Gaslighting: Litigation, Manipulation, and Projection

Gaslighting is a sophisticated manipulation tactic which certain types of personalities use to create doubt in the minds of others. Recognizing and appropriately responding to it can be critical to reducing its impact in environments ranging from the courtroom to the c-suite. If not dealt with properly, gaslighting can have a negative impact on relationships, performance, and communications, directly impacting organizational and individual productivity, revenue, and outcomes.

en flag
nl flag
fr flag
de flag
pt flag
es flag

Content Assessment: Gaslighting: Litigation, Manipulation, and Projection

Information - 95%
Insight - 100%
Relevance - 95%
Objectivity - 95%
Authority - 95%

96%

Excellent

A short percentage-based assessment of the qualitative benefit of the post highlighting the challenge and consequences of gaslighting.

Editor’s Note: As a fan of writings on organizational effectiveness, today’s post shares extracts from three articles that define and deconstruct challenges associated with gaslighting, a behavior that attempts to destabilize and delegitimize its targets and can have costly consequences in environments ranging from courtrooms to c-suites. Gaslighting challenges are relevant to the discipline of discovery as they can impact investigation, litigation, and business decisions by influencing the decisions of people involved in discovery programs and projects. Gaslighting is also just one of the many weapons in the arsenal of personalities hell-bent on having their way, even if it means doing so by subtle and covert means of conning others.

Gaslighting in Litigation

Extract from an article by Alyson A. Foster (Published by the American Bar Association)

Everyone says there are two sides to every story. Court is your chance to tell yours. Plenty of people want their “day in court” for, they say, just that purpose. (That is rarely true. Most litigants want what they think is justice, or, in business litigation, to win money or to lose less of it.) As an attorney, it is in fact your job to tell your client’s story in the best way possible and in accordance with the rules of procedure and evidence. Those rules aim to make the storytelling process a fair one, and they roughly work. But the litigation process can be long, and the journey to your client’s day in court requires you, as the attorney, to tell many stories along the way—often without formal rules to govern you or, more importantly, to govern your opposing attorney.

More often than I’d like to admit, I have found myself standing in court dumbfounded by opposing counsel’s recitation of facts and events. As a newer attorney, I often felt uncertain how to respond to these more seasoned attorneys who spoke with such authority. I knew that what they said was not exactly what happened, but they spoke in a way that sounded right. For example, an opposing attorney might tell the court a story about our discovery process and what led to the motion to compel he filed. He tells a story about how I did not return his calls, or refused to cooperate, or took a position that was untenable. And it is not true. But he tells it with such force and calmness, I begin to wonder if I’m wrong, if perhaps I made a mistake and did not conduct the process correctly. There is so much pressure to be right—felt so keenly at all stages of our careers—and so much potential to make a mistake, it becomes easy to doubt ourselves and wonder if we did screw up.

We didn’t screw up. We got gaslit.

Read the complete article at Gaslighting in Litigation

Gaslighting as a Manipulation Tactic: What It Is, Who Does It, and Why

Extract from an article by Dr. George Simon, PhD (Published on Counselling Resource)

In a stage play and suspense thriller from the 1930s entitled “Gas Light,” a conniving husband tries to make the wife he wishes to get rid of think she is losing her mind by making subtle changes in her environment, including slowly and steadily dimming the flame on a gas lamp. In recent years, the term “gaslighting” has come to be applied to attempts by certain kinds of personalities, especially psychopaths — who are among the personalities most adept at sophisticated tactics of manipulation — to create so much doubt in the minds of their targets of exploitation that the victim no longer trusts their own judgment about things and buys into the assertions of the manipulator, thus coming under their power and control.

Gaslighting is just one of the many weapons in the arsenal of personalities hell-bent on having their way, even if it means doing so by subtle and covert means of conning others. One of the most important points I make in all my articles, books, and other writings about the narcissistic and most especially, the aggressive personalities, is that they will do whatever it takes to secure and maintain a position of advantage over others.

Read the complete article at Gaslighting as a Manipulation Tactic: What It Is, Who Does It, and Why

Projection: A Gaslighter’s Signature Technique

Extract from an article by Stephanie Sarkis (Published by Forbes)

Whatever the gaslighter/narcissist is or whatever he is doing, he will assign those characteristics or behaviors to you.  It’s done almost to comedic effect – if it wasn’t so potentially damaging to your career.  At work, your gaslighting/narcissistic boss will write on your performance review that you are always late.  However, you are punctual to a fault – it’s your boss who consistently shows up late.  Your coworker accuses you of hacking into their laptop – however, you have seen him lurking around your laptop when he thought you couldn’t see him.  Your kleptomaniac cubemate is constantly accusing you of stealing things off her desk.

In a relationship, the gaslighter/narcissist will constantly accuse you of cheating.  He will check your phone, barrage you with questions when you are 30 minutes late from work, even have you followed.  You have given no signs that you are cheating, yet your gaslighting/narcissist partner brings up your supposed cheating all the time.  However, as is the case with many gaslighters/narcissists, they are actually are doing the cheating.  When you confront the gaslighter/narcissist about his cheating, he turns it around on you and says you are accusing him because you are one really doing the cheating. The gaslighter/narcissist continues his game of projection- now using it as a strategy to deflect from being caught.

Why do gaslighters/narcissists project?  In part, it distracts from their own bad behaviors.

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery

Interested in Contributing?

ComplexDiscovery regularly reports on key cyber, data, and legal discovery business spheres of interest ranging from market size and mergers to business confidence and vendor developments.

We do not offer ads on the website but like to support our work with voluntary contributions from those who enjoy and benefit from the research, news, and articles shared. Your support is greatly appreciated and will be directly used to support our publishing efforts for our dynamic community of cyber, data, and legal discovery professionals.

Have a Request?

If you have information or offering requests that you would like to ask us about, please let us know and we will make our response to you a priority.

ComplexDiscovery is an online publication that highlights cyber, data and legal discovery insight and intelligence ranging from original research to aggregated news for use by business, information technology, and legal professionals. The highly targeted publication seeks to increase the collective understanding of readers regarding cyber, data and legal discovery information and issues and to provide an objective resource for considering trends, technologies, and services related to electronically stored information.

ComplexDiscovery OÜ is a technology marketing firm providing strategic planning and tactical execution expertise in support of cyber, data and legal discovery organizations. Registered as a private limited company in the European Union country of Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world, ComplexDiscovery OÜ operates virtually worldwide to deliver marketing consulting and services.

[Legal Education Webcast] Breaches, Responses, and Challenges: Cybersecurity Essentials That Every Lawyer Should Know

Every large corporation and organization today face the significant threat of...

Classifying Ransomware? A Ransomware Classification Framework Based on File-Deletion and File-Encryption Attack Structures

This paper evaluates attack methodologies of a ransomware attack: the underlying...

Thwarting Architectural Imbalance? Considering Dynamic Distributed Secure Storage Against Ransomware

In this paper, the authors focus on ransomware, which is a...

Considering Ransomware Risk Management? A Cybersecurity Framework Profile from NIST

Ransomware is a type of malicious attack where attackers encrypt an...

Magnet Forensics Acquires DME Forensics

According to the announcement, under the terms of the agreement, Magnet...

Consilio to Acquire Legal Consulting and eDiscovery Business Units of Special Counsel from Adecco

According to Laurie Chamberlin, Head of Professional Recruitment and Solutions North...

Nuix Acquires Natural Language Processing Company

According to Nuix CEO Rod Vawdrey, “Topos will strengthen Nuix’s product...

UnitedLex Acquires BlackStone Discovery

According to John P. Kelly, CEO and founder of BlackStone Discovery,...

A New Era in eDiscovery? Framing Market Growth Through the Lens of Six Eras

There are many excellent resources for considering chronological and historiographical approaches...

An eDiscovery Market Size Mashup: 2020-2025 Worldwide Software and Services Overview

While the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for worldwide eDiscovery software...

Resetting the Baseline? eDiscovery Market Size Adjustments for 2020

An unanticipated pandemeconomic-driven retraction in eDiscovery spending during 2020 has resulted...

Home or Away? New eDiscovery Collection Market Sizing and Pricing Considerations

One of the key home (onsite) or away (remote) decisions that...

Five Great Reads on Cyber, Data, and Legal Discovery for August 2021

From the interplay of digital forensics in eDiscovery to collecting online...

Five Great Reads on Cyber, Data, and Legal Discovery for July 2021

From considerations for cyber insurance and malware to eDiscovery business confidence...

Five Great Reads on eDiscovery for June 2021

From remediating cyberattacks to eDiscovery pricing, the June 2021 edition of...

Five Great Reads on eDiscovery for May 2021

From cyber discovery and data breaches to business of law and...

More Keepers? Predictive Coding Technologies and Protocols Survey – Fall 2021 Results

From the most prevalent predictive coding platforms to the least commonly...

Glowing Expectations? Eighteen Observations on eDiscovery Business Confidence in the Summer of 2021

In the summer of 2021, 63.3% of survey respondents felt that...

Issues Impacting eDiscovery Business Performance: A Summer 2021 Overview

In the summer of 2021, 24.4% of respondents viewed increasing types...

Looking Up? eDiscovery Operational Metrics in the Summer of 2021

In the summer of 2021, 80 eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey participants...