Your sense of right and wrong may suffer if you’re being gaslighted. You may question whether or not your recollection of a certain event is accurate. When you’re being gaslighted, you’re told that your interpretation of events is incorrect.
Confusion and haziness are common side effects of communicating with a gaslighter. Their words can make you feel as though you’re losing your mind. They subtly dismiss your emotions as insignificant. If they minimize your sentiments often enough, you can start believing that it’s you, not them, who has a problem. You may start to wonder if you’re crazy.
There are certain phrases commonly used by gaslighters, and they are given below:
1. “Do you really think I’d make that up?”
This is a common phrase an abuser will make in response to accusations that they are making things up.
A victim’s abuser may use this as another example to make them doubt their own sanity. Abusers who utilize this term do so to exploit the victim’s naive notions of what it means to trust them. The offender wants the victim to feel bad about themselves since they don’t trust them. Victims who hear this sentence may begin to question their own sense of reality and wonder if the abuser is telling the truth.
2. “You know I’d never intentionally hurt you”
Another way an abuser might twist their victim’s sense of trust is with this sentence. They absolve themselves of blame by portraying themselves as having no ill will. In doing so, the abuser prepares the way for further wrongdoing.
When a victim is told that their abuser would not hurt them on purpose, they may begin to doubt the veracity of their feelings and whether or not they have any grounds for being angry with their spouse.
3. “I did that because I love you”
This is a classic gaslighting statement used frequently in intimate relationships and families. When abusers portray their actions as caring, they trick their victims into believing they have their best interests at heart.
As a result, abuse victims will doubt their own unpleasant emotional responses. The victim may experience feelings of guilt for reacting to the abuser’s actions with anger, fear, or upset because they believe the abuser is acting out of love.
4. “You should have known how I would react”
This is just another strategy used by abusers to shift blame onto their victims. The victim may have feelings of guilt or pain regarding an incident for which they were not responsible.
Saying something like this to a youngster implies that the child’s activities directly resulted in the undesirable outcome being experienced by the child.
By distorting the truth, those who engage in gaslighting might escape taking responsibility for their actions. The gaslighter shifts responsibility for the abuser’s reaction from themselves to the victim by saying they should have known better.
5. “Nobody Loves You”
Since the gaslighter thinks the victim may be guided by the victim’s close friends and family, they typically try to drive a wedge between the two.
A person who is gaslighting their partner can forbid them to socialize with others. They can fabricate reasons why their pals don’t like the person they’re gaslighting and try to persuade their spouse of these claims. A partner may run into such a friend, but will not be kept apprised of the exchange of niceties.
The gaslighter spouse expects to be treated as the sole important person in the other’s life.
6. “You are Overreacting/You are Very Sensitive or Emotional”
Gaslighters frequently resort to insults followed by the claim that you are exaggerating the situation. As the victim hears this sentence, he or she may begin to believe that the gaslighter is trying to sympathize with them when, in fact, the gaslighter is trying to degrade them.
According to experts, this is one of the most frequently used expressions by gaslighters to rationalize their abusive actions. They want you to feel like an idiot for daring to dispute with them, so they throw about this term to break your will and confidence.
The result is the victim’s continued presence in the abusive partnership. The gaslighter can cause you to second-guess even a response that seems reasonable in light of the circumstances.
The gaslighter has the power to make you question your decisions and feel like an overreacting wimp.
Aside from statements, there are certain behavioral patterns of a gaslighter which you should watch out for.
7. They target your insecurities to make you feel weak
If you have low self-esteem, they may make negative remarks about your appearance or weight. They might even begin comparing you to a model. You may receive subtle clues that you are a slow worker if you frequently worry about getting behind at work. They are aware of your weaknesses and exploit them.
Keep in mind that you are worthy of the love and respect of those around you. They are not “fair game” for anyone to exploit your vulnerabilities.
A couple’s therapist can help with romantic issues. They can facilitate more constructive methods of resolving conflicts between you and your partner. For example, they may provide a means for your partner to vent anger without resorting to name-calling.
Recognize that therapy is not always effective in stopping gaslighting in intimate relationships.
8. Turning people against the victim
Gaslighters are manipulative; they surround themselves with yes-men and use them against their victims. It’s typically a falsehood, but they inform the victim that others share their negative opinion of them. Since the gaslighter is so convincing, the victim generally doesn’t question their claims.
The gaslighter says the victim is crazy and that other people share this opinion. The victim may begin to question their own sanity and grasp at straws. Extreme cases can drive a person completely insane.
9. If you criticize their actions, they become defensive or contemptuous
No matter how calmly, politely, or angrily you deliver criticism, they will interpret it as a personal attack. They say you’re being unreasonable or self-centered. They say you’re making it up or stretching the truth. Or they ignore you and act like “I am who I am” by dismissing you and refusing to listen. Use it or throw it away.
If you believe your critique is valid, you shouldn’t back down even if the gaslighter continues to resist. Relationships thrive when people are able to provide and receive constructive criticism, and this is especially true in the workplace.
It’s also crucial in close interactions like friendships, families, and romances. Being receptive to criticism helps us correct our behavior and improve our relationships with others.
Gaslighters destroy relationships by either ignoring constructive criticism or attacking the critic.
10. They give you lots of affection only to hurt you later on
You could receive an unexpected compliment or boost of confidence. They may show their affection by showering you with gifts or extra kisses if they are your love partner. Since then, you may have found yourself wondering, “This person isn’t all bad, right?” However, their true colors will always show, and they will continue to harm you deeply.
Kindness should be the rule rather than the exception in every healthy relationship. Gaslighters may try to make you forget their terrible conduct by being overly nice or affectionate, but this is still abuse.
When affection is withheld or offered only under strict conditions, it can be abusive. The gaslighter may treat you harshly when you express anger, only to “reward” you with love once you’ve come to terms with their deceit.
To assert their control in interpersonal relationships, many people resort to gaslighting. By doing this, the gaslighter hopes to convince his or her partner that he or she is always right and the other person is always wrong in their interactions with him or her.
The victim of gaslighting may become increasingly reliant on the gaslighter to the exclusion of all others, including close friends and relatives. It is possible to gaslight someone intentionally. Some people are natural at gaslighting because they were raised in an authoritarian home, while others engage in the practice because they enjoy the power dynamic it creates.
It may not seem like a big deal at first, but a partner who is subjected to gaslighting may start to feel like they are losing touch with reality and begin to doubt their own value.