The Gaslighting Twenty
You are familiar with gas lighting where we twist reality over and over again in order to create doubt. You begin to question yourself, doubt your recollection and feel like you are losing your sanity. It is an insidious tactic and one which we always use in order to destabilise you and maintain our control and the upper hand. We change history, re-write what has happened and we will do so even when faced with what you think is incontrovertible truth and evidence. Our confidence and certainty in the way we approach this, combined with the patronising appearance of caring about your tired and failing mind is especially bewildering. Our aim is to cause you to question your reality so you much more readily accept the false reality that we create and operate in. Here are twenty of our favourite phrases which are used to gas light you.
- “It never happened.”
- “You are lying.”
- “You imagined it.”
- “You haven’t remembered it correctly.”
- “Yes,you did do it because I remember distinctly.”
- “Are you calling me a liar?”
- “If I look for it you had better hope I don’t find it. Oh, what’s this? Just where I said it would be.”
- “I never told you to do that, why would I ever say that?”
- “Your dad wouldn’t do that to you.”
- “You are suffering from delusions, I think we need a doctor for you.”
- “You like to cause an argument out of nothing don’t you?”
- “You twist my words, I did not mean it like that.”
- “You never told me that at all,I would have remembered.”
- “Nobody likes you, they’ve all told me this.”
- “You need help, it is caused by your anger problem.”
- “Why are you inventing things again? You are such an attention seeker.”
- “That never happened.”
- “Dear me, you always make things up, you’ve done it ever since you were a child.”
- “We are just friends, you are reading too much into it.”
- “That couldn’t possibly have hurt you, why are you saying it did?”
21 thoughts on “The Gaslighting Twenty”
Sometimes I felt we had entire conversations that consisted
of him gas lighting me while I tried desperately to find the truth.
Gas lighting is the ultimate crazy making manipulation.
Add to the list:
21. You are over-thinking again.
22. You create your own story with beginnings and endings that are delusional and only based in your reality.
23. I cannot deal with your batshit crazy outbursts.
24. Don’t try. Do. (Except he will not define what it is I am to do…oh wait…give fuel…but positive or negative?)
25. Stop questioning or talking to me as if I’m a child. Try again tomorrow. Good day.
I could probably stretch this to 50.
This is such a potent tool of abuse that so many either brush of or have no clue what it s. I wrecked me. It is sad how many people in the mental health field are not familiar even with this term “gaslighting” or the damage it can cause. I so empathize with those of you out there looking for therapists that know about this type of abuse. It is hard to find someone that will support you and understand the damage done. I myself a therapist had a hard time finding another therapist for me that knew about this type of abuse. It took mea long time to trust another therapist after this. I read in a comment on another article about someone saying a therapist they saw did not know about triangulation. Oy!!!!!! That should be basic knowledge, I knew about it prior, but the narcicist that I was involved with taught me it well, first person.
The one thing I can offer my clients is that I understand because I went through it and I learned here, Not in class or in text books. Thank you, HG.
There is no substitute from the knowledge you acquire from the experience, terrible though it was, and the information you acquire here. It is a formidable combination Indy and you are welcome.
I stopped going to my therapist about 4 months after finding HG’s blog. I tried sharing his first book “Evil” and a couple of his early blog pieces. She wasn’t reading it so we could review in my sessions so I’d have to waste time reading exactly what I thought matched to JN. Then she would respond with “fascinating.” She was also still telling me she thought JN did feel an attachment to me and cared, hence why he kept returning. That just kept eternal hope going for real closure one day. She helped with a couple things, but was absolutely useless on the JN issue which is why I started seeing her in the 1st place.
MLA, It is really unfortunate more are not well versed in this common type of abuse (mental, emotional, psychological) and the dynamics with narcissists and sociopaths. Some therapists can be unwittingly dangerous to their clients, sending them back to their abuser, encouraging them to “work it out” and that all relationships “have hope”. WRONG! Not in these cases, nope.
Very much the case Indy.
Thanks Indy! I definitely found the right path and have improved tremendously.
Indy, I agree that gaslighting is an extremely powerful tool. I could have seen it with my own eyes, yet when he would say ‘it didn’t happen’, then my brain would press rewind and somehow the memory wouldn’t be as solid anymore. I don’t understand why that happens. Is it the similar to hypnosis or is this cognitive dissonance?
Hi Love, It is mental “trauma”. That is why your memory is more fuzzy and not integrated after this type of abuse. Gas lighting is a technique of invalidating your reality, teaches you to not accept your perceptions of reality. It is a form of psychological/cognitive abuse.
Thank you Indy.
Most welcome, Love!
Hello Indy! I’m a therapist too and I tried for myself a therapist (i’m going to her right now since 1 year).
I can say now to understand very well what my client with this sort of problems feel because I am a survivor at the same typhoon. I think that in our profession this experience can be very usefull (although I would have liked not to have it).
Welcome!! So glad to see another therapist learning and healing here! Indeed, it is invaluable experience (albeit painful and traumatic). I agree and this is the purpose I see for my experience. To help my clients (many who have experienced abuse by narcissists as well).
I have great passion for my work and see life as a series of lessons that make me a better and stronger human and therapist.
Peace to you,
😠 My narcissist did this tactic… At first time he told me events never occurred with the purpose of putting in my head false memories just to seduce me (successfully, because i believed in his words although I heard that therewhere something strange…but I don’t tell lies, so I did not think anyone would lie to me especially in this way!). At second time he denied sentences that he told me or asserted that I understood in the wrong way the things he said (but I understood very well! And my trust in him had diminished so he had less success and changed the discourse).
It is a game lost from the start to try to prove that you are right in a discussion with a narcissist. He constantly changes the reality and will never admit his faults.
The very first one I was with said that I was “possessed by three  demons”, and that, “they wanted [him] gone from my life because of the great light that was inside of [him].” He also said that, “one of my demons caused [his] bed to shake in the middle of the night.”! At first he said it was “God causing [his] bed to shake”, but then he changed it and said, “it was one of [my] demons that caused his bed to shake.” He brought his Bible to my house, and attempted to “exorcise” me. It’s strange that he chose for it to be “three  demons, instead of just one [, but he pointed out that “one of [my] demons was inside my bedroom, one was harassing [him], and one was busy inside of [me]”. He was supposedly a Christian and his “mission in life” was to help me. He claimed that this was why he was put here on this earth.
Hi hg can a narcissist have a successful romantic relationship with another narcissist??
very triggering my PTSD…but thank You. a pill in form of a book should help. Btw when Little boy and Unmasked will be ready if I may ask dear G.?
Still works in progress Seduced.
However, I believe a NS can trigger alcoholism, Narc Traits in a empath.
Also what about Less narc who is always thrown out 5x 5 women? Still a narc?