The Gaslighting of Environmentalists in the Age of Ecocide

Marla Rose
6 min readFeb 3, 2023
Credit: John Beske

“Gaslighting is a slow, unconscious loss of reality…[it] is mind control to make victims doubt their reality.” — Tracy A. Malone

Some of us grew up in an environment of gaslighting, one where observations, recollections and experiences were often not only routinely undermined and dismissed but denied. If you grew up in that kind of household, especially if you’ve become educated about how it works and aware of how it registers, you can begin to notice how gaslighting manifests in other relationships, in other settings.

Most people are probably aware of this but in case not, the term comes from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film Gaslight centered on a recently married couple, played by Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, and the strange goings-on in their home, including the dimming and brightening of gaslights, which are observed by the protagonist and consistently denied by her husband — who is actually responsible for the strange happenings — leading her to doubt her observations and fear that she is losing her mind. To gaslight is to psychologically manipulate or abuse another person to the extent that their thoughts and perception of reality are invalidated and the victim can experience deep confusion over time, often leading to crushing self-doubt.