Excellent, very perceptive piece. Particularly loved your ice cream / cheesecake example, as I’ve been on the receiving end of that sort of mindf*ck recently. Multiple times. What I’ve realized is that some people who resort to gaslighting know that they’re being deliberately manipulative and that they’re making baseless accusations… yet they feel like it’s okay if they do this because they assume that only “bad” people’s gaslighting “truly” counts. They don’t realize that this habit makes their behavior/communication style abusive all the same.
And yes, such behavior is indeed about power, ego, and “winning.”