Gaslighting is one of the hardest manipulative behaviors to manage because of how versatile it is. Its ability to manifest in so many different abusive behavior patterns is precisely what makes gaslighting the most dominant form of manipulation in the domestic violence realm.
When it comes to escaping abusive relationships, accumulating as much knowledge about the dynamics of abusive relationships is crucial if one wants to have a fighting chance of escaping, healing from, and thriving after an abusive relationship.
In this article you’ll learn some of the most common phrases gaslighters use that you can use to help identify abusive patterns in your own relationships.
With that being said, it is really important that you remember that these phrases go along with narcissistic behavior patterns. Meaning that some of these phrases may be things that you’ve said to the narcissist in your life but that DOES NOT mean you are narcissistic or toxic.
What makes these phrases narcissistic and toxic are the behavior patterns that go with them. If you’re not familiar with narcissistic behavior patterns, please click here for more information.
16 Common Traditional Gaslighting Phrases
Traditional gaslighting is when someone denies your thoughts, emotions, needs, feelings, and concerns. This is slightly different than gaslighting by contradicting your reality, a form of gaslighting you’ll learn about later, because of the tone of the phrases.
Traditional gaslighting is denial at its finest, it is usually the first thing to fly out a gaslighter’s mouth. Gaslighting by contradicting your reality targets one’s sanity more efficiently and is a bit more planned.
- What.. I can’t have friends?
- You need to calm down. Stop overthinking. I’m not your ex (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend).
- You’re always complaining, suck it up and stop being weak.
- You’re overreacting!
- You’re so paranoid.
- You’re just a sensitive person.
- I’m sorry you feel that way.
- You need to grow up!
- I think you just need to sleep more. You’re not okay in the head.
- Do you hear yourself?
- You’re terrible at communicating.
- I have never yelled at you. It is all in your head.
- Obviously your medication isn’t working for you.
- Nobody else will ever want someone like you.
- You’re lucky that I’m even talking to you!
- I’ve lost all respect for you.
17 Common Gaslighting By Contradicting Your Reality Phrases
When a gaslighter uses lies to contradict your reality, it is called gaslighting by contradicting your reality. The objective of this type of gaslighting is to cause you to second guess yourself.
So, gaslighting could be very direct like, “You didn’t see that!.” Or it could be indirect like, “You never listen!” Either way, it often causes the victim of the gaslighting to pause and second guess themselves.
- You’re stuck in the past!
- You didn’t see me do anything.
- I never said that.
- Do you think I got my ENTIRE family to lie for me?
- You did this to our family.
- You always think that someone is out to get you.
- You’re just imagining things.
- You’re putting words in my mouth.
- You’re the one that wants to be like this! It is all because of you!
- You look psychotic right now.
- Stop being so self-righteous
- You never listen!
- You’re just looking for issues to be upset about.
- You’re crazy and everyone knows exactly how you are.
- My friends make comments about how crazy you are.
- You don’t remember anything!
- You’re a coward.
15 Common Gaslighting Through Minimization Phrases
Gaslighting through minimizations is when someone minimizes your thoughts, feelings, concerns, emotions, and well-being. It often makes victims feel as if their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and concerns aren’t worthy of being addressed.
- Why do you even exist?
- We were playing around, remember? I didn’t hurt you that bad, we were playing.
- It’s your fault that I cheated!
- Here you go with that victimizing sh*t.
- I wouldn’t even call it domestic abuse, you act like I do it often.
- That’s old, get past it.
- I’m just teasing.
- I don’t belittle you that much… It could be much worse.
- If you think I’m soooo abusive, why don’t you just leave?
- I only lied because I knew this is how you’d react.
- Well, that’s your truth, not mine.
- It’s not that big of a deal! Just get over it already!
- Nothing I do is ever good enough for you. You’re so selfish!
- I never asked you to do that so I don’t know why you’re so upset.
- Why do you do this sh*t to yourself?
18 Common Gaslighting With Diversions Phrases
Gaslighting with diversions is a technique designed to create a significant amount of guilt and/or shame within the victim. It a very common technique abusers use when they’re feeling inadequate.
- You wouldn’t really care if I committed suicide WOULD you?
- If I didn’t really want to be here and didn’t love you, do you really think I would put up with your sh*t?
- You’re like this with me because you’re not happy in your life.
- You never say what you do wrong.
- Something is really wrong with you.
- You’re reading into this way too much.
- You should see the look on your face right now. You look insane!
- You need to get help.
- Everyone else sees how great I am! Why can’t you?!
- Even my ex (who he/she claims is crazy all the time) wasn’t this crazy.
- Is that really how you think of me? That’s really hurtful (silent treatment for days).
- I am ignoring you because I don’t want to fight you.
- I sacrifice everything for you, how could you accuse me of this?
- I know you probably have someone to replace me, probably already have the next lined up.
- You’ve been really distant lately.
- I don’t recognize you anymore.
- Maybe we should go see a counselor, then you’ll see that it is you, not me.
- Someone must have hacked my phone, that wasn’t me!
7 Common Gaslighting With Ultimatums Phrases
Gaslighting with ultimatums are designed to make the victim associate their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, concerns, and needs with consequences. It is a really twisted form of gaslighting that forces victims to remain silent and walk on eggshells on a daily basis.
- I’m right, you’re wrong, I don’t ever want to hear that come out of your mouth again!
- You need to be on my side with this or we’re done.
- Where do you come up with this ridiculous stuff? I’m not talking to you anymore!
- You’re paranoid. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t trust me.
- Bring that sh*t up one more time and see what happens.
- If you continue interrogate me like I’m a criminal, I’m going to ACT like one.
- Well maybe if we had s*x more often then I would be able to tolerate someone as miserable as you.
46 Gaslighting Phrases from Flying Monkeys and Enablers
It is important to remember that gaslighting can come from everywhere, not just from your abuser! Flying monkeys is a term that is used in the narcissistic abuse realm. It is a person who the narcissist will manipulate into participating in the smear campaign of the victim.
An enabler is someone with a significant lack of knowledge about abusive relationships so they approach the situation as they would a healthy one. It usually leads to them making very, very ignorant statements that gaslight the victim even more.
- Nobody else sees him/her that way.
- I just don’t see it the same way that you do.
- Lots of people lie to the police.
- You’re the only one who doesn’t see the truth.
- Do you want him to hit you? You’re the one who pushed him!
- He’s under so much stress. Just leave him alone.
- You just want drama and pity.
- He/she takes care of you doesn’t he/she?
- He/she loves you. I wish I had someone like that.
- You don’t appreciate him/her.
- You’ll look so good together.
- You’re a match made in heaven.
- I can’t believe you say he/she does these things.
- You’re always throwing him/her under the bus.
- Marriage takes hard work.
- But he/she makes really good money!
- You’re not trying hard enough!
- I’m not getting involved in your “issues”.
- You’re lucky he/she tolerates you.
- Look how good you have it though.
- You’re the one with the troubled past so don’t be so quick to judge others.
- You’re the only person who has ever questioned him/her.
- You always want something… When will it be good enough for you?
- Are you sure? Are you feeling okay? What is the matter with you?
- You both contributed to the demise of the marriage.
- He/she has done loads of things for you. What have you done in return?
- You can’t even hold yourself accountable for what you’ve done.
- Are you sure you didn’t mishear them?
- You have an anger problem. You’re the only one who has EVER had a problem with my son/daughter.
- He/she is sorry. Why can’t you just forgive him/her and give him/her another chance. What you’re doing is wrong.
- Your child can’t have a healthy childhood if you’re not going to make up with my son/daughter.
- Why are you trying to control him/her?
- You don’t really believe that do you?
- Nobody remembers any of those things.
- You’re such a victim! Why do you keep taking him/her back?
- I don’t believe he/she would ever do that!
- He/she is a great father/mother. You’re lucky to have him/her.
- You don’t deserve him/her.
- Without him/her you’d be a complete wreck.
- Well, you did allow it to happen so you can’t put ALL of the blame on them.
- You need to respect his/her rights to privacy. He/she doesn’t need to share EVERYTHING with you.
- You need to take responsibility and stop blaming everything on your parents!
- You and your whole family are crazy!
- My son/daughter did nothing wrong!
- You “two” need to stop this.
- You’ve made my (blank) so miserable. I’ve never seen (blank) so depressed.
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