Have you heard of gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a term used to describe a form of psychological abuse where someone makes you doubt not only yourself and all you know, but also your sanity, your memory, and perceptions of reality.
Abuse can happen at any time and at any age. It isn’t always about a blow to the head or broken bones, sometimes it’s more sneaky and can make you doubt yourself and your own thought process.
Remember too, that abuse doesn’t know gender or sexual orientation–anyone, including you, can end up the victim of gaslighting. It can start as subtle phrases that may seem funny in the beginning and then grow to a daily barrage that have you questioning your own sanity or memory.
It’s imperative that you be aware of such manipulative behavior for yourself and your friends because it is not only destructive, but can lead to life threatening situations from physical abuse. Click here to read more about what is not acceptable in a relationship.
Things like going through your phone, following you, needing to know where you are all the time, keeping you away from friends, name calling, just to name a few…this is just an example of the lengths some will go to control you, your thoughts, and inevitably your life. Awareness is key. None of these things leave bruises or physical scars but they are still abuse and totally and completely not acceptable.
In a gaslighting situation, a shift in behavior, language, and imbalance of power can happen very quickly in a relationship. The manipulation is subtle and an abuser will weave in a different reality and mock you if you don’t agree. Consequences could be anything to being made to feel unworthy, stupid, and confused or escalate to physical abuse.
This type of relationship is so unhealthy and you’ll lose yourself over time.
These tactics are used to isolate and shame you. This allows for more power and control to the abuser.
Here are 35 sample phrases that a gaslighter may use to turn the tables and make sure the guilt, heaviness, and spotlight is off their behavior and focused on flaws they’ve made you believe.
If your partner is using this type of language with you, it is NEVER okay. Shifting blame to incite insecurity and doubt is slimy and exploitive. These are not the words of someone who loves you.
ONE: You’re so emotional all the time. Maybe you should see a doctor.
TWO Of course I told you, but since you seldom listen, I’ll tell you again.
THREE Whoa, have you been talking with your mom because you sure sound like her right now.
FOUR Why are you overreacting? I was just kidding.
FIVE I told you this isn’t the best time you talk. You always want to talk at the worst times. Why do you always want to fight?.
SIX I’m not the problem here so just calm down.
SEVEN Everything was fine until you switched it up in your head. It’s all in your imagination.
EIGHT I seriously don’t know where you get such ideas. Are you watching that shit on cable again? or talking to that crazy sister of yours?
NINE Can you hear yourself? God, are you on your period of something because you’re not thinking straight.
TEN If you could just learn to deal with all your anxiety and shit then you wouldn’t get so confused all the time.
ELEVEN I didn’t call you fat. I just thought you’d like this dress and it was the largest size they had. You’re always so defensive.
TWELVE You’re, way too sensitive. I’ve never said anything like that.
THIRTEEN I know your anxiety and mental illness get in the way of you trusting me, but you make things up in your own head that don’t happen.
FOURTEEN Oh my God, it was just a joke. Why do you take everything so damn seriously? You have no sense of humor.
FIFTEEN You better watch out–your insecurity is starting to show and we all know how sensitive (using air quotes) you can get.
SIXTEEN Wow! You take one tiny little thing and blow it way out of proportion. I can’t believe the way you focus only on the little tiny negative and harp on that.
SEVENTEEN Honey, we agreed to let it go. Why can’t you just let it go? Why do you constantly throw the past in my face.
EIGHTEEN Don’t you remember that you said I could use your car? We talked about it last week. You must’ve forgotten.
NINETEEN Why are you crying so much? You said you didn’t want kids and now you have your wish.
TWENTY Wow. That really hurt. It was all your fault but I get all the blame. I really don’t think I deserve to be treated like shit. It’s not fair.
TWENTY ONE Um, I think you’re confused. It was you who made the reservation not me. I don’t know why you’re blaming me for your mistake.
TWENTY TWO You’re just putting words into my mouth. You’re such a drama queen. I didn’t say any of that and your imagination is way over active.
TWENTY THREE You’re hysterical and obviously not thinking straight.
TWENTY FOUR You’re seeing things that don’t exist. You seriously need to get some help.
TWENTY FIVE You know my mom and friends never thought you were good enough for me, but I always defended you and now you treat me like this.
TWENTY SIX I don’t know where you get such crazy, mixed up ideas but you’re way off base.
TWENTY SEVEN You’re getting yourself all worked up over nothing. Did you forget to take your happy pill?
TWENTY EIGHT I think you might have been a little drunk or stoned because it didn’t happen that way at all. Don’t you remember?
TWENTY NINE When did you get so paranoid?
THIRTY I don’t know why you always want to spoil everything. We were having a good time, but you’re so moody and negative it makes it hard to be around you.
THIRTY ONE Why do you always sabotage me? I think you like seeing me derailed.
THIRTY TWO Why can’t you just be grateful and say thank you. Nothing ever satisfies you.
THIRTY THREE Are you calling me a liar? I’m not lying. It didn’t happen the way you think. You just don’t care enough to listen to the truth.
THIRTY FOUR Oh come on. You know we agreed to do this a long time ago. Don’t you remember when we talked about it over coffee last week. You agreed with me then and now you’ve changed your mind again. You really like to play me.
THIRTY FIVE You sure crave attention don’t you? All those guys are staring at you and you love it. I can see you’re trying to piss me off.
If any of these phrases sound familiar or are a framework for your current relationship then you may need to consider getting help.
Some people see their abuser as the only one who loves them or knows them but that is not the case. If you’re feeling unhappy, confused, and withdrawn then it may be good to talk to someone who is a professional in the field.
Whether you’re 16 or 60–it doesn’t matter. Manipulation and abuse can happen at any age and you’re not alone. Tell someone–your mom, sister, Auntie, a teacher, a pastor…
You know you’re not crazy or reading the cues wrong–Trust your gut and get out.
Look online for Help Lines or sites that offer refuge or advice.
Thanks for reading Auntie Says…