Dr Austin Tay



Recently I read an article written by Kate Abramson, Indiana University, on the topic of gaslighting, titled “Turning up the lights on Gaslighting”, and realised that this type of action, unfortunately, does happen in the workplace.  For example, have you ever been told that your concerns and worries are unfounded and that you are over-reacting? Somehow your perspective of a specific situation (reality) is eroded by someone who can dissuade you from pursuing that reality with the intent to either prevent you from knowing the truth or merely making you doubt your own sanity.


The term “gaslighting” comes from the movie “Gaslight” (1944), that starred Ms Ingrid Bergman (as Paula Alquist) and Charles Boyer (as Gregory Anton). Both Paula and Gregory were husband and wife. To gain access to Paula’s jewels, Gregory went on a path to make his spouse, Paula, lose her mind by manipulating her, her friends and her physical environment.


If we apply such form of manipulation (gaslighting) in a workplace context, could this be considered as a workplace bullying behaviour? I would think so. Gaslighting, I believe,  is not uncommon, and I am sure most of us have been put in a position in which we are deliberately set up by others to doubt our own thinking and emotions.  Instead of standing up to these people, we allow ourselves to be persuaded what they say makes more sense. When we give in, we are merely allowing others to take the opportunity to perpetuate their behaviour.


What should you do when you feel and think that you are being gaslighted?

  • Be vigilant and not allow such behaviour to get in the way of your goals
  • Stand firm in your beliefs and convictions
  • Seeks verification as to why others are dissuading you of your thoughts and emotions
  • Keep a record of the situation and address it with the individual or HR

7 thoughts on “Is Gaslighting a form of workplace bullying?

  1. cheriewhite says:

    I came across this post in reader and it’s very powerful. And yes, gaslighting is a form of workplace bullying. In fact, it’s a part of it. I was horribly bullying in middle and high school. However, I didn’t endure workplace bullying until I was in my late thirties and working in a local nursing home. Luckily, I was able to document the incidences and keep a CYA file full of evidence which protected me from termination. I was able to quit on my own terms and come out of it unscathed. But I know other victims who weren’t so lucky. Thank you for this awesome and informative post!

    1. Cherie, thank you for your comment. I am glad that you found the article useful.

    2. Cherie, you might be interested. I have just did a podcast (1 of 4 episodes) on workplace bullying. You can hear the episode on Apple Podcast or Spotify – PsychChat or here https://www.psychchat.me/

      1. cheriewhite says:

        Thank you so much, Dr. Tay. I’ll watch them.

  2. Hi,

    I survived systemic workplace bullying under HR during bereavement in a company that successfully masquerades as ethical. Only after 2 customer deaths became public with a 3rd nearly fatal and several injured, does the public take a closer look.

    I write about what I survived and what others still go through.

    I was also gaslighted. My story is like out of a Hollywood script, I share in the audio player on the bottom of each blog post.

    > https://expret.org/2019/10/28/caught-in-the-act-at-pret <


    1. Thank you for your comments. It is very difficult to talk about workplace bullying. I understand. I have just did a podcast about workplace bullying ( 1 of 4 episodes). This episode I talked about why and what workplace bullying is being defined. You can hear it at Apple Podcast or Spotify – PsychChat or here https://www.psychchat.me/

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