Catch Phrase | 煤气灯效应(méiqìdēng xiàoyīng)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2021-12-27


Translated from the English term “gaslighting,” this phrase refers to an insidious form of manipulation and psychological control. Victims of gaslighting are deliberately and systematically fed false information that leads them to question what they know to be true, often about themselves. They may end up doubting their memory, their perception, and even their sanity. Over time, a gaslighter’s manipulations can grow more complex and potent, making it increasingly difficult for the victim to see the truth. The term comes from a 1938 play “Gas Light” and its film adaptation. In the play, one of the strange happenings the victim Paula notices is the gaslights dimming without being touched, which is actually a manipulation by her husband.


A: 听说丽丽和她男朋友分手了。

Tīngshuō lìlì hé tā nánpéngyou fēnshǒu le。

I’ve heard that Lili split from her boyfriend.

B: 是的,她男朋友一直用煤气灯效应来操纵她,让她怀疑自己、事事服从。

Shì de,tā nánpéngyou yīzhí yòng méiqìdēng xiàoyīng lái cāozòng tā,ràng tā huáiyí zìjǐ、shìshì fúcóng。

Yeah. Her boyfriend had been gaslighting her, leading her to self doubt and complete obedience.