25 Gaslighting Phrases & how to interpret them
I’m going to share some common phrases with you that you might recognise, and this will help you to know if you are (or were) being gaslighted, and what you can do to put a stop to it – not the gaslighting itself, because you can’t stop Narcs from doing what they do, but if you’re still in the relationship with this person and you can’t get out – or even if you have gotten out, but you still keep going back over stuff and ruminating about it and asking yourself constantly if you were crazy, or too sensitive or jealous or whatever – you need to know the truth, and what you can do to stop buying into the narc’s gaslighting BS. If you've not read my other article about gaslighting yet, I recommend you read that too.
So, let’s have a look at some of those phrases… and I have 25 of them, so buckle up!
No 1: You’re jealous (when you’re not)
You know in your heart and soul whether you’re a jealous person or not. This is a phrase the Narc will use to bounce the blame back on you, often to deflect from their own behaviour. The truth is if they are flirting, cheating or whatever, that’s on THEM and if this inappropriate behaviour is making you feel devalued, don’t put up with it and don’t buy into the lie that it’s just your jealous unreasonable behaviour, when deep down you know it’s not. If you’re in the relationship, consider planning an exit strategy.
If you can’t get out for the time being, take whatever they say with a pinch of salt, and follow the tips I’ll share with tomorrow on how to keep yourself sane when you’re being gaslighted.
No 2: You’re crazy (when you’re not) –
Narcissists love using this one. It’s like their ‘get out of jail’ card for every bit of bad behaviour they try to get away with. It’s all on you because you’re crazy – but you’re not, and you need to hang on to that truth. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour, whether it’s breaking your boundaries, being inconsiderate, thoughtless, unkind, or whatever. If it makes you feel bad, put simply, that’s not GOOD for you and it’s not acceptable. Don’t allow yourself to consider that such behaviour is ok, and you’re in the wrong, because you are not. Stand by your truth and your values.
No 3: You’re too sensitive
Actually you might be a very sensitive person and they know it so they use that trait against you and make it sound like a personality flaw. Once you start thinking ‘Am I too sensitive?’ they’ve successfully deflected the real issue back onto you. Now you’ve become absorbed in your own insecurity. Do you see how this works? In this case, you need to hold fast to the thought that your sensitivity has absolutely nothing to do what with what has been said or done. How they made you feel by their behaviour is what’s important here. So don’t let your judgement get clouded.
No 4: You can’t take a joke (when actually, you usually can!)
You can’t because it’s just NOT funny. But again, you start feeling that it’s your fault that you can’t see the funny side of things. Maybe you DON’T have a good sense of humour. If you hear this, you can either respond with ‘I can’t when it’s not funny’ or you can choose to totally ignore the barb. Grey rock it!
No 5: I’m just teasing!
But you’re not laughing or feeling it, because teasing implies good-naturedness but you know deep down that there is nothing good-natured about what’s been said. Don’t let yourself get fooled into thinking that there was. Trust how you feel.
No 6: Why are you so serious? You need to lighten up!
Often you’ll hear this when you’re just being logical and trying to hold them accountable for their behaviour – you’re seeing things for what they are, but if it makes the Narc uncomfortable in any way, they’ll use this one to try to lighten the air and make you feel heavy and to blame for being who you are. As always with the Narc, it’s always going to come back to being your fault. Don’t let them whitewash your reality into some absurd lie.
No 7: You’ve got no sense of perspective or why are you blowing things out of proportion?
As with the previous one, this is their attempt to belittle how you’re feeling, to invalidate you and make you question yourself.
Pretty much all gaslighting works with this agenda, to be honest, but the trick is to understand it and see it for what it is, and not let it derail you. I’m going to run through a few more here for you, but the guiding principle is always to take it with a pinch of salt, grey rock when you can, and tomorrow, I’ll share with you some simple tips to help you completely combat gaslighting altogether.
So here are 18 more phrases for you to listen out for and evaluate for their gaslighting probability. I’m also going to give you a ‘counteractive thought’ for each one – now you don’t have to say them, but I want you to THINK them if you ever hear them, because that’s where the reality is for you, and it's vitally important for your mental health that you keep grounded in the actual reality of what's going on and do not let yourself get cajoled or confused into thinking you've got it wrong, because 9 times out of 10 with a narc, you haven't!
I didn’t mean it that way, you’re twisting my words (when the meaning when those words were spoken was clear – but now it’s not
Counteract with: Gosh, you’re so clever at twisting things!
If you really loved me you would x, y, z (don’t mistake this for ANYTHING other than what it is – and that is, emotional blackmail)
Counteract this with: If you really loved me, you wouldn’t ask/expect/push me to do this
You never told me that (when you categorically did, and you KNOW you did)
Counteract with: What a crap memory you’ve got! Either that, or you’re a liar!
You need to learn how to trust me (implies that you’re untrusting and the problem lies with you)
Counteract with: I’ll trust you if you ever give me reason to believe you can be trusted.
You’re taking this the wrong way (when there’s no other way to take it)
Counteract with: There’s really no other way to take this!
How can you twist things like this? (when you’ve done no such thing – projection)
Counteract with: Here we go with super-twisting again!
That didn’t happen! (when erm, yes, it did)
Counteract with: Lousy memory strikes again!
You’re imagining things! (When you’re not)
Counteract with: What a vivid imagination YOU’VE got!
Are you sure your memory’s not failing you? (It’s not – but you’re starting to wonder!)
Counteract with: Are you sure YOURS isn’t?
You need help: Implying that there’s something emotionally or mentally wrong with you – and often there is, but it’s emotional and mental damage that’s a direct result of the narc’s treatment of you and nothing to do with your mental health per se.
Counteract with: Yes, I need help to get out of this relationship
I didn’t say that! When they actually DID say exactly that.
Counteract with: There’s that crap memory again!
YOU didn’t say that… when you actually did say exactly that!
Counteract with: Yes, I did say exactly what I said I said!
I told you that – you must have forgotten. DANGEROUS because it’s actually easier than we realise to forget something we’ve been told.
Counteract with: Oh, there’s that memory blaming trick again.
Why is everything so DIFFICULT with you?
Counteract with: Let’s just switch that one around shall we?
I thought we trusted each other?
Counteract with: You wouldn’t know trust if it walked up and slapped you in the face!
Why can’t you be more like X? This creates an instant feeling of inferiority in you. Person X will usually be someone who is a potential threat to your relationship or who is very successful, or good looking or very wealthy – don’t every compare yourself to anyone else.
Counteract with: Why you can’t be more like person X – and pick a role model or someone you look up to.
It’s for your own good – eg, when monitoring your finances, phone, emails, social media etc so that you are literally being treated like a child. This is not only gaslighting, it’s coercive control and if this is happening to you you’re in serious Narcland territory and you need to start finding ways to get your life back.
Counteract with: THE REALISATION THAT: This is actually very serious!
If this is happening, as well as all the other crap you are dealing with, find a support group. Get a therapist. Get help and get out if you can.
If you need support, you can connect with me here! I have a YouTube Channel, books and Facebook support groups. Come and join me!
This article was updated 19/01/2022