Today's rant, cut from the Link Log due to length:
Is this even possible?
It can happen. If the person susceptible to "gaslighting" about things s/he has experienced, firsthand, also drinks or uses drugs, such that his/her memory is defective. Or if the abuse has physically impaired the person's brain. Or if the person has a disease that affects his/her consciousness and memory. (This would include, but not be limited to, "mental illness" and Alzheimer's Disease; my husband drifted between different levels of consciousness, from which he lost memories of what happened when he was on another level of consciousness, during fourth-stage cancer.) Although pseudomemories of horrific abuse that never happened are likely to develop in at least one out of twenty people who take antidepressant drugs, there are abusers who exploit this and abuse people who take those drugs.
Of course, "gaslighting" can also happen when people accept a broader, less meaningful definition of the term. Is it really the same thing when news reports admit that a crime happened, don't delve into the pathology but airbrush it as "mental illness," when e.g. a Prozac-Dementia-type mass murderer also happens to be a Muslim and asks "Are you a Muslim?" before shooting people? Yes, we know deep down that that particular murderer hated non-Muslims, undoubtedly because he'd been exposed to lunatic-Muslim rhetoric; we know deep down that all Muslims discredit themselves and their religion to some extent by tolerating that kind of rhetoric, no matter how sincere and virtuous they may be. We also know deep down that he was probably on drugs, and if they'd been illegal drugs the media would probably have screamed about it, so he was probably on legal "prescription medication." Does a quick sound-bite-type news story that skims over these two concepts really affect our memories? Does it really? Do you let it? I don't. You read this site partly because I don't want to let the commercial media distort your memory either.
If you're up for real-life terror, horror, and gross-outs, here's a pre-Prozac story of a child who was abused so severely that I can believe it really did affect her memory...
And here's a much more enjoyable story of a child who was abused all right, but nobody could just talk her out of remembering what she remembered...