I've had my share of gaslighting and have given it as well. To me there's this sort of limbo situation, where the undefinition is the abuse, where a person has the underlying feeling that something is wrong with her rationale, and that there is no one else except herself to be blamed.


Taking into account this disconcerting feeling that is produced by manipulative habits, what would be a buddhist approach/interpretation of gaslighting from both sides, the "perpetrator" and the "victim", if we can name them like that, so that a solution could be reached?

  • i was reading parts of the dharmika subhitu the other day, on rebirth / karma. cheating and deception -- coupled with causing mental AND physical anguish -- is the action of a hell being of the raurava hell. whereas guile deception and quarreling the asura realm
    – user2512
    Dec 29, 2019 at 23:46

4 Answers 4


Here's an answer without claiming it's extraordinarily Buddhist.

Buddhism might recommend you be resistant to (or perhaps transparent to) blame and censure.

From two traditions:

I think they're also called "eight winds" -- so just let the wind blow through you, as it were, or don't be there for the wind to blow on, might be my advice to you based on my small experience of it.

And the fart is a related story -- trying to explain not being moved by reputation -- though possibly harsh.

That's not to say that you "don't care" -- I think we're warned that people who are "incapable" of remorse will tend towards being ill-behaved.

I think you're supposed to accept the teaching of your teacher perhaps (and/or "spiritual friends"), but perhaps you might be a better judge of your own character and intentions than other people are.

If you want to avoid being gaslit then perhaps "remembering your own virtue" then is important. And then again in this story -- Is That So? -- the question of "Am I the one to blame?" was not the important question.

Another doctrine is that "skilful virtue" on our part should occasion "lack of remorse" and, from there, some joy -- a "lack of remorse" (though not "incapable of remorse") is perhaps a good "defence" against being gas-lit -- except that perhaps it's not a defence (an ego-defence), in the sense that some absence of remorse is non-existent (see e.g. this topic).

People attempt to blame or appear to gaslight "me" on this site, sometimes, I could reference comments as examples. It might help to see that as neither true (it isn't a brilliant description) nor false (they are really saying that at the moment), it's perhaps their "view"? Whether it's even a semi-accurate view is another story, your saying "gaslighting" implies you think it isn't accurate.

But communication problems exist between people. And what people say -- e.g. about relationships and how they perceive you -- might also be based on something like their own experience with their own family and society ... so it isn't always easy to agree with everyone and about everything, and of course people might reach different conclusions when they start from different premises, and when egos become involved.

As for your gaslighting other people I'm not sure why you think you are or want to be doing that at all. It might perhaps be typical of the competitions which people get into -- like "I am superior to you", or, "I am more deserving", see also this answer (about "conceit" and identity view) -- and a reason to be careful of what relationships and personal relationships you engage with -- see also Any authentic sutta from any tradition that gives guidance on what kind of partner to choose?

For more on whether you're gaslighting people try to pay attention to right speech and to not being a sectarian.


Otherness is an illusion. Compassion and kindness radiating inwardly and outwardly, enveloping all distinction, discriminations


I was reading parts of the dharmika subhitu the other day, on rebirth / karma. Cheating and deception -- coupled with causing mental and physical anguish -- is the action of a hell being of the raurava hell. i..e you will be reborn there. Whereas guile deception and quarrelling the asura realm.

So, naturally, it depends on result.

Moreover, any bodhisattva should have enough compassion to relieve other people's confusion, let alone deliberately confuse them.


It must be pointed out that when the original terms that the Buddha used when explaining the Dhamma – terms such as anicca, dukkha and anatta gets translated into other languages there’s always the possibility that terms such as impermanence (anitya), suffering (dukkha) and soullessness (anatta) can be interpreted and applied erroneously by conventional Buddhists. Because of the misleading translations, the meaning of such words can get completely distorted. As a result, wayfarers such as you and me, and untold number of people will end up getting adrift in the darkness of samsara. For example, how would we know whether Majjima Patipada in Buddhism is erroneously translated or not as a middle path, and if so whether this error has turned it into misleading and irrelevant statement?

If one establishes oneself on sensory discipline and is able to terminate sensory obsessions, such a person who operates with wisdom will not get overpowered by feelings and will be in a position to see the true nature of things, and the true meaning of these key words. Such a person will one day br liberated and free. . . . . . . . . . . .

  • I am not sure if you were targeting another question...
    – mjfneto
    Jun 18, 2020 at 21:14

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