I have made a collection of more than 50 gaslighting phrases that narcissists say directly from people who have been in relationships with narcissists or have a narcissistic parent. This is real life with a narcissist!
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting his or her own memory and perceptions.
Gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse. It makes victims question the very instincts that they have counted on their whole lives, making them unsure of anything.
Gaslighting makes it very likely that victims will believe whatever their abusers tell them regardless as to their own experience of the situation.
The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1938 British play “Gas Light” wherein a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy using a variety of tricks causing her to question her own perceptions and sanity. Gas Light was made into a movie both in 1940 and 1944.
How to know if you are a victim of Gaslighting?
Gaslighting comes in many forms. In many ways, the one who is gaslighting their partner may be intentionally doing it to cover up anything from a guilty conscience, an affair, drug use, etc. So they’ll be quick to lash out at their partners to make them feel a sense of guilt just to cover their own tracks.
Not sure if you’re being gaslighted? Here’s how to know:
- You often feel confused and even crazy in the relationship.
- You’re always apologizing left & right. Overdoing it at times.
- You can’t understand why you aren’t happier, you feel miserable
- You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior.
- You know something is wrong but you just don’t know what.
- You experience imposter syndrome; feeling imperfect, vulnerable, crying spells and depressed because you feel “less than”. This is your partner messing with your head.
- You feel oversensitive about everything when in reality you’re sane, your partner isn’t.
- They’re tactical with it. They will wait till you address something bothering you and then will say you’re overreacting. They know when to push your buttons and will patiently wait for you to snap. Don’t give in.
- Emotional/Physical shut/down/cut-off is a form of control, but in rare cases it They KNOW this and deep down its driving you nuts. They are restricting any conversation, sharing of ideas/thoughts. This IS intentional. You won’t change their ways.
- In rare cases, silent treatment isn’t always gaslighting or intentional but ignoring you is common in those with BPD. Those with with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can appear loving or caring and then cut off for no apparent reason. They can react to perceived situations of abandonment. Often they can read into things that are not even there. They can become triggered to feeling unwanted, mistreated or abandoned. It’s out of your control. You may not even know this though which creates unnecessary anxiety upon waking day after day.
If you’re experiencing any of the above, your best option is to exit your friendship, relationship or whatever it is you’re having with this person at all costs. Gaslighting usually won’t present itself until weeks to months later in a relationship.
50+ Crazy Gaslighting Phrases Narcissists Say Direct from Survivors
I never said that.
That is not how it happened.
You misinterepted things.
I only said that because of you.
You made me do that.
You always are twisting things.
Your divorce has really taken a toll on me.
When I get old and can’t take care of myself, just have someone kill me because I know you won’t want to take care of me.
Stop trying to mother him.
You fail at home so you will fail at school.
I have forgotten more than you will ever be able to learn.
You’re so sensitive.
Why do you always have to argue with me?
You are not making any sense.
You read into things too much.
You are so stupid and immature.
You don’t know anything about this.
You always do this.
Why are you like this?
I never did that to you! In fact, YOU’RE hurting ME for even suggesting that!
Shame on you.
Oh so I guess I can’t say anything anymore.
Show a little respect.
It breaks my heart to hear you actually think we set out to hurt you.
Why do you always bring up the past?
Where did I go wrong in parenting?
Why can’t you be more like your brother and sister?
I’ve done everything for you I’ve given you everything.
I don’t really remember that happening that way.
Are you sure your mom didn’t do that to you?
You’re taking things the wrong way again!
It’s always something with you isnt it.
You’re putting words in my mouth.
Your making things up.
You’re so ungrateful.
I’ve done everything for you and you treat me like a piece of shit!
You’re being dramatic.
I provided you with a roof over your head, food in your mouth, clothes on your back, and toilet paper to wipe you’re a**! I gave you what you wanted (snacks and such) when you didn’t deserve it!
Don’t put words into my mouth.
You don’t know everything/I used to be arrogant too when I was your age.
I apparently can’t have any negative emotions!
I should have never encouraged you to speak.
I didn’t mean it like that.
You have a selective memory.
If you were paying attention…
If you were listening…
If you knew how to listen…
We talked about this. Don’t you remember?
I guess I’ll have to repeat myself since you can’t remember.
You need to learn to communicate better.
You’re being irrational.
Don’t you think you’re over-reacting?
You’re just over-sensitive.
Stop being so sensitive.
You’re too emotional.
You can’t take a joke.
You’re so thin-skinned.
You always jump to the wrong conclusion.
Stop taking everything I say so seriously.
Can you hear yourself?
I criticize you because I like you.
You’re the only person I have these problems with.
You’re reading too much into this.
I’m not arguing; I’m discussing.
I know what you’re thinking.
You should have known that this was not a good time to talk.
Why are you upset? I was only kidding.
Why would you think that? What does that say about you?
I had it much worse than you.
I only did it because of what you did/you do it.
It was just a joke.
You’re crazy. No-one will believe you over me.
One day, you’ll understand when you get into the real world.
How much control do you want?!
Well, if you would just do what I tell you to do, we wouldn’t have this problem.
You need to learn to lighten up.
You’re so sensitive! How are you going to handle the real world?!
You’re being so emotional.
I don’t remember that/I don’t remember saying that.
Oh come on, it’s not that big a deal, why are you being a big baby about this?
Well how much more [basic need/necessary resource] could you need?
You think you know everything and that you’re never wrong.
You always gotta have the last word.
You only think that because you’re too [young/stupid/female/queer/etc] to know any better.
How many of these gaslighting phrases have you heard in your relationships?
Comment below what other gaslighting phrases you have been told and they will be added to the list here to help other recognize the signs of gaslighting and emotional abuse.