What is narcissistic gaslighting?
Narcissistic gaslighting is one of the most dangerous signs of emotional abuse. It can cause anxiety, depression, complex PTSD and psychological trauma.
Examples of phrases used by someone gaslighting you include:
- I only behave badly because I’ve been driven to by you, if only you were nicer to me
- That isn’t true, you only believe it to be true because you’re mentally unstable / paranoid
- Everyone thinks I’m wonderful, they think you’re lucky to be with me. Clearly, you’re the problem
- You’re crazy and other people think so too
- You have a terrible memory, I told you this yesterday (they didn’t)
- You’re too sensitive
- I’m sorry that you think I hurt you
- That never happened (you know it did, you might even have evidence it did) or did happen (even though you know it didn’t)
- You need to go and see someone (you’re not right in the head)
Gaslighters will also use silent treatment abuse as a way to punish you (i.e. They withhold contact with you, so you’re left upset, often alone or without the abuser talking to you). The silent treatment is also a way to manipulate you into accepting them back.
If you’re being gaslighted you may experience some or even all of the following:
- Confusion, even about basic things in life
- Constantly second guessing yourself (you’ve lost confidence in your own reality)
- Find it difficult to make the simplest of decisions, you’ve become afraid in case it’s wrong (and the consequences that come with that)
- Question yourself that you are the problem or the abuser (abusers don’t question themselves)
- Become withdrawn, start to isolate from friends and family
- Find yourself constantly apologizing to the abuser
- Feel hopeless, worthless, unhappy, drained and tired
- Having to defend your abuser’s behavior to others
- Live in a fantasy world (where everything will be ok). You don’t want to be told the truth; you get angry when people try to get you to confront the abuse
- You no longer recognize who you are anymore, you’re what your abuser has made you