Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual, hoping to make the person question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the victim and de-legitimize the victim’s belief.
Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to Gaslight, a 1938 play and 1944 film. It has been used in clinical and research literature.
Gaslighting: Know It and Identify It to Protect Yourself in Psychology Today
The film, Gaslight:
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.