Gaslighting is arguably the most destructive tactic that narcissists use. It can keep a person trapped within the narcissistic abuse cycle for months, years, or even decades.

To protect yourself from gaslighting, you need to be able to spot it before you get manipulated into questioning your sanity, reality, and perceptions.

So, in this article, I will guide you through six examples to help you better understand what gaslighting looks like in a narcissistic relationship.

Example 1: A Narcissistic Partner Denying Insulting Their Partner


  • Alex (narcissistic partner)
  • Jordan (Alex’s significant other)


During a heated argument, Alex insults Jordan by calling them “pathetic.” 

Later, when Jordan confronts Alex about the insult, Alex denies ever saying it. 

The gaslighting happens when Alex attempts to make Jordan question their memory and judgment, suggesting they are misremembering the hurtful comment. 

This creates a sense of doubt in Jordan, shaking their trust in their perceptions.


Jordan: “Why did you call me pathetic during our argument yesterday?”

Alex: “I never called you pathetic. You’re making that up.”

Jordan: “I’m pretty sure I heard you say it.”

A woman being gaslighted by the narcissist in her life.

Alex: “Your memory is playing tricks on you. Why would I say something like that?”

Jordan: “I don’t know, but I think you said it.”

Alex: “Well, if you’re unsure, maybe you shouldn’t accuse me of things I didn’t do.”

Example 2: A Narcissistic Mother Denying Putting Her Daughter Down


  • Linda (narcissistic mother)
  • Emily (daughter)


Emily is thrilled about receiving a college scholarship and shares the news with her mother, Linda. Instead of celebrating Emily’s achievement, Linda belittles it. 

When Emily later confronts Linda about her dismissive behavior, Linda denies ever belittling her and accuses Emily of misunderstanding. 

The gaslighting takes place when Linda denies her original derogatory comments, attempting to make Emily doubt her memory.


Emily: “Mom, I got the scholarship! This is a big deal for me!”

Linda: “Well, it’s not like it’s a full ride or anything. You still have a long way to go.”

(Emily walks away from the conversation feeling hurt but returns a few hours later.)

Emily: “Why did you belittle my achievement? This scholarship means a lot to me.”

Linda: “I never belittled you. I was just being realistic. You must have misunderstood.”

Emily: “I don’t think I misunderstood. You didn’t seem happy for me.”

Linda: “Wow! You’re calling me unsupportive even though I’ve always supported you?”

Example 3: A Narcissistic Friend Lying about Owing Someone Money


  • Morgan (narcissistic friend)
  • Taylor (Morgan’s friend)


Taylor lends Morgan $50 to help with a car repair. After a few weeks pass with no repayment, Taylor confronts Morgan about the money owed. 

Morgan responds by claiming that the money was a gift, not a loan. 

The gaslighting transpires when Morgan challenges Taylor’s memory of the event, insinuating that Taylor is either forgetful or greedy for asking for the money back. 

This makes Taylor question their memory and intentions.


Taylor: “It’s been a few weeks since I lent you $50. Can you pay me back soon?”

Morgan: “Lent me? I thought that was a gift.”

Taylor: “A gift? No, I definitely lent it to you for your car repair.”

Morgan: “You’re probably just confused. I’m sure you said it was a gift.”

Taylor: “Morgan, I really don’t think I gave it as a gift. I think you have it wrong.”

Morgan: “Well, if you’re going to be greedy about it, you shouldn’t offer gifts at all.”

Example 4: A Narcissistic Co-worker Falsely Taking Credit for a Project and Denying It


  • Chris (narcissistic co-worker)
  • Dana (Chris’s co-worker)


Dana and Chris collaborate on a work project, sharing the tasks evenly. 

When the project is successfully completed, Chris takes full credit for it.

When confronted by Dana, Chris pulls up emails he has altered to suggest that he was the main contributor. 

The gaslighting occurs when Chris alters or fabricates evidence to make Dana question her contributions to the project.


Dana: “Why did you tell the boss you did the entire project? We worked on it together.”

Chris: “I did most of it, Dana. You just helped out a bit.”

Dana: “That’s not true. We divided the work evenly.”

A woman trying to defend herself from gaslighting

(Chris pulls up emails they have altered.)

Chris: “Look at these emails; it clearly shows I did most of the tasks.”

Dana: “I…I remember doing more than this.”

Chris: “You’re just overestimating your contributions. Happens to the best of us.”

Example 5: A Narcissistic Sibling Interrupting Someone and Denying It


  • Emma (narcissistic sibling)
  • Olivia (Emma’s sister)


During a family gathering, Emma interrupts Olivia while she is speaking, cutting her off to bring attention to herself. 

When Olivia confronts Emma about this disruptive behavior, Emma denies doing it and accuses Olivia of being overly sensitive. 

The gaslighting happens when Emma denies interrupting Olivia, leading Olivia to question whether she is imagining the behavior or being overly sensitive.


Olivia: “…and so, that’s why I’ve decided to change my major to—”

Emma: “Oh, that reminds me of when I aced my finals without studying!”

Olivia: “Emma, you keep interrupting me when I talk. It’s really frustrating.”

Emma: “I never interrupt you. You’re just too sensitive.”

Olivia: “I don’t think I’m being too sensitive. You interrupt me a lot.”

Emma: “You’re making things up again. Maybe you just like playing the victim.”

Example 6: A Narcissistic Group Leader Falsely Taking Credit for an Idea and Denying It


  • Jack (narcissistic group leader)
  • Lisa (group member)


Lisa suggests organizing a charity event during a 1-on-1 meeting with Jack. 

Jack dismisses her idea but later presents it as his own during a group meeting. 

When Lisa confronts him, Jack denies ever hearing the suggestion from Lisa and implies that she must be mistaken. 

The gaslighting occurs when Jack denies stealing Lisa’s idea, causing her to question her memory and the validity of her contributions to the group.


(Lisa and Jack are having a private 1-on-1 meeting.)

Lisa: “I think we should organize a charity event for our next project.”

Jack: “That’s not what our group is focused on right now.”

(Later, Jack announces the same idea in a group meeting as if it were his own.)

Jack: “I’ve had this great idea. Why don’t we organize a charity event?”

A narcissist gaslighting someone about a charity event.

(The group loves the idea and praises Jack for coming up with it.)

Lisa: “That was my suggestion. Why are you taking credit for it?”

Jack: “You’re mistaken. You never suggested that.”

Lisa: “I’m certain I did. Why are you trying to make me question myself?”

Jack: “Listen, I’m trying to do a good thing here. Can you stop trying to make everything about you?”

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

Gaslighting is such a malicious form of abuse. If you’re interested in learning about the strategies you can use to protect yourself from it, check out this article (see below):

Suggested Reading: How to Stop a Narcissist from Gaslighting You (3 Steps)

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.


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