Have you ever heard of gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a term which describes a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception and sanity.
It’s a technique commonly employed by sociopaths.
Effective gaslighting can be accomplished in several different ways. Sometimes, a person can assert something with such an apparent intensity of conviction that the other person begins to doubt their own perspective. Other times, vigorous and unwavering denial coupled with a display of righteous indignation can accomplish the same task.
Bringing up historical facts that seem largely accurate but contain minute, hard-to-prove distortions and using them to “prove” the correctness of one’s position is another method. Gaslighting is particularly effective when coupled with other tactics such as shaming and guilting. Anything that aids in getting another person to doubt their judgment and back down will work.
Once more for clarity:
A really accomplished liar can deceive another person by merely reciting a litany of absolutely true things — while deliberately and cleverly leaving out one or two crucial elements that would change the entire character of what they’re trying to make you believe.
But a common element among all the tactics manipulators use is that they cause the person being targeted to doubt their gut instincts about what’s going on.