Gaslighting in the Workplace

Gaslighting in the Workplace, “A kind of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group secretly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgement,” according to Wikipedia.


A negative manager, a scheming coworker, a prejudiced workgroup, a dissatisfied customer/client, or a disparaging business competition may all be gaslighters at work.


Systemic, institutional prejudice, or bad media and social media coverage can all contribute to workplace gaslighting. A gaslighter can target and victimise both people and groups.


Workplace gaslighting is frequently distinguished from other forms of workplace difficulties by the following four characteristics:

  • Rather than substantial proof, strong facts, established instances, and/or verified data, the challenging work environment is based on persistent individual, collective, or institutional bias and negativity.
  • Contrary to facts, the challenging work environment produces a negative/unfavorable narrative about the gaslighter and harms the gaslightee’s personal or professional reputation.
  • Despite a proven track record of the gaslightee’s good participation, efforts, and successes, the maltreatment continues over time.
  • When confronted about the situation, the gaslighter usually denies wrongdoing and becomes hostile, combative, dismissive, and/or evasive.


The gaslighter may escalate and become more hostile, or stonewall and become more passive-aggressive, rather than using verification and facts to address problems.


While typical workplace dynamics may contain some of the following characteristics on occasion, a chronic gaslighter may participate in one or more of the manipulations below on a regular basis, completely oblivious of (or uncaring about) the detrimental impact gaslighting has on individuals.


What are some of the qualities of Gaslighting in the Workplace?

Here are six warning signals, based on my books How to Successfully Handle Gaslighters & Stop Psychological Bullying and How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People.


  1. Negative Thoughts That Don’t Go Away The gaslight lee’s performance, credibility, product, or service is the subject of a narrative. Rather than facts and reality, the criticism is usually based on personal judgement and prejudiced allegations.


  1. Negative Thoughts That Don’t Go Away Professional and/or personal aspects of the gaslighter are discussed. Passive-aggressiveness can sometimes take the shape of ongoing nasty rumour.


  1. Consistently negative public comment or publicity in face-to-face, online, individual, group, or other scenarios/settings, such as memorandums, reports, performance assessments, customer and client reviews, or other scenarios/settings. Again, the gaslightee’s professional reputation is harmed by the bad branding/smearing, which is mainly based on lies or exaggerations rather than real proof and facts.


  1. Consistent sarcasm and negative humour Tease, criticise, humiliate, and marginalise the gaslighter with anger or disdain masked as humor/sarcasm, typically followed by “just kidding.”


  1. Persistent Professional Segregation (e.g., “Invisible Professional Segregation,” “The Good Ol’ Boys System,” “In-Group Bias,” “The Glass Ceiling,” “The Bamboo Ceiling,” “The Tortilla Ceiling,” and so on.)


without good justification, from networking, professional growth, promotion, advancement, leadership, and other opportunities when the gaslighter is plainly capable and qualified to engage.


  1. Persistent and Verifiable Inequitable Treatment in comparison to other workers with equal or lesser experience and accomplishments, despite a good track record of constructive collaboration and notable achievements. When confronted with the situation, the gaslighter may misdirect and accuse the gaslighter of being the cause of their own victimisation.


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