Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Will Donald J Trump also be the 'gaslighter-in-chief'?

by Austin Cross and A Martínez | Take Two®

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President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive at a pre-Inaugural "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci/AP

It's pretty safe to say that the relationship between the White House Press Corps and Donald Trump is getting off to a pretty tense start. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vqpzk-qGxMU

At least part of the tension comes from the view that the incoming President is, well, not always constrained by facts. 

"Donald has a tenuous relationship with the truth."
-Ted Cruz, 2016

Cruz isn't the only one who's pointed out that Trump's relationship with the truth sometimes puts him at odds with those keeping track of the things he says.

Like that time when — to everyone watching — he appeared to mock disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski:

https://youtu.be/PX9reO3QnUA

... but then subsequently denied it.

This constant tension led one writer to dub Trump the "gaslighter-in-chief." That led us to wonder: What is a gaslighter? And where did the term come from?

Well, it turns out it came from right here in Hollywood.

The idea of gaslighting went mainstream after a movie called "Gaslight" was released in the 1940s starring Ingrid Bergman. In it, her husband convinces her that she's going crazy by steadily dimming the lights in the house but insists they haven't changed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ToLfQU2xmg&t=2s

So how does one deal with a gaslighter? How do you know you're being gaslighted? And how do you stop it? 

For answers, Take Two spoke to Ramani Durvasula. She's a licensed clinical psychologist and author of the book "Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship With a Narcissist."

Defining a gaslighter

"Gaslighting is a form of manipulation. And it's manipulation by lying to someone, denying you said something with the goal of making that person so weakened, that they start doubting their own reality," Durvasula says. "It really is the ultimate sort-of relationship terrorism."

Durvasula says gaslighting is a gateway habit: Those who lie might eventually use other means to exert power over a partner. She says it's one of the most common characteristics of relationships where abuse takes place. 

"One of the worst things that you can do to a person is to deny their reality," Durvasula says. 

Liars don't become liars overnight. Clinical psychologist Durvasula says the dishonest behavior is often present from the start of a relationship: 

"It's simply who they are," Durvasula says. "They deny, and they twist the truth, and that's how they've always gotten through life."

Durvasula's take is simple: Liars always lie. 

Spotting a gaslighter

Gaslighters often target vulnerable people. Durvasula compares it to finding the one gazelle in the herd with a broken leg. And she says these master manipulators often share one common trait.

"For a person who's a gaslighter, more often than not they're a narcissist. And the narcissist simply wants to get their way. It's always about the win for them," Durvasula says. "They're often thinking, 'How can I get to the win quickly?"

Press the blue play button above to find out how to deal with a gaslighter. 

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