I first wrote about gaslighting behaviors in connection with workplace bullying in December 2012. Since then, gaslighting has been a recurring topic on this blog. (See below for a list of related pieces.) In preparing an essay I’m writing on the nation’s political psyche during the years 2015-20, I was curious about the degree to which gaslighting has become a mainstreamed concept in our public discourse. I did a quick series of Google searches on “gaslighting” by year, starting in 2012 and going through 2020. Here is what I found:
Google search: “Gaslighting”
Year # “hits”
Several conclusions and informed speculations become evident:
- Clearly, the year-to-year pattern in hits indicates that gaslighting has been increasingly invoked in discussions of relationships, work, and civic life.
- The difference between 2012 and 2020 represents an increase in Google hits by approximately 800 percent.
- The 2016 spike may well have been fueled by that year’s U.S. presidential election, and possibly the 2020 increase was prompted by that year’s presidential election as well.
I’m glad that this term has taken hold, because it helps many workers understand the crazy making dynamics of their workplaces. That’s an important step toward both healing from abusive work experiences on an individual level and reforming workplaces on an institutional level.
On gaslighting specifically
Related posts (most mention gaslighting)