If you’ve ever been in a relationship of any type with a narcissist, you may be familiar with the term “gaslighting.” This is a tactic that narcissists use to make the people around them doubt their own sanity. It can be very effective in erasing your memory of events and can make you feel like you are always the one who is wrong.
In this blog post, I will explore the origins of the word and discuss what narcissist gaslighting is. I will also discuss some examples of gaslighting by a narcissist so that you can better identify it if it happens to you.
The Origins of the Word
Gaslighting originated from a play called Gas Light, which was first performed in 1938. The plot of the play revolves around a man who tries to make his wife believe that she is going crazy by manipulating her environment and dimming the gas lights in their home.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse that causes the victim to doubt their own sanity.
It can involve subtle tactics, such as constant criticism, or more extreme measures, such as denying the victim’s experiences or reality.
Narcissists us gaslighting is to make their victim feel like they are going crazy and can’t trust their own mind.
How to Spot Gaslighting
There are a few key signs that you might be experiencing gaslighting.
If you notice that a friend, partner or co-worker is constantly making you feel disoriented, or if they are always trying to control your every move, then there is a good chance that you’re being gaslighted.
Other red flags for narcissist gaslighting include:
– Feeling like you can’t do anything right
– Having your feelings and experiences minimized or dismissed
– Frequent mood swings
If you are experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to reach out for help. There are a number of resources available to victims of narcissistic abuse, including support groups and therapy.
Narcissist Gaslighting Examples
A typical gaslighting tactic is when the narcissist tells you that something didn’t happen, even though you know it did. They may say “I never said that” or “You’re making things up.” This can make you feel like you are going crazy and that your memories are not reliable.
Another approach the narcissist might take is to make you feel like you are always the one who is at fault. The narcissist may say things like “You’re being too sensitive” or “I can’t help it if you misinterpreted what I said.” This will make you feel like you are responsible for the problems in the relationship and that the narcissist is not actually doing anything wrong. Of course, this is far from being the truth.
Practical examples of narcissist gaslighting
Example 1 – Sam and his wife Olivia are at a party. Olivia is flirting with his co-workers and he is worried that she had too much to drink. Her behaviour is over the top and she is clearly enjoying the attention. On the way home, in the car, he tells her that he had felt uncomfortable, particularly when she was monopolizing his boss’ attention.
Olivia is furious. She accuses Sam of being possessive and jealous. “You should be proud that your wife is admired!” she shrieks. Sam is taken aback at her reaction and wonders if she is right. The following morning he apologizes for his comments and promises Olivia never to comment about her behaviour at parties again.
Example 2 – Sandy works all weekend on a report her boss needs on Monday morning. She emails it to him and arrives early at the office on Monday so as to have time to make any changes he might request. Her boss breezes into the office an hour late, and she immediately asks him if he found the report useful. He answers that he had not seen it yet because the presentation had been postponed to Wednesday, claiming that he had told her about the change in deadline on Friday. Sandy sits at her desk, confused. She could have sworn that he had not told her – could she have misunderstood him? She convinces herself that she must have misheard, sighs, and gets back to work.
What to Do About Gaslighting
If you are concerned that you are experiencing gaslighting from a narcissist, these examples will help you understand what is happening and hopefully help you to nip it in the bud.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, the most important thing you can do is to get away from them. This may not be easy, as narcissists can be very manipulative and often have a lot of control over their victims. However, it is crucial to your mental health to break free from the relationship.
If you are unable to leave the relationship, there are still things you can do to protect yourself. You can establish boundaries and limits, and make sure that you have a support system in place. It is also important to be aware of the tactics narcissists use so that you can identify them when they occur.
If you are able to leave the relationship, it is important to take care of yourself during and after the breakup. You may need to seek counselling or therapy to help you rebuild your self-esteem and recover from the abuse. There are also a number of online support groups available for victims of narcissistic abuse. Here are some tips on how to deal with a narcissist at work, in your friend group or in your family.
For Further Reading:
You might also want to check out the following posts about the different abuse tactics in the Narcissist’s toolbox:
- Abuse by Proxy
- Ambient Abuse
- Coercive Control
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Monkeys
- Future Faking
- Love Bombing
- Narcissist Discard
- Narcissist Hoovering
- Narcissistic Triangulation
- Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
- Narcissistic Family Roles
- Narcissistic FOG
- Narcissistic Grooming
- Narcissistic Projection
- Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign
- Narcissistic Word Salad
- Parental Alienation
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Flying Monkeys in the World of Narcissism: What They Are and How to Deal with Them
- Gaslighting Defined – How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Gaslighting You?
- Why Narcissists String Along their Exes and Never Cut Them Loose
- Understanding the Cycle of Emotional Abuse – The Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
- Narcissistic Abuse Examples – How to Recognize the Toxic Signs of Narcissism
- What Does Gaslighting Mean – The Ultimate Guide
- What Is Narcissist Abuse Syndrome and How Do You Recover from It?
- Manipulative statements a narcissist will say to pressure you to stay
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
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