The human brain is a very powerful thing, you must have heard this phrase a lot of times by now, right?
Well, as a believer of the above statement. I personally believe it is actually one of the most powerful things that you can possibly possess but, with great power comes great responsibility.
Unfortunately for us humans, we’ve never been good with responsibilities. Instead what we are good at is the abuse of power, the desire of wanting more and aspiring to be the one in control. As great as it is to have all those things in various aspects of life, relationships just do not fall into that category of those various things. But who is to stop us?
People often use this power in manipulating and controlling their partners in a relationship. These people can be put into various categories ranging from narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths to simply toxic ones.
In this article we are going to focus on a special case of emotional abuse — also referred to as gaslighting.
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Meaning of gaslighting?
The meaning of Gaslighting — In simple words, it is a type of psychological or emotional abuse in which the victim is driven to a place where they begin to question their memories, perception of reality and eventually their state of mind.
The abuser in such toxic relationships often uses the means of emotional or physical manipulation, dependency, and other forms of psychological abuse to control their victims and cut them off from their family, friends as well as the outside world.
The victims of gaslighting are usually confused, anxious and stressed. They find it hard to trust themselves or others. Although gaslighting can happen in various relationships (for eg parent-children, friendship, superior-subordinate etc) most cases are generally found in romantic ones (for eg relationships, marriages etc).
After reading the above paragraph, most people would go on and say (or think) — my partner has never done something like that to me or he/she won’t do anything like that in the future either. But then what are you even doing on this page? Why did you decide to click on an article whose content revolves around gaslighting examples?
Either you are confused and want to clarify if these Signs resonate with your relationship or your mind already knows something is off while you just don’t want to acknowledge the problem and continue to live in denial.
The thing is, I was simply stating the technicalities or meaning of gaslighting to give you a gist of what you’re dealing with (if you are) but the truth might not seem like what you’ve read above. Yes, the above statements are the core meaning of gaslighting but in reality, it isn’t your partner straight up declaring that you’ve lost your mind, trying to hamper your memories, or telling you not to meet your friends or family.
It is a cycle. A process that includes lies, making the victim physically dependent, emotional manipulation and control.
It starts by simple things like lying to you or lying to the world about you, making you question your memories by denying their past actions or happenings and moves up to controlling everything you do, whoever you meet and manipulating your emotions.
With common statements like or similar to — are you sure about that? You have a bad memory. When did that happen? Don’t make stuff up. You’re simply confused. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
It is also a common behaviour from the abuser to deny things and instead turn the cards on the victim by saying things like — That never happened, your memory is fogged up. What is wrong with your head? Or things like, that never happened, is this coming from your crazy imagination again? I hope you got my point.
Now that you’ve gotten a good idea about the meaning of gaslighting, it’s the right time to move over and focus on the various gaslighting examples, signs and Commonly used gaslighting phrases.
You may also be interested in : 7 Signs of a Toxic Relationship – Are you in one?
1. Devaluing your feelings.
One of the most common gaslighting examples include the gaslighter trying to devalue the feelings of his/her victim. They want to hamper your self-esteem and what better way to do so than to make you feel like your feelings don’t matter or tell you that you shouldn’t feel a certain way about certain things.
Gaslighting phrases may include :
- Why are you making a big scene out of this thing?
- It isn’t even that bad.
- You should feel sorry for this.
- Stop overreacting, you are too sensitive, etc.
2. Denying what they said or did.
Denial is the major weapon of a gaslighter. If your partner does or says something but denies it, later on, there’s a good chance that he/she is trying to Gaslight you. A gaslighter wants to confuse you, make you question your memories and sanity and they do so by denying the happening of an event.
Gaslighting phrases may include :
- That never happened, what is wrong with you?
- You remember wrong.
- What are you talking about?
- I never said that, I never did that.
- You’re making this up, right?
- You are imagining things, etc.
3. Filling up your ears against others.
A gaslighter wants to cut you off from your friends, family, acquaintances, in short, the whole outside world. To do so, they’ll fill up your ears by telling you various lies about them.
Therefore when your friends or family try to warn you about the toxic behaviour of your partner, instead of thinking of them as outsiders, you should sit down and give your relationship a second thought.
Gaslighting phrases may include :
- Your friends think very low of you.
- They are jealous of you.
- Your family doesn’t know what’s good for you.
- They don’t like to see you happy.
- They talk bad about you in your absence.
- I only want the best for you.
4. Making up circumstances that have never happened or are untrue.
Sometimes a gaslighter makes circumstances or moments that have never happened to shake up your memories. They make it seem like you’ve forgotten them or you tend to easily forget things to confuse your thoughts.
Gaslighting phrases may include :
- How do you not remember that?
- You forget things very easily.
- Of course, that happened.
- What is wrong with your memories?
- You never remember things correctly.
5. Creating confusion via positive reinforcement.
To confuse the victim and make them stay with the abuser for a long time, gaslighters often use the strategy of positive reinforcement.
They suddenly praise, compliment or become nice towards the victim to confuse their perspective of their relationship. It is a form of psychological/emotional manipulation that makes the victim think that their relationship isn’t too bad or there’s still hope for their relationship to become healthy.
Gaslighting phrases may include :
- That’s very nice of you.
- You’re looking beautiful today, or any other compliments etc
The major gaslighting examples and signs.
You may also be interested in : 8 Toxic Relationship Signs That Are Unnoticeable.
Gaslighting is a term widely renowned by the media nowadays. You must have read and heard people talk about the meaning of gaslighting or about the gaslighting examples plenty of times by now. You sometimes might even question what good will that information (signs) do for me?
Well, learning about the signs not only helps you understand your situation but also helps you to accept it. I know it may sound pretty stupid but acceptance is the first and pretty huge step in the process of healing. A step that is in no way easy to take.
We often ignore the red signs in our relationship, sometimes consciously, sometimes because we aren’t sure enough or confused and sometimes it’s our mind playing tricks on us. But It is necessary to know the signs of a problem to work on its solution or to eradicate it.
Therefore to help you a little in making this process easy, below are the 7 Signs that your partner is a gaslighter or you’re being gaslighted.
1. Denial is one of the top gaslighting examples.
It takes a lot for a person to accept their mistakes and acknowledge them in a relationship but if you feel like your partner has completely forgotten about the existence of acceptance and self-reflection in a relationship. It is time to analyse your relationship again.
A gaslighter often overruled his flaws, mistakes and hurtful behaviour. If your partner seems to deny every possibility of portraying a certain behaviour, actions or the happening of a moment, then there’s a good chance that you’re stepping on the initial stage of becoming one of the gaslighting examples yourself.
One of the ultimate goals of the gaslighter is to make sure that you feel like your memories are shaken up. What better way to do so than to deny their actions, behaviour or the happenings that have recently taken place.
2. Gaslighters often tell ballant lies.
Lies are one of the main instruments that gaslighters like to use but not in the way that regular people do.
They usually go for easily detectable lies. Why? To confuse you, to make you doubt every step that you’re going to take in the future. Their motive is to make their victim doubt everything, starting from their partner (them), the things happening around them and eventually their own self. They want to make you question your version of events.
If your partner is telling you a huge lie that you can easily see through with a straight face and showing no effort to reason it out whatsoever, can there be ulterior motives behind it? Most probably.
3. If you constantly question and doubt yourself, you’re likely being gaslighted.
Every person has his own beliefs, opinions, thought process and perspective of life, that is what makes up their unique self, in other words, their unique identity.
A gaslighter’s motive is to meddle with each of the above aspects that act as the building block of your identity. They do it through persistent lies with simple statements like — you’re remembering it wrong, or your memory is fogged up or this never happened etc.
If your partner intently contradicts your every belief, behaviour, opinion, thoughts and acts like they know things about you or around you better than you do then you need to look into the matter.
Sometimes gaslighters use the means of intense contradictions, lies and dependency to make you doubt things that you know about, your memories or perceptions.
4. Being a control freak is a give away of gaslighter.
A controlling partner can be either one of the gaslighting examples or it can also indicate that your partner is a narcissist and you’re in a toxic relationship.
It always starts with small things that might seem tolerable to you, things that might even seem nice in the beginning — because they care. This is what most people try to tell themselves in the initial stage but it soon escalates to the feeling of you being trapped with no means to escape.
A gaslighter more than not would want to control his/her victim, how would they do so? By wanting to know where you are at and what you’re doing all the time, trying to control your finances, friend circle, wanting access to your social media, Keeping you away from your family and giving you no privacy whatsoever.
They would make it seem like they care for you a little too much or they know better or they’re doing these things for your own good/betterment but they are not. If your partner portrays this above behaviour, it’s time to take action for your actual betterment.
5. If Your self-esteem has lowered, it’s one of the major gaslighting examples.
Being in a relationship with a gaslighter often takes away your self-esteem and confidence.
No matter how strong, confident or High-self-esteemed person you are, the more time you spend with a gaslighter the more you’ll be stirred away from your actual self and turned into a very timid person.
Ghaslighter’s work to lower your self-reflection by beating you emotionally and reminding you of your flaws and weaknesses, even if they’re untrue. Talking about them constantly and contradicting your strengths can have a huge effect on your self-esteem and eventually your mental as well as emotional health.
Are you alright? You used to be so happy before, what happened to you? You seem a little off — if you hear similar statements around you all the time or you have noticed that you seem a little sadder, stressed, anxious especially after your partner has come into your life, there is a good chance of them being the reason behind this different self.
You may also be interested in : 8 signs you might be in a Toxic Relationship.
6. Being cut off from the outside world is one of the gaslighting examples.
One of the main goals of a gaslighter is to cut you off from the outside world so that others look at you like an outsider (or a freak).
The other motive being they don’t want you to trust anyone but them and eventually be completely dependent on them for emotional and in some cases financial support as well.
How will they achieve this? By the means of lies and manipulation. They’ll talk bad about you in your absence, they’ll give out hints that point to something being wrong with your head. On the other hand, they’ll fill your ears by pulling something similar off.
They’ll tell you all the things that make your friends or your family members bad for you. Your friends are jealous of you, they only want bad for you, they don’t like to see you happy, they talk ill about you in your absence — example of phrases that gaslighters might use.
7. Guilt-tripping and shift blaming is what a gaslighter is great at.
Gaslighting does a lot of damage by means of guilt-tripping and shift blaming. Every discussion, argument or conflict somehow is twisted and turned to point a finger at you.
Somehow you’re always the one to blame for some distressing thing that has occurred and this blame often takes the turn of a gulf trip afterwards. In most cases, the abuser manipulates the situation and twists the truth in a way that makes you seem like the one at fault and therefore comes the guilt to complete this whole spree.
This behaviour diminishes your self-worth, makes you doubt your own behaviour and eventually feel like every bad thing that has been happening around you is somehow your fault.
8. If you’ve started to question everything, it’s one of the gaslighting examples.
The victim of gaslighting is often confused with his/her partner’s behaviour. Their behaviour doesn’t seem to be working in their favour either and on top of that they’re not sure who to trust and who to not.
They’re usually cut off from their family, friends and have lost contact with the outside world. Therefore there’s a good chance that they will question everything around their surroundings.
In other areas of life, it’s good to show curiosity and question things but here the victim begins to Question their mind, their sanity and memories.
How to deal with gaslighting?
It is very hard for the victims of gaslighting to acknowledge that they’re being abused.
Being in such a toxic relationship hampers a person’s mental, emotional, social and physical health. If not cut off at the right time, a gaslighter may succeed in their motive and severely harm the sanity of the victim. Hence to say the least the victim of gaslighting is always in danger of losing themselves. Therefore, it becomes immensely important for you to know how to deal with gaslighting?
The best thing to do in this situation is to reach for help and cut off your abuser as soon as possible, but unfortunately, this process of cutting off an abuser is not as easy as it may sound.
Therefore, the process of how to deal with gaslighting isn’t easy either. to explain it in detail, the following are the steps that you should take once you’ve acknowledged your situation.
You may also be interested in : How to Leave a Toxic Relationship? In-depth guide
1. Collect proof.
The first and foremost step in how to deal with gaslighting ould be to cut off your partner completely but it’s not always easy for the victims of gaslighting to do so therefore, while you’re at it, or as you’re slowly trying to get out of your relationship, your main focus should be to eliminate any kind of confusion about yourself or your surroundings.
The second priority should be to collect as much as proof. Not only will it help you to eliminate your confusion but it also acts as evidence for your claims.
You should start to keep proof of your memories, feelings and the events that are happening around you. This will help you in trusting yourself more and lessen the confusions you have about yourself.
There are many ways that a person can keep proof, a few of them include :
- Set up surveillance cameras around your home.
- If you can’t afford them, the next best option can be to keep a good old and reliable journal.
- Creating videos and clicking pictures from your phone is also a good and affordable way to gain necessary proof.
- Voice memos can be your regular go-to if writing is something that you don’t necessarily enjoy.
- If you feel it’s not safe to keep your thoughts near or around you then you can send out an email to any of your close friends or family, detailing everything that has been going around you.
2. Talk about your situation with your close friends or family.
One of the main goals of a gaslighter is to isolate you. The right thing to do in this situation is to push in the other direction i.e try your best to surround yourself with people who are close to you.
Talk to your family or a close friend about your situation. Not only does sharing help in reducing the stress and confusion in your mind but it also in a way ensures your safety. If you’re being gaslighted in your relationship, there’s a very huge risk of your partner being harmful to your mental and physical health.
Therefore, let someone know of your situation in advance to reduce the chances of you getting into dangerous circumstances.
3. Lay out a plan to cutt yourself off from the gaslighter.
Before diving straight into leaving your relationship and cutting yourself off from the gaslighter, make sure you have a predetermined safety plan.
Safety should be your number one priority while creating a plan to leave your relationship. Leaving a Toxic Relationship can be very dangerous, therefore you will have to pre-plan your steps very precisely. Make sure your plan has a safety net around it.
Consider the place you’re going to stay at or the person you are going to live with after leaving your relationship, make sure you’ve enough finances to sponsor a few days if not weeks, assemble your belongings and like mentioned in the above point, remember to inform someone close to you about your decision.
4. Indulge in self-care.
The best thing to do after getting off from any toxic relationship is to prioritize your mental health and overall well-being. It is important to focus on self-love and other self-care activities. Even though self-care doesn’t directly affect your situation with gaslighting, it can drastically improve your state of mind.
You can look into the Blessing Manifesting’s self-love planner and other add-ons to help you deal with daily frustrations, stress and anxiety. Click here to learn more.
A healthy mind is everything that you should aspire for while in a relationship with a gaslighter or after you’ve left one.
Surround yourself with people who bring positivity into your life, eat healthily, do some meditation, focus on your physical health by incorporating yoga or light workout in your daily routine, practise daily affirmations and keep up with your self-care planner.
Focusing on your hobbies and keeping a journal also helps in the process of feeling good about yourself. If you can’t focus on anything, then cut yourself some slack. Take some time off and give that rest to your mind and body that it deserves.
5. Seek professional help.
It’s not easy to cut off a gaslighter from your life. Not physically nor emotionally.
You might have left your relationship and cut off all sorts of communication/connection with your partner but doing that on a mental level is far more important than doing so physically.
Emotional abuse is in most cases very hard to get over. There will be some things that will be left unsolved in your mind in this process of dealing with a toxic relationship and later on come to disturb your mental health, other relationships or life in general.Therefore hiring a therapist should be something that you should seriously consider.
A therapist, psychologist or guidance counsellor will help in calming your insides, provide you inner peace and have a good impact on your mental health. It’s not a necessity, but paying a small visit to one will do you a lot of good especially when you can carry out this task from the ease of your home.
The best online therapy program :
- You will get a qualified personal therapist will be by your side – from start to finish.
- Sections that include all the information and necessary tools to identify, challenge and overcome your problems.
- Worksheets – In each worksheet you will have to answer a few questions related to the problems you face and in return you’ll get tips from your therapist on a daily basis according to those answers.
- Daily journal, activity plan, Weekly live sessions, yoga sessions, the right to message your therapist at any time of the day and more. Click here to learn more about this program or join.
If you don’t prefer therapy, then you can try Therapy-At-Home Workbook by love and life tool box. It is a cost effective, do-it-yourself, therapist-guided alternative of traditional therapy in the form of downloadable products.
Joining a support group can also be proven as a good choice in these circumstances.
Conclusion – Gaslighting examples.
The victims of gaslighting often find it hard to realise that they’re experiencing abuse. But it is necessary to do so in order to get better, to leave the abuse behind and walk towards a better future. Hence, these gaslighting examples will help you in understanding your own situation better.
The person who is being gaslighted is often confused, it gets extremely hard for them to make simple decisions, they feel worthless due to the lack of self-esteem etc. If you feel like any of the above signs are applicable to your situation, there’s a good chance you’re one of those victims.
Gaslighting often causes depression, anxiety and immense trauma to the victim. Hence, it’s very important to get help as soon as possible. You must realise, staying around your abuser will have a very adverse effect on your emotional, mental, social and eventually physical health.
Get professional help, if needed and distance yourself from your abuser and the relationship as soon as possible.
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Thank you for reading.