The self-lighting gaslight

Gaslighting is when someone manipulates you into questioning your own sanity or powers of reasoning.

Basically, they lie to you, and are so convincing of it, that you doubt your own perception and recollection of what actually happened.

The grass is blue, and the sky is green.

2 + 2 = 5.

I had a boss like this many years ago.

But I had no idea that it was actually a known phenomena.

He always claimed to have said one thing, but my solid recollection never recalled it that way — or I recalled the exact opposite being what happened or was said.

It was annoying and destabilizing.

I had to take particular measures to be sure I wasn’t the one going crazy.

To prove I was right, and that he was massively lying about pretty much everything.


It’s probably fueled my obsession with an audit trail, being sure every call in and out is logged, every email accounted for.

It’s amazing how simply being able to prove something immediately shuts a gas-lighter down.

It beats them at their own game.

And that’s worth a fortune in terms of peace of mind.

And sanity.

I once saved a ton of money on a deal by being able to prove a gas lighter was withholding information and lying.

The other party was impressed by the professionalism of what I did and how I proved it, and the gas lighter was confused as to why he wasn’t able to manipulate the other party against me anymore.

After that he ran away.

Manipulation just doesn’t work as well when the person knows you’re on to them.

Now I laugh when people try to lie to me and tell me they emailed me or called to request something but never got a response. (It’s a classic way of trying to manipulate customer service.)

It’s almost guaranteed to be a lie to cover for their own inaction.

Every call in and out of by business is logged, and my spam filters log everything and reject only the most egregious spam (which is still logged).

So when people try to pull a fast one, I know it.

Nice try. But sorry, you’ll have to do better than that.

Then there’s the “self-lighting” gaslight.

You know the type.

They manage to gaslight not just you, but themselves too.

They actually believe their own nonsense.

And seem to turn it on at the drop of a hat.

And then deny that they ever thought otherwise.


Annoying, yes.

But once you learn to spot the pattern, you can then learn to just ignore it.

Why bother to tell you all this?

Because you just might find it useful.

You just might have now recognized someone that’s been gaslighting you. And now that you know what it is, you can disarm the person and stop the insanity.

Notice the pattern.

That’s the key.

Pattern recognition is a fantastic skill to have in business.
(Heck. In life in general)

Yet I’m not sure many would recognize it as a business skill.

Yet I’ll always argue that it is.

And it’s something I teach my students as part of my negotiation training.

Because learning patterns, and how to spot them, and then knowing how to respond, makes running your business so much easier.

And more profitable.

Want to learn more?

Pattern recognize this:
Tom Zeeb’s TOTAL TRACTION Program

Tom Zeeb
Traction Real Estate Mentors

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