TRC #545: What Gaslighting Is & Isn’t + So-Called Facts + Loch Ness Monster Effect

With the term ‘gaslighting’ popping up everywhere (again), Adam looks into the origins of the term, what is and isn’t considered gaslighting, and whether the cries that Trump is ‘gaslighting America’ fit the context. Cristina brings some needed levity after discovering an AskReddit thread listing people’s most highly believable facts that turned out to be B.S. Finally, Darren explores how the idea of the Loch Ness Monster may have manifested in our collective consciousness.

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What Gaslighting Is & Isn’t

Gaslighting – Google trends

Gaslighting – Wikipedia

Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America – Teen Vogue

Donald Trump Is Still Gaslighting America. I Really Care. Do u? – Teen Vogue

The Boy Who Inflated the Concept of ‘Wolf’ – Quillette

What Gaslighting Isn’t – The Odyssey

How Old Is ‘Gaslighting’? – Chronicle

So-Called Facts


Today I Found Out: Einstein vs Math

Today I Found Out: Napoleon

Wiki: Napoleon Complex

Wiki: Units Of Measurement Before French Revolution

Snopes: Carrots

Livescience: Gum

PSU EDU Study: Gum digestion

Best Health: Pores

How Stuff Works: Pores

Future Derm: Pores and cold water

Loch Ness Monster Effect

Wikipedia Loch Ness


The London Economic

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2 Responses to TRC #545: What Gaslighting Is & Isn’t + So-Called Facts + Loch Ness Monster Effect

  1. Dean Meservy says:

    I enjoyed Adam’s Gaslighting segment, but I had the uncomfortable feeling throughout that maybe none of the Checkers had actually seen the play or movie. The villain did not simply try to hide his activity by convincing his wife she imagined the lights to have dimmed. Rather, he increasingly controlled her by persuading her that she was insane, that reality was in fact her own delusions. For example, he gave her an expensive gift that she cherished. He then surreptitiously stole it and put it in an odd place. When she became distressed that it had been stolen, he helped her “find” it. An object would vanish and he would “remind” her she had hidden it, because he had “seen” her do it … always with the most loving of concern. He would offer to take her out, then when she was dressed and ready to go he would look baffled and “remind” her that they had been out the night before, don’t you remember darling? Soon whenever something peculiar happened, all he would have to do is express his love and concern. She came to trust the abuser to interpret reality for her because she could no longer trust her own mind.

    While “gaslighting,” as Adam correctly points out, has indeed taken on vastly diluted meanings in recent years, throughout my 60-plus years on earth and in my counseling experience I have understood it to mean a specific form of mental abuse in which the abuser turns the tables on the abused, causes her (sometimes him, but usually her) to question her ability to perceive reality, and convince her that she, not he, is the problem. An example might be covering up adultery by getting the spouse to believe that she has trust issues and her “irrational jealousy” is threatening the marriage. When she no longer trusts her instincts, she doesn’t dare question his suspicious behavior anymore and he has effectively neutralized her.

    Is Donald Trump gaslighting America? Probably not, because I don’t think he’s that clever. You have to be smart and manipulative to gaslight.

    President Trump, I think, is just the three-year-old who says things that aren’t true because he wishes they were. You know: you catch him standing on the chair he’s scooted over to reach the shelf, you’re looking at the cookie crumbs around his mouth, the shattered cookie jar is on the floor with the cookies still rolling in circles, and still he “didn’t do it.” The boy isn’t lying; he just hasn’t quite learned how reality works yet. I miss having presidents who knew how reality works.

    I love your show and never miss it. Keep it up.

    • Adam says:

      Thanks for the comment Dean. You are absolutely right. I haven’t seen the play or film. I assumed I had the full context I needed but what you’re adding does change my interpretation a bit.

      My original understanding of the plot was that he was dimming the lights simply to make her question reality, as is the interpretation I get from some articles that discuss it. When I learned that the lights were dimming because he was digging around in the atick I thought this fundamentally changed the whole idea yet from your description there really was deception for the sake of deceiving and destabilizing without covering anything specific up. For the Trump case specifically I think all of his lies are self serving and his other mistruths are likely his misunderstanding reality.

      I love you description of Trump. I think any categorization which presents him as an undeveloped child hit the mark, though he lacks any of the appealing features of children. Does he complexly misunderstand reality? That may be a part of it. As I mentioned on the show we can never tell how much someone is maliscious vs. ignorant when saying something which isn’t true. This is he diffference between a scammer and true believer and I think most so called snake oil salesmen believe what they sell!

      Might read your comment on the show if you don’t mind! Thanks.

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