Ordinary folks can do terrible things to each other.
A motivated narcissist or social predator can wriggle their way into your life and cause you to question everything – including yourself.
They don’t need hypnosis to do it.
But that’s not to say they can’t use hypnosis to make it worse…
Take gaslighting, for example – the process of undermining someone until they no longer trust their own senses, memories or sanity.
Any idiot can do that – and many idiots do.
You might think, with hypnosis, someone could gaslight even more.
Say… they could do something simple, like go out for lunch. Then they could use hypnotic amnesia to wipe the subject’s memory of it. Then when the subject can’t remember it, they present them with undeniable proof of it.
I’m sure that’s how most folks think about combining ‘gaslighting’ and ‘hypnosis’ – using the hypnosis to strengthen the gaslighting.
And, sure, that’s a real concern.
But if you think that’s the biggest concern, it’s not.
A social predator can do something far easier to pull off than hypnotic amnesia… and it’s a lot more dangerous, too.
It’s not using hypnosis to gaslight someone.
It’s using gaslighting to hypnotise them.
Whenever you feel confused or uncertain, there’s a tiny window where your brain can easily go into a deep trance. And that’s good! The whole point of trance is to open your mind to new possibilities and allow you to think outside your usual patterns.
Confusion and uncertainty are good. If you never experience them, then your life is unnaturally predictable and your brain isn’t getting the workout it needs.
All great games (video or otherwise) and entertainment use these. One of the reasons kids’ shows are so boring to adults is there’s no uncertainty. “Of course the shady uncle who stands to profit from this is faking the ghosts!”
But someone could misuse these natural and healthy responses.
If someone you trust says “I never said that!” – when you’re certain they did – it creates a flicker of doubt.
In that doubt, your mind searches for new explanations.
And in that search, it enters a trance.
If someone knows what they’re doing, they can use that to twist the blade in your mind.
I’m comfortable putting this information out there. In fact, I’m eager to. These tactics are obvious to even a moderately well-trained hypnotist… but completely invisible to layfolks.
Especially anyone who insists they ‘can’t be hypnotised!’
If that’s you, you’re incredibly vulnerable to this. After all, why would you ever doubt your own thoughts? They’re obviously yours!
There are ways to defend against this – including learning hypnosis so you can spot the signs.
The answer isn’t to ‘trust no one’. That might work but it’s no way to live.
The better way is to trust your unconscious.
As a social animal, you have excellent instincts when it comes to social predators.
I’m not saying they’re foolproof… but there’ll always be a flicker of doubt.
A social predator will make you doubt your doubts – ignoring them as ‘paranoid’ or ‘ungrateful’.
And, look, it’s possible you’re overreacting to something minor.
But I wouldn’t assume that. If you doubt everyone you meet, you might have a problem. If you generally trust people… except that one person in your life that seems a little too slippery… then take action.
Really think about what they do and how it makes you feel.
Ask folks you trust about them.
Pay attention to what they do when you resist.
It might just save you.
Like I said, learning hypnosis – especially self-hypnosis – is an excellent defence strategy.
It lets you spot the signs of trance, to help you avoid them when you don’t want them.
It teaches you how to dissolve unwanted suggestions.
Above all, it builds your mental strength and helps you live on your own terms.
No matter where you’re coming from, you can equip yourself with the tools of psychological survival here: