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The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life [Kindle Edition]

Dr. Robin Stern
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $12.99
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Are You Being Gaslighted?

Your husband crosses the line in his flirtations with another woman at a dinner party. When you confront him, he asks you to stop being insecure and controlling. After a long argument, you apologize for giving him a hard time.

Your boss backed you on a project when you met privately in his office, and you went full steam ahead. But at a large gathering of staff—including yours—he suddenly changes his tune and publicly criticizes your poor judgment. When you tell him your concerns for how this will affect your authority, he tells you that the project was ill-conceived and you’ll have to be more careful in the future. You begin to question your competence.

Your mother belittles your clothes, your job, your friends, and your boyfriend. But instead of fighting back as your friends encourage you to do, you tell them that your mother is often right and that a mature person should be able to take a little criticism.

If you think things like this can’t happen to you, think again. Gaslighting is when someone wants you to do what you know you shouldn’t and to believe the unbelieveable. It can happen to you and it probably already has.

How do we know? If you consider answering “yes” to even one of the following questions, you’ve probably been gaslighted:

Does your opinion of yourself change according to approval or disapproval from your spouse?

When your boss praises you, do you feel as if you could conquer the world?

Do you dread having small things go wrong at home—buying the wrong brand of toothpaste, not having dinner ready on time, a mistaken appointment written on the calendar?

Gaslighting is an insidious form of emotional abuse and manipulation that is difficult to recognize and even harder to break free from. That’s because it plays into one of our worst fears—of being abandoned—and many of our deepest needs: to be understood, appreciated, and loved. In this groundbreaking guide, the prominent therapist Dr. Robin Stern shows how the Gaslight Effect works and tells you how to:
Turn up your Gaslight Radar, so you know when a relationship is headed for trouble

Determine whether you are enabling a gaslighter

Recognize the Three Stages of Gaslighting: Disbelief, Defense, and Depression

Refuse to be gaslighted by using the Five Rules for Turning Off the Gas

Develop your own “Gaslight Barometer” so you can decide which relationships can be saved—and which you have to walk away from

Learn how to Gasproof Your Life so that you’ll never again choose another gaslighting relationship

Editorial Reviews


Compassionate and honest in equal parts, the Gaslight Effect is like a sturdy, truth-telling friend in difficult times. Robin Stern will show you you’re not alone in your toxic relationship, and she’ll also help you identify your role and how to change–and be a stronger, wiser person as a result.”
 —Rachel Simmons, bestselling author of Odd Girl Out

An essential survival tool. In a clear, comforting, and sophisticated voice, therapist Robin Stern takes her psychologically abused readers on a step-by-step journey that will help them take control of their lives and their destinies.”
—Phyllis Chesler, PhD, author of Woman’s Inhumanity To Woman

About the Author

, has been a therapist for more than twenty years, specializing in issues of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation. She has been a keynote speaker at universities, and consults to schools, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. She teaches at Hunter College, Teachers College, and Columbia University and is also a leadership coach for faculty. She is a founding member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. She currently maintains a psychotherapy practice in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2259 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QCQ8X0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,974 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
114 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaslighting:invalidation and manipulation December 21, 2007
Dr. Stern clearly illustrates how over time, a person's sense of self-worth can be invalidated and the person's perspective and sense of bearings nulled. It is difficult enough to respond when one is caught off-balance by a loud-mouth bully, a cut-you-downer invalidator or a sweet-talking used car salesman. Responding appropriately and eluding danger becomes a lot harder when the corrosive attack is masked. This is when the invalidation and destabilization happen at the same time that a number of the victim's needs are being fulfilled (e.g. praises, romance, a sense of belonging) . The victim may mistake the invalidation/ destabilization by the other person as mere bad habits that the attacker will eventually grow out of. There is also the hopeful wish that love and goodness will prevail over the attacker's bad behavior. When the imbalance is sustained long enough, when the victim's feelings or reasoning are continually belittled and ignored and the victim's resistance always presented as a statement of her deficiencies, then destabilization follows. The victim falls into a malaise from the loss of joy of life. She becomes drained of energy to fight and resist the sniping and bullying. The common-sense action to seek out truth from distortion (or even to tease and be playful) is overwhelmed by walking on eggshells and trying extremely hard not to upset someone.

This book does a good job in identifying the nuances of the problem, describing the stages of seduction/invalidation, and providing ways for one to re-orient, rejuvenate and find solutions out of the problem.
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398 of 425 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Long way to go July 19, 2008
Sometimes when I read these books that do such a marvelous job of describing the interactions with abusive people and then try to give readers a 'clue' about how to continue contact with them, I get concerned.

I think the biggest destructive message you get when you are gaslighted is that somehow the victim can change the behavior of the abuser by changing the victim's behavior.

In other words - the victim, by her behavior is causing herself to be gaslighted.

This is dangerous thinking. It is the typical blame the victim thinking that is espoused by mental health professionals again and again and again.

Why? Because the mental health professionals are making money off the victims - not the abusers. How many abusers do you think bought this book? But how many victims. Follow the money.

I commend this author for attempting to address this psychological abuse in her book, because there is little written about it anywhere. Yet, it can drive victims to suicide.

But the author fails by not addressing the severity of this abuse - in fact she fails to even call it abuse, nor does she talk about the effect on the victim. The book is too cutsey for me. There is nothing cute about being gaslighted. It is deadly serious.

Someday I hope that mental health professionals understand that they are making money off suffering and it is irresponsible to publish a cutsey book about psychological abuse that can drive someone to kill themselves.

The only place I saw the word 'abuse' was on the cover of the book, from a reviewer. This is serious business folks. I would rather have my ribs broken than my mind.

Unfortunately the author skips around issues that she should have hit head on.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaslighters are abusers! January 6, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you have a boss, friend, or relative that always seems to make you feel "bad," even though you try and try and bend over backwards to understand them and their viewpoint but they treat you even worse, read this book! If you cannot say anything right, if you don't apologize enough, if you aren't perfect enough, read this book!

If you are "in denial" because you don't agree with how someone else (the gaslighter) sees you, read this book. If you are constantly trying to figure out the "why" of their behavior, read this book. It answers so many questions. It helps you to see that you are a person of value. It also explains how this relationship occurs, and how to end it, or, if you choose, to live with it.

I wish that this book had been available a few years ago, it would have saved me a lot of tears and heartache. It has helped me to come to peace with myself and to not blame myself for something that wasn't my fault. Reading this book for the third time, I believe that I won't be caught up in a relationship like that again. Gaslighters are abusers (see also the work of Patricia Evans), and you don't have to take it anymore!

I highly recommend this could save you years of therapy and save you thousands of dollars!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of wisdom May 14, 2007
By Frank
The book teaches one how to explicate what seems like the commonplace. If you have that uneasy feeling in the presence of those to whom you are connected but don't entirely trust, The Gaslight Effect can provide you with insight into many hidden dynamics that can create that unsettling experience. This book is for anyone who lives and thrives in the company of others but has trouble keeping their bearings in the presence of strong and manipulative people.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovative and original May 7, 2007
Robin Stern takes on the relationships we have with people who do us wrong over and over again yet manage to leave us thinking we are to blame for their actions. She is smart and eerily accurate in her descriptions of these troubled and frequently abusive friendships, romances and business partnerships. I only wish she had written this book sooner.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellant description of difficult to define, abusive relationship...
Excellent book. Covers a very difficult to define, abusive relationship dynamic, sometimes known as 'ambient abuse' or 'crazy making'. Read more
Published 14 days ago by lizzy
5.0 out of 5 stars . married to a narcissistic sociopath
I always thought that I was crazy. but then I read this book and I understood that I was not crazy and then I was being gaslit at every opportunity.
Published 25 days ago by Geraldine
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Explained how someone can make you think you are crazy when your not.
Published 27 days ago by deb
3.0 out of 5 stars Only for females in romantic relationships
This book was really good for an intro book on gaslighting. It helps use examples to show it in action and help you become aware of the dynamics. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kylee R. Stef
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent insight into emotional abuse.
Published 2 months ago by Alexandria D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Really provides practical applications and scenarios to get out of unproductive and circular arguments. Read more
Published 3 months ago by allison
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't unsee it now
I've been 'sitting with' what I learned in this book for a few days now. So much makes sense now, and now that I have a name for it, I can't unsee it. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - this was an amazing book. It was my kick in the butt ...
Wow - this was an amazing book. It was my kick in the butt to finally say NO MORE CONTACT. I did not know that what was happening to me had a name "Gaslight"..... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brody's mom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Haven't read it yet.
Published 5 months ago by Terry D Stout
5.0 out of 5 stars great read'
I felt like this book was written about me!!!! Every relationship I've been in, I've relied on the man to dictate and validate my sense of self worth! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Tamara D. Miller
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