What Is Spiritual Gaslighting

Spiritual gaslighting occurs when someone or a faith community uses spiritual tools like God-language or the Bible to make you doubt your own reality in order to maintain control over you. This is spiritual exploitation.

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You express your dissatisfaction with a pastor's treatment of women to a church leader. You get the following response: “You have a problem with authority.” I'd recommend praying and asking God to change your heart.”

You tell your small group mates that you're having trouble coping with loneliness. “You aren't really lonely,” comes back the remark. You simply don't have enough faith in God.”

You tell your Christian counselor that you're terrified of your spouse's rage. “You must not be treating him with enough respect,” comes back the comment.

In each of these situations, you're revealing something personal, and you're informed that your experience isn't valid. You're left doubting yourself and wondering if you're the one with the issue.

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The preceding examples are more overt. The truth is that spiritual gaslighting occurs on a regular basis in more subtle ways. We run the risk of gaslighting someone when our ego gets involved. It all starts when someone tells you white lies in order to hide their tracks—and to put you on the defensive. Some instances are as follows:

  • Why are you continuously accusing me when I didn't borrow your phone? (You did, in fact, borrow the phone.)
  • I'm not going to drink! You have a problem with trust. (In reality, you've resumed your drinking.)
  • Those were not my words. You must have misunderstood what I said. (You did, in fact, say those things.)

As a sort of manipulation, it's awful enough. Consider adding spiritual language to it, such as this:

  • I didn't take your phone—you need to deal with your nagging spirit! (You did, in fact, borrow the phone.)
  • I'm not going to drink! Remove the speck from your own eye. (In reality, you've resumed your drinking.)
  • Those were not my words. You should pray to God to help you improve your listening skills. (You did, in fact, say those things.)

Gaslighting is a type of deception that goes beyond lying. It usually begins with a lie, but it progresses from there. It turns the tables on you and puts you on the defensive. It's a strategy for gaining or maintaining power.

What is an example of gaslighting?

When an abuser tries to influence a victim by distorting their perception of reality, this is known as gaslighting. A spouse committing domestic violence and then denying it is an example of gaslighting. Gaslighters may also persuade their victims that they are mentally ill or that they are overly sensitive.

What does God say about gaslighting?

If you notice that you've been duped by gaslighting, the Bible has some excellent advice for you. When you've been cruelly emotionally raped and mistreated, the first step toward recovering from gaslighting is being able to trust again. God is always trustworthy, but trusting Him can be tough at first.

When you've been the victim of gaslighting, however, Hebrews 6 gives you hope by reminding you that no matter what your abuser has told you, God cannot lie, and His promises are true and trustworthy.

As a result, God has made both a promise and an oath. These two things cannot be changed since God is incapable of lying. As a result, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great faith in the prospect that lies ahead of us. This hope is a solid and dependable anchor for our spirits. It takes us into God's inner sanctuary through the curtain. For us, Jesus has already entered. In the order of Melchizedek, he has become our eternal High Priest. Hebrews 6:18-20 ––

The behavior of gaslighters contradicts God's Word in Ephesians 4:29, which says, “Don't use profane or abusive words.” Allow everything you say to be positive and helpful, so that those who hear you will be encouraged.” If you're still dealing with feelings of guilt and self-blame, this knowledge can assist.

When you're trying to get out of an emotionally abusive relationship, you could have a mistaken idea of what love is. The perfect description of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13, and this is the love that God has for you.

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Love is compassionate and patient. Love isn't envious, boastful, arrogant, or unpleasant. It does not insist on having its own way. It isn't irritated, and it doesn't keep track of wrongdoings. It does not celebrate when injustice occurs, but rejoices when the truth triumphs. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and perseveres in the face of adversity. 4–7 in 1 Corinthians 13

Signs you've experienced gaslighting

Gaslighting can leave you continually second-guessing yourself, as well as overwhelmed, bewildered, and unsure of your capacity to make independent decisions.

Whats it mean to gaslight someone?

Gaslighting is a term that refers to tricking someone into questioning their own reality.

A person (a “gaslighter”) who offers a false story to another group or person, causing them to doubt their senses and become mislead (often for the gaslighters' own gain), disoriented, or distressed is sometimes referred to as a “gaslighter.” This dynamic can occur only when the audience is susceptible, such as in uneven power relationships, or when the audience is afraid of the consequences of opposing the false narrative. Gaslighting isn't always malicious or purposeful, though it can be in some instances.

Why do narcissists Gaslight?

  • Gaslighting is a powerful approach to assault the core of who you are, potentially increasing your willingness to do what the narcissist wants and being dependent on them.

It's easy to believe your gaslighter is a narcissist if you've been the victim of gaslighting. However, while this could be the case, their gaslighting behavior could also be due to other factors.

If your gaslighter was reared in a household where gaslighting was the norm, it's possible that they've picked up on it. While it's possible that someone raised in this atmosphere will become narcissistic themselves—especially if their parents were narcissists—also it's possible that, given their personal experiences, gaslighting appears to be a normal behavior for them to partake in. They may engage in gaslighting without exhibiting all of the narcissistic characteristics.

Is gaslighting manipulated?

Gaslighting is a common method of manipulation in abusive relationships. It's a sort of covert emotional abuse in which the bully or abuser deceives the target by fabricating a story and making them doubt their own judgments and reality.

Is gaslighting a mental illness?

According to Stern, gaslighting can cause anxiety and depression. “While gaslighting may not be the main cause of mental illness, the same factors that make someone sensitive to it can contribute to low self-esteem, ambiguity about their own reality, anxiety, and, eventually, depression,” she explains. “Because one of the most important persons in your life is telling you this, you start to feel there is something wrong with you.” Gaslighting can become chronic, according to Dr. Riba. Dr. Riba notes, “It can influence a person's functioning in terms of employment, school, and socialization.”