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12 Gaslighting Techniques Used To Manipulate You And How to spot them

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

There are numerous gaslighting techniques which can make gaslighting more difficult to identify.

Gaslighting techniques are used to hide truths that the abuser doesn’t want the victim to realize.

Gaslighting abuse can be perpetrated by either women or men.

12 Gaslighting Techniques Used To Manipulate You And How to spot them

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1. Blame shifting

They accuse you of what they did.

When they fail, it’s your fault, when they are angry, it’s your fault, when they lose something, it’s your fault, when something goes wrong, it’s your fault, when they get in trouble, it’s your fault, when they hurt you, it’s your fault…

Then you feel guilty for everything and start making excuses for their behavior, which allows them to keep on abusing you.

2. Insidious devaluing

On a daily basis, they throw little devaluing comments in a conversation.

“Trivializing” is another way of gaslighting. It involves making the victim believe his or her thoughts or needs aren’t important, such as:

  • “You’re going to let something like that come between us?”

With time, they make fun of you, then it turns into overt criticisms, then into blames, then into swearings. They destroy your self-esteem bit by bit without you noticing it.

3. Buyable

They are emotionally unavailable.

How can they pretend they care then?

Simple enough: they will buy you things so you believe you owe them everything, and they will use it every time things don’t go their way.

In their mind, you should be grateful and let them do whatever they want, and they will convince you you have to let them do so.

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4. Forbidden feelings

You are entirely responsible for the way you feel, and have no reason to feel that way.

They basically blame you for showing your feelings.

They are also likely to belittle you, swear at you, get mad at you or threaten you.

They don’t care about your feelings and you bore them.

Sometimes, they dictate you how to feel or not feel, and in time, it can lead you to be detached from your emotions and sensations because you repress them. When you are sick, they may insist that you are not.

5. Carelessness

“We’ll see tomorrow.” And tomorrow never came. —

They pretend they care, but they will always make an excuse for ignoring your requests.

And since they are masters of logic and reciprocity, they will blame you for not caring about them if you don’t do what they want or make them wait.

6. Contradictions

They never did what they did.

They never said what they said.

They never meant what they meant.

You imagine things. Are you crazy?

7. Twisted truth

They convince you they are not doing you harm.

You are overreacting.

They will also twist your perception of reality by convincing you everyone lies but them, to make sure you rely only on them.

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8. Projection

You are the problem, not them.

They will convince you you are the sick one, and may convince you you are the abusive one.

It is then that the abuser will start to question the experiences, thoughts and opinions more globally through statements said in anger like:

  • “You see everything in the most negative way.”
  • “Well you obviously never believed in me then.”
  • “You have an overactive imagination.”

At some point, they might start telling you you are going crazy.

9. Made-up amnesia

They twist memories during conversations to make you believe their own version of the story, or they do little things like moving an object so you look for it without finding it and they pretend it was all along at the place they moved it.

Those techniques allow them to make you doubt of your memory.

This gaslighting technique is called “countering,” where an abuser will vehemently call into question a victim’s memory in spite of the victim having remembered things correctly.

  • “Think about when you didn’t remember things correctly last time.”
  • “You thought that last time and you were wrong.”

10. Withholding affection 

They lavish you with affection at first, then withhold it to punish and control. This gets worse and they blame you for them not being able to love you. 

“Withholding” is one gaslighting technique where the abuser feigns a lack of understanding, refuses to listen and declines sharing his emotions.

Gaslighting examples of this would be:

  • “I’m not listening to that crap again tonight.”
  • “You’re just trying to confuse me.”

11. Smear

They will observe your reactions, exaggerate them and use it to tell their surroundings you are losing your mind.

Thus, no one will believe you when you try to reveal the abuse you are enduring, because everyone will think you are overreacting. And finally →

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12. Isolation

Your family is not good for you. Neither are your friends. Watch how badly they treat you. You should cut them off and stay with me! —

When you are isolated, the gaslighting becomes more effective because they are the only one you can rely on, so they can make you believe whatever they want you to believe.

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