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How to tell when investigators are trying to gaslight you

You may have heard a lot of discussion about gaslighting in the news over the past few years. Merriam-Webster even chose “gaslighting” as its Word of the Year for 2022. What is gaslighting, and how might it come into play if you ever face questioning for a crime?

Gaslighting involves manipulating you psychologically so that you cannot tell what is real anymore. In a criminal interrogation, investigators may employ manipulation or gaslighting techniques to get you to confess to something you did not do. Here are a few gaslighting techniques that investigators may use against you.

Dictating your mental state to you

An investigator who is manipulating or gaslighting you may tell you that you are crazy or that you cannot trust your own memory. He or she may try to tell you what you were thinking or feeling at the time that an alleged crime was taking place.

Trying to confuse you

There are many ways that investigators may confuse you. They do this because they know that confusion weakens your defenses and makes it easier for them to plant ideas in your mind. They may confuse you by asking you the same questions and claiming you have not answered yet or by claiming that they did not say something that you know they did.

Even when you know how to recognize the signs of manipulation or gaslighting, they can be very hard to resist, especially if you are by yourself. It helps to have someone else in the room who is acting in your interests.