They have chosen the word of the year: its sinister origin and dark meaning

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Every 365 days, Merriam Webster choose the word of the year The American publisher specializing in dictionaries since 1831, which in 2021 had chosen the word vaccine (vaccine), in 2022 chose a difficult one to translate into Spanish: gaslighting.

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Merriam-Webster defines “gaslighting” as “the act or practice of seriously misleading someone, especially for one’s own benefit”.

Per the publisher, 2022 saw a 1,740% increase in searches for that word, “with high interest throughout the year.”

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Merriam-Webster interprets that it was important because of the context in which it was searched: “In this age of misinformation, ‘fake news’, conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls and deepfakes, ‘gaslighting’ has emerged as a word for our time. “

Its meaning is obscure starting from its origin. The term comes from “Gas Light” and “Gaslight,” the title of a 1938 play and its subsequent 1944 film adaptation, respectively, about a man who tries to make his wife think he’s going crazy.

The male character’s tasks in the attic of his old house cause the house’s gas lights to dim and, so that his wife does not suspect his actions, the man makes her believe he is delusional. He tells her the lights aren’t dimming and that she can no longer trust his perceptions of her.

Merriam-Webster distinguishes “stighling” from lying and cheating because these tend to be between individuals or organizations. Gaslighting, on the other hand, has to do with the idea of ​​a “deliberate conspiracy to deceive someone,” in both personal and political contexts.

The importance that the publisher attaches to the word goes hand in hand with “the great increase in channels and technologies used to deceive”.

The “thunderbolt” in the couple

Gaslighting is usually associated with toxic situations which can occur in all types of relationships, although more usually in couple relationships.

The term is associated with manipulation, emotional abuse and violence.

“Gaslighting is a term used colloquially to describe efforts to manipulate a person’s sense of reality. From psychology it is related to disqualification,” he explained. Valeria Bogosianpsychologist specialized in couple therapy (@valeria.bedrossian).

Those who engage in this type of abuse systematically disqualify a person’s perception of reality in order to try to control it.

The specialist said that in these cases “whoever tries to manipulate can be very persuasive when it comes to convincing the victim that he is exaggerating, being very sensitive, misunderstanding or even suggesting some kind of mental disorder”.

Victims may experience progressive effects, as the one who exercises dominance gains power while the other loses it. “In many cases, the victim may begin to doubt their own perception and finally submit completely to the construction of reality that she is trying to induce,” said the psychologist.

Lightning can be “equal to or more harmful than physical violence,” Bedrossian said. “Both physical violence and psychological violence have a high impact and damage people’s integrity. What happens in the case of gaslighting is that due to its passive aggressive nature it is very difficult to detect,” he explained.

As a result of this, one runs the risk of losing confidence in one’s perceptions, as well as lowering one’s self-esteem “to the point of powerlessness”.

How do you know if you are suffering from “gaslighting”?

There are several signs that can help someone realize that it is gaslighting.

Constantly questioning yourself, feeling that you have to apologize for everything and very often making excuses for your partner’s behavior in front of others could be some of them.

Others, for example, have to do with starting a generating lies so that your reality isn’t distorted, doubting everything, having trouble making decisions, or feeling like you don’t know how to do something right.

Source: Clarin

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