18 Ways to Spot When Someone Is Gaslighting You

The problem with being with a gaslighter is that they can make you feel crazy for seeing them for who they are. If you are wondering whether you are dealing with a world-class gaslighter, stay tuned for 18 ways to spot one from a mile away.

Recognizing Denial of Your Reality

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When someone constantly denies your reality, it’s a classic sign of gaslighting in an attempt to leave you doubting your memory. They may also try to tell you that you’re misremembering events, even when you’re certain you’re correct.

Frequent Lies and Fabrications

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Gaslighters often lie about both big and small things, creating a sense of doubt about what’s true. PR Daily has 24 phrases that gaslighters often use. Some of the common ones include “If you were paying attention…,”  “Don’t you think you’re over-reacting?” and “You’re just over-sensitive.”

Their Actions Don’t Match Their Words

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A key gaslighting tactic is making promises that are never fulfilled. A typical gaslighting tactic is using kind words as a disguise for hurtful actions. Avoid people who say one thing and do another, as they usually never change.

They Throw in Positive Reinforcement to Confuse You

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Just when you feel ready to leave, gaslighters pull you back in with kindness, making it hard to see the cycle of abuse. To make it tempting for you to stay, they might offer praise or gifts to keep you off-balance.

Attempts to Isolate You from Others

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By isolating you, a gaslighter aims to increase your reliance on them for information and social support. They may criticize your friends and family to create distance. This is all an attempt to get you as dependent on them as possible.

They Tell Others You’re Crazy

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Gaslighters often try to undermine your credibility by telling others you’re crazy. Some may even take it a step further by spreading rumors about your mental health to discredit you. They will shamelessly tell your friends, family, or coworkers that you’re unstable or overreacting.

They Turn Your Words Against You

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In conversations, gaslighters have a habit of turning your words against you. They twist your words to make you seem unreasonable, leaving you on the defensive even though you are not in the wrong.

Using Confusion as a Tool

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Gaslighters thrive on creating confusion, making it difficult for you to think clearly or make decisions. According to The Psychology Group, feeling confused around a person is one of the telltale signs that they are gaslighting you. It is rare that someone who truly cares about you would want to play with your mind that often.

Projecting Their Faults Onto You

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Gaslighters project their faults onto you, sometimes going as far as accusing you of the behaviors they’re guilty of. They will usually do this with intangible actions, like how you make them feel. For example, they might say you make them feel insecure because there is no way to prove you are not.

Trying to Make You Doubt Your Sanity

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One of the most harmful aspects of gaslighting is the attempt to make you doubt your own sanity. This habit includes a number of actions, including questioning your memory and perceptions openly, suggesting you’re losing your mind, and dismissing your feelings as irrational or overblown.

Undermining Your Self-Confidence

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Gaslighters often attack your self-esteem by criticizing everything you do and comparing you to others in a negative way. They might also blame you for things that go wrong, even if it’s not your fault or you have already apologized.

Claiming Superiority Over You

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When someone always acts like they know better than you, treats you as if you’re not smart enough to understand things, or insists they’re always right, they’re trying to gaslight you. This behavior is about making themselves seem more important and knowledgeable than you, so you can doubt your own thoughts and beliefs.

Constantly Shifting the Goalposts

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Imagine trying to hit a target that keeps moving; that’s what it feels like when a gaslighter constantly changes what they want from you. The constant shifting of goalposts is designed to keep you unbalanced while trying to meet their approval. No matter how hard you try, it never seems to be enough because the rules keep changing.

Using Your Affection Against You

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Gaslighters are skilled at manipulating the people who care about them. They might use your feelings of love or loyalty to control you, reminding you of your commitments whenever you try to set boundaries.

Denigrating Your Achievements

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When someone constantly downplays your successes, attributes them to luck, or suggests you didn’t really deserve them, they’re trying to undermine your confidence. This behavior is a gaslighting tactic aimed at making you feel like you’re never good enough and that your accomplishments aren’t valid.

Excessive Jealousy and Possessiveness

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Excessive jealousy and possessiveness are not signs that someone really loves you. They are instead used to control and restrict your freedom. According to One Love, some of the signs of excessive jealousy are restricting who you talk to, wanting to spend every moment together, and being suspicious of every move.

Disregarding Your Boundaries

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A blatant disregard for your boundaries is a clear sign of gaslighting meant to reduce your sense of self. Psych Central has many tips on how to set boundaries, including setting them early on, spending time on your own, and communicating when they are crossed.

Manipulating Your Emotions

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Manipulating your emotions is a strategy to control you and make you bend to their desires. Manipulation includes using guilt trips to make you feel bad for perfectly reasonable behavior. Watch out for people who constantly remind you of the wrongs you have done whenever they are trying to reason with you.

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