12 Gaslighting Phrases Abusive People Use To Control You (2023)


Here some of the most common gaslighting phrases abusive people use to control you. Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse in which a person uses manipulation and distraction to distort the truth and get you to doubt your own reality. Due to its insidious nature, gaslighting tactics can be hard to recognize and cope with. You can be gaslighted by someone without even realizing it.

Gaslighting in relationships is an extremely toxic and dangerous form of emotional manipulation. So it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most common gaslighting phrases narcissists, psychopaths, and sociopaths use to manipulate you.

Toxic people can ruin your life. So if you recognize the signs of a toxic relationship, it’s best to get out of it as soon as possible.


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You feel crazy for sticking up for yourself? Well, there's, a name for that:, gaslighting.

It's, a way that people abuse others through manipulation, distraction, or distortion of reality.


The technique, gaslighting makes you doubt what you know is true.

The basis of gaslighting is always convincing someone that their memories, emotions, or beliefs are wrong.


Worst part is that it can be hard to recognize and cope with, especially when it's happening.

Gaslighters, brainwash their victims and control them through coercion, making it extremely difficult for the victim to resist or question, the abuse.

And, it can happen anywhere: at work, at home, or with friends.

Most, often, though, gaslighting occurs in romantic relationships, especially where there is a power imbalance.

If gaslighting could be happening to you.

The tricky question is:.

How can you identify it? Well,? There are certain red flags to look for, starting with what the gaslighter is saying.


We've compiled a list of some of the most common gaslighting phrases to be aware, of., Number 1 - "It's, your fault." Gaslighters are terrible with accountability.

No matter.

What happens, even when they're clearly in the wrong, a gaslighter will shift the blame onto someone else.

They'll say that it's your fault for what happened, how you feel, or even how they feel.


They won't stop pushing the blame onto you until you cave in and accept it.

If, they're, unhappy, it's, your fault., If, you're, unhappy, it's, also your fault.

You, just can't, win.

Number 2 - "I'm.

Not angry.


Are you talking about?"? When, a toxic person is upset.

They often use nonverbal cues like indirect aggression or the silent treatment to communicate their feelings and even punish you.


When you ask them, why they're upset, they act as if they have no idea what you're talking about.

This behavior is meant to make you question.

Yourself., As, doubt fills your mind.

You end up feeling even more confused.

Number, 3 - "I think you need help." Phrases that gaslight you often come in a nice package that looks genuine on the outside.

But insidious on the inside.

This is one of them.


It can seem sincere, when you're gaslighted, the phrase "you need help" is meant to manipulate, twist, and deceive.

The abuser is really claiming that something is wrong with their victim, hoping this sparks a chain of self-doubt and concern, not real help.

Don't, be fooled., When, gaslighters, say, this, it is always deliberate and usually meant to distract you from their behavior.

Number, 4 - "You're, imagining things!" This.

Dangerous phrase is a direct attack meant to cause severe cognitive dissonance or doubt in one’s own thoughts.

Saying that you've perceived something entirely wrong.

Can make you doubt your memories and feel insane.

When this phrase, or this idea is repeated.

It can be very toxic.


You lose trust in yourself.

It often pushes you to rely more on your abuser.

Number 5 - "You are just misconstruing.

My intentions." Gaslighters will never understand the concept of impact over intent.

And they don't intend to.


They will deflect responsibility by blaming it on a misunderstanding, and claiming they had only positive intentions.

This is a classic tactic for abusers to divert attention away from their flaws and toward self-assurance.

They'll use the excuse that they "didn't mean it that way" to avoid apologizing.

And don't be surprised if they indulge in a few lies, too.

Instead of respecting your feelings, they'll, lean on the idea that "it was all a misunderstanding." Like that excuses their behavior.

Number 6 - "You always read too much into things." Gaslighters, enjoy making "you" statements that will stop you in your tracks.

These words, indicate that you're onto something.


You communicate that you're bothered by your abuser's behavior.

They often worry that you'll keep looking into it.


They say, you're, overthinking, overanalyzing, over-anything - to get you to stop.

This is an extremely toxic and insensitive thing to say, but it's also a phrase that can validate your suspicions.

If you know what it means., Number 7 - "I never said that or did that.

You have a terrible memory." While.

This gaslighting phrase is one of the most common.

It’s also the most sadistic.

It attacks your sanity and shows that they don't trust or believe, you.


It might make sense for someone to forget something they’ve said or done, it's ridiculous to think that you hallucinated a whole memory.

A gaslighter might even warp your memory, convincing you to actually believe a made-up version that they crafted just for you at that.


Number 8 - "The problem isn't with me.

It's with you." If.

You haven't guessed by now, gaslighters are experts at evading.


This phrase is especially harmful though, because it attacks your self-esteem with psychological torture.

These words can lead you to believe that you're not good enough or that.

You’re not worthy of love and respect.

Abusers tend to project their own insecurities and problems onto their victims.

And this can make you question, yourself, your emotions, and your behavior.

It can even make you deescalate situations and take on the blame for fear of being in the wrong.

Number, 9 - "Just.

Forget about it." When.

A toxic person tells you to "forget about it," it's, a strong deflection that basically translates to "shut up." Instead of exploring and resolving conflict, people who say this, want to practice avoidance, which is a sign of an unhealthy relationship.

The truth is that no one is going to forget, and the wound is only going to fester.

And, as time goes, on, you'll probably become less and less inclined to talk about the problems in your relationship until they're too much to bear.


10 - "You are the only person that I have problems.

With." Abusers love to invalidate you because it makes you less likely to stand up for yourself.


They say, this, they're, implying that they're perfect.

And any issues you have with them are your fault.

The saddest part is that they really believe this and are unlikely to change.

Number 11 - "You're abusing me!", Gaslighters will often accuse their victims of abuse.

It might sound ironic.

But it just feels painful.


You defend yourself and cope with the distress of this statement.

The actual abuser enjoys the success of diversion from their abusive.


Number 12 - "If you're, lucky, I'll, forgive you.", Toxic people who gaslight, often get off on power, trips.

They, want you to feel as if you're the one in the wrong, and then they make you apologize and beg for their forgiveness.

Even when they should be the ones saying, sorry., When, this happens, you might not even be sure what you're sorry, about.

Your only goal might be to calm them down or reconcile.

Then, once you're in the clear, your abuser will make it a point to remind you how lucky you are for your forgiveness.

In addition.

They might not let go of the fact that they're always putting up with you, which is not the case at all.


If you hear these bitter phrases, what should you do? First, recognize and name them as gaslighting, whether it's happening to you now or happened in the past.

Before? You vocalize it to anyone who might gaslight you more, validate yourself about what is happening to you., If, you're struggling to process, your toxic relationship, talking to friends, family, or even professional therapists can help you work through the emotional abuse.

You've experienced and re-establish your reality., When, gaslighting, happens, be prepared to set your boundaries.

Instead of letting your emotions, overcome you, keep a calm and steady tone and say, something like, "You're speaking to me in an aggressive and abusive way.


You continue, I will not engage in this conversation.

Anymore." Being, direct and standing up for yourself can be very hard, and many gaslighters respond poorly to boundary-setting.


Don't want a healthy relationship., They want control.


If you want to stop being controlled, you may need to exit the relationship.


You know that it's time to leave, be careful and safe about how you break the news.

It's, not uncommon for emotionally, abusive relationships to become physically abusive, ones., So, create a safe exit plan with the help of a therapist or your trusted loved ones.

Then, be sure not to get lured in by false promises or gifts., Going, no contact is best after ending, an unhealthy relationship.


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Thanks for watching!.


What do narcissists say during gaslighting? ›

Signs of Narcissist Gaslighting

They may try to make you feel like you're overreacting or being too sensitive by saying things like, “You're being paranoid,” or “You're imagining things.” They might also try to control what you do and who you see by trying to isolate you from your friends and family.

What is gaslighting abuse example? ›

In relationships, an abusive person may use gaslighting to isolate their partner, undermine their confidence, and make them easier to control. For example, they might tell someone they are irrational until the person starts to think it must be true.

What are the two signature moves of gaslighters? ›

If we stick to the clinical definition, gaslighters have two signature moves: They lie with the intent of creating a false reality, and they cut off their victims socially.

How do gaslighters apologize? ›

Jamie Schenk DeWitt, a psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles told Newsweek: "A gaslighting apology is a conditional apology that makes the person apologizing appear as if they are sincerely saying 'I am sorry,' but they aren't taking any responsibility for hurting you.

What is the alarming of gaslighting? ›

Gaslighting makes you doubt your own perception, your feelings, and your memory. It makes you doubt reality itself, and therefore your own sanity.

What is gaslighting words example? ›

His gaslighting was a deliberate attempt to convince her that she was losing her grasp on reality. Gaslighting is the process of causing someone to doubt their own thoughts, beliefs and perceptions. Her father used a gaslighting tactic when he declared that she must have imagined the entire episode.

What do you say to shut down gaslighting? ›

Phrases to shut down a gaslighting in any situation
  1. "We remember things differently."
  2. "If you continue to speak to me like this I'm not engaging."
  3. "I hear you and that isn't my experience."
  4. "I am walking away from this conversation."
  5. "I am not interested in debating what happened with you."
Oct 9, 2019

What are the 4 D's of gaslighting? ›

This term originated from a movie made in 1944 called Gaslight where the heroine's husband attempts to drive her insane by manipulating her reality. There are four primary types of gaslighting behaviors: the straight-up lie, reality manipulation, scapegoating and coercion.

What words hurt a narcissist the most? ›

A psychologist shares 6 toxic phrases 'highly narcissistic' people always use—and how to deal with them
  1. “I don't want to make this about me, but...” ...
  2. “I'm sorry you feel that way.” ...
  3. “Why are you doing this to me?” ...
  4. “I'm a busy person. ...
  5. “I hope you know who you're messing with.” ...
  6. “It's not fair.”
Apr 30, 2023

How do gaslighting victims act? ›

Along with questioning their own reality and beliefs, gaslighting victims often feel isolated and powerless. Gaslighting abuse symptoms also include low self-esteem, disorientation, self-doubt, and difficulty functioning in school, at work, or in social situations.

What is gaslighting to make someone crazy? ›

“It's making someone seem or feel unstable, irrational and not credible, making them feel like what they're seeing or experiencing isn't real, that they're making it up, that no one else will believe them.” Gaslighting involves an imbalance of power between the abuser and the person they're gaslighting.

What is the end goal of a gaslighter? ›

The goal of a gaslighter is to make a person doubt themself by feeding them lies and using their own position to cause mental health harm. The term gaslighting, or gaslighter, comes from a play from the late 1930s, according to Britannica.

How do gaslighters argue? ›

Gaslighters gain control or avoid facing the consequences of their behavior by hiding and distorting information. They may tell blatant lies or subtle ones. Even when confronted with specific facts that contradict what they are saying, gaslighters may continue to repeat the lies.

Do gaslighters apologize? ›

A gaslighter will often make you beg for their forgiveness and apologize profusely for any 'wrong' you committed, even if it's something they did,” Stern says. Sometimes you may not even know what you're apologizing for, other than they're upset and it's your responsibility to calm them down.

What do gaslighters say in a relationship? ›

Usually, instead of using specific names, gaslighters will use general terms like, “everyone thinks there's something wrong with you” or “all our friends know you have problems,” explains Stephanie Sarkis, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People—and Break ...

What is the weakness of a gaslighter? ›

Though some people may not realize the damage their behavior is causing, if they aren't willing to hear your requests for change and attempt to make these changes, end the relationship before it goes any further. Remember that gaslighters have fragile egos, little self-esteem, and are inherently weak.

Do gaslighters play the victim? ›

One of the ways that gaslighters/narcissists exert their power through playing the victim. In relationships, gaslighters play the victim in order to manipulate and guilt their partners into doing their will. On a global stage, when gaslighter “plays the role” of a victim, it takes on a different tone.

What happens when you ignore a gaslighter? ›

Ignoring a gaslighter could mean you pretend you did not hear what they said and do not engage or respond to them. This could result in an escalation of their attempts at gaslighting you or make them angry if they feel you have bruised their pride. Similarly, they might try to get your attention in other ways.

What is extreme gaslighting? ›

Gaslighting is a form of abuse that involves a person deliberately causing someone to doubt their sanity. This may cause feelings of confusion or powerlessness. The long-term effects of gaslighting include trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Who is most vulnerable to gaslighting? ›

Highly sensitive people and empaths are more susceptible to gaslighting because they do not trust themselves and their intuitions. They doubt their own perspective even when they sense that something is wrong.

What is the perfect example of gaslighting? ›

Gaslighting happens when an abuser tries to control a victim by twisting their sense of reality. An example of gaslighting would be a partner doing something abusive and then denying it happened.

Do gaslighters know they are gaslighting? ›

Despite all this, gaslighting often isn't so obvious. Many gaslighters may not realize they're gaslighting, and many people who are being gaslighted also fail to recognize it at first.

How do you tell if someone is gaslighting you? ›

Signs of gaslighting
  1. insist you said or did things you know you didn't do.
  2. deny or scoff at your recollection of events.
  3. call you “too sensitive” or “crazy” when you express your needs or concerns.
  4. express doubts to others about your feelings, behavior, and state of mind.
  5. twisting or retelling events to shift blame to you.
Nov 24, 2021

What is the best response to gaslighting? ›

Gaslighting can be tough to respond to because of the power that the perpetrator holds over the victim. Often, the best response to gaslighting is to plainly state your needs and boundaries. Sometimes, the safest response to gaslighting can be to leave the situation entirely.

How do you stop a gaslighter from tracks? ›

How to Deal with Gaslighting and Stop Your Manipulator in Their...
  1. Try to Recognize What's Happening. ...
  2. Confront Them About Their Behavior. ...
  3. Compile Proof. ...
  4. Decide Whether the Relationship Is Worth It. ...
  5. Lean on Friends and Family. ...
  6. Prioritize Self Care. ...
  7. Seek Professional Help.
Aug 27, 2020

What are the 5 signs of gaslighting? ›

5 signs you're gaslighting yourself and how to stop
  • You invalidate your feelings by excusing others' bad behavior. ...
  • You always second guess your decisions. ...
  • You have a strong inner critic. ...
  • You blame yourself for everything. ...
  • You doubt your memories. ...
  • Be aware of what is happening.
Jan 19, 2023

What is gaslighting versus narcissism? ›

Narcissism refers to a personality structure, or a pattern of personality traits, whereas gaslighting refers to behavior. Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that weakens the victim and makes them more dependent on the perpetrator.

What is the #1 word a narcissist Cannot stand? ›

It comes hand-in-hand with this that narcissists hate being criticised or called out. Which is exactly why there's one word in particular narcissistic people cannot stand: "no".

What destroys a narcissist? ›

12 Ways to Break a Narcissist's Heart
  • 1 Ignore their forms of manipulation.
  • 2 Flaunt how happy you are without them.
  • 3 Set boundaries to protect yourself.
  • 4 Deny them what they want.
  • 5 Stay calm when they try to upset you.
  • 6 Cut off all contact with them if you can.
  • 7 Be leery of future love bombing.

What to say to outsmart a narcissist? ›

React with empathy and respect.

A narcissist thrives on conflict, and will take control of the conversation as soon as you get defensive or try to fight back. Instead, you can take control by making empathetic statements about the situation, which will help the narcissist calm down.

How do you finally outsmart a narcissist? ›

Saying 'No', enforcing boundaries and challenging them are some of the tips on how to checkmate a narcissist by making them fear you. Holding them accountable, publicly exposing them and going 'no contact' are other strategies on how to outsmart a narcissist.

What silence does to a narcissist? ›

Narcissists may use the silent treatment to communicate they are unhappy with you, to control you, or as a form of punishment. If the narcissist uses the silent treatment to deflect responsibility for something they have done wrong, it can also be a form of narcissistic gaslighting.

Who do gaslighters target? ›

Gaslighting usually occurs over an extended duration and not as a single interaction. The gaslighter slowly chips away at their victim's sense of reality. Gaslighters can target those they view as most vulnerable, e.g. people who are isolated or exhibit feelings of inadequacy.

What is not gaslighting? ›

If people make statements in the context of an argument in which they are trying to explain their point of view, or if these statements are made over the course of legal proceedings or formal hearings, then they may be viewed as someone defending themselves, not intentionally attempting to gaslight.

What is the root of gaslighting? ›

The term “gaslighting” originates in a British play-turned film from the 1930s. The play was called “Gas Light” and the plot is about a husband who mentally and emotionally manipulates his wife into believing she is crazy by changing the intensity of the gas lamps within their home.

How to drive someone mentally insane? ›

Gaslighting: How to Drive Someone Crazy
  1. Find a target. ...
  2. Charm the target. ...
  3. Push the boundaries. ...
  4. Gives surprise gifts. ...
  5. Isolates from others. ...
  6. Makes subtle statements. ...
  7. Projects suspicions onto the victim. ...
  8. Plants seeds of imagination.
Aug 12, 2017

How evil is gaslighting? ›

Gaslighting: As Emotional Abuse

It leaves the victim confused, unhappy, fearful, and incapable of ending the problem unless they can escape or outsmart the emotional abuser. Gaslighting sabotages the victim's self-confidence. It leaves them fearful and unable to correct the lies being told to and about them.

How do you punish a gaslighter? ›

The best option is to leave and cut off all communication with the gaslighter—go "radio silence." Be prepared for them to try everything in their power to get you back into their clutches. They need attention—and if they aren't getting it from a new relationship, they will come back for you.

What mental illness causes gaslighting? ›

Certain mental health conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder lend themselves to gaslighting as those illnesses give people a distorted view of themselves and others and a propensity toward manipulating others for their own ends by any means necessary, as well as never ...

Why do gaslighters want control? ›

A gaslighter may unconsciously want to have control and avoid accountability. It can stem from not trusting themselves or other people and exerting control to cope with this insecurity. They may have learned this behavior growing up in a family that engaged in gaslighting.

What is gaslighter slang? ›

Gaslighting is defined in the Urban Dictionary as “a form of intimidation or psychological abuse, where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and quite often, their sanity”.

What are gaslighters examples? ›

Gaslighting also happens in the workplace. For example, a boss who says they don't remember you submitting a deliverable, even though you handed it to them a few hours ago. By making other people question their own memories, gaslighters use your insecurities to try and control you.

What is the most common form of gaslighting? ›

Shifting blame is a common gaslighting tactic. Accusing the victim of being the gaslighter causes confusion, makes them question the situation, and draws attention away from the true gaslighter's harmful behavior, Sarkis says.

What are the 4 types of gaslighting? ›

It could be divided into four different types: outright lying, manipulation of reality, scapegoating and coercion. Often the experience is a combination of these four types and not just limited to one of them.

What is the opposite of gaslighting? ›

Critical Thinking. The opposite of gaslighting is critical thinking, not validation or deference or coddling.

What is the behavior of gaslighting? ›

What are gaslighting behaviors? To gaslight someone means to manipulate another person into doubting their own perceptions, experiences or understanding of events, according to the American Psychological Association.

What hurts a gaslighter? ›

The best way to destroy a gaslighter is to appear emotionless. They enjoy getting a rise out of you, so it's frustrating to them when they don't get the reaction they expected. When they realize you don't care anymore, they will likely try convincing you they'll change, but don't fall for it.

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