Narcissists are experts at emotional manipulation. They use a variety of techniques to control their victims, and one of those is gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse that causes the victim to question their own judgement and sanity. Here are some common gaslighting phrases often used by narcissists in relationships that you can watch out for. If you find your partner using any of these phrases, you may be dating or in a relationship with a narcissist.
1. ‘Stop being so insecure’
This particular gaslighting phrase is one of the most common. In a male-female relationship, it can be used to break down a woman’s self-esteem and make her feel more vulnerable. It’s an insidious phrase that subtly shifts the blame away from the abuser and on to the victim.
2. ‘It was your fault; Don’t blame me for this!’
This gaslighting phrase is meant to confuse and hurt the other person. If you are blamed for something that wasn’t your fault, do not hesitate to question your partner about it. Don’t fall for this gaslighting phrase, as it is the easiest one to use.
3. ‘You’re too sensitive! You always take things the wrong way’
Often used by someone who wants to blame you for something they did and make you feel like you are imagining things. However, the truth is that it is their fault and not yours. If you are told repeatedly that your feelings are invalid, this would be another example of gaslighting phrases used by a narcissist to make sure they have complete control over you.
4. ‘You’re being irrational’
An individual who is gaslighting you often calls you irrational or sensitive so that they can escape the fact that they are in the wrong. If your partner keeps pointing out how you’re being irrational, it would be wise to cut off contact with them temporarily and look at yourself instead of trying to sort out the issue with them.
5. ‘You’re a terrible partner’
This is one of the most obvious gaslighting phrases used by a narcissist in an intimate relationship. Gaslighters often use this phrase to make their victim feel insecure and anxious about the relationship. They want you to question your sense of belonging and stability with them, so that they can feel superior and in control.
6. ‘You’re so ungrateful!’
Gaslighters often use this phrase to put the blame on their victim, especially when it comes to money matters. This is an example of a more subtle gaslighting sentence used by a narcissist in order to make sure they have control in the relationship.
7. ‘You’re imagining things’
A gaslighter often says these words to make you doubt your own sanity and perception. If someone has absolute control over you, it would be easy for them to make you feel like everything is all in your head.
8. ‘You’re so selfish!’
Accusing you of being selfish is a trick gaslighters use to get away with things that they are actually guilty of. It is an effective gaslighting phrase used to make you feel like you’re not giving enough, when in fact it may be the other person who is taking too much.
9. ‘I would never lie to you’
This phrase is used to put doubt in the mind of their partner about them being trustworthy and loyal. A partner who constantly has to plead their innocence is likely to be hiding something, and this phrase is a classic tell-tale sign.
10. ‘You need to stop talking about this right now’
Intimidation is another effective gaslighting technique used by a narcissist to get what they want. If you feel like your partner often uses this phrase to shut you up, it could mean that they don’t want you to look at the facts about them and are interested in keeping their image intact.
11. ‘Stop trying to control me!’
A narcissist tries to maintain the upper hand in a relationship and doesn’t want their partner to feel like they can control them. Narcissists avoid having any kind of accountability and if you try to hold your partner accountable for their actions, they might just use this phrase to emotionally manipulate you.
12. ‘How dare you say something like that?’
Out of all gaslighting phrases used by a narcissist in relationships, this is the one which makes it seem as if the victim has committed a crime just because they have dared to question their partner. Being accused of having no respect for their partner and constantly being told how you do not appreciate them is a sign that you are in an emotionally abusive relationship.
13. ‘What’s wrong with you?’
Once again, this phrase is used to put the blame on the other person and make them feel like everything is their fault. A narcissist might use this phrase because they are trying to make you feel like you are always at fault, no matter what happens in the relationship.
14. ‘Stop being so dramatic!’
It is easy for a narcissist to accuse the victim of being dramatic when they are on the receiving end of one of their many gaslighting phrases. This phrase reduces any problems experienced by the victim to being nothing more than drama. If your partner keeps accusing you of being dramatic, it might be time for you to cut off contact with them.
15. ‘You’re just like my mother/father!’
A narcissist always feels the need to be on top of everyone, including their own family members. If you are constantly being compared with your partner’s family, especially if they have a difficult relationship with them, it is a sign that you are being manipulated by them.
16. ‘You’re so childish!’
By accusing their victim of being childish, a narcissist is trying to get the upper hand in the relationship and make sure that they have power over you, emotionally if not physically. If your partner constantly accuses you of being immature and acts as if they are so much older and wiser than you, it is a red flag.
17. ‘You’re too sensitive!’
Any gaslighting phrase which constantly makes the other person feel as if they are over-sensitive is an effective way to maintain control over them. If your partner uses this phrase to shut you down whenever you call them out on something, it is time for you to change the direction of your relationship.
18. ‘You’re paranoid/crazy!’
This is another effective gaslighting phrase used by a narcissist to make their victim feel as if they are unstable and unable to think clearly. An emotionally abusive relationship can lead to anxiety and depression, so it is important that you cut off contact with your abuser as soon as possible.
19. ‘You’re overthinking things’
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, your every thought is wrong and nothing can be done to change that. This means that whenever you try to make sense of something they said or did, you are overthinking things. If this gaslighting phrase has been used by your partner against you, it is time to end the relationship for
20. ‘Stop over exaggerating!’
Just like being accused of dramatizing situations, a narcissist will use this phrase whenever you try to explain something they have done to make you feel uncomfortable. If your partner constantly accuses you of over exaggerating, they are dismissing your thoughts and feelings as beign unimportant.
Recovery from gaslighting
If you think you have been a victim of emotional abuse by your partner, here are some steps you can take to get out of the situation safely.
- Make sure you keep a diary of every time your partner has manipulated or abused you. This way, if they try to blame the problems in the relationship on you, you will have evidence of their abusive behavior.
- Cut off contact with your partner until you are ready to confront them about the relationship and let them know why it is over.
- Make sure you tell a trusted friend or family member what is going on in your relationship so they can help support you as you go through this difficult time. Lastly, find someone who can give you professional counseling during this time to help you deal with the pain and emotions that come along with an abusive relationship.
You can also use this recovery guide to learn how to heal from the emotional abuse and move forward with your life.
- Vinall PsyD LMFT, Deborah (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 168 Pages - 05/04/2021 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)