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Top 100 Emotional Gaslighting Quotes

Emotional Gaslighting Quotes

This post contains some of the best emotional gaslighting quotes.

What Is Emotional Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is an emotional manipulation tactic that makes the receiver doubt their sanity or perception of reality.

The word gaslight comes from the 1938 play and 1944 film, Gaslight, in which a husband manipulates his wife to believe that she has a mental disease. He does so by dimming their gas-fueled lights while convincing her that she is hallucinating.

Some techniques a gaslighter might use include countering, diverting, denial, trivializing, etc.

What Gaslighting Sounds Like

Below are some common gaslighting phrases an abuser may use:

  • “I am only doing this because I love you.”
  • “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
  • “I wouldn’t have done that if you hadn’t provoked me.”
  • “That never happened.”
  • “You are too sensitive. You need to grow a thicker skin.”
  • “You misinterpreted what I said.”
  • “You sound crazy.”
  • “You’re remembering it wrong.”
  • “You’re trying to confuse me.”

Emotional Gaslighting Quotes

1. “Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation where an individual or a group induces another person to doubt their sanity, sense of reality, or memory. People who encounter gaslighting sometimes feel disturbed, nervous, and unable to trust themselves.” – Diletta Chan

2. “The Gaslight Effect results from a relationship between two people: a gaslighter, who needs to be right in order to preserve his own sense of self and his sense of having power in the world; and a gaslightee, who allows the gaslighter to define her sense of reality because she idealizes him and seeks his approval.” – Robin Stern

3. “Gaslighting tends to work in stages. At fi[1]rst, it may be relatively minor—indeed, you may not even notice it. When your boyfriend accuses you of deliberately trying to undermine him by showing up late to his office party, you attribute it to his nerves or assume he didn’t really mean it or perhaps even begin to wonder whether you were trying to undermine him—but then you let it go.” – Robin Stern

4. “Eventually, though, gaslighting becomes a bigger part of your life, preoccupying your thoughts and overwhelming your feelings. Finally, you’re mired in full-scale depression, hopeless and joyless, unable even to remember the person you once were, with your own point of view and your own sense of self.” – Robin Stern

Related: Am I Being Gaslighted Quiz (& How To Recover From Gaslighting In 10 Steps)

5. “Being gaslighted by someone whom you’ve trusted for years can be even more debilitating than entering into a gaslighting relationship from the start. Because your trust has a solid foundation, it’s all the more bewildering when you [1]find yourself being badly treated—and you may be even more likely to blame yourself. How could the problem be him? It must be you.” – Robin Stern

6. “Gaslighting comes in many forms. Some of it looks like abuse, but some of it can look as though your partner is being a good guy or even a romantic lover.” – Robin Stern

Emotional Gaslighting Quotes

7. “I believe there are three major reasons for the Gaslight Epidemic, a powerful set of messages in our culture that go beyond any of our individual reasons for remaining in gaslighting relationships.” – Robin Stern

8. “The gaslighter is someone who desperately needs to be right in order to bolster his own sense of self and hold on to his own sense of power. The gaslightee tends to idealize her gaslighter and to long for his approval.” – Robin Stern

9. “From the gaslighter’s point of view, however, he’s just protecting himself. A gaslighter has such a fl[1]awed sense of self that he can’t tolerate the slightest challenge to the way he sees things.” – Robin Stern

Related: How To Turn The Tables On A Gaslighter?

10. “Gaslighters are master controllers and manipulators, often challenging your very sense of reality. And they can be found everywhere. International political figures, celebrities, your boss, your sibling or parent, a friend, your coworker, your neighbor, your partner—any one of these people is in a position to gaslight.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

11. “Gaslighters will convince us that we are crazy, that we are abusive, that we are a huge bundle of problems and no one else will want us, that we are terrible employees who haven’t been fired yet just by the grace of God, that we are terrible parents who shouldn’t have had children, that we have no idea how to manage our own life, or that we are a burden to others. They are toxic.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

12. “Gaslighters use your own words against you; plot against you, lie to your face, deny your needs, show excessive displays of power, try to convince you of “alternative facts,” turn family and friends against you—all with the goal of watching you suffer, consolidating their power, and increasing your dependence on them.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

13. “As mentioned, gaslighting shares characteristics of other personality disorders. Some people who gaslight meet the American Psychiatric Association’s DMS criteria for the following disorders, known in the manual as Cluster B Personality Disorders.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

14. “Gaslighters feel that standard societal rules, such as politeness, respect, and patience, don’t apply to them—they are above these rules. For example, a gaslighter will expect his partner to be home precisely at a certain time and have dinner on the table when he gets home. If the partner doesn’t fulfill this obligation, the gaslighter becomes irrationally angry and retaliates.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

Related: 5 Weird Things Covert Narcissists Do To Manipulate Their Victims

15. “Notice that the gaslighter rarely reveals as much intimate information about himself. Meanwhile, the information you share will soon be getting used against you in fights—it becomes psychological ammunition.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

16. “Gaslighters also use comparison as a way of driving a wedge between people, thus gaining control. Parents who gaslight frequently compare their children to each other—and in unrealistic and blatant ways. The gaslighting parent usually has a “golden child” and a “scapegoat child.” The former can do no wrong, whereas the latter can do no right. This pits siblings against each other, and these feelings of competition commonly extend into adulthood.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

Emotional Gaslighting Quotes

17. “Gaslighters often will boast about the things they have accomplished, such as how they got an employee-of-the-month award at work. Never mind that it was fifteen years ago! They will badger you when you don’t react with enthusiasm and praise when they tell you once again about the time that they “dropped the mic” on someone.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

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

18. “Friends who would confront gaslighters about their behavior have no place in the gaslighters’ life. Gaslighters will associate only with people who put them up on a pedestal, the way they feel they deserve to be treated. The second gaslighters feel that you no longer admire and cater to them, they will drop you.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

19. “Gaslighters are obsessed with how they look to others. They tend to spend a large amount of money on grooming products and a lot of time looking at themselves in the mirror. They may get upset when you touch their hair or use one of their grooming products. Perfection is their goal—and it is impossible to obtain. Some gaslighters will even forgo necessities to pay for cosmetic surgery and other appearance-enhancing procedures.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

20. “Not only can gaslighters be overly obsessed with how they look, they can also be very particular about how you look. Body weight tends to especially be a target for gaslighters. They will ridicule their partners about their weight and clothing choices.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

21. “Gaslighters want to see how much they can swindle you, emotionally or financially. Gaslighters are also are not as smart as they think—they will openly brag about their cons.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

22. “Because gaslighters feel they are “owed” loyalty by others and because they have a fragile ego, any behavior is taken personally by gaslighters—with disastrous consequences to victims.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

Related: Toxic Mother Daughter Relationship Quiz (+FREE Worksheets)

23. “Gaslighters at first will try to quietly display this anger, as to keep up their facade of perfection. However, they can only keep up this fake display for so long. The first time you see the gaslighter drop that mask, it can be quite startling.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

24. “Gaslighters may seem to understand how you feel, but take a closer look and you’ll notice a robotic quality to their expressions of empathy. Their reactions seem flat or prerecorded—there is no real emotion behind their words. Gaslighters are experts at using “cognitive empathy”— acting as if they have empathy without actually feeling it.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

25. “It is always someone else’s fault. This is the gaslighters’ mantra.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

26. “Gaslighters bank on the idea that, with enough time, they can weaken your spirit. They also expect that if they gradually ramp up their manipulative behavior, you will be the proverbial frog in the frying pan. And so, they will increase the heat so slowly that you don’t realize you’re being psychologically burned alive.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

27. “If you are involved with a gaslighter, be it at home, work, or elsewhere, I hope you’ll find some solace by knowing that you are not alone—and that in that feeling of unity with others, you will have the courage to distance yourself from the gaslighter in your life. You deserve better.” – Stephanie Moulton Sarkis

28. Although from the outside gaslighting can look like the work of a single, abusive gaslighter, a gaslighting relationship always involves the active participation of two people. That is, in fact, the good news. If you’re caught in a gaslighting relationship, you may not be able to change the gaslighter’s behavior, but you can certainly change your own.” – Robin Stern

29. “when you realize that you alone can define your sense of self— that you are a worthy person who deserves to be loved, regardless of what your gaslighter thinks—you’ve taken the [1]first step toward freedom.” – Robin Stern

Related: 21 Stages of a Narcissist Relationship (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

30. “Fortunately, there is a solution to the problem of gaslighting. The key to freeing yourself from this crippling syndrome isn’t easy, but it is simple. All you have to do is understand that you are already a good, capable, and lovable person who doesn’t need an idealized partner to provide approval.” – Robin Stern

31. “Once you understand that your entire sense of self doesn’t depend upon your gaslighter, you become willing to insist that the gaslighting end. And because you know you’re entitled to love and to a good life, you’re able to take a stand: Either your gaslighter treats you well, or you’ll walk away.” – Robin Stern

32. “If your gaslighter is a family member or an employer, you may fi[1]nd ways to limit the relationship while staying in it—visiting your mother only when you can bring a friend along, for example, or [1]finding ways to work less closely with your abusive boss.” – Robin Stern

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Protect Yourself From a Narcissist

Gaslighting Recovery Worksheets

33. “Gaslighting can occur between employees and managers or clients and employees, as well as among colleagues. Although more commonly seen from managers downward toward employees, gaslighting can occur in any professional relationship.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

34. “A gaslighting manager or coworker may attempt to tarnish your reputation through gossip, perhaps to more easily pin mistakes on you. The rumors and lies may have nothing to do with your work performance, and have no validity, but they will be presented as evidence of your unreliability and untrustworthiness. Gossip is difficult to fight since you’ll rarely observe such hearsay directly” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

35. “Racial gaslighting happens when people apply gaslighting tactics to a group of people based on race or ethnicity.” – Diletta Chan

36. “Medical gaslighting happens when a physician or other medical practitioner dismisses or trivializes a person’s health problems under the basis that he or she is mentally ill. They can tell the person that their symptoms are “in their mind.”” – Diletta Chan

Related: Why Is Trauma Therapy So Hard? (+Best Trauma Healing Exercises To Support Your Recovery)

37. “Child-parent gaslighting: Violent caregivers and parents can use gaslighting to shame or influence children. They may accuse them of being too emotional to belittle their emotions or accuse them of forgetting the events when they were younger.” – Diletta Chan

38. “A powerful tool for controlling others, gaslighting can be used to suppress or inflame whole communities within a larger society.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

39. “Many leaders and politicians rely heavily on gaslighting to scapegoat certain groups or incite their own followers with skewed rhetoric. Because these personalities can be charming and charismatic, they can wield significant influence. With a strong enough following, a mob-like mentality can develop—one that can effectively silence anyone who steps outside the invisible lines.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

40. “Political gaslighting: it happens when a political person or organization uses deception, denial, or manipulates facts to influence citizens.” – Diletta Chan

41. “Institutional gaslighting: it can occur in a business or organization. The company can withhold or conceal records, lie to workers about their rights, or represent whistleblowers who find problems in a company incompetent or mentally ill.” – Diletta Chan

42. “Intimate partner gaslighting: An abusive partner can accuse the loved one of being crazy or psychotic. They will cage them emotionally, diminish their self-confidence, and make them easy to manipulate. For instance, they may keep reminding someone they’re forgotten before the person begins to think it’s real.” – Diletta Chan

43. “The cycle of narcissistic violence is difficult for survivors to extricate themselves from a large amount of gaslighting, projection, and psychological manipulation involved. Abusers can persuade their victims that the violence they suffer is not actual, causing them to reject or diminish the violent behavior. They can also convince their victims that the violence is their fault by imposing their shortcomings on their victims or making the victim’s strengths appear weak. Therefore, victims are misled into believing that the violent events are mere “misunderstanding” and that the hot and cold attitude is due to what the victim has done.” – Diletta Chan

Related: 7 Trauma Release Exercises To Support Your Recovery After Trauma

44. “As you become more aware of gaslighting across multiple settings and relationships, you may feel overwhelmed—maybe even hopeless. Survivors of emotional abuse often struggle with feelings of self-doubt, loss of confidence, anxiety, and depression, just to name a few” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

45. “Gaslighting in a relationship can have a ripple effect across your life. The confusion, second-guessing, and disorientation caused by gaslighting impacts your engagement not only in the abusive relationship but with friends, family, loved ones, coworkers, and most importantly, yourself.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

46. “It’s easy for narcissists to persuade the outside world that they are safe, rational: narcissists love calling someone who questions their self-perception ‘crazy.’ It’s the word they’re going to use to describe any legitimate emotional response that victims have to their shady and contradictory behavior. It is gaslighting (invalidation of one’s view of reality) in its simplest form. Still, over time, it becomes a nuanced type of psychological torment in which the victim tends to doubt his or her experiences of intimate violence and feels unable to trust his or her reality. ” – Diletta Chan

47. “Gaslighting is an emotional abuse tactic that makes the receiver doubt his or her perception of reality.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

48. “While individuals with certain personality disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder (also known as sociopathy), are more likely to engage in gaslighting to manipulate others, this tactic is not solely in the domain of narcissists and sociopaths. Individuals without personality disorders may also engage in gaslighting, although not always for the same reasons.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

49. “Resist projection and gaslighting: Stick to what you know is real. Don’t encourage your toxic dating partner to diminish or refute the things he or she might have said or done. When a dating partner wants to carry you or project attributes to life, realize that this is a strong red flag of emotional childhood that won’t be adapted to a long-term relationship.” – Diletta Chan

50. “It can be incredibly challenging to pull yourself out of the complexities of gaslighting control. But it is possible. The solution to gaslighting is improved cognitive sensitivity as well as self-regulation — both with understanding and practice.” – Diletta Chan

51. “Gaslighting separates you from your anchors in life: your sense of self and your ability to trust yourself. Losing the connection to your own sense of reality makes you vulnerable to further abuse and increases your dependence on the gaslighter and the distorted reality they put forth.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: What Is Hyper Independence Trauma?(+4 Steps To Healing)

52. “Gaslighting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse that causes victims to question their reality, judgment, self-perception, and, in extreme circumstances, their sanity.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

53. “Gaslighters distort truth to manipulate, confuse, and control their victims.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

54. “Society-wide gaslighting can change the rules about what’s right and wrong—what’s moral and immoral. Gaslighting by powerful figures can effectively neutralize challengers by undermining their credibility, intellect, agency, and rationality.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

55. “Gaslighting is not a new term, but has gained new life in the last several years. As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of gaslighting in personal, professional, and political arenas. Those who have experienced gaslighting in one venue may be especially attuned to the signs of this pernicious form of emotional abuse in another. The good news is that the more we recognize the signs and symptoms of gaslighting, the more we can limit its potential for harm.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

56. “Social media venues offer the potential for gaslighting in ways previous generations never had to face. Now ubiquitous virtual communities and online networks have exploded in popularity in recent decades, beginning with the advent of AOL instant messaging, chat rooms, personal websites like MySpace and LiveJournal, and, of course, Facebook. Their reach is nothing short of staggering. Whereas twenty years ago, social media influencer was not an occupation, today a person can build an empire based on “likes.”” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

57. “Gaslighting can occur in many different settings and types of relationships. While the themes of manipulation and control remain consistent, specific signs and symptoms may differ depending on the type of relationship.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

58. “The ultimate goal of a gaslighter is to rob you of credibility in your own mind as well as in the minds of others. Gaslighters may discredit you by arguing with, or undermining, your instructions. They may question your judgment or countermand your instructions to employees. And they don’t even need to speak to devalue you in the office. An eye roll and a long-suffering stare can be as effective in implying your incompetence as any verbal comment.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Undermothered: How to Mother Yourself Using These Practical 10 Strategies?

59. “Gaslighting in the workplace can also occur when you are expected to somehow know what someone really wants, rather than what they said they wanted. Say you submit a project as requested, and your client complains you didn’t add the details they wanted (but they didn’t communicate these details to you). The client is gaslighting you for not reading their mind, which allows them to portray you to others as lazy, stupid, or uninspired.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

60. “Hypocrisy may be one of the most infuriating faces of gaslighting in the workplace. The gaslighter may set a rule or hold you to a strict expectation they themselves do not uphold. Perhaps you are not allowed to show emotion during meetings, but your colleague flies into a rage when questioned. If you reacted similarly, you’d be written up or fired, but your colleague is excused as being “passionate.”” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

61. “When workplace conflict arises, gaslighting can be used to scapegoat an employee, manager, or client as the sole source of the problem. A superior may report an employee as being insubordinate, while not acknowledging their own role in undermining, or lying about, the employee. A worker may also gaslight their superiors or colleagues by claiming to be punished unfairly without owning up to repeated lateness, unexcused absences, or failures to complete work projects” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

62. “Gaslighting is common in toxic romantic relationships as an effective way for abusers to control their partners.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

63. “Telling outright lies and simply denying a partner’s experience is one form of gaslighting. This can include denying a behavior, despite clear evidence, or distorting the truth to make the victim look bad to outsiders. A gaslighter may also lie by creating a sad story to garner sympathy and divert a partner’s anger, distress, or suspicions.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

64. “Gaslighting can show up as infidelity. In this case, a gaslighter may double down, laying responsibility for their behavior on you. Furthermore, a cheating partner may try to portray you as being irrationally jealous for showing anger or being hurt by their infidelity. To justify their choice to be unfaithful, a gaslighting partner will make you feel like no matter how much you give in a relationship, it’s not enough.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

65. “Isolation is a powerful and dangerous tool in the arsenal of an emotional abuser. A gaslighter may claim they are the only one who loves you enough to look past your flaws. They may criticize your friends and family, saying they “just don’t like” the gaslighter, and exaggerate or simply make up supporting evidence for their assertions. Isolating you makes control of you easier, preventing the opportunity for you to gain needed perspective.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Best 10 Proven Ways to Heal From Childhood Trauma Splitting

66. “When all else fails, a gaslighter may resort to openly bullying to maintain power. They may make veiled or open threats against you, your pets, or your children. They may threaten to lie to your boss or get you arrested on frivolous or false charges unless you do what they want. Bullying can also take place online, through harassing emails and phone calls, or by stalking.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

67. “Guilt trips are a surefire way for friends and family to pressure you into falling in line with expectations. Friends and family may gaslight you by making you feel as if you’ve done something wrong though you haven’t.If you feel guilty, you are more likely to bow to the wishes of the abuser to appease them, or to make up for your supposed wrongdoing.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

68. “Confronting a gaslighter about a problematic behavior can trigger defensiveness. They will often avoid taking responsibility for their behavior by justifying and defending what they’ve done. The implication is that you are overreacting, or even attacking them. Treating confrontation as an attack allows them to rationalize their response as standing up for themselves.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

69. “Treating a reasonable request as something onerous and unfair implies you are being demanding and unappreciative. In these instances, the gaslighter is playing the martyr to suppress your attempts to advocate for your own needs. By letting you know just how much your request will require of them, a gaslighter wants you to feel ashamed for asking.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

70. “Blaming and shaming places all responsibility for one person’s behavior on another’s actions. This situation is particularly common in cases of domestic violence, where the aggressor will often blame the victim for provoking them into violence. The gaslighter absolves themselves of any responsibility for their behavior and persuades the victim that they, the victim, deserved to be abused.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

71. “Gaslighting can be employed as retaliation for normal behavior that reflects independence and autonomy. Take, for example, a young adult who decides to celebrate a birthday out with friends rather than with family. Gaslighting parents might respond to such a developmentally appropriate desire by going “scorched earth,” rejecting them from all family functions. Being shut out of family events and dynamics can be devastating, especially if your intention was not to end a relationship but simply to ask for a little breathing room.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

72. “Because gaslighting works by making victims question their own perceptions, thought processes, and conclusions, victims often develop low self-confidence. Victims are made to feel that they are wrong if they question or disagree with the gaslighter.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

73. “Being repeatedly corrected, invalidated, or dismissed can drain the joy from self-expression. When gaslighting is employed to control or manipulate another person, the victim may feel stifled and constrained. They may begin to conclude they can’t get anything right and will never live up to someone else’s expectations. This way of thinking can lead to feelings of sadness, as well as a loss of excitement about sharing their insights and experiences.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Do I Have Trauma? Top 4 Practical Exercises To Support Your Trauma Healing

74. “Victims of gaslighting share a tendency to apologize when they haven’t actually done anything wrong. Some abusers will project responsibility for their own feelings or actions onto their victims; when they accept this blame, victims feel overly responsible for things outside their control. They may apologize unnecessarily for having an opinion, for minor mistakes, or for not being available for social plans or events” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

75. “Victims of gaslighting often struggle to make decisions and may constantly second-guess their choices. “Are you sure that’s what you want?” may sound like an innocuous question to many, but it can be paralyzing to a victim of gaslighting. Someone on the receiving end of gaslighting often has been shamed or ridiculed to the point they have a hard time accepting and owning their wishes. They may agonize over even simple decisions, fearful of upsetting someone with their choice.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

76. “The power of gaslighting lies in causing victims to feel confused about what they believe and feel. Gaslighters create confusion by challenging a victim’s character, knowledge, feelings, and/or sensory experiences and replacing them with their own. Sorting out one’s own thoughts and feelings while being pressed to accept someone else’s is disorienting. Gaslighters create and take advantage of this confusion to keep victims off-balance and unsure of themselves.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

77. “Repeated gaslighting causes victims to doubt their sensory input, feelings, and judgments. The result is often feeling ignorant, uninformed, and misguided, or perhaps even questioning their own intentions. Self-doubt discourages the victim from challenging the gaslighter, thereby keeping them under the abuser’s control.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

78. “Victims of frequent gaslighting may experience constant, lowlevel anxiety with no clear cause and may need to repeatedly check their work or ask others to do so. Anxiety may persist even when gaslighting is not happening in the moment. Experiencing anticipatory anxiety, plagued by worry about future events and situations, is also common” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

79. “One reason gaslighting is so effective is that abusers convince their victims they are acting out of love or a sincere desire to help. This tactic creates a sense of gratitude and obligation in victims, who then feel they cannot ascribe negative intentions to the gaslighter. Victims of gaslighting may refuse to accept any evidence that the gaslighter is being abusive, believing the gaslighter’s lie that they “just want to help.”” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

80. “Sometimes the aforementioned unhappiness and loss of joy goes deeper, especially when gaslighting is prolonged and personal. Victims may become depressed and hopeless, believing themselves to be fundamentally flawed. They may fall into despair, fearing they may never be good enough or ever “get it right.” The victim may become depressed and conclude their situation is as good as it gets, and stop expecting things to improve.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Best 15 Inner Child Exercises: How To Connect With Your Inner Child (& Heal Your Childhood Wounds)

81. “In situations of severe emotional abuse, gaslighting may provoke extreme stress in victims. In the play and film versions of Gas Light, the wife becomes extremely distressed by her husband’s insistence she is losing her sanity. The stress can be incapacitating, leaving victims vulnerable to further abuse and dependent upon their gaslighter to tell them what is real, drawing them further into the cycle of abuse.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

82. “Gaslighting can be a symptom of several personality disorders. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 9% of adults meet criteria for a personality disorder diagnosis. Though gaslighting is not a clear indication of a personality disorder—and plenty of gaslighters do not have a mental health diagnosis—individuals with (diagnosed or not) personality disorders are very likely to practice gaslighting in many relationships.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

83. “Narcissists may use gaslighting to maintain their own sense of superiority by keeping others in a disempowered position. Many political figures and CEOs are high in narcissistic traits. These authority figures may use gaslighting to either inflame their admirers or suppress their opposition, pursuing their personal agendas at the expense of the well-being of others” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

84. “Individuals with borderline personality disorder will go to great lengths to avoid real or perceived abandonment, including threatening to harm themselves if their partner tries to leave. They may utilize gaslighting to make others feel responsible for the gaslighter’s welfare. In this case, gaslighting is less about trying to intentionally control another person than about trying to meet the borderline person’s own need to feel secure.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

85. “Those with antisocial personality disorder and psychopathy are also likely culprits of gaslighting. Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is characterized by a disregard for, or violating, the rights of others. Sociopathic individuals do not conform to social norms. They are likely to gaslight by way of lying or deception, and they may direct harmful behavior toward strangers rather than loved ones.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

86. “Abusers use gaslighting to control their victims, across all settings and types of relationships.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

87. “Gaslighting creates doubt and confusion for the victim. Because the victim questions their own judgement and perceptions, they may find it difficult to differentiate right from wrong, healthy from unhealthy, their perspective from their abuser’s perspective. Gaslighting makes victims feel like they can’t trust themselves to discern the truth of a situation. They become more and more dependent on the gaslighter for a “reality check,” which only serves to perpetuate their confusion.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Mindfulness Techniques For PTSD And Trauma: Top 4 Steps To Practice Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness (Safely)

88. “Abuse thrives in silence and secrecy. Gaslighting can be an effective tool to silence someone by making them doubt their own credibility. Abusers will diminish the influence and reach of their victim’s voice through lying and discrediting. They may convince the victim that no one will believe them because they (the victim) are such an unreliable witness.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

89. “Abusers manipulate victims into abandoning their own reality, forcing them to accept the abuser’s version. Gaslighters replace their victim’s perceptions with their own by using “alternative facts.” Gaslighters do not value their victim’s point of view. Instead, they value feeling powerful, admired, and in control. Abusers steamroll their victims because they feel entitled to change someone else’s reality rather than question their own.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

90. “Gaslighters may degrade and devalue victims by portraying the victim’s emotional response to abuse as childish or immature. Chastising a victim for reacting to provocation implies that the fault lies with the victim, not the abuser. Abusers may also degrade their victims by downplaying the victim’s successes or achievements. The gaslighter may chastise the victim for feeling pride, suggesting that if the victim worked hard enough, they would actually have something to show that’s really worth that pride.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

91. “Gaslighting can be used to convince the victim that the perpetrator’s abusive behavior is warranted. As faith in their own faculties decreases, they become more reliant on and accepting of the gaslighter’s reality. And when a victim believes they deserve the treatment they receive, they become less likely to resist or challenge problematic behaviors. Additionally, the gaslighter may convince themselves that they are behaving harshly for the victim’s benefit and that this treatment is justified.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

92. “Abusers target victims based on one of two things: vulnerability and desirability. Some gaslighters look for victims who are willing to overlook poor treatment and abusive behavior. They target people who want to be perceived as agreeable and easy to be with; these individuals are less likely to call the gaslighter out and are more easily manipulated.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Negative Core Beliefs List (& 8 Tips On How To Challenge Them)

93. “There is such a thing as being too nice, and gaslighters will take advantage of that to manipulate victims.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

94. “Manipulators draw people in through a process called “lovebombing”—showering potential victims with affection, praise, and psuedo-intimacy. Once victims are hooked, the gaslighting begins and abusers begin to break down the confidence that first drew them to their target.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

95. “Many gaslightees are people-pleasers, overly concerned with being polite, agreeable, or well-liked. They are conscientious, concerned with others’ feelings, and may feel guilty saying “no.” Finally, gaslightees are likely to excuse or overlook rude and hurtful behavior to an excessive degree.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

96. “Recovery from emotional abuse is a process. Much like building a house starts with laying a solid foundation, recovery from gaslighting begins with coming to terms with the painful reality that you have experienced abuse in a relationship.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

97. “Acknowledging you have experienced emotional abuse may bring up feelings of shame. Gaslighting damages your self-esteem and distorts your self-perception. For this reason, learning to practice selfcompassion is critical to your recovery.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

98. “Gaslighting can have a negative effect on self-talk and selfperception.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

99. “If you are having difficulty showing yourself kindness and compassion, explore the reasons behind your hesitation. Take note if your self-talk includes messages like “You deserve to be gaslit because you were too stupid to see what was happening,” or, “Well, he was right, you are a lazy slob. If you just cleaned up once in a while, he wouldn’t have any reason to say that.” These messages are an indication of internalized gaslighting, which can happen when you have become so accustomed to emotional abuse you turn harsh words and sentiments on yourself, sometimes as a form of self-protection.” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

100. “You may find yourself still struggling to shake off your gaslighter’s criticisms and character assaults. If you find self-compassion hard to manage, that’s okay. Start by speaking your intention to become kinder to yourself” – Amy Marlow-McCoy

Related: Forgiving Someone Who Isn’t Sorry: 9-Step Guide To Free Yourself From The Past

Self-Compassion Worksheets (1)

References

  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book The Gaslight Effect, © 2007 by Robin Stern. All rights reserved.
  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book Gaslighting, © 2018 by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis. All rights reserved.

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