Narcissist Gaslighting Phrases & Examples

103 Narcissist Gaslighting Phrases & Examples

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Gaslighting is an extremely manipulative and abusive technique often frequented by narcissists and sociopaths. The purpose of gaslighting is to gain control over the victim by slowly and subtly eroding their own sense of reality, causing them to doubt themselves and their own sense of worth.

Funnily enough, narc’s are actually very predictable creatures, which makes them rather ‘textbook’ once you know what you’re looking for. There is a whole array of common narcissistic gaslighting phrases that they will regurgitate at any given time.

Common narcissist gaslighting phrase techniques:

  1. Countering your memory of things that have happened
  2. Denying entire conversations and events
  3. Withholding conversation, love and affection
  4. Invalidating and belittling your feelings and concerns
  5. Diverting the focus off themselves and back onto you or someone else
  6. Generalising with stereotypes and blanket statements to invalidate

If you’ve ever found yourself dealing with a narcissist, you’ll no doubt find yourself nodding your head as you go through these gaslighting examples.

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Narcissist Gaslight

What is Gaslighting?

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1938 play ‘Gas Light’ and the 1944 film adaptation ‘Gaslight.’

Basically, the husband was royally messing with his wife’s sanity by consistently dimming the gas lights. Every time she asked him about it, he maintained that the lights hadn’t changed. His motive was to distort and have her question her own reality, so that he could get her committed to a mental institution.

Notice how the abuse was slow and subtle, so the victim didn’t even recognise that it was happening?

These days, gaslighting refers to the psychological manipulation tactic (regularly used by narcissists) used to make the victim question their own thoughts, ideas, memories and reality.

READ: A – Z of Narcissist Words

How do Narcissists Use Gaslighting to Manipulate?

Gaslighting is one of the narcissist’s favourite tools of mental and emotional manipulation.

This particular manipulation tactic exhausts the victim and keeps them in a place of confusion, with a lack of self-trust. It also has them helplessly trying to defend themselves, which just leads to further gaslighting.

With a confused person on hand, the narc is able to control the storyline in whichever way suits their own agenda (where they are usually the hero/ victim and you are the crazy one).

Gaslighting Examples

Common Narcissist Gaslighting Techniques

  • Countering – firmly opposing details of things that have happened, which will have you questioning your own memory and reality.
  • Denying – denying entire conversations, words, events and details – saying that you just make things up.
  • Withholding – refusing to enter the conversation and withholding love, affection and attention as a punishment.
  • Invalidating – totally disregarding and downplaying another person’s feelings or concerns, even though they are all completely valid.
  • Diverting – changing the subject and flipping the script back onto you or someone else to avoid accountability.
  • Generalising – using stereotypes and blanket statements to invalidate, e.g. “all men are the same!”
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Narcissist Gaslighting Phrases & Examples

Narcissists all use the same types of phrases and words to gaslight their victims.

Here are over 100 gaslighting examples to give you an idea of the types of tactics they use to contradict a person’s reality.

‘Countering’ phrases

Narcissist Gaslighting

Narcissist gaslighting phrases used to counter or oppose your memory and reality.

  1. “You have such a bad memory.”
  2. “You know I didn’t say that.”
  3. “I embarrassed you?! What about what you did to me?”
  4. “You’re a dreamer.”
  5. “You’ve got a crazy imagination.”
  6. “My memory is perfect.”
  7. “You just make this shit up in your head.”
  8. “You’re delusional.”
  9. “You’re imagining things.”

‘Denial’ phrases

Eye roll, narcissist gaslighting

Narcissist gaslighting phrases use to deny things that were said or done.

  1. “I never said that. You just make stuff up.”
  2. “That never happened.”
  3. “I was never there.”
  4. “I never did that.”
  5. “You never told me that.”
  6. “This is the first time I’m hearing about it.”
  7. “You must be confusing me with someone else.”

Narcissists are pathological liars. The more they speak their stories out loud, the quicker they become ‘truth’ in their warped world.

‘Withholding’ phrases

Dismissive narcissist

Narcissist gaslighting phrases used to withhold information, engagement or interaction.

  1. “I’m not going through this with you again.”
  2. “We’ve already talked about it.”
  3. “I am who I am, don’t try to change me.”
  4. “Whatever.”
  5. “I don’t have time for this.”
  6. “Don’t tell me what to do.”
  7. “If you don’t like it, there’s the door.”
  8. “I’m done talking about the past.”
  9. “Stop nagging me.”
  10. “You brought this on yourself. If you don’t know what you did, I shouldn’t have to explain it to you.”

‘Invalidating’ phrases

Narcissist Invalidating Gaslighting

Narcissist gaslighting phrases which invalidate your feelings and belittle you.

  1. “What’s your problem?”
  2. “You’re too sensitive.”
  3. “You’re so needy.”
  4. “You’re just jealous.”
  5. “It was just a joke. Geez, get a sense of humour.”
  6. “That’s not important.”
  7. “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.”
  8. “Oh boo-hoo. Poor you.”
  9. “Why are you letting something so small ruin the relationship?”
  10. “You’re being completely irrational.”
  11. “Grow up.”
  12. “You’re being a child.”
  13. “Why are you being so difficult?”
  14. “You used to be easy-going.”
  15. “There’s always something with you, isn’t there.”
  16. “Bloody hell, I can’t even touch you now.”

‘Diverting’ phrases

Gaslighting Narcissist Phrases

Narcissist gaslighting phrases which divert the attention away from them and back onto you.

  1. “You need to let it go.”
  2. “You’re crazy, you need help.”
  3. “Why are you being such a *****? Get over it.”
  4. “You’re the one with the problem here, not me.”
  5. “You need to learn to communicate better.”
  6. “Stop talking to people about our relationship.”
  7. “This whole argument could have been avoided if you just did as you were told.”
  8. “You always start arguments”
  9. “Must be that time of the month again.”
  10. “It always has to be about you.”
  11. “You started it.”
  12. “What’s your problem with people getting angry?”
  13. “You wonder why I don’t want to come home to you.”
  14. “You’re lucky I put up with this.”
  15. “You should really get checked up, I think you need mental help.”
  16. “I actually feel sorry for you.”
  17. “You always have to be right.”
  18. “I’m not going to get pulled into your drama.”
  19. “Why are you being so defensive?”
  20. “If you didn’t make me so angry, I wouldn’t have to swear at you.”
  21. “I’m not arguing, I’m just having a discussion.”
  22. “So, now you’re calling me a liar?”
  23. “Because you’re just perfect, aren’t you!”
  24. “Is it any wonder I drink/ do drugs?!”
  25. “I know what you’re thinking.”
  26. “You’re so unreasonable.”
  27. “If you would just shut up and listen.”
  28. “I was always wealthy/ popular/ successful until I got with you.”
  29. “I work my ass off, I deserve….”
  30. “This is why I didn’t want to bring it up with you. I knew you’d react like this.”
  31. “You just hear whatever you want to hear.”
  32. “If your family keeps saying all this stuff, maybe it’s time to cut them out.”

‘Generalising’ phrases

Narcissist Gaslighting Phrases

Narcissist gaslighting phrases which use blanket statements to invalidate a person.

  1. “You’re crazy.”
  2. “You’re a freak.”
  3. “You have intimacy problems.”
  4. “You’re moody.”
  5. “You’re lazy.”
  6. “It’s because I’m such a good Mum/ Dad/ Partner.”
  7. “All you men/ women are the same.”
  8. “No wonder you don’t have any friends.”
  9. “You’re so dramatic.”
  10. “You never listen.”
  11. “You like playing the victim.”
  12. “People always say how perfect our relationship is.”
  13. “I saved you.”
  14. “You need me.”
  15. “You’re nothing without me.”
  16. “I’m the best thing to have ever happened to you.”
  17. “We’re soulmates.”
  18. “No one will ever love you the way I do.”
  19. “You’ll never find anyone as good as me.”
  20. “No one else is going to put up with you.”
  21. “I’m the only one who truly loves you.”
  22. “Everyone agrees with me.”
  23. “I just thought my wife would want to have sex with her husband after a hard day’s work.”
  24. “I’m the one who goes to work and earns the money.”
  25. “No one else will ever want you. You’re too fat/ thin/ ugly/ old/ black/ white/ poor etc.”
  26. “Men always get stuffed over by women.”
  27. “I’m so sick of the minority always playing the victim.”
  28. “Women are the reason men are so caged and not living up to their true potential.”
  29. “All men are ****/ all women are ****.”
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How to Respond to Gaslighting

There’s no getting around the fact that gaslighting is emotional abuse. The first course of action if you realise that you’re in a toxic relationship with someone who gaslights, is to get out if you can.

However, the reality is that removing yourself from a relationship with a gaslighting narcissist is rarely easy. Be it a partner, family member, friend or co-worker, sometimes we have to continue to interact with these people.

Here are some tips for responding to gaslighting:

Gaslighting DOsGaslighting DON’Ts
• Detach from the words
• Remain as calm as you can
• Stand firm in your own values, beliefs and opinions
• Remove yourself from the conversation
• Communicate through text or email instead of in person
• Stick to the facts
• Keep is short and sweet
• Don’t react
• Don’t argue
• Don’t apologise
• Don’t feel the need to defend yourself
• Don’t get caught up in the word salad
• Don’t overshare your feelings – they will just be used against you
• Don’t validate their behaviour by agreeing with it

Remember, gaslighters don’t like you having a support system. So, keep your friends and family around you and talk to them about the confusing things that are going on.

Even just having that one person confirming that you’re not crazy, is enough to help you stand strong and reduce the chance of your own reality eroding through the gaslighter’s manipulation.

Ultimately, to get rid of the gaslighting from your life you either need to drastically reduce your contact with the narcissist by going low contact or no contact.

Unless you need to have that person in your life for family, work or business reasons, I strongly suggest not having any contact with the abuse by going ‘No Contact.’

Posts About Gaslighting

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