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The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life Hardcover – May 1 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (May 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767924452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767924450
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.7 x 24.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #384,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“…Offers a socially intelligent method to spot and counter emotional abuse. … lights a way out of a dark side of relationships.”
–Daniel Goleman, author of Social Intelligence

“…like a sturdy, truth-telling friend in difficult times. Stern will show you you’re not alone in your toxic relationship...”
–Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

a powerful guide and manual that fully articulates and explains the repercussions of underhanded manipulation in personal and professional relationships.”
–Sylvia Ann Hewlett, economist, author, and president of the Center for Work-Life Policy

“…eloquently shine[s] a light on an often missed … emotional abuse… I have no doubt this book will positively change lives.”
–Linda Lantieri, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

“Dr. Robin Stern is one of the world’s wisest women. There’s much to learn from her.”
–Erica Jong

“…therapist Robin Stern takes her readers on a journey that will help them take control of their lives and destinies.”
–Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D., author of Women and Madness and Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman

“Her strategies for “turning off the gas,” … are practical and sound, emphasizing improving self-esteem and visualizing out-comes. … strongly recommended.”
Library Journal, 4/1/07

About the Author

, has been a therapist for more than twenty years, specializing in issues of emotional abuse and psychological manipulation. She has been a keynote speaker at universities, and consults to schools, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. She teaches at Hunter College, Teachers College, and Columbia University and is also a leadership coach for faculty. She is a founding member of the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. She currently maintains a psychotherapy practice in New York City, where she lives with her husband and two children.

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Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By evita M mcconnell on April 22 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fantastic book that transcends only gas-lighting to simple life advice. Once I started noticing the gaslight effect around me it is difficult to go back to the old way of being. Very helpful advice and exercises.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lulu on June 16 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an incredibly enlightening book. I was quite disturbed but the accuracy of the descriptions and I was very pleased with the solutions presented within this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
opened my eyes
how could i not have seen this
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 97 reviews
123 of 124 people found the following review helpful
Gaslighting:invalidation and manipulation Dec 21 2007
By J.F.L.-Fairfax VA - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Stern clearly illustrates how over time, a person's sense of self-worth can be invalidated and the person's perspective and sense of bearings nulled. It is difficult enough to respond when one is caught off-balance by a loud-mouth bully, a cut-you-downer invalidator or a sweet-talking used car salesman. Responding appropriately and eluding danger becomes a lot harder when the corrosive attack is masked. This is when the invalidation and destabilization happen at the same time that a number of the victim's needs are being fulfilled (e.g. praises, romance, a sense of belonging) . The victim may mistake the invalidation/ destabilization by the other person as mere bad habits that the attacker will eventually grow out of. There is also the hopeful wish that love and goodness will prevail over the attacker's bad behavior. When the imbalance is sustained long enough, when the victim's feelings or reasoning are continually belittled and ignored and the victim's resistance always presented as a statement of her deficiencies, then destabilization follows. The victim falls into a malaise from the loss of joy of life. She becomes drained of energy to fight and resist the sniping and bullying. The common-sense action to seek out truth from distortion (or even to tease and be playful) is overwhelmed by walking on eggshells and trying extremely hard not to upset someone.

This book does a good job in identifying the nuances of the problem, describing the stages of seduction/invalidation, and providing ways for one to re-orient, rejuvenate and find solutions out of the problem.
437 of 465 people found the following review helpful
Long way to go July 19 2008
By somebody's mom - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes when I read these books that do such a marvelous job of describing the interactions with abusive people and then try to give readers a 'clue' about how to continue contact with them, I get concerned.

I think the biggest destructive message you get when you are gaslighted is that somehow the victim can change the behavior of the abuser by changing the victim's behavior.

In other words - the victim, by her behavior is causing herself to be gaslighted.

This is dangerous thinking. It is the typical blame the victim thinking that is espoused by mental health professionals again and again and again.

Why? Because the mental health professionals are making money off the victims - not the abusers. How many abusers do you think bought this book? But how many victims. Follow the money.

I commend this author for attempting to address this psychological abuse in her book, because there is little written about it anywhere. Yet, it can drive victims to suicide.

But the author fails by not addressing the severity of this abuse - in fact she fails to even call it abuse, nor does she talk about the effect on the victim. The book is too cutsey for me. There is nothing cute about being gaslighted. It is deadly serious.

Someday I hope that mental health professionals understand that they are making money off suffering and it is irresponsible to publish a cutsey book about psychological abuse that can drive someone to kill themselves.

The only place I saw the word 'abuse' was on the cover of the book, from a reviewer. This is serious business folks. I would rather have my ribs broken than my mind.

Unfortunately the author skips around issues that she should have hit head on.

With physical abuse, someone kills you. With psychological abuse you kill yourself. How much cleaner is that? Your abuser then gets away with psychological abuse and is vindicated - YOU ARE CRAZY - crazy enough to slit your wrists!

Be very careful folks. This book is just the tip of the iceberg. You cannot change someone who is setting out to use psychological abuse (gaslighting) to control you. You need to get away or you could die.

You do not play a part in any way whatsoever. By trying to explain yourself, you are being a NORMAL human being in an abnormal situation. You are not engaging in a tango. You are being NORMAL, believing that you are interacting with a human being - not a predator.

But you are dealing with a predator, who preys on his own kind. The normal rules of engagement do not apply here. You cannot change a predator by ignoring what he is trying to do - drive you insane.

That is not cutsey. There is no tango involved. It doesn't take two. It takes one predator who preys on your goodness and willingness to change behaviors that you think are hurting him because you care. There is nothing wrong with caring. Empathy. Keep those qualities for someone who isn't preying on you. Changing the way you react to the predator will not change a thing. It is exactly what he wants you to do.

Your anger and protests are your demonstrations of your self-worth. Keep them. Don't silence yourself as this author suggests. But do get away.

71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Gaslighters are abusers! Jan. 6 2008
By Julie Patrick Clark - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have a boss, friend, or relative that always seems to make you feel "bad," even though you try and try and bend over backwards to understand them and their viewpoint but they treat you even worse, read this book! If you cannot say anything right, if you don't apologize enough, if you aren't perfect enough, read this book!

If you are "in denial" because you don't agree with how someone else (the gaslighter) sees you, read this book. If you are constantly trying to figure out the "why" of their behavior, read this book. It answers so many questions. It helps you to see that you are a person of value. It also explains how this relationship occurs, and how to end it, or, if you choose, to live with it.

I wish that this book had been available a few years ago, it would have saved me a lot of tears and heartache. It has helped me to come to peace with myself and to not blame myself for something that wasn't my fault. Reading this book for the third time, I believe that I won't be caught up in a relationship like that again. Gaslighters are abusers (see also the work of Patricia Evans), and you don't have to take it anymore!

I highly recommend this could save you years of therapy and save you thousands of dollars!
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
A work of wisdom May 14 2007
By Frank - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book teaches one how to explicate what seems like the commonplace. If you have that uneasy feeling in the presence of those to whom you are connected but don't entirely trust, The Gaslight Effect can provide you with insight into many hidden dynamics that can create that unsettling experience. This book is for anyone who lives and thrives in the company of others but has trouble keeping their bearings in the presence of strong and manipulative people.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Innovative and original May 7 2007
By Helaine Olen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Robin Stern takes on the relationships we have with people who do us wrong over and over again yet manage to leave us thinking we are to blame for their actions. She is smart and eerily accurate in her descriptions of these troubled and frequently abusive friendships, romances and business partnerships. I only wish she had written this book sooner.