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The word “gaslighting” is thrown around a lot these days. The purpose of gaslighting is to make someone believe they are crazy when in reality, they are not. Gaslighting is a sneaky manipulation tactic, but there are some key phrases you can look for to determine if your partner is really trying to gaslight you.
1. “That Never Happened”
One covert way your partner may try to manipulate you is to make you question your own reality and memory. This phrase is used to downplay your experience and feelings. If you know it happened, don’t let them convince you otherwise.
2. “You’re Always So Dramatic”
People who gaslight others always deal in absolutes. You will often hear terms such as “always” or “never” when they are attempting to minimize your feelings. You likely aren’t being as dramatic as they are making it seem like.
3. “This Is Why No One Likes You”
This phrase is used to alienate you from the people in your life and lower your sense of self-worth. The goal of language like this is to make you more dependent on the gaslighter.
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4. “You Can Never Take a Joke”
When gaslighters say something hurtful and you react accordingly, they will often try to play it off and make it seem like you’re ridiculous for getting hurt over something that was ‘clearly a joke.” Don’t fall for this tactic, they don’t get to dictate what does and doesn’t hurt you.
5. “You Don’t Know Anything When It Comes to ____”
Gaslighters will often redirect blame to avoid being confronted about their shortcomings. For example, a gaslighter might say “you don’t know anything about finances” and blame you for financial problems, when it is in fact them who is causing said financial problems.
6. “It’s Your Fault I Did It”
When gaslighters do something hurtful or damaging and you call them out, a popular tactic with them is to make you feel like it’s your fault they did it to begin with. For example, if your gaslighter cheats on you and you catch them, they might say “well you were dancing with Brad at the club the other night, so it’s your fault I cheated.”
7. “Who Will They Believe?”
Gaslighting is all about establishing an unhealthy power dynamic. Gaslighters will often make it seem like they have far more power and influence than they actually do. In situations where “he said, she said” would be relevant, a gaslighter will attempt to assert their power and make it seem like no one would ever believe you over them.
8. “You’re Being Way Too Sensitive”
Anytime you attempt to express your emotions to a gaslighter, they will almost always do their best to minimize those feelings. Saying that you are “too sensitive” serves to make you second guess yourself and the validity of the hurt or anger you are feeling.
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9. “I’m the Only Responsible Person In This Relationship”
Gaslighters will often turn things around on you and make you seem like you’re crazy. They might take something of yours without asking and then accuse you of being scatterbrained, knowing they are the ones that took it to begin with.
10. “You’re Crazy”
This one’s a classic. Can’t go wrong with the old “you’re crazy.” Gaslighters will always say this as a deflection method when their actions are called out. The word crazy is one that no one really wants associated with them, so it can be too easy for gaslighters to throw that around, knowing it will have the desired effect.