do you Handle Gaslighting Biblically

The Bible does not explicitly address the issue of gaslighting, but it does provide some general guidance on how to deal with people who are dishonest or manipulative. For example, in the book of Proverbs, the writer warns against listening to "the flattering words of a wicked tongue" (Proverbs 5:3). He also advises us to be "discerning" and to "test everything" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

In the context of gaslighting, this could mean being careful about who we trust, being aware of our own biases, and being willing to challenge the information that we are given. It is also important to remember that we are not alone. If we are feeling manipulated or confused, we can reach out to trusted friends, family members, or professionals for help.

Here are some specific things that Christians can do to deal with gaslighters:

1.  Go to God

Let this always be your first response in any situation. When you realize someone you trust has been gaslighting you, it's natural to be sad, angry, and confused. It may be hard to trust anyone right now but you can always trust God. He is always there, His Word always remains true and His presence is always real. Pray against gaslighting.

2.  Give yourself a break 

This person has made you feel crazy for so long and now you feel stupid for not realizing sooner what they were doing. Please don't feel this way. You are not stupid and you were never crazy. Gaslighters gaslight in such subtle ways that it's almost impossible to notice until you intentionally look for the signs. 

Don't judge or condemn yourself, this is not what God wants for His children. It will be difficult to heal if you keep beating yourself up. Remember, this is not your fault and give yourself some grace. Now that you know, things will get much better and you will realize that there was nothing ever wrong with you.

3.  Forgive them

 I know, you're probably thinking, 'NO WAY!' right now, and I get it. This person has hurt you more than you could have ever imagined and you are angry. It's okay to be angry and you should allow yourself to feel what needs to be felt. But when you're ready, consider forgiving them. No, you don't have to go back to them, talk to them, or give them any kind of power over you again. 

You just need to forgive them in your heart, for your own good. They've kept you in bondage for way too long and if you harbor unforgiveness they will be able to do it for longer.

The forgiveness is not for them, it's for you and yes it will be hard but with God's help, you can do it. You can set yourself free, completely free.

4.  Get help 

If you're struggling to deal with this pain and betrayal, consider working with a Christian counselor in your area. A Christian counselor will remind you of your worth and your identity in Christ. This will help you heal from your past and live a future that is better than you could have ever imagined.

God has a plan for you and He will use this pain for your good, Trust Him. He is not a man that He should lie - Numbers 23:19


Final Thoughts On Gaslighting

Overcoming the damaging effects of gaslighting is no easy task, but with resilience, self-compassion, and a reliable support network, it is absolutely achievable. Remember, forgiving isn't about absolving the gaslighter of guilt, but about facilitating your personal healing and growth. Couple this with professional guidance, and you'll come out on the other side stronger than before. As you navigate this path, always hold onto the truth that you are infinitely worthy and cherished in the eyes of God.


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About the Author: 

Christian Counselor in Maryland, New York and New Jersey Corine Williams, Ph.D.

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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Disclaimer: the information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are looking for a Christian counselor near you, please check out our directory located here: Christians Therapist Near Me

 




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