16 Gaslighting Phrases Powerful Enough To Disarm Anyone

Last updated by Katie M.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional manipulation, which when taken to extreme lengths, can push victims to question their perception of reality, to the point that they believe they are losing their minds. Now, whilst this method of emotional abuse frequently occurs in romantic relationships, it isn't exclusively reserved to love, and can also take place in a professional and friendship setting too. The signs of gaslighting aren't always easy to detect because this remains a form of covert emotional abuse, however, the more possessive these brutish bullies become, the more the mask slips. Here are 16 common things they say, so just as a warning, if you hear any of them, take them as a red flag and run!


Gaslighting can have devastating effects on victims, and many of them spend years rebuilding themselves after being subjected to it. Just like people with narcissistic personality disorders, these people are very charismatic and know how to turn on the charm when necessary. In fact, their chameleon-like personalities mean they can go from being incredibly romantic to completely vile in just a matter of seconds.

16 Common phrases gaslighters use on their victims

Here are 16 things they frequently say.

1) 'You're crazy'

Ahh, the classic you're crazy comment is definitely a staple when it comes to making someone doubt their sense of reality. That's right, abusive partners love sowing seeds of doubt with regard to their victim's mental healthFor them, the more they can make someone doubt themselves the better because the truth is when you are accused of being insane, you lose confidence in yourself and subsequently become more and more reliant on your abuser. Plus, if you are made to feel like you are losing your mind, you'll no doubt be reluctant to open up to your friends or family about it, making you even more isolated and vulnerable.

2) 'That never happened'

Changing the narrative is a common tactic in this process of psychological abuse. By twisting the truth, these dangerous manipulators can make you believe their own, twisted version of reality, which will obviously be greatly different from your original recollection. Here, victims will always have a different version of events than their abusers, however, they are likely to align with the false narrative when they feel the pressure building upon them.

3) 'You're confused'

Hey, it's only normal to feel confused when your partner, or should I say abuser, constantly feeds you a pack of lies and insists that you are wrong about pretty much everything, oh, and virtually senile. After all, when we hear things enough, we start to believe them, no matter how absurd they might seem. Likewise, these expert bullies are there to make us question our judgments and reality, meaning they'll stop at nothing to make us feel like we are losing our minds.

4) 'You're always so sensitive'

Whenever victims feel courageous enough to confront their abuser about their bad behavior, they'll be met with a barrage of remarks claiming that they need to grow up and develop a thicker skin. Yes, shifting the blame is definitely one of the most common gaslighting tactics because let's face it, these folks are incapable of holding their hands up and taking responsibility for things...

5) 'I didn't mean it like that'

Although, that being said, when these bullies feel like they've gone a little too far in the dark art of manipulation, they'll pretend to be sorry for their actions, however, their apologies are almost always insincere. Now, when they act like they're sorry it's only ever to catch their victims off-guard and to attempt to prove to them that they do in fact have empathy when, in reality, they certainly don't.

6) 'I told you that weeks ago'

Now, people that choose to gaslight in romantic relationships certainly aren't the most honest and reliable, which no doubt explains why they frequently lie about telling you things. Yes, part of their master plan to make you believe you are losing your mind is to completely destabilize you with regard to past events and misinformation.

7) 'You're so dramatic'

Being hit with the drama queen tag is a way for these devious people to once again shift the blame and downplay their role in any wrongdoing. Here, these slippery snakes will make their prey believe that they are completely blowing things out of proportion when in actual fact, they are no doubt completely within their rights to react in such a fashion.

8) 'You're always twisting things'

Victims of gaslighting will know that they are typically the ones to be painted out as the bad guys. The audacity of it, right? These cunning creatures definitely won't hesitate to drum up support around them from their friends or family members, by claiming that they are in fact the victim in the saga.

9) 'I was only joking'

This classic phrase is a gaslighters get out of jail for free card. In fact, their egos are so substantial that they believe they are exempt from accountability and never have to admit any of their wrongdoings. Whenever they feel like they have overstepped the mark, they'll attempt to defuse the situation by claiming that they were only joking. It's a wonder why there aren't more comedians out there, right.

10) 'Why stay with me if I'm so terrible?'

I almost forgot to mention that these terribly abusive partners are also experts in the art of making their victims feel guilty. Now, they have a knack for making people feel bad, despite all the evil things they have done, which explains why they target empaths above any other personality type.

11) 'It's not even a big deal'

If your partner constantly repeats this phrase to you, take it as a red flag, and head for the hills. For a relationship to be successful, both partners' emotions need to be valued and taken into account, not ridiculed and mocked. We all have our own perception of what is important and what isn't, and that's final!

12) 'You're just being paranoid'

Say hello to the mental health card again! Bullying partners will do and say anything in order to keep you from discovering the truth about them and how dangerous they are. And, they are likely to accuse you of overthinking and analyzing whilst they're at it, too!

13) 'Forget about it now'

When a psychological abuser feels backed into a corner, they'll try and draw a line under the events, by insisting that the involved parties move on. They certainly can't handle the heat, so it's out of the question for them to dwell on something when they are undeniably in the wrong.

14) 'You made me do it'

Successful manipulators love to present themselves to the world as innocent victims, and when their despicable behavior is detected, they insist on blaming other people for it. These narcissistic personalities will do anything to save face and preserve their sick fairy tale.

15) 'I don't have time for this'

When the going gets tough, these vampires threaten to take off and fly into uncontrollable stroppy teenage mode. Here, they'll emotionally blackmail their prey and try to strike a chord with them, in a calculated attempt to get them to do exactly what they want...

16) 'You need help'

This gaslighting phrase is perhaps the final nail in the coffin and exposes the manipulator for who they are. Now, when they finally place this allegation out there (after an extensive period of deceit) the mask will have finally fallen, and they'll have completely forgotten about the covert aspect of their dealings.

Editor's opinion - Gaslighting can take a huge toll on your self-esteem

When left unaddressed, gaslighting is very dangerous and can even be soul-destroying in the most extreme cases. If you identify with any of the aforementioned signs, it's important that you realize you aren't alone and that you can turn to people for help. No one deserves to go through this dark tunnel of abuse alone.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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