20 Times To Gaslight

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.

  1. “It never happened.”
  2. “You are lying.”
  3. “You imagined it.”
  4. “You haven’t remembered it correctly.”
  5. “Yes, you did do it because I remember distinctly.”
  6. “Are you calling me a liar?”
  7. “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.”
  8. “I never told you to do that, why would I ever say that?”
  9. “Your dad wouldn’t do that to you.”
  10. “You are suffering from delusions, I think we need a doctor for you.”
  11. “You like to cause an argument out of nothing don’t you?”
  12. “You twist my words, I did not mean it like that.”
  13. “You never told me that at all, I would have remembered.”
  14. “Nobody likes you, they’ve all told me this.”
  15. “You need help, it is caused by your anger problem.”
  16. “Why are you inventing things again? You are such an attention seeker.”
  17. “That never happened.”
  18. “Dear me, you always make things up, you’ve done it ever since you were a child.”
  19. “We are just friends, you are reading too much into it.”
  20. “That couldn’t possibly have hurt you, why are you saying it did?”

44 thoughts on “20 Times To Gaslight

  1. Janet says:

    “Can’t you take a joke”
    “I didn’t know you were so jealous”
    “You’ve never like her have you”

  2. Ali says:

    yup. he denied everything, pushed it all back on me, i’ve heard a lot of those and could probably add to the list. “lies” was the first thing i put a name to. Gas lighting was the second… years later… i am still having issues as a consequence of that one. slowly healing that

  3. Matilda says:

    I got to hear “you take my words out of context, you only hear what you want to hear!”. Yet I knew what he said, and I held him accountable. When cornered this way, with no way out, he would say: “you are driving me away”… for a while, he could manage the situation with this strategy… until I got so numb, I did not care if he stayed in my life, or left.

  4. 12345 says:

    As a shelf girl I never really got the gas lighting. Oh my gosh! A silver lining!

  5. Indy says:

    Yes, gaslighting was the number one tactic the last narcissist did to me. It was horrible. I consider myself strong minded but that wore me down pretty good over time. I do wonder what it was about me that made him his this one more extensively than other methods.

    1. Snow White says:

      Hi Indy!!!!!
      How are you???
      I think the gaslighting worked on me so well because I just went with whatever my ex said so she just kept on going.
      I questioned everything in my head and I was 99% sure when she was exaggerating and making things up but I never called her out on it.

      I remember one time she was telling me she was driving home and she had a seizure and her boss was following her in his car and he pulled over to help her. My son has seizures and I knew there was no way to control a car if that’s what was happening. There was no way that had happened and I could not figure out why in the world she would tell me that.
      She would text me early on from bars and pretend she was there by herself and talking with all sorts of people. Triangulation started from the beginning. I didn’t understand why she was flirting with others while she had a girlfriend and trying to make me jealous. I can’t believe I didn’t see any of it.
      It’s amazing we come out of this alive.
      When I recall some of the stories I understand why I don’t trust what people are telling me.

      1. Indy says:

        Hi Snow!!!!
        So glad to hear from you!!
        I am doing OK. How are you and your children doing??
        It sounds like your ex was trying to get sympathy attention from you with the seizure story. Yeah, should could not drive if she had one while driving. She also wanted to get you jealous for sure, she wanted some rise from ya…We want to see the best in others, especially those we are drawn to. I am so glad we made it out too!!
        Yeah, the gaslighting made me have high levels of anxiety. at first I debated him and then I started questioning my own mind, and then I developed this high hypervigilent anxiety because I felt I could not trust my perceptions and never knew when I would be verbally chastised. It fogged my ability to think sanely and it kept me in longer than I would have originally. I started double checking with my friends my sanity (many of my friends are psychologists, lucky me LOL). I started writing a journal so I would not forget the things and events because I developed a type of forgetting that people in traumatic situations develop. I did not wish to forget. Around the peak of all this was almost exactly a year ago this month. I am so glad my supervisor recommended reading evil. She called it, she said, Indy, you are dealing with a Narcissist. Read this.

        I suppose the ex used gaslighting on me because it worked and also because I challenged him (debated). I think he was also insecure about my education level as well, as even though he was very bright, he did not achieve the same academic level I have. He attended my masters graduation and afterwards pouted and sulked. He even admitted he was “making it about himself”. I missed that warning big time(we were only together for two months and HE invited himself to it, said it would be “an honor to witness”. Haha
        So, to mess with my mind was like perfect revenge for him. Just a theory.

        1. Snow White says:

          Hi Indy!!!!!
          We are all doing ok!
          I am finding more and more reasons that I’m so glad that I found this site.

          HG and you and the strong readers on here have empowered me and given me a voice that I never had.
          Unfortunately I’m on my way to taking my son’s school district to court. ๐Ÿ˜ก
          Even though I am aware of HG’s bad traits, I am learning from his good ones.
          He doesn’t let anyone tell him no and I picture him winning all the time as I’ve had many people try and manipulate some situations. In the past I would have backed down but now I’m prepared to fight these people all the way.
          I have also been inspired by your marching. Lol

          I am soooo glad you had your friends to point you to HG!!!!
          Writing in a journal was smart. I wish I would have been doing that. It sounds like the gaslighting in that relationship was terrible for you. I remember more and more of the crazy stories.
          I realized just today that I still can’t trust my perceptions. Someone approached me at the gym today and it set off my central nervous system and I was on a verge of a breakdown. It was all because he was giving me advice and I can’t tell what peoples’ agendas are.
          I can’t tell why people are talking to me.
          Are they hitting on me?
          Are they up to something?
          What do they want?
          He startled me and I can’t handle that feeling. Then it makes me paranoid that people are watching me and I think of HG and all of his prep work for a victim. Set me off for the day. But at least I didn’t run out crying. I would have done that a year ago. I fought back the tears. That’s progress. Lol

          I am glad you got out of that in a few months. It’s incredible what the narcs can do to you in a short amount of time.
          How are you feeling?
          Happy Mother’s Day Indy๐ŸŒน

          1. Indy says:

            Hi Snow!!!!
            Happy Mothers Day weekend to you too!๐ŸŽ๐ŸŒนโค๏ธ
            Sending you positive and strong vibes for the meeting with the school. Lord, I remember those IEP meetings with my son when he was young and now with my grandson for requesting services. It is such a battle indeed. I cried after many and felt screwed half the time. Other times I felt like some teachers are saints, god sends. Treasured them. Don your armor, you got your stripes, you can do this!! Indeed, you are healing and you’ve grown so much! It’s ok that you felt your trauma response the other day at the gym. The fact you know it is a trauma response is a big step. And, you didn’t run. With time and work you are doing in therapy, it will reduce. Every time you do not run in a safe situation is one step closer to reducing your heightened stress response. It took me over a couple years to see progress in some of my symptoms of PTSD from my first ex (the one that I moved faraway from for safety). And, you are developing your eye on figuring out who is safe and who is not. You have such courage and strength Snow! You too have inspired and encouraged me. I related to many of your struggles and your gentle kindness always has glowed here. It’s always a pleasure seeing your posts here ((((hugsss)))))) Good luck and go get em!!!!

            Indy

          2. Jenna says:

            Indy and Snow and all the caring, self-sacrificing mothers here, have a wonderful mother’s day! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

          3. Indy says:

            Thank you Jenna๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒบ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒบ
            Are you a mom too? Hope you are having a wonderful Mothers Day weekend!!!

          4. Snow White says:

            Thanks Jenna and I hope you had a wonderful day too!!!!โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

          5. Snow White says:

            Hi Indy!
            THANK YOU!
            I need all that I can get. My heart goes out to everyone that has to go through the process. All you want is what’s best for your child and it’s such a fight. I’m sick of them thinking I’m crazy and that they are right. But this time I’m 100% sure of what I’m doing.
            My PTSD symptoms have definitely decreased. I have been able to work through a few and not run. I have noticed that when one occurs I have a hard time recovering. It takes a lot out of me and I have to warn my family that it won’t take much for my emotions to go off the deep end. The startling response is the worst for me.
            I can only imagine how it felt for you. I’m glad you and kitty are safe๐Ÿ˜Š
            I continue to learn here from you and the others and I always love to hear your input and opinions. They mean a lot to me.
            Many hugs backโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ
            Did your family do something nice for you this past weekend? Did you see your grandson?

          6. Indy says:

            Hi Snow,
            Yes, this is how C-PTSD is for me and I suspect others as well. It heals in bits/pieces and we have weak spots that take more time. When it is set off, it is hard to return to a regulated state sometimes.

            It is funny you mention your startle response. I swear I was born with an over-reactive startle-I jump and scream with little more than a “boo!”. I used to get teased all the time by my co-workers and exes. People jump out, an old psychiatrist boss would call my name from behind just to see me jump while he let out his evil laugh (I quite like him, oddly enough, he is a riot.) My mother had this too. I let out a scream that is made for horror flicks LOL.

            Good luck in court sweetie, I am very lucky I never had to go that far, though my son and his fiancรฉ may need to down the road for my grandson, as Autism requires so much more than what my son needed for his learning disability.

            Mother’s day was lovely, my son came over with his little family and surprised me with flowers and dinner (Jamaican from a very yummy place). My grandson harassed my kitty, it was a purrrrfect day ๐Ÿ™‚

            How was your mother’s day?
            Hearts and apples to the fairest one ๐Ÿ™‚
            Indy

          7. Snow White says:

            Hello Indy!!!!
            It’s been a few weeks but my Mother’s Day was good. I’m glad you had your family with you and some delicious food.
            We both must have the same nervous system. I jump out of my seat at the littlest things just like you and my screaming is something that my family has made fun of me ever since I was little. Lol
            C-PTSD has just made it worse.

            Thanks for sending me some good luck. I will need it. I am dealing with more organizations than I care too. And no one wants to listen ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ˜ก

            Hope everything is going ok for you.๐Ÿ˜€

          8. Indy says:

            Oh, I was with that narcicist for about 22 months. But, he invited himself to my graduation at the 6 week mark and did his first verbal marriage proposal “intention” at 2.5 months over the phone. He officially proposed at the one year mark. I am glad I dodged the marriage bullet though, as that would have been this year. Phew.

    2. K says:

      Indy,

      It was horrible! I barely made it out alive. All I did was sleep because I was so exhausted.

      1. Indy says:

        I am so glad you did make it out, K!!

  6. Metamorph says:

    Satan’s henchman on earth….nothing more

    1. K says:

      Ditto Metamorph.

  7. Amy S. says:

    Hi HG,

    I have this question which I always wanted to ask you, but kept forgetting. My narcissist used to use (but does not any more as I have figured it out) a type of confusing speech. He would state something but in a way that makes me think what on earth he has just tired to say. it could have been anything, like his opinion on something he saw in the news, etc. He would leave me confused and would make me feel inferior (I must be stupid if I cannot understand what he meant). Is this something that narcissists engage in. Which type does this most?

    You do not appear to be doing this on this blog. Do you try this in real life?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      It is word salad. See the article about Perfect Sense and also Word Salad (And How To Toss It). I can and do engage in this with my victims, but I do not this on the blog.

      1. Amy S. says:

        it’s a useful skill this word salad. how do you learn/ acquire this ‘skill’? Could you give me an example of word salad expressions that you use?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          It is instinctive. See the article Perfect Sense and also Word Salad (And How To Toss It)

          1. Amy S. says:

            when he used word salad on me I was like: what?!?? what did I just hear? Why would anyone even talk like that? No conversation would ever lead to anything meaningful. I find it really interesting, though, especially how this is used by mid rangers. They use it instinctively, but at the same time recognise what it does to us.

          2. Findinglife11 says:

            Sooooo…. how wiill my ex narc and father to our 4 children respond to this….

            [[[[[[[[Randall-Not to mention you knew it was a lie about breakfast when you said it so my defense was futile. It’s the same lie as you used to use w Jennifer and kairsta. (*His 1st ex wife and kid) Tactics haven’t changed.
            If we have any chance at building trust and having a healthy as possible relationship bc of kids u need you to work a little harder at truth telling and stop false accusations against me. God knows.
            I have hope and know God is bigger. ๐Ÿ™‚
            We can do this. ๐Ÿ™‚ ]]]]]]]]

            I’m getting tired off his random untrue accusations…. i reminded him to put sunblock on kids bc he didn’t. and he went Into this elaborate and specific lie. (The specifics kill me bc its all untrue)…
            So…. i suppose he ruled my reminder suggestion abt sunblock as a criticism…… and he not only lied I specifucs about applying it on kids but then accuses me of not putting bug spray on kids bc there were so many bug bites on kids last time he picked them up. (NOT ! Untrue)
            Then next thing you know he is accusing me of not feeding the kids breakfast. He starts off with “once again…..you have not fed the kids breakfast……”. Implying its a pattern…. of course. So i initially replied “dont accuse me of not feeding the kids breakfast. ”
            …i knew it was an emotional defense and fuel…. bur i couldn’t help myself…. anyone who knows me knows i always do breakfast. Me and my kids. And he knows that…. thus hitting the perfect emotional reactive nerve….. So i thought about it … And truly not wanting to go on forever back and forth w crazy untrue accusations…. i sent him the above reply……
            So HG….. anyone….. what should i expect now?
            He’s been quiet. No doubt mulling out around in his brain….. trying to figure out how to use it against me…..

      2. Amy S. says:

        My narcissist is again hoovering.

      3. Amy S. says:

        Hi HG, what is the difference between a narcissist and a narcissistic sociopath?

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Please see the article narcissist v sociopath.

  8. K says:

    This was one of the worst things my ex-boyfriend did to me. He kept telling me over and over again that I was crazy and he would list off all the people who came to him and said, “K is crazy.” He, also, told me I needed meds and a padded room. He even did a crazy dance around the kitchen, making fun of me. He was relentless. Everyone thinks you are crazy! Like a broken record.

    But the worst of the gaslighting was when he touched my son in a sexually provocative manner in front of me. He did that throughout the year of 2015. What a mindfuck that was. That’s when I knew I was living with Linda Blair (the Exorcist).

    1. narseeker says:

      Your son? OMG, K what an awful experience!

      1. K says:

        narseeker,

        If it helps a bit. I do not have a biological connection to this child. He is what I call a throw-away-child, both his parents were heroin addicts. I met him when he was 5 and raised him with my children. He is literally their brother-from-another-mother. He slept in his family home (next door) but was with us most of the time. He is my ex’s IPPS. The experience was so mind blowing that I could not believe it had actually happened. My ex did this approximately 5 time throughout 2015. At this point the fuel was shut off, so I think he was trying to get me to react…IDK. I was like, “Holy shit! I am living with the fucking Devil!” It truly was an awful experience. I still doubt the reality of it today.

  9. Brian says:

    I can’t even read this list without feeling triggered ‘n trolled.

    1. I feel u on that 1 brian.
      ..

  10. Failure isn’t an option for the narcissist, so we can understand at least ‘why’ they say the things they do.

    The fact that it took a narcissist to bring the best AND worst out of me is something that still fascinates me, though. I think the key is to lose the ‘victim’ tag we all so easily pin upon us. Also, to preserve our sense of humours.

  11. 4, 6, 10, 11, 12, and 20.

    Mine used the “You need to see a doctor/get some therapy” a lot. Trying to suggest I was crazy.

    These posts help to bring me back

    1. Were all crazy to these people. Lol

  12. Pamela Bergner says:

    Your posts and so far the one book i have read are really reaaly informative.

    Tk you.

    Pam B

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Pamela, do keep reading.

  13. narseeker says:

    At the beginning of the entanglement he told me about his fears,past wounds, about his inner monster/creature, about the feeling that everybody is able to see (like he was transparent) that something is off.
    These revelations drew me closer and closer. I’m a sucker for self awareness.
    The last time I saw him, he said: “I’m your virus. I”m like a bug that entered your system. I cut off your wings” “I need you to be happy for me”
    What do you make of it HG? 101 basic manipulation toolkit ? Jeckyll and Hyde? 0.0001% of human care?

  14. narseeker says:

    Approaching “The End” I caught him lying to me about something important.
    He was mad and wouldn’t speak to me all day. Finally he agreed to a phone conversation.
    Chosen sentences: 1) Him: “You think you’re smarter than everybody else, right?”. Me: “Wrong”
    2) Him: (with a broken spirit) “If you had loved me you would let this pass as irrelevant, you would understand”
    2) Him:”You are out to get me. Your mission, your goal in life is to catch me in a lie. Me (feigning innocence..I already knew what he was): “what do you mean? mission? to catch you in a lie? why on earth would I like to do that?” Him: “Nothing, nothing, forget it” ..
    3) Me: “O.K let’s both apologize to each other”. Him: “ME?!!!! APOLOGIZE?? NEVER!!!!!” Me (feigning innocence. I was hurt as hell but retaining my inner sense of humor) “I must have not heard you correctly.. must be the telephone line.. what do you mean “never apologize”? I don’t understand, can you repeat the sentence, please?” Him (robotic): “I’m sorry”.

  15. giulia says:

    I’ll always remember when I said to him “you are just a liar”.
    He acted shocked, he was so good at it. He asked me if I meant to say that to someone else, some other man I was involved with, because I couldn’t possibly have said that to him!
    So all of a sudden I am a cheater.
    That’s when I realized words were only tools to him without any meaning and all my efforts to keep us in an objective reality were useless.
    I was dealing with “something unknown” and my readings didn’t train me to deal with him. I had no tools to counteract his strategies. I could only let go of him.

  16. Jenna says:

    “Let’s take what i said yesterday and throw it into the river”

  17. 1st…..”incontrovertible” did u make that up? I like it. Very syllabic. ๐Ÿ™‚
    2nd.. . God…. i bristled at reading every one of those. Brought me back…. crazy textbook u all are

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