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Gaslighting by Proxy (flying monkeys, triangulation, drama triangle)

Uploaded 3/14/2024, approx. 8 minute read

A previous video I've made, I suggested a distinction between two types of gaslighting, verbal and behavioral.

You could gaslight someone by talking to them, by prevailing upon them and training them, brainwashing them.

Verbally, language is a powerful weapon.

You can weaponize language.

But another possibility is to behave in ways which convey the wrong information about reality.

This could also alter the mind of your interlocutors or people around you.

You could gaslight by behavior.

You could signal gaslighting.

And so today I'm going to discuss a few variants of behavioral gaslighting and I would put them under the rubric, under the headline, gaslighting by proxy.


When you use other people, third parties, to gaslight someone.

I'll focus on three examples, flying monkeys, triangulation and the Cartman-Dramaturg tribe.

So let's put things in order.

You could gaslight someone verbally.

You could gaslight someone by behaving in ways which mislead people into believing the wrong things about reality.

And you could gaslight someone by working with other people, with third parties, to distort reality and to make the victim doubt her judgment and perception of the world.

This is gaslighting by proxy.

Start with flying monkeys.

Flying monkeys usually collaborate with an abuser in order to convey wrong information, misinformation, fake news if you wish.

The main role of flying monkeys is to impose upon the victim an alternative view of what has happened.

Reinterpretation or revisionism of the history of the relationship to somehow make her doubt her memory and any kind of interpretation of the memory.

So that at the end, by the time the flying monkeys are done, the victim becomes highly dependent on other people for her reality testing.

So she's likely to ask, "Is this real?

Am I just imagining this?

Am I making this up?

Am I crazy?" Flying monkeys are very powerful tools because sometimes the connection between the flying monkeys and the abuser is not known.

They are the long arms of the abuser.

They are secret agents.

And because they pose, flying monkeys pose as objective, as neutral, their power of persuasion is much higher, much stronger than the abusers.

The flying monkeys are a very important weapon in the arsenal of the abuser.

And what they do is essentially gaslighting by proxy.

Triangulation is also a case of gaslighting by proxy.

The triangulator is not really interested in the target of triangulation.

In other words, let's put it this way.

Triangulation involves introducing a third party into a relationship in order to elicit an emotional reaction from your partner.

So in order to get a rise out of your partner, to provoke some feelings and some reactivity or reactors.

And you do this by introducing a third party, flirting with someone, sleeping with someone, collaborating with someone, and so on and so forth in order to provoke a reaction.

This is of course a form of gaslighting because usually the third party that is introduced into the diet, into the couple, is pretty meaningless.

The person engaged in triangulation doesn't really care about the third party.

A woman who flirts with another man ostentatiously so as to provoke her partner doesn't really care about the other men she's flirting with.

She cares about her partner.

She cares about the emotional reaction of the partner.

She wants to get a rise out of the partner.

A man who visibly and conspicuously teams up with another person in order to provoke his business partner doesn't really care about that new other person.

The idea is to mold and shape the behavior of his partner, channel it in a way that is helpful and conducive and beneficial to the triangulator.

Interaction falsifies the perception of reality as it provides false information.

The person who is triangulating is conveying misinformation and disinformation.

The person who is triangulating is saying, "This new guy or this new girl or this new partner mean a lot to me.

I am even considering or contemplating abandoning you." But this is not true because that new partner, that new girl, that new boy, that new person, they mean nothing.

They're just tools.

They're just instruments in the triangulation process.

So the information conveyed about them, the information communicated about them is wrong.

And that is, of course, the essence of gaslighting.

Wrong information that reshapes the perception of reality and renders it misperception, attributing retribution, that is erroneous, attributing motives, attributing beliefs, attributing actions, attributing traits in an erroneous way.

In this sense, projection is a form of gaslighting, albeit unconscious.

And finally, the Karpman drama triangle is also a form of gaslighting.

In the Karpman drama triangle, there's an abuser, a victim, and a rescuer or a savior.

The victim switches or shifts from the abuser to the rescuer or savior.

But as Karpman has noted in his work on the drama triangle, I have a video dedicated to it.

These roles are not fixed.

The victim often becomes an abuser.

The abuser often becomes a victim.

The rescuer and savior could become either or exit the triangle, the equation.

So it's clear that the drama triangle is manipulative.

Its main aim is to communicate.

But it communicates not information, it communicates disinformation.

The role of the savior and the rescuer is essentially a form of triangulation.

This rescuer and savior is introduced into the triangle as a form of triangulation.

The idea is to triangulate with the savior and the rescuer in order to modify the behavior of the abuser.

But to do so, the abuser needs to be fed the wrong information about the relationship between the victim and the savior or the rescuer.

And because there's a lot of wrong information communicated, channeled, and conveyed within the drama triangle, the drama triangle is an encapsulation of a private case of gas lighting.

It's gas lighting, simply.

These are three examples of gas lighting by proxy.

To summarize, gas lighting by proxy is any situation where third parties are used in order to gaslight someone.

They could be flying monkeys, they could be triangulators for people to triangulate with, and they could be rescuers, saviors, and fixers, and healers, especially self-proclaimed ones.

All these cases are gas lighting by proxy.

Have fun. ###

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