“Maybe that’s what you heard in your head, but it’s not what I said.”
“You’re too sensitive.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
What does gaslighting feel like? (Source: The Psychology Group)
- Constantly feeling confused or like you’re going crazy
- Frequently doubting yourself (e.g. “am I too emotional?” “did this actually happen?”)
- Having difficulty trusting yourself and other people
- Constantly assuming you did something wrong (feeling it’s always your fault or that you’re to blame)
- Feeling the need to apologize (leading to over apologizing)
- Making excuses for other people’s actions (or rationalizing why they did something that hurt you)
- Feeling like you have to prove everything
- Feeling like you constantly have to back up your reasoning/views of things with an abundance of facts
- Sensing something is wrong, but feeling like you’re not able to “put your finger on it”
- Regularly feeling misunderstood and alone
What does gaslighting sound like? (Source: The Psychology Group)
- “You’re so dramatic”
- “You’re too sensitive”
- “You’re too emotional”
- “You’re imagining things”
- “You know you sound insane right now, right?”
- “You’re always making stuff up”
- “You’re making a big deal out of nothing, like always”
- “Nothing you’re saying makes sense, do you even hear yourself?”
- “You’re being paranoid”
- “You’re acting crazy” or “you’re overreacting”
- “I was joking! You take everything personally”
- “That never even happened.” “This is what happened…” or “this is what I said…”
- “Why should I believe you? Everyone knows you’re full of it”
- “You’re not thinking clearly”
- “You’re making yourself the victim when I’m the one who should be mad”
- We remember things differently.
- If you continue to speak to me like this, I’m not engaging.
- I realize you disagree with me, and this is how I see the things: <describe concisely your side of the story>
- I understand that your intention was to make a joke, and the impact was hurtful
- You don’t get to decide how I feel or if I was hurt.
- This is my experience and these are my emotions.
- I know what’s best for me.
- This is what I want and what I need right now.
- This is my decision to make.
- I’m struggling to stay in this conversation, I’ve already said “no” several times.
- I don’t like how much energy I’m putting into proving my perspective and it would mean a lot to me if you gave me the benefit of the doubt.
- I feel like you’re not validating my right to an opinion/my perspective.
- I know my truth, and I’m not going to debate you.
- We will just have to agree to disagree.
- I hear you, but that wasn’t my experience.
- You and I don’t see things the same way.
- We can debate about the solution, but I’m not open to debating my feelings or the right to my feelings.
- The way I feel is not up for debate.
- We clearly see things differently. Let’s agree to disagree.
- I’ve heard your point of view many times and I still don’t agree with it.
- I hear your concerns but I’m okay with making this choice.
- I know you feel strongly, but I hope you can see that my feelings are valid too.
- I don’t appreciate you saying <what they said that offended you.>
- My emotions are valid and I believe I have expressed them clearly and respectfully.
- Can you be more specific with your details? Words like “always” or “never” are a little vague and it would be helpful to have more actionable detail.
- We are discussing what hurt me, not my reaction. We can discuss my reaction at another time.
- Just because I perceived things differently from you doesn’t make me crazy or wrong.
Gaslighting: How to Recognize it and What to Say When it Happens
By Dr. Gabriela Sadurní Rodríguez In short, gaslighting is a subtle form of emotional manipulation that often results in the recipient doubting their perception of reality and their sanity. It is important to note that gaslighting can happen in any type of relationship (e.g.