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10 Subtle Signs of Gaslighting (+FREE Worksheets)

10 Signs of Gaslighting

Today you’re going to learn the main 10 signs of gaslighting.

What’s Gaslighting?

The word gaslighting is used to describe the manipulative activity that an abuser uses to make their target doubt themselves and think they’re going crazy.

The gaslighter aims to gain absolute control over their victim.

Where Did The Word “Gaslighting” Come From?

The word “gaslighting” comes from George Cukor’s 1944 film titled “Gaslight”.

In the film, a gentleman persuades his young wife to stay in the old house where he grew up. He then pushes his wife to doubt herself and think she’s crazy by changing the lights of the house’s gas lamps.

Related: How To Get Revenge On A Narcissist? (In Relationships & At Work)

10 Subtle Signs of Gaslighting

The following are common signs you’re being abused by a gaslighter:

1. Blatant lies

You know they’re lying but they tell this lie in a relaxed manner.

2. Denying that they said/did something even though you have evidence

Despite the fact that you have evidence for what they said or did, they keep denying it.

Eventually, you start to question your reality.

Related: Top 10 Narcissistic Relationship Patterns

3. Wearing you down slowly and over time

Gaslighting is usually done gradually and over time.

The gaslighter will tell a lie here, or make a derogatory comment there until you’re with very low self-esteem.

4. Discounting your feelings

They may tell you that you shouldn’t be upset when you have every right to be upset.

They may also laugh at your hurt or compare your situation to other people’s or their own in a way that leaves you feeling as if you’re overreacting.

Related: 8 Stages Of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

5. Projecting their problems or flaws onto you

For example, they might be addicts, but they don’t see themselves as having a problem and instead blame you.

Eventually, you start to question yourself.

6. Their actions don’t match what they say

Most often, the gaslighter’s actions won’t match their words.

You need to look at what they’re doing because what they say means nothing.

7. Using what is important to you against you

If you love your children most, they may use them to manipulate you.

They may tell you that you don’t deserve those children.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Narcissists Target Empaths – & How to Starve The Narcissist of Supply

8. Trying to turn people against you

This is when the gaslighter uses other people as a pawn to play off against you.

This leaves you not knowing who to trust and feeling isolated.

9. Telling you or others that you are crazy

The gaslighter might tell you that no one will believe you if you tell them that he’s abusive or controlling.

He may call you crazy or tell other people that you are crazy.

10. Getting you to question your memory

They’ll tell you that things didn’t happen the way you remember them, even though you vividly remember doing or saying certain things.

Related: The Narcissist’s Prayer Explained

Do Narcissists Know They Are Gaslighting?

Narcissists can often be aware that they are manipulating or controlling others, including engaging in gaslighting behaviors.

In some cases, narcissists intentionally gaslight others as a means of maintaining power and control over them. They may be fully aware of the impact their behavior has on their victims and use it to further their own agenda or feed their ego.

However, not all narcissists are consciously aware of their gaslighting tactics. Some may engage in this behavior more unconsciously, driven by their own insecurities and need for validation.

It’s also possible that some narcissists may not even recognize their behavior as manipulative or harmful.

FREE Toxic Relationship Worksheets PDF

How to Deal with Gaslighting?

Dealing with gaslighting can be emotionally challenging, but there are strategies you can employ to protect yourself and regain your confidence. Here are some suggestions for handling gaslighting:

1. Recognize the Signs

The first step in dealing with gaslighting is to recognize it.

Gaslighters often use tactics such as denial, contradiction, lying, and minimizing your experiences or emotions.

Understanding the signs can help you protect yourself and not internalize the gaslighter’s manipulation.

2. Trust Your Instincts

Gaslighting can make you doubt your own judgments and instincts. It’s important to remind yourself that your thoughts and feelings are valid.

Trust your gut and acknowledge that your perception of reality is important and should not be dismissed.

Related: Top 10 Signs You’re Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

3. Seek Support

Gaslighting can be isolating, so it’s crucial to reach out to supportive friends, family members, or a therapist who can provide validation and perspective.

They can help counteract the gaslighter’s narrative and offer a safe space for you to express your thoughts and emotions.

4. Document Incidents

Keep records of incidents where you believe gaslighting occurred.

This can include writing down specific conversations, actions, or behaviors that made you question your reality.

Having a documented record can serve as evidence and help you gain clarity in moments of doubt.

Related: 8 Stages Of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

5. Set Boundaries

Establish clear boundaries with the gaslighter to protect yourself from further manipulation.

Be firm in stating what behaviors are unacceptable and communicate the consequences of crossing those boundaries.

It’s important to prioritize your well-being and create a safe environment for yourself.

6. Practice Self-Care

Gaslighting can take a toll on your emotional well-being.

Engage in self-care activities that help you relax, rejuvenate, and build resilience.

This can include practicing mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, exercising regularly, or seeking therapy to process and heal from the gaslighting experience.

Related: Best 100 Self Care Affirmations To Honor Yourself

7. Educate Yourself

Learning about gaslighting and its effects can empower you in dealing with it.

Understanding the tactics and dynamics involved can help you recognize and respond effectively when faced with gaslighting behavior.

There are numerous books, articles, and online resources available that can provide valuable insights.

8. Practice Assertiveness

Gaslighters often try to undermine your confidence and assertiveness.

Developing assertiveness skills can help you stand up for yourself, express your needs and boundaries clearly, and hold the gaslighter accountable for their actions.

Role-playing assertive scenarios can be helpful in building this skill.

Related: Top 5 Tips On How To Be Assertive Without Being Rude

9. Limit Contact if Necessary

In some cases, limiting or cutting off contact with the gaslighter may be necessary for your well-being.

This decision should be made based on your unique circumstances and the level of toxicity in the relationship.

Prioritize your mental health and safety above maintaining contact.

10. Focus on Your Strengths

Gaslighting can diminish your self-esteem and self-worth.

Counteract these effects by focusing on your strengths, accomplishments, and positive qualities.

Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, and engage in activities that boost your confidence.

Related: Top 18 Self Esteem Exercises (+FREE CBT For Self-Esteem Worksheets PDF)


If you ever feel overwhelmed or unsafe due to gaslighting, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor, who can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific situation.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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