Sociopaths and narcissists frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but typically are also convincing liars, sometimes charming ones, who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.
Some physically abusive spouses may gaslight their partners by flatly denying that they have been violent.
Gaslighting may occur in parent–child relationships, with either parent, child, or both, lying to each other and attempting to undermine perceptions.
Gaslighting describes a dynamic observed in some cases of marital infidelity: “Therapists may contribute to the victim’s distress through mislabeling the woman’s reactions. […] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called ‘nervous breakdown’ for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations.”
Psychotherapy and psychiatry are thought, by many[who?], to be forms of gaslighting wherein the therapist or psychiatrist is characterized, by the patient, to be of a more sound, all-knowing mind (i.e. an expert). This can potentially create a conflict where the patient is unable to trust their immediate sense of their feelings and surroundings in favor of the interpretations offered by the therapist. Those interpretations will often come in the form of doubt or skepticism at the patient’s appraisals and perceptions of their world. Furthermore, gaslighting has been observed between patients and staff in inpatient psychiatric facilities.