Chapter 1 What Is Gaslighting? Katie is a friendly, upbeat person who walks down the street with a smile for everyone. Her job as a sales rep means that she's often talking to new people, which she loves. An attractive woman in her late twenties, she went through a long period of dating before she finally settled on her current boyfriend, Brian. Brian can be sweet, protective, and considerate, but he's also an anxious, fearful guy who treats every new person with suspicion. When the two of them go on a walk together, Katie is outgoing and talkative, easily falling into conversation with the man who stops to ask directions or the woman whose dog cuts across their path. Brian, though, is full of criticism. Can't she see how people are laughing at her? She thinks they like these casual conversations, but they're actually rolling their eyes and wondering why she's so chatty. And that man who asked them for directions? He was only trying to seduce hershe should have seen how he leered at her the moment her back was turned. Besides, behaving in such a manner is highly disrespectful to him, her boyfriend. How does she think it makes him feel to see her making eyes at every guy she passes? At first, Katie laughs off her boyfriend's complaints. She's been like this all her life, she tells him, and she enjoys being friendly. But after weeks of relentless criticism, she starts to doubt herself. Maybe people are laughing and leering at her. Maybe she is being flirtatious and rubbing her boyfriend's nose in itwhat a terrible way to treat the man who loves her! Eventually, when Katie walks down the street, she can't decide how to behave. She doesn't want to give up her warm and friendly approach to the worldbut now, whenever she smiles at a stranger, she can't help imagining what Brian would think. LIZ is a toplevel executive in a major advertising firm. A stylish woman in her late forties with a solid, twentyyear marriage and no children, she's worked hard to get where she is, pouring all her extra energy into her career. Now she seems to be on the verge of reaching her goal, in line to take over the company's New York office. Then, at the last minute, someone else is brought in to take the job. Liz swallows her pride and offers to give him all the help she can. At first, the new boss seems charming and appreciative. But soon Liz starts to notice that she's being left out of important decisions and not invited to major meetings. She hears rumors that clients are being told she doesn't want to work with them anymore and has recommended that they speak to her new boss instead. When she complains to her colleagues, they look at her in bewilderment. "But he always praises you to the skies," they insist. "Why would he say such nice things if he was out to get you?" Finally, Liz confronts her boss, who has a plausible explanation for every incident. "Look," he says kindly at the end of the meeting. "I think you're being way too sensitive about all thismaybe even a little paranoid. Would you like a few days off to destress?" Liz feels completely disabled. Sheknowsshe's being sabotagedbut why is she the only one who thinks so? MITCHELL is a grad student in his midtwenties who's studying to become an electrical engineer. Tall, gangly, and somewhat shy, he's taken a long time to find the right woman, but he's just begun dating someone he really likes. One day, his girlfriend mildly points out that Mitchell still dresses like a little boy. Mitchell is mortified, but he sees what she means. Off he goStern, Robin is the author of 'Gaslight Effect How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Other People Use to Control Your Life', published 2007 under ISBN 9780767924450 and ISBN 0767924452.