16 Gaslighting Phrases That Manipulators Always Use On Victims

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!

16 Gaslighting Phrases That Manipulators Always Use On Victims

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 Sentence examples of gaslighting - Things they say to 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.

>>> Read; 10 things to say to someone who is gaslighting you

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.

How do you shut down gaslighting?

When it comes to putting an end to gaslighting and ending the bad treatment, there are only really two options available. The options include cutting ties with the manipulator and then taking back the control. Cutting ties is a good option to explore, since mind control is a devious technique, it's not enough to distance yourself from your tormentor. Usually, the only solution is to flee! It can be difficult to detach yourself, especially if it's a family member or if you're in a relationship with a manipulator. It's in these more delicate cases that it's beneficial to call on your trusted entourage and your therapist for guidance. Then, once you've severed all ties with a manipulator, it's time to take some time out to reconnect. This is the ideal time to start a new activity to mark this emotional and mental break.

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!


Be sure to check out these articles too;

Article presented by Katie M.

🌻 Discover the world through my eyes.

Our most popular 'psychology' articles:

What Do Narcissists Hate The Most? - 10 Things That Drive Them Crazy

Knowing what narcissist manipulators hates can help victims to break free from their evil psychological grip. Indeed, even these manipulators see themselves as invulnerable beings, their victims often ignore how their pathological narcissism makes them suffer in many ways. 😱 Let's take a closer look at what these cunning beings cannot stand, and what exactly drives them wild. Now, we all get angry for one reason or another, but people with this personality disorder have different triggers related to the things they despise.

Can A Narcissist Become Obsessed With Someone?

Now, narcissists are known for demonstrating a worrying lack of empathy along with deviously manipulative traits, oh, and before I forget to mention it, HUGE egos too 😈. Yes, that’s right, they love spending hours looking in the mirror and being told how fabulous they are. To put it in other words, people with this personality disorder are firmly in love with themselves, to the point of being totally obsessed with their so-called perfection, but the question is, can they put their self-admiration aside enough to become preoccupied with someone else? If, on the other hand, you're looking to get a narcissist hooked on you, you're in the right place with these tips.

The 10 Weak Points Of A Narcissist Revealed

Each one of us has our own weaknesses that hold us back in life; be it at work or in relationships. However, on a more positive note, most of us have the will to work on them and transform them. That being said, once narcissists are brought into the picture, the idea that they want to work on their weaknesses doesn’t exactly seem feasible. For a deeper understanding of these narcissists and more insights into the workings of their minds, discover their weak spots and which pointers they struggle with on a daily basis, yet aren't willing to admit or work on 👎.

Are Narcissists Insecure?

There is no denying that narcissistic personalities display some deeply worrying and disturbing traits, but what if these devious traits were just a means of protection? What if they were in fact a complete facade, fabricated to keep people away, in the hope of hiding their deepest darkest insecurities? 😱 After all, everyone has weak spots, even the most confident and put together of people, so why wouldn’t a narcissist deal with the same niggling doubts as everyone else? It's time we got to the bottom of this and discovered why these folks are so insecure.

What Is The 333 Rule For Anxiety And Panic Attacks? It's A Soothing Technique

I want to be completely open and honest with you, so let’s get started. Anxiety has dominated my life for the past 5 years and has been at the root of countless panic attacks and bouts of intense stress 😟. You’ve probably guessed it, but it has had a devastating impact on my mental health and has therefore changed my life for the worst. Now, I’m not here for a pity party, but instead of focusing on the negative sides of this condition, I want to share the most effective tip I’ve found when it comes to feeling less anxious and reducing panic attacks; so without further ado, let’s take a look at the 3-3-3 rule.

Split Personality

Are you familiar with dissociative personality disorder? You may well think of schizophrenia, yet the two conditions are different. What is dissociative personality disorder? We’ll explain all.

How To Heal From The Pain Of Being Rejected

Whether it’s the breakdown of a relationship, a family dispute, or even being fired dismissal... We have all experienced the feeling of being rejected, excluded, or left out. Whilst some people manage to bounce back quite quickly, others suffer from it in a persistent way. As for me, I understood how to move on, because I was able to recognize my rejection wound. So, how can we overcome the fear of rejection and move on from it?


“He’s lying through his teeth!” You’re confronted with a mythomaniac in your close circle. You had no doubts about what they were saying and after conducting your own little investigation, you’re stunned! They’ve been leading you on since the beginning… They invented a life for themselves. But why? How do you recognize a liar, and how can you protect yourself? We’ll tell you everything.

Why We Feel So Socially Exhausted After Lockdown

“Are you coming to the party on Saturday?” After months of restrictions and several lockdowns, I must admit that I wasn’t expecting to hear this question. So I did a series of things, I had drinks with my girlfriends, I went to parties, lunches, etc. And without realizing it, I felt exhausted. Why do I feel like I've been running on empty since the end of lockdown?

More insights into our personalities:

Ergophobia: When The Fear Of Work Eats Away At You…

I know the real fear of work. I suffered from it for a long time, but I’m happy to say that today I’m cured. It’s an illness that can make others smile, as you can easily be seen as lazy. However, it’s not the case for people suffering from ergophobia, the fear of work. Where does this fear come from? How can it be treated? All will be explained.

6 Differences Between Being Self-Centered And Being A Narcissist

When it comes to mental health disorders, the parameters of each condition often seem blurry, and this explains why many of us have trouble identifying them. Plus, certain disorders frequently encompass similar symptoms and traits, making recognizing and therefore understanding them even more complicated. Let’s take being selfish and having a narcissistic personality disorder, for example. Because they overlap on such a huge scale, upon first glance, they do in fact seem indistinguishable to many of us. That being said, when you dig a little deeper, the differences do become more and more apparent.

I Have Fits Of Anger

Anyone who’s never felt anger can close this article! We’ve all felt this virulent emotion at one time or another 😡. It’s neither bad nor good, but it has the right to exist. It’s healthy to feel angry when you’re betrayed or a victim of an injustice. However, when anger attacks are recurrent, it’s good to learn how to control them. When anger hurts others or ourselves, it becomes a problem.

I’m Scared Of Failure

“I won’t manage it”, “I can’t do it”… I often say this because I doubt my abilities tremendously. Being so negative allows me to calm my fear of failure a bit. By doing nothing, I don’t run the risk of failing. I prefer to do nothing and remain in a state of waiting, for fear of not succeeding. So I procrastinate, thinking about the fact that I didn’t take the plunge out of anxiety. How can I overcome this fear to really start doing things?

Why I Hate Conflict And What I Need To Do To Face It

As soon as I feel tension build up with someone close to me, I take flight. I don’t like conflict, even if I don’t agree with the other person, I run from it. As a result, I keep it all inside of me, which can generate a lot of annoyance. Rather than this eating away at us from the inside, we need to learn to overcome this fear of conflict to make our voice heard. Why do we run away from conflict? How can we overcome this fear? Here are some explanations.

What Are The Signs That You Are Unhappy?

I sometimes feel bad, I don’t have the energy anymore… When we encounter financial, family, or other difficulties, as well as serious events such as bereavement, we accumulate psychological wounds. We can be resilient and move on, but we can also be overwhelmed by a growing sense of unease. There’s no shame in feeling bad psychologically, it happens to us all. However, spotting the signs of unhappiness enables us to be alert and to take care of our mental health.

8 Reasons Why Millennials Feel So Lost

If you ever find yourself watching the news or reading traditional journalism outlets, you’ll no doubt have picked up on the bad rep that millennials get. That’s right, we millennials (those of us who were born between 1981 – 1996) are often criticized for being ‘woke’, overly sensitive, entitled, and lazy. Now, isn’t that a bunch of adjectives you’d instantly like to forget! As you can probably tell, I don’t agree with the evaluation regarding our age group and am here to explain why we feel so lost and disconnected.

Why Do We Like Being Scared?

Making up ghost stories, talking about horrible legends, wanting to talk about spirits… I think we all did it when we were children. Even as adults, if we like watching horror films or documentaries about serial killers, it’s because we love scaring ourselves! 😱 However, the question we may ask ourselves is why we like being scared? There are neuropsychological and sociological reasons behind this attraction. All will be explained!

How To Get Rid Of Your Horrid Complexes

Legs too fat, lips too small, scars or even shyness, whether it’s physical or psychological, complexes often have the bad taste of spoiling our lives and making us unhappy. But we won’t let them do that to us! We’re worth more than that, right?

Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

How to detect a narcissist?

How to detect a narcissist?

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde