The phrase ‘gaslighting‘ often refers to the act of undermining one’s reality by denying even tangible facts or feelings.
Victims of gaslighting are manipulated to mistrust their emotions and turn away from who they are as people fundamentally.
Manipulation techniques such as distorting facts and events in order to invalidate a person’s lived experiences are utilized in order for them to question their memory and sanity. Moreover, ‘gaslighters’ tend to use lies, false promises and personal attacks with the means to seed doubt in their target.
Therefore, here are five common gaslighting phrases manipulators use in order to achieve their aforementioned goals of self-doubt and insecurity in one’s self.
1. “You’re crazy and need help”
This statement, in turn, means that you are in reality beginning to realize what is ultimately behind the manipulator’s mask and are making an effort to hold them accountable for their behavior. Thus, he/she would rather have you question your own sanity and common sense than the manipulation that is actually taking place. Never having to take ownership of their actions is key to this type of gaslighting demeanor.
You’re to blame. It’s all in your head.
Narcissists typically like to play the one ‘diagnosing’ their victims, effectively undermining their credibility. More so, an effective strategy of such abusers is to instigate reactions in their victims in order to persuade society that they are the ones really suffering mental health problems.
2. “You’re just insecure and jealous.”
What this really signifies:
“I get satisfaction out of making you insecure, doubting yourself in every aspect, especially when it comes to your attractiveness, competence, etc.”
The narcissistic abuser will make sure to plant the fear of losing them if you would ever try to question their blatant, inappropriate interactions or even affairs. As mentioned above, they will make sure to convince you that you and your incapability to be confident is the problem, not their questionable actions.
Manipulators of this type do their very best in order to provoke jealousy in their significant other. It is a control mechanism of sorts which is designed to paint you as ‘mentally unstable’ if you would ever voice your suspicions about their unfaithfulness. It is done in order to ‘dodge the bullet’ of your mistrust and point the gun right back at you, labeling you as insecure and jealous.
It is a cowardly move with the means to keep you hooked while maintaining their other relationships/affairs simultaneously. Egomania at its finest.
3. “You’re overreacting.”
No, you are not actually too sensitive, you are merely beginning to recognize your manipulative partner is selfishly disregarding your emotions when they do not benefit them. Emotional abuse should not be taken lightly, as its negative psychological impact could be severe in many cases.
Therefore, logically, a healthy partner/relationship would allow you to feel emotionally validated even in the situation of disagreement. However, a narcissist would put great emphasis on your ‘exaggerated sensitivity’, restricting your ability to express yourself while maintaining their negative behavioral pattern.
4. “It was just a joke.”
Is it really a matter of you not having a sense of humor? Most probably not.
In actuality, the ‘jokes’ are merely a disguise for abusive behavior. Name-calling and belittling someone while turning around and saying, “Oh, honey, you don’t have a sense of humor, do you now,” is actually a frightening tactic to overpower you.
Therefore, of course, when you would naturally begin to question that sort of behavior, you will most probably be made to feel inadequate in saying so. Disregarding the validation of your arguments with the statement, ‘it was a joke’ as if it was something very obvious, is indeed crucial to their tactics.
Consequently, you would be gaslighted into believing that you are indeed unable to apprehend such ‘breathtakingly masterful wit’ while, in reality, a lot of cruelty and abusive intentions are lurking behind this well-crafted facade.
5. “I never said or did that. You’re making it up in your mind.”
Making you second-guess their words or actions is done specifically with one intention only: to cause you to doubt your own memories, as well as lived experiences.
If they question your capacity to remember correctly, insinuating you are imagining those occurrences, you would be left feeling completely out of your mind. This is an established gaslighting technique, after which the term of the whole concept of ‘gaslighting’ has been named (see Gas Light by Patric Hamilton).
A lot of victims of chronic gaslighting often do struggle with ‘cognitive dissonance’ in the situation where the manipulative abuser denies their reality, making it seem as though their memories are a figment of their imagination.
Much like the way in which ‘reasonable doubt’ may influence a jury, the insinuation that something has not happened in the slightest can also affect severely a person’s perceptions.
Therefore, in conclusion, the aforementioned are the five most commonly used gaslighting phrases that have the potential to highly affect the emotional well-being of a person, including making them question their reality and state of mind.
It is important to bear in mind that they may not fit every individual situation, however, if you happen to encounter an abusive person of this sort, it is highly possible for you to hear at least one of the mentioned above phrases and behavioral patterns.