Being with a narcissist is an emotionally taxing and toxic experience. Several people gave examples of gaslighting phrases they endured in their relationships to serve as a warning for others. Here are the top-voted examples.
1. You’re Being Negative Again. Here We Go With You Ruining My Day.
One explained that they were in a relationship with a narcissist. Whenever she brought up something that bothered her to hold him accountable, he would reply, “You’re being negative again. Here we go with you ruining my day.”
2. Oh, but It’s Perfectly Okay When You Do It?
Another explained that after her partner resorted to deliberating and maliciously attempting to hurt her (e.g., silent treatment, boundary violations, blame-shifting, playing devil’s advocate), he replied, “Oh, but it’s perfectly okay when you do it?”
She clarified, “The it that he referred to is me saying/doing something he didn’t like. The difference is I didn’t say or do things to be deliberately hurtful or malicious to him.”
“Instead, I often expressed my hurt and frustration at him for not fulfilling obligations and not respecting the relationship’s boundaries. I wanted to be heard, understood, and supported.”
3. Look at You Crying and Playing the Victim
“Look at you crying and playing the victim,” another volunteered. She elaborated that was his response after his verbal abuse and yelling that resulted in her tears.
5. I Care About Your Feelings, But Your Delivery Was Wrong
One person expressed that their former partner would claim to be approachable about discussing issues in our relationship, but that “My delivery was wrong. Every. Single. Time.”
Another shared, “Me too. No matter how well I did or worded it, I was still wrong. I said a word the wrong way. I didn’t have the right tone. I was XYZ. It was exhausting and frustrating, and it beat me down.”
6. I Don’t Remember Saying or Doing That
“I don’t remember saying or doing that. Did I do that?” And then it was up to me to prove that he did or said whatever I called him out on,” one stated. Others agreed that this toxic behavior is standard gaslighting.
7. Threatening Divorce
Another person explained how their ex-partner would threaten divorce if they attempted to establish a boundary or stated a need they were unwilling to respect.
They elaborated that when they didn’t behave in the manner their partner expected, their ex-partner would state, “I wasn’t ready to be married.”
8. Oh. No. That’s Not What I Meant.
“After saying something horrible and mean, and hearing me confront him about it at a later time because I was bothered by it (I would quote him, by the way.
Just repeating what he said or did), he would say in a very matter-of-fact tone “Oh. No. That’s not what I meant.” As if it’s my fault for misinterpreting his horrible behavior,” one shared.
“It was before I knew what gaslighting was. It drove me crazy! Well, that’s what you SAID. And that bothers me. After that, the conversation would go nowhere. He’d never take responsibility.”
9. You Always Do This
One user shared, “Whenever we’d have tension, I’d ask if everything was okay. We should smooth it out if anything was wrong and get back to our usual oddball shenanigans. He replied, “You always take things out of context.” “You always read into things.” “You always have problems.”
They continued, “Until I educated myself about Narcs and gaslighting, I fell for it pretty much every time. Stop making a scene. Stop telling me there are problems that we need to smooth over. Just deal with me in the good times, brush the bad or out-of-the-ordinary right under the rug, and forget it.”
10. You Are Being Too Emotional
A final user shared, “The classic: ‘You are being too emotional.” The last time we spoke after the breakup, I told him whenever I tried to set boundaries, he wouldn’t let me, and he said: “That’s insane. You are crazy. You do this to hurt me”.
These are just a few of many. Gaslighters work to warp your sense of reality so they can’t be challenged. Then, the relationship can follow its rules. They get to have their cake and eat it, too, without the inconvenience of having to have difficult conversations, compromise, or work together.
What to do?
Even if a person’s actions point to gaslighting, slapping a label on it may not change anything. Instead, clearly express how the behavior affects you, and explain how you’d like that behavior to change. You should also be aware of your own behavior, too.
If your relationship feels off-kilter and stuck, and your partner is perpetually unhappy, ask yourself whether you’re allowing them to express their emotions and thoughts. You may not have set out with the intention to gaslight, but keep your mind open to the possibility that your own actions could be undercutting someone.
by: Elizabeth Ervin