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.

What 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.

But 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.


End up feeling even more confused.

Number, 3 - "I think you need.


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.

They 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.


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 phrases do gaslighters use? ›

Common phrases gaslighters may use:
  • "I never said that."
  • "I did that because I love you."
  • "I don't know why you're making such a huge deal of this."
  • "You're being overly sensitive."
  • "You are being dramatic."
  • "You are the issue, not me."
  • "If you loved me, you would..."
  • "You are crazy."
Jun 2, 2023

How do you outsmart a gaslighter? ›

Here are eight tips for responding and taking back control.
  1. First, make sure it's gaslighting. ...
  2. Take some space from the situation. ...
  3. Collect evidence. ...
  4. Speak up about the behavior. ...
  5. Remain confident in your version of events. ...
  6. Focus on self-care. ...
  7. Involve others. ...
  8. Seek professional support.

What do you say to shut down gaslighting? ›

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

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? ›

“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 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 are the red flags of gaslighting? ›

Red Flag 1: You're doubting your own truth. Red Flag 2: You're questioning yourself excessively. Red Flag 3: You're feeling confused. Red Flag 4: You're frequently thinking you must be perceiving things incorrectly.

What is a classic example of gaslighting? ›

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 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.

What annoys 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.

What is a gaslighter personality? ›

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the abuser attempts to sow self-doubt and confusion in their victim's mind. Typically, gaslighters are seeking to gain power and control over the other person, by distorting reality and forcing them to question their own judgment and intuition.

What does a gaslighter fear? ›

Gaslighting in a relationship is about power, domination, and often fear of losing control. Often a gaslighter will use some of the following tactics to maintain control over their partner: They use their love as a defense for their actions. They accuse their victim of being paranoid.

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 turn the table on a gaslighter at work? ›

How To Turn The Tables On A Gaslighter?
  1. Confront them. Most abusers will stop once they know you're aware of what they're doing. ...
  2. Don't Let Them Change The Topic. ...
  3. Collect Proof. ...
  4. Understand Their Perspective. ...
  5. Validate Their Experience. ...
  6. Show No Reaction. ...
  7. Set Firm Boundaries. ...
  8. Walk Away.
Jun 26, 2023

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 ...

How to hurt a gaslighter? ›

15 Ways to Turn the Tables on a Gaslighter in Your Life
  1. #1. Put a stop to their brainwashing.
  2. #2. Expose their toxic behavior.
  3. #3. Resist the urge to defend yourself.
  4. #4. Set boundaries.
  5. #5. Minimize interaction.
  6. #6. Stop engaging and leave the scene.
  7. #7. Keep a journal.
  8. #8. Don't show any emotion.
Dec 14, 2022

What type of people become gaslighters? ›

Not all gaslighters are narcissists and not all narcissists gaslight. Nevertheless, gaslighting is a strategy commonly used by people with high levels of narcissism as a means to exert control. A high level of narcissism is associated with a sense of grandiosity and superiority, and a lack of empathy.

What do gaslighters suffer from? ›

Some gaslighters may suffer from narcissistic personality disorder2. Narcissistic parents or people have an inflated self-image. They feel a strong sense of power over others and believe they are always right. Arguing with narcissistic gaslighters is pointless.

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.

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.

What are common phrases narcissists use? ›

Here are six phrases that they always use — and how to deal with them:
  • “I don't want to make this about me, but...” ...
  • “I'm sorry you feel that way.” ...
  • “Why are you doing this to me?” ...
  • “I'm a busy person. ...
  • “I hope you know who you're messing with.” ...
  • “It's not fair.”
Apr 30, 2023

What are the 4 D's of narcissism? ›

Four Ds of Narcissism: Deny, Dismiss, Devalue & Divorce.

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 toxic gaslighting? ›

It is a covert type of emotional abuse in which the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality.1 Ultimately, the victim of gaslighting starts to feel unsure about their perceptions of the world and even wonder if they are losing their sanity.

What is extreme gaslighting? ›

“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 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 most common form of gaslighting? ›

If you raise a concern with them, instead of evaluating their own behavior, they will target your feelings. Blaming your insecurities for whatever the issue at hand maybe allows them to get away with their own bad behavior. That's why this is the most common gaslighting phrase used in a relationship.

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.

What are habits of gaslighters? ›

Someone who's gaslighting might:
  • insist you said or did things you know you didn't do.
  • deny or scoff at your recollection of events.
  • call you “too sensitive” or “crazy” when you express your needs or concerns.
  • express doubts to others about your feelings, behavior, and state of mind.
Nov 24, 2021

What words hurt a narcissist the most? ›

A psychologist shares 6 toxic phrases 'highly narcissistic' people always use—and how to deal with them
  • “I'm sorry you feel that way.” ...
  • “Why are you doing this to me?” ...
  • “I'm a busy person. ...
  • “I hope you know who you're messing with.”
Apr 30, 2023

What is most hurtful to a narcissist? ›

Narcissists are hurt by challenges or threats to their superior and grandiose self-image (also known as narcissistic injury). Their sense of entitlement and lack of empathy means they will attempt to destroy the culprit by any means necessary.

What is the cruelest form of gaslighting? ›

Type 3: Reality Manipulation

Perhaps the most damaging form of gaslighting, reality manipulation is what most people imagine when they think of gaslighting. In the film “Gas Light,” the husband uses reality manipulation to try to convince his wife that she is losing her mind.

What is reverse gaslighting? ›

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

What is mistaken for 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 are toxic traits such as gaslighting? ›

Common traits of gaslighters

A toxic person who gaslights might: Refuse to consider your thoughts or concerns. Restructure past events to shift blame to you. Insist you did things that you know you didn't do.

What is toxic behaviors gaslighting? ›

“Gaslighting is when you cause someone to question their own sanity, experiences, and reality,” explains Janika Veasley, a marriage and family therapist in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Veasley says gaslighting is one of the most common forms of emotional manipulation and a toxic behavior you shouldn't tolerate.

Do gaslighters love their victims? ›

The gaslighter enjoys emotionally, physically, and financially controlling their victims. The relationship may start well the manipulative person may praise his or her victim and establishes trust quickly by confiding in their victim immediately.

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