7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists
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7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You, Translated

Gaslighting is an insidious erosion of your sense of reality; it creates a mental fog of epic proportions in the twisted “funhouse” of smoke, mirrors, and distortions that is an abusive relationship. When a malignant narcissist gaslights you, they engage in crazymaking discussions and character assassinations where they challenge and invalidate your thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and sanity. Gaslighting enables narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths to exhaust you to the point where you are unable to fight back. Rather than finding ways to healthily detach from this toxic person, you are sabotaged in your efforts to find a sense of certainty and validation in what you’ve experienced.

The term “gaslighting” originated in Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play, Gas Light, where a manipulative husband drove his wife to insanity by causing her to question what she experienced. It was further popularized in the 1944 film adaptation, Gaslight, a psychological thriller about a man named Gregory Anton who murders a famous opera singer. He later marries her niece, Paula to convince her she is going crazy to the point of being institutionalized, with the agenda of stealing the rest of her family jewels. According to Dr. George Simon, victims of chronic gaslighting can suffer from a wide array of side effects, including flashbacks, heightened anxiety, intrusive thoughts, a low sense of self-worth, and mental confusion. In cases of severe manipulation and abuse, gaslighting can even lead to suicidal ideation, self-harm, and self-sabotage.

Gaslighting can take many forms – from questioning the status of your mental health to outright challenging your lived experiences. The most dangerous culprits of gaslighting? Malignant narcissists, who, by default, use gaslighting as a strategy to undermine the perception of their victims in order to evade accountability for their abuse. These perpetrators can use gaslighting callously and sadistically because they lack the remorse, empathy, or conscience to have any limits when they terrorize you or covertly provoke you. Gaslighting by a malignant narcissist is covert murder with clean hands, allowing the perpetrator to get away with their mistreatment while depicting the victims as the abusers.

I’ve spoken to thousands of survivors of malignant narcissists who have shared their stories of gaslighting, and below I include the most commonly used phrases malignant narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths employ to terrorize and deplete you, translated into what they really mean.

These phrases, when chronically used in the context of an abusive relationship, serve to demean, belittle and distort the reality of abuse victims.

1. You’re crazy/you have mental health issues/you need help.

Translation: You’re not the pathological one here. You’re just catching onto who I really am behind the mask and attempting to hold me accountable for my questionable behavior. I’d rather you question your own sanity so you believe that the problem is really you, rather than my own deceptiveness and manipulation. So long as you believe you’re the one who needs help, I’ll never have to take responsibility for changing my own disordered ways of thinking and behaving.

Malignant narcissists play the smirking doctors to their victims, treating them like unruly patients. Diagnosing their victims with mental health issues for having emotions is a way to pathologize their victims and undermine their credibility; this is even more effective when abusers are able to provoke reactions in their victims to convince society that they are the ones with mental health problems. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, some abusers will even actively drive their victims to the edge to concoct proof of their instability. The Hotline estimates that around 89% of their callers have experienced some form of mental health coercion and that 43% had experienced a substance abuse coercion from an abuser.

“Most survivors who reported their abusive partners had actively contributed to mental health difficulties or their use of substances also said their partners threatened to use the difficulties or substance use against them with important authorities, such as legal or child custody professionals, to prevent them from obtaining custody or other things that they wanted or needed.” – The National Center on Domestic Violence and the Domestic Violence Hotline

2. You’re just insecure and jealous.

Translation: I enjoy planting seeds of insecurity and doubt in your mind about your attractiveness, competence, and personality. If you dare to question my numerous flirtations, affairs, and inappropriate interactions, I’ll be sure to put you back in your place in fear of losing me. The problem, as I’ll convince you, isn’t my deceptive behavior. It’s your inability to remain confident while I perpetually put you down, compare you in demeaning ways to others, and eventually cast you aside for the next best thing.

Manufacturing love triangles and harems are a narcissist’s forte. Robert Greene, author of The Art of Seduction, speaks about creating “an aura of desirability” which stirs a frenzied sense of competition among potential suitors. In abuse survivor communities, this tactic is also known as triangulation. It grants malignant narcissists a depraved sense of power over their victims. They actively provoke jealousy in their intimate partners in order to control them and paint them as unhinged when they finally react. When a victim calls out a narcissist’s infidelity in any way, it is common for them to label the victims insecure, controlling, and jealous to avoid suspicion and to continue to reap the benefits of multiple sources of attention, praise, and ego strokes.

Remember: to someone who has something to hide, everything feels like an interrogation. Narcissists will often lash out in narcissistic rage, stonewalling, and excessive defensiveness when confronted with evidence of their betrayals.

3. You’re too sensitive/you’re overreacting.

Translation: It’s not that you’re too sensitive, but rather that I am insensitive, callous, and unempathic. I do not care about your emotions unless they serve me in some way. Your negative reactions provide me stimulation and pleasure, so please, do keep going. I enjoy putting you down for having legitimate reactions to my abuse.

According to Dr. Robin Stern, one of the effects of gaslighting include asking yourself “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day. Claiming that victims are overreacting or oversensitive to emotional abuse is a popular way for malignant narcissists to override your certainty about the severity of the abuse you experienced.

Whether or not someone is a sensitive person is irrelevant when it comes to cases of psychological or physical violence. Abuse affects anyone and everyone of varying sensitivity levels, and its impact should not be taken lightly. A mark of a healthy partner is that they give you the space to feel your emotions and provide emotional validation, even if they do not agree with you. A malignant narcissist will excessively focus on your so-called sensitivity and consistently claim that you are overreacting rather than own their horrific actions when called out, regardless of how “sensitive” you may be.

4. It was just a joke. You have no sense of humor.

Translation: I love disguising my abusive behavior as just jokes. I like calling you names, putting you down, and then claiming you’re the one who lacks the sense of humor to appreciate my depraved “wit.” Making you feel defective allows me to say and do whatever I wish, all with a smile and a derisive laugh.

Disguising cruel remarks, off-color comments, and put-downs as “just jokes” is a popular verbal abuse tactic, according to Patricia Evans, author of The Verbally Abusive Relationship. This malicious tactic is very different from playful teasing which takes a certain amount of rapport, trust, and mutual enjoyment. When malignant narcissists dole out these unsettling “jokes,” they can engage in acts of name-calling, taunting, belittling and contempt while evading the responsibility of issuing an apology or owning their vicious verbal assaults. You are then gaslighted into believing that it is your inability to appreciate the “humor” behind their cruelty, rather than the reality of its abusive intentions.

“Just jokes” are also used to test boundaries early on in an abusive relationship; what you may have rationalized as a tone-deaf or off-color comment in the beginning can escalate into psychological violence quite quickly in the hands of a narcissist. If you find that you have a partner who laughs at you more than they laugh with you, run. It will not get better.

5. You need to let it go. Why are you bringing this up?

Translation: I haven’t given you enough time to even process the last heinous incident of abuse, but you need to let it go already so I can move forward with exploiting you without facing any consequences for my behavior. Let me love-bomb you into thinking that things will be different this time around. Don’t bring up my past patterns of abusive behavior, because you’ll then recognize that this is a cycle that will just continue.

In any abuse cycle, it’s common for an abuser to engage in a hot-and-cold cycle where they periodically throw in crumbs of affection to keep you hooked and to renew hope for a return to the honeymoon phase. This is a manipulation tactic known as intermittent reinforcement, and it’s common for an abuser to terrorize you, only to return the next day and act like nothing has happened. When you do recall any abusive incidents, an abuser will tell you to “let it go” so they can sustain the cycle.

This form of abuse amnesia adds onto your addictive bond to the abuser, also known as “trauma bonding.” According to Dr. Logan (2018), “Trauma bonding is evidenced in any relationship which the connection defies logic and is very hard to break. The components necessary for a trauma bond to form are a power differential, intermittent good/bad treatment, and high arousal and bonding periods.”

6. You’re the problem here, not me.

Translation: I am the problem here, but I’ll be damned if I let you know it! I’d rather subject you to personal attacks as you bend over backwards trying to hit constantly moving goalposts and arbitrary expectations of the way I think you should feel and behave. As you spend most of your time trying to fix your fabricated flaws while always coming up short of what I deem “worthy,” I can just sit back, relax, and continue to mistreat you the way I feel entitled to. You won’t have any energy left to call me out.

It’s common for abusive partners to engage in malignant projection – to even go as far as to call their victims the narcissists and abusers, and to dump their own malignant qualities and behaviors onto their victims. This is a way for them to gaslight their victims into believing that they are the ones at fault and that their reactions to the abuse, rather than the abuse itself, is the problem. According to Narcissistic Personality clinical expert Dr. Martinez-Lewi, these projections tend to be psychologically abusive. As she writes, “The narcissist is never wrong. He {or she} automatically blames others when anything goes awry. It is very stressful to be the recipient of narcissistic projections. The sheer force of the narcissist’s accusations and recriminations is stunning and disorienting.”

7. I never said or did that. You’re imagining things.

Translation: Making you question what I did or said allows me to cast doubt on your perceptions and memories of the abuse you’ve experienced. If I make you think that you’re imagining things, you’ll start to wonder if you’re going crazy, rather than pinpointing the evidence which proves I am an abuser.

In the movie Gaslight, Gregory causes his new wife to believe that her aunt’s house is haunted so she can be institutionalized. He does everything from rearranging items in the house, flickering gas lights on to making noises in the attic so she is no longer able to discern whether or not what she’s seeing is real. He isolates her so that she is unable to gain validation. After manufacturing these crazymaking scenarios, he then convinces her that these events are all a figment of her imagination.

Many victims of chronic gaslighting struggle with the cognitive dissonance which occurs when their abuser tells them that they never did or said something. Much like reasonable doubt can sway a jury, even the hint that something may not have happened after all can be powerful enough to override someone’s perceptions. Researchers Hasher, Goldstein and Toppino (1997) call this the “illusory truth effect” – they discovered that when falsehoods are repeated, they are more likely to be internalized as true simply due to the effects of repetition. That is why continual denial and minimization can be so effective in convincing victims of gaslighting that they are indeed imagining things or suffering from memory loss, rather than standing firm in their beliefs and experiences.

The Big Picture

In order to resist the effects of gaslighting, you must get in touch with your own reality and prevent yourself from getting entrapped into an endless loop of self-doubt. Learn to identify the red flags of malignant narcissists and their manipulation tactics so you can get out of disorienting, crazymaking conversations with malignant narcissists before they escalate into wild accusations, projections, blameshifting and put-downs which will only exacerbate your sense of confusion. Develop a sense of self-validation and self-trust so you can get in touch with how you really feel about the way someone is treating you, rather than getting stuck attempting to explain yourself to a manipulator with an agenda.

Getting space from your abuser is essential. Be sure to document events as they happened, rather than how your abuser tells you they happened. Save text messages, voicemails, e-mails, audio or video recordings (if permitted in your state laws) which can help you to remember the facts in times of mental fog, rather than subscribing to the distortions and delusions of the abuser.

Engage in extreme self-care by participating in mind-body healing modalities which target the physical as well as psychological symptoms of the abuse. Recovery is important to achieve mental clarity. Enlist the help of a third party, such as a trauma-informed therapist, and go through the incidents of abuse together to anchor yourself back to what you’ve experienced. Malignant narcissists might attempt to rewrite your reality, but you don’t have to accept their twisted narratives as truth.

References

Evans, P. (2010). The verbally abusive relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond. Avon, MA: Adams Media.

Greene, R. (2004). The art of seduction. Gardners Books.

Hasher, L., Goldstein, D., & Toppino, T. (1977). Frequency and the conference of referential validity. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 16(1), 107-112. doi:10.1016/s0022-5371(77)80012-1

Martinez-Lewi, L. (2012, November 10). Narcissist’s Projections are Psychologically Abusive. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from http://thenarcissistinyourlife.com/narcissists-projections-are-psychologically-abusive/

Logan, M. H. (2018). Stockholm Syndrome: Held Hostage by the One You Love. Violence and Gender,5(2), 67-69. doi:10.1089/vio.2017.0076

Simon, G. (2018, May 11). Overcoming Gaslighting Effects. Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.drgeorgesimon.com/overcoming-gaslighting-effects/

Stern, R., & Wolf, N. (2018). The gaslight effect: How to spot and survive the hidden manipulation others use to control your life. New York: Harmony Books.

Warshaw, C., Lyon, E., Bland, P. J., Phillips, H., & Hooper, M. (2014). Mental Health and Substance Use Coercion Surveys. Report from the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health. Retrieved here. November 5, 2017.

7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You, Translated

66 Comments

  • Jennifer

    Upon reading this, I felt my chest open up, like I was finally able to catch my breath. My mother has been gaslighting me for most of my adult life. A few years ago, I started logging some of the worst conversations and statements so that I could look back and have more certainty that she actually made them. She really does make me feel like I’m nuts. 2 days ago, I mentioned to her on a phone call that I had signed up for a dating website. She told me that no one would want the burden of a relationship with me (I am on disability with an autoimmune disease). I repeated back to her what she said. I asked her if she meant that and if that could ever change. She confirmed and said maybe several years from now, but probably not. I said that her words were offensive and hurtful and that I had to end the call. When she called today, I told her I was still upset. She said that I had imagined these statements and made them up from 1-2 words that I “didn’t hear right.” Among other things, she said she was tired of my cognitive dysfunction and having to deal with my “aggressive outbursts.” I KNOW what she said, but in the face of her stark denial, I can’t help but question myself, even after this behavior has gone on for years. She is my only caregiver, so walking away isn’t possible. Reading this, at least, gave me some comfort.

    P.S. Today she also told me that a year ago, she found one of my written logs. She said that I had lied about everything she’d said, and she threw it away. Why would I lie in a private diary!!
    Reply; I feel for you. My husband’s elderly mom is a borderline narcissist. Her MO is to talk constantly about herself, how people admire her appearance, her wonderful ‘desserts’ that she makes out of canned items dumped in a pan and smothered in marshmallows, and how pathetic everyone else is. The last two are fairly new, but the first two have been a theme for 10 years or more. She’s going downhill mentally and now criticizes little things such as our toaster, our coffeemaker, the fact she can’t find things that are right in the bathroom of our home when she stays here, our choice of a different grocery store, a different restaurant than she is used to, etc. is never ending.
    She insinuates that we have no money (we do) and that my husband has never had a good job (he has) despite his being incredibly talented and multifaceted as a person. She criticizes her other daughters to me and I am sure she does the same about me when she is with them. She is unable to keep friends unless they are poorer, sicker, etc. so she can look down on them.
    My husband has given up talking to her since when he tries to tell her anything about our life and so forth, her eyes glaze over. She then changes the subject back to herself, her neighbors, the cashier at the store who admired her hair, etc. She can’t even remember that our daughter’s dog is male, not female.
    She’s not mean, but so self-absorbed that it’s becoming unbelievable. I consider it my act of charity to put up with her, as her other daughter who lives nearest here can’t.
    Reply; stop. please. stop.
    stop doubting yourself, your experience, your thoughts on it while it happens and looking back.

    You should find strength and re-assurance in the straight FACT that you dO allow faults to be possibly on your side, you dO have ability to self-investigate, self-reflect and take blame or accountability. THAT my dear, is a guarantee that you won’t quickly abuse (unawarely even) that position in an argument. Reading your words, show me a character that would probably be someone i could trust with the position to judge my deeds rightfully.

    Remember, this trait IS exactly what makes you also prone for narcissistic manipulation, although it’s a trait this world badly needs more of. Hold on to the light dear, and fight for what is right. At the same time, do not let them steal your mojo ??
    Reply

  • Marieattheendoffriendship

    It is a welcome relief to know that I too am not alone in dealing with narcissistic people. Its a shame that these types of people exist to bring others down because they are the sick ones. I feel anyone that has gotten away from these types of people are heroes to look up to for those that are still trying to break away from the hold.I did it…It took, the last straw, enough is enough, one to many times saying…I don’t believe you said that to me,and if you don’t remember what you said, I do. I was going to school to be an addiction counselor when I finally broke free. I thought this female friend would never hurt me the way she did. I did not see it coming after knowing her trauma as a teenager that she she told me in confidence, after almost 20 years of friendship. Well I’m working on my 4th year with no contact.

    She saw one of my daughters at a public place and was told of my husband passing away and, she has been trying to connect with me ever since, through social media and her church member that I used to talk with too. No I can’t go back cause it hurts to much to even think about what was said and done.

    From someone that has been on both sides of the fence….get away as soon as you can cause it feels good not to be part of the game they play to make themselves feel good, when they need intensive mental health therapy.

    Thank you for this article that explained the different signs of narcissism. It refreshed my memory as a layman and a mental health person.
    Reply

  • B

    I have went thru pathological gaslighting,I am a survivor of the most evil monster I’ve ever known.For over fifteen years of my life,I was slowly mulited that you dont even realize until you are so worn down,so sickly and dead inside you realize what’s going on,I remember after research of this behavior that gaslighting was even a term,I couldn’t believe there were others out there that had been going thru what I was,I light went on and from then on out I got myself out in the nick of time and ended up at a DV shelter where after 90 days they helped me get on my feet but I’m still paying the price after being out of this abuse and it’s been over a year.I felt there was no way out,i felt so sick i truly believed i was dying and didn’t really care anymore either.I excepted my life was over,I’d become so manipulated that I was completely reliant on them finactuly,mentally and was so blind.I lost my vision temporary a short time after getting out,suffer with nightmares and I dont socialize with anyone.Being in the shelter was the first time in several years I felt any relief,I was constantly being reminded to get out of my room and be around others but after getting my own place I’m back to isolating.I dont believe most professionals cant relate,unless you’ve gone thru you cant explain it,the pure hell that destroys inside and outside.It eats your gut,my stomach is still a mess,when I wake that’s the first feeling I get.my depression has been so bad and I keep asking myself how do I heal,I feel it’s to late,theres to much damage.my answer to u is if anyone is going thru this now is to leave asap.I had no way of taking care of myself but DV did save me.I still dont see anyone professionally and I have a overload that sometimes feels like I’m drowning in this pain,theres so much how do u explain this hell,when u try to get it out u cant express this kinda abuse.thats where I’m at.And along with PTSD and depression I feel like I may have a trama bond because I still wish it wasnt real and could have it normal.Even looking at the truth,I was told what I was seeing wasnt real,I was crazy,I needed help.You do feel crazy after years of it but the confusion part is being loved by that person while at the same time their sucking the life out of you behind the scene.GET OUT!!!
    Reply; I am so sorry you went through this pain and horror B! I hope you are doing all right now. Agreed with your advice to leave as soon as possible if you are in this type of situation!
    Reply

  • Thomas Clark

    Excellent article. I am more than a year free and clear of “the experience”, and I have become a reluctant expert on the signs and pathology of narcissistic abuse. Part of my recovery involved learning all the terms associated with what I endured. It was cathartic to link all the self-centered and deceptive behaviors I put up with to peer-reviewed, clinical definitions of emotional abuse. The version I dealt with was surgically subtle: she turned her deception and infidelity into my jealousy and paranoia through triangulation, stonewalling, and leveraging the truth bias. These people are dangerously ill. I believe this article has perhaps the best summary of the evil and deception of which these narcissists are capable.
    Reply

  • DeOnna

    Husband never apologize or right a wrong. Just plays like nothing happens. His grown daughter being rude and disrepectful to me, chucking spit, as i dont have children, because shes angry at him for not raising her and never made her apologize to me because the police was involved but its ok for her to pop up in town and do whatever she wants to do, basically, stop drop and roll for her when it makes me feel anixious when it comes around.All i want is my apology and ut going on 4yrs but she wanna spend time with her ” daddy” at 30 yrs old
    Reply

  • Peanut or just nuts

    All these things are exactly what my husband has been telling me for 12 years since I caught him having an affair. I’ve been seeing a psychiatrist since and been on medication. Maybe I’m not crazy. Maybe he is.
    Reply

  • Dawn

    I fell in love with a guy who came to us during the time my brother was murdered. I have been married for 20 years. I became unhappy during this time and questioned my marriage. Needless to say, I left my husband to be with this guy. He had all the right things to say. He said things to me I wanted to hear. A lot happened during the time I was with him. The biggest thing was the talk about my brother’s murder everyday. “Who did it”, “why” , “where” and “something going to happen with it today”. Get me spiked that someone would be arrested over it. It’s still an everyday thing. Someone new killed him all the time. Now his own kids has killed him is what is told to me. I have since moved back to the home with my kids. This guy wants me to come back to live with him. My mind is so clouded, and confused. I can’t think straight. I don’t know what to do or think. This guy says he loves me and I am the key to his safety. Because he thinks whoever killed my brother will kill him. And that I can keep him safe. He tells me “I have left him there to rot”. That “I don’t love him”. But I do love him. But I was missing my kids and needed to come back home to them. There is 600 miles between us. This guy has exhausted me. I can’t get out of bed. I cry most of the day. I am so depressed. I have packed my car 12 times to go back to him. I get two hours away from my kids and start to have high anxiety and stop at a gas station to sit for hours crying trying to decide what to do. This guy still try’s to get me to come back, along with a new person who killed my brother. He has even said I was involved with my brother death. That I am against him and trying to get him. It’s up and down daily. I feel sorry for him. I love him. But miss my kids. If I know new information about my brother case, he goes crazy until I spill my guts with the information. This guy doesn’t keep a job long. I been paying the phone bill. He has no car. He blames me for him not being able to work because he has no ride to get to work. He paid my car off of $1800 and says I owe him. But i cleaned, cooked, took care of him, fixed up his place really nice, took him and his son to work during the four months I stayed with him. I pay on a phone for him in my name, but now I find him texting other girls, at the same time asking me to come back to him. I am overwhelmed with anxiety and not sure what to do. I am so confused.
    Reply; Sorry to say, but this Should be an easy one.

    Not meaning to be derogative, i mean, that in every way you are obviously dealing with a person with a serious mental illness, far far exceeding a narcissistic personalitydisorder. Run for safety.
    There are many flags such as delussions and extensive manipulation and control exercise, to an absolute abnormal degree. If i had to gamble my money, i would say psychopathy or sociopathy, which would also explain finding many narcissistic traits.

    I do not know you, but reading your lines here made all my alarmbells go off , run baby run, and dont look back. This is far exceeding personality disorders only. Do not doubt the illness of this person and the illness of your desire to go to him. Please be responsible as you have kids, and they will need you, and you will need you, untill the day that you die.
    You cannot be there for him, because it goes at the cost of you, the source. So, illogic to do so.
    Emotions blocking you from clarity and making choices you keep?
    Remember that that is an effect of his tactics, of which half you don’t see yet probably, as you can never relate to or understand the working of his mind.
    Stop needing anything external to validate you or make your choices.
    Simply make your priorities clear to yourself, and act accordingly, undualistically.
    Thats the road to salvation my dear

    goodluck, u can do it
    Reply; Upon reading your text for the 3rd time, it dawned to me, is it anywhere possible this guy actually killed your brother?
    Sorry for the heineous remark, but somehow, it would be the only explanation for his obsession with it, and the ease with which he switches in suspicion, actually showing he never means it serious, which i think would only fit the one who knows who did it. Maybe my logic doesnt apply here, but in a way, it would also explain why he gets so anxious when you seem to have new information. On the other side, he might be just badshit crazy

    stop his spell on you, and take matters in your own hands. Be a mum
    Reply

  • Mary Wright

    Hello Shahida,
    I enjoy reading what you write about narcissists. I am along with my brother victims of narcissistic abuse from when we were children, it is my mother. My poor dear papa was put thru hell, he died at 67 not a well man had polio at 21. Had a brilliant mind but was always being put down and used by my mother because he was very qualified in several areas. Brilliant at maths, played the flute and oboe.
    My mother tried to have me committed to a pysco hospital because she wanted rid of me, l was in early 40’s. I have suffered 53yrs of pain in my head nerve damage on right side because of gymnastics accident. There is a lot more l am now 70 she is 96 l no longer have anything to do with her she has told the most dreadful litany of lies about me when we were together.
    What you write is helping me enormously, thankyou.
    Reply

  • Kimberly Berry

    This article was on point I survived a narcissistic marriage of 11 years. I executed my plan and divorced him. Still hv some residual pain but remain hopeful.
    Reply

  • JW

    I am wondering if there might be advice for my situation. My N and I have been married close to 24 years. He is 16 years older.
    Terrible crazy making years due to my not fully understanding he was a N.
    He now has failing health, allienated all those in his life. Result- lonely, old man. And verbally abusive because he is failing and does not feel well, and has no control or power like he once had. I elect to stay and be his caretaker because to leave would be financially devastating to me He’d trash the place out of spite.
    I have spoken to him about the boundary of not ok to speak badly to me, or he cannot stay in the home. He will back down, but really hates me. Selfishly I do not want to send him to a assisted living and drain our bank acct. I actually want to take care of him. Yet, how can I continue to care for him when abusive language is not OK?
    I am a caretaker by nature.
    Am I crazy?
    Reply; JW late reply,

    Just found and read most of this site. I too am a carer, dementia wife, now in my 7th decade. Bottom line, you need to decide the value of your (the carer)’s health, vs. the baubles of wealth. Not easy but health really comes first. Wealth being not so much what you have but rather what you spend. A simple life can still be a happy one when living at peace. As a carer see about getting a power of attorney or what ever you have in your country. If the home is joint names this will help. Is there a free legal service available where you live? But consider this, it’s all down hill from here so seek wise council as soon as possible. But tread carefully re: extended family. It’s easy to loose every thing. Again unbiased advice even out of town if need be.

    And no you’re not crazy.
    Reply; …”health vs. the baubles of wealth”.

    P…R…E…A…C…H…!!!!
    Reply

  • Adrienne

    A very thorough description of behaviour I have unfortunately had to endure. I thank you for helping me gain the knowledge I need to start to heal.
    Reply; I am so glad it was helpful Adrienne! Thanks for reading!
    Reply

  • Sea Witch

    This describes my mother to a tee. Growing up with her, I felt like a nothing, a nobody. I’d feel I was going crazy because she’d deny saying or doing something that I knew darn well she had.

    I now have no contact with her, haven’t for almost 30 years. I feel so much calmer knowing I don’t have to deal with her ever again.

    On the plus side, I truly believe that I’ve been able to avoid getting caught in long term relationships with narcissists due to learning about this behaviour from an early age. I’d break up with a guy at the first hint of this. Until I met my wonderful current partner, whom I’ve been with for 30 years, I only had short term flings.
    Reply; Similar thing here. I eventually left ‘home’ and went no contact when I was 25, after several failed attempts (I had become homeless). I still attract narcissists though, whether as landlords or as employers. Several of them have tried to have a sexual relationship with me, it’s tiresome. Didn’t work, I’ve been single my entire adult life, I’ve never even had a boyfriend. I think the ‘normal’ guys are frightened of my mother (she’s still stalking me – when I was still living in France, she would find out where I live and turn up at my workplace, or tell my neighbours I was a prostitute etc.) and the only guys who don’t mind are people who are themselves narcissists.
    Reply

  • Patricia

    OMG, this is my former boss exactly!! Because it was a job, and not a personal relationship, it was easier to keep emotional distance – always thinking, “I don’t even like this guy, but it’s a six-figure job, so I can try to work with him.” Also having grown up with a verbally abusive narc, I could recognize the signs quickly. The best day was giving him my letter of resignation – it took him a full 10 minutes to stop stuttering and put a sentence together. After that, all the pins and needles I was constantly physically feeling from the anxiety of dealing with him were gone. I always say – I didn’t quit, I escaped.
    Reply; Narracists love a confrontation because they are so manipulative, and great with story telling winning is impossible.
    The only way to beat them is not play their game, keep them at a distance, recover and make your life better.
    My ex neighbour unintentional helped me move into a studio apartment that is rare in my city of Auckland, New Zealand. I have a tenancy until i retire in eight years.
    My only regret is not punching my ex neighbour in the face, that would have been so satisfying.
    Reply

  • Michael F.

    Another way a narcissist will gaslight you:

    They’ll ask an accusatory question and then before you can get one syllable out they’ll say “DON’T LIE!”

    Translation: they’ve already decided that you’re going to lie and nothing will convince them otherwise.
    Reply

  • Lynette

    I took to keeping a diary so that my ex couldn’t change facts and say they never happened. This absolutely enraged him and it became unsafe to do so.
    Reply; I’ve had the same experience with several employers! They would get absolutely mad if I took notes during disciplinary meetings!
    Reply

  • Jyoti

    “Gaslighting” as defined here seems similar to “scapegoating”. It’s always the other person a narcissist blames when they feel challenged or diminished. And they always KNOW their perceptions are correct. There’s no inner reflection or consideration – no possible discussion to clear the air in search for the truth. I grew up with narcissists. They always feel rejected when in fact, they are not. Then they feel the need to reject. It’s a terrible psychological state.
    Reply

  • Laura Phillips

    TWO PETITIONS — PLEASE READ, SIGN, AND SHARE PETITIONS: https://www.change.org/p/american-psychological-asso-and-congress-must-address-emotional-and-psychological-abuse-as-a-crime-europe-recognizes-emotional-and-psychological-abuse-as-a-crime-u-s-needs-to-stop-turning-a-blind-eye-to-this-type-of-terrorism
    NEW PETITION TO CONGRESS DATED 03¬18¬2019: CONGRESS PERMITS ONLY 800 CHARACTERS IN THE DESCRIPTION. THEY WILL NOT DISCUSS AND ISSUE UNTIL IT RECEIVES 100,000 SIGNATURES IN 30 DAYS. PLEASE READ, SIGN, AND SHARE THE PETITION TO CONGRESS: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/parental-alienation-and-emotional-and-psychological-abuse-need-be-criminalized-other-countries-countries-0
    Reply; This abuse must be labeled for what it is s. It is a crime against another. Even turning a child against another parent or guardian. The more that’s know the sooner we will have the knowledge to make this the huge crime that narcissistic is..
    Reply

  • Robert Semel

    What are some of the specific behaviors narcissists do to pressure, manipulate, or exploit others? Like, would a narcissist pressure a friend or partner to steal for them, commit some other illegal activities for them, use drugs with them, etc.?
    Reply

  • Nicole

    Oh my gosh. My Ex narc has been gone for 6 years and heard all these things but my father is a narc as well and have heard all these phrases said to my mother throughout their 50 years together. When they first got married, she came home and he had sold her car then convinced her to quit her job. Years later after something terrible happened in his law practice ( embezzlement) and not sure if it was him or his bookkeeper who had major signing authority, my mother wanted to leave him. Her family said no don’t do that because divorce would cause shame to the family and that the children needed a fatter. Bull! He left my mother for a few years to go work elsewhere then came back and He beat my mother, beat the three oldest kids myself included, tried to choke my mother and once kicked her in the stomach as he was playfully coming down the stairs. Then convinced her to have 2 more children. It’s no wonder I met a narc loser. Thankfully I got some help and read up on narcissism so I wouldnt make the same mistake again. My mother knows exactly how I feel and that she is foolish to stay with him. She doesn’t have the guts to leave him. He steals her income tax refunds, won’t let her see anything regarding taxes, tries to get into her personal account and steal money and then once played games with her by taking her new drivers license from mailbox where she had to go to dmv 3 times. I don’t trust him and he is a thief. She claims she stays because she wants answers to what happened in his business but I tell her she is so naive because she doesn’t know this man. He is secretive about everything and won’t give her money. She is not allowed to buy groceries. He has to do them. He has money and spends it on himself and she lives off old age checks which is nothing. Now he is trying to get her to practice online banking to try to get into her account . I told her on Mother’s Day to change her arm card and I will drive her to the bank. She doesn’t really know how to use the internet and is 74 years old. It’s really sad and whoever is reading this, please please please don’t let yourself become my mother. She has no self value or self worth and has lots of excuses as to why she didn’t leave. Her family took care of us for 20 years while he stood by and took other jobs and kept his money to himself. I really do hate him and don’t have much to do with him. I don’t trust him and never have. Get out now while you can! If you have children, do not let them suffer narcissistic abuse. I have many issues and have depression and anxiety. I would go to school with a black eye at 15. I once got beaten for eating leftovers at 16. I once called the police and my mother told them it was the younger kids playing with the phone. Don’t let this be your life or your children’s lives. Our life has been ruined because of him and always wished I had a good father. It’s dysfunction beyond extreme and even his own mother told my mother to run. He is a total control freak and has been successful in breaking her down and being compliant. I can’t make her see otherwise but she always complains to me. I hope he dies soon so we can all move on. He is almost 80. I hate saying that but I hate what he doesn’t to my mother who is a good person and came from a good family.
    Reply

  • N

    It’s tough to face the reality, I have been in a relationship with a narcissist for over 20 yrs now. Only in recent years have I begun to see this bond as an abusive relationship. I am an empath and nurturer at heart and my partner has taken full advantage of this. He plays on my insecurities and makes me question my reality. Once I gather the gull to call him out there is a huge verbal fight, which involves calling me crazy, jealous, negative etc.. then the next day he wipes the slate clean like nothing happened. Every point made in this article is absolutely true. Now that our children are at the age of reason, I see his manipulation towards them. I am working on the courage to end this toxic relationship. This is especially difficult given our history ( not all times are bad) and children.
    Reply

  • Sasha

    Wow this is so true… my ex N would abuse me like this all the time ….. I would see and feel the obvious signs of him cheating and when I confronted him he would respond saying, “ you think you know?” It was never a flat out NO I am not cheating but I knew his disappearing acts were just that but he wore me out so bad mentally and physically that I grew numb . I totally lost myself and really started to feel off center that maybe I need to check into a mental hospital. The psychological abuse they put you through is like no other. I have had break ups in the past but none that have left me this impaired and scarred … I am getting better day by day and reading these articles and comments let’s me know I am Not Alone … The hardest thing to get over is the fact that you truly loved someone that would plot to kill your heart, your mind , your spirit, your will …..but I know that no one gets away with hurting someone else… what they do to you- they already have done to themselves
    Reply; You nailed it. The fact that someone you loved and trusted would insidiously work to break their partners mind, heart, soul, and spirit really is unfathomable to me. I’m sorry you and ANYONE had to be subjected to the calculating evil bullshit of these people. Separate from them now people and you can surely become whole once again.
    Much love and blessings to everyone here.
    Reply

  • JO-ANN FIJAK

    Thank you thank you thank you. I will be following everything you write from now on. I have needed this. You hit the nail on the head. It is what I have been going through for ever with my abuser. No more. GOD BLESS YOU. I am so grateful.
    Reply

  • Kathy hewitt

    Being in a relationship with the insidious effects of gaslight can feel like ur crazy. It’s like trying to complete a jigsaw with the pieces upside down. Slowly pulling u into the abis of darkness of self doubt, self blame, guilt and loss of ur identity. Suffocating under the control. Feeling like a mouse being biffed around the kitchen floor by the cat. Only ever seeking to make them happy by loosing everything that makes u who u are. It’s often hard to see whilst ur there and it’s not till ur away that you can start to heal. Then there’s dealing with the trauma bonding!
    Reply

  • C

    My mum (the narcissist) is unfortunately so clever that she won’t send texts or emails to me and I know this is because she doesn’t want a ‘paper trail’ of evidence. She insists I phone her and she only phones me. Although I have managed to record some of her calls, juggling my cell phone, switching the sound recorder on while trying to hold a normal conversation with her, is very difficult.
    Reply; there are many apps that record phone calls automatically. I have one called CUBE acr and its saved me so many times… not only for stuff like this… but if ive forgotten something important… or if someone is insistent someone said something and they didnt, or vice versa, theres a whole record of EXACTLY who said what. its perfect.
    Reply

  • BD Cerridwen

    You left one out, one I used to hear from my abusive, narcissistic father; “Are you sure…”. It would undermine my self confidence and cause confusion that I did not know what was real and what was not.
    Reply

  • M

    You nailed it!!! Reading through each one, I could hear his voice saying those things to me and I realised at the end I had been holding my breath.

    When I have been questioned at work, ‘How can a Police Officer be a victim of domestic violence?’, well this doesn’t leave a physical mark but a psychological and emotional one. And can be done over the phone, behind closed doors, at work, in public. It never stops.

    Thank you.
    Reply; Same!!! Oh. My. God. Hi ???? M – I’m also M! I was going to comment on so many of the comments written here but I wanted yo fist read all them as to NOT possibly repeat myself! But yours really hit me hard when you described realizing you weren’t breathing! I’m still tense and holding my breath with terror that I’m gonna get in ‘trouble’ for doing anything ‘imperfect’!! AND the truth is – I’d risk any chance at having a joyful life in the near future with the confidence that I’m starting to grasp that I’M NOT CRAZY after all!!! It actually helped me to finally get it through my head that it’s not personal! Isn’t that nuts?! I could’ve been anyone. I was just the board game ♟ piece that he didn’t lose so that he could win! Which could’ve easily happened if I hadn’t seen articles like this and learned about what was happening to me. I’ve been separated from my husband who I was in relationship with for 25 yrs!!! (A quarter century!) Married for 12 of those. We have a 6 year son. I’m only NOW beginning to gather my evidence to begin my divorce process after almost 2 years of more gaslighting and covert psychological abuse and being smeared! I’m actually grateful it took this long now that I’m armed with this knowledge that clearly defines what ‘ACTUALLY’ happened. It is the twilight zone in real life. So cruel and evil and more cold than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s so creepy. Once I let go, and grey rocked him. He AND his whole family have dug their own graves while I act aloof and stupid. 6 months ago I would’ve signed, accepted any menial settlement just to be out of this purgatory. One of my favorite quotes has always been… ‘Trust the Timing of Your Life’. I still DON’T have a lawyer but I’m confident the evidence I’ve collected will attract the appropriate one now. It’s extremely exhausting to constantly be looking over your shoulder and being more perfect than ever before because you can’t let your guard down as they will convince everyone that you’re the abuser or alcoholic or incompetent and dangerous parent. While they literally get away with murder and appear to be the victim who needs coddling! My husband currently resides with a mutual friend of ours who got divorced right before our separation. We used to double date with this friend and her now ex husband who was/is also a disgusting predatory narcissist. Forgive my long windedness! It’s just such a relief to a community that actually understands from experience! Nobody understands! Not even therapists! My friends try to encourage me by telling me that I need to confront him and get him to pay for a lawyer for me because “he’s behaving illegally” and that it’s so reasonable to “just tell him what is fair”. ?????? It’s not like that! I hope my rant resonated and makes sense to anyone here. I could go on so much more about what my last year and a half has been like… But the details would be so long it’d be a book that was turned into a suspenseful movie, and then a miniseries on HBO. Can I just get some validation and justice. Sending love to all of you in my boat.
    Reply; am also. M. I have been with my husband for over 18yrs. But have only been married for almost 3. My ex husband was a narcissist and violent physical abuser. I lived with him for 8 years before I fin ally got the nerve to leave him for good. I stayed married, however, for 28 yrs, 1 month and 10 days. Simply because I didn’t want to make that mistake again. Then after living with my current husband for 15+ years, I figured I knew him, really knew him, and so I got divorced and five months later was married again. The first year and a half were the happiest of my entire life, relationship wise. Then, out of the blue, he started cyberstalking me by using my phone, and tablet to literally track my every move. He used old emails that were mine to hide the things he was doing and so if I ever figured things out and tried to show people what he was doing it would appear that it was me doing it. After all everything I did find was buried in emails that were under my name. Every text, ph call, memo any kind of correspondence between myself and anyone was recorded sent to his devices at the same time they were sent or received by mine. For the longest I would pick up my ph and hear my camera shutter go off. I am not tech savvy by any means. But after months of digging and 10 phones in as many months it became clear he was at the bottom of it all. I was devastated. When I would confront him he would lie to my face accuse me of being the one to cyberstalk myself to make him look bad. Since I was the only one always on my devices. I soon realized he 2as on drugs. I have had my own experiences with addiction, so it was easy for me to pickup on his “unusual” behaviors. Again when confronted he would lie, even when I found drugs in our bed room on his side of the room in the floor as I 2as making 5he bed. He said it must be yours. Although I had just been released from a mental facility only 3 hrs. earlier and hadn’t been there for the last 72 hrs. Because I couldn’t tak3 living like that and constantly considering suicide, I went to my boss and HR manager and told them what was happening and how ideas feeling(suidial). And the helped me get into a crisis facility. I could go on for days on the things he has done to me and the lies he continues to tell me. I did end up back at the facility once more, but have become determined to not let him beat me and my psychi to that point ever again. I know there is a good man in there some where I’ve seen him loved him, made love to him for 16yrs before all this insanity began. And I pray he will return to me again some day.
    Reply

  • Rebecca M Jimenez

    This is not a comment but a question how or where do they learn to do this. My husaband has never heard of gas lighting but he knows how
    Reply; I believe it comes “naturally”. My mother has all but destroyed my life completely, all while playing the victim and hero. She wasn’t raised that way, my grandparents are wonderful people. But to some degree she felt neglected or emotionally abused by them. I believe because of her own mental illness she believes, truly, that she is the victim and that how she treats her victims is fair or deserved. They need to be the center of everyone’s universe and if not feel justified. I think it’s trial and error how they learn to do it. My mother started with me very young and had plenty of time to hone her skills by the time I was a teenager. I think she actually can’t help it because she honestly can’t see it and believes her own craziness. The only way to end it was to end the relationship.
    Reply; Thank you so much for this article. # 6 in particular develastated my self esteem. I believe that my husband is a covert narcissist. When you talked about bending over backwards to meet an arbitrary target so I don’t have time to realize what he is doing, I got chills. 5 years ago, I decided to disengage from him as much as possible for that reason. Articles like this are so validating. When I stopped trying to please him, because I realized that he couldn’t be pleased, I experienced so much guilt. This article reinforces that I did the right thing. Next step is to leave but it has been difficult. I can relate to 5 out of 7 of the points. I guess that’s as much confirmation as I will get.
    Reply; So true, I’ve been abused from my wife who comes from s long line of them, her mom, her grandma all were/are verbally, physically, emotionally abusive. I’ve had my wife physically attacked me 5x, the verbal never really stopped, I would get the daily F*”k you, the you’re a Mother Effer, a POS. This is even after almost 4 yrs of marriage counseling and she admitted it all. I did file a police report for 1 of the 5 attacks but I should have had her arrested for all 5 but I felt guilty. Now I’m in a divorce custody case, she hasn’t let me see our 2 little girls in almost 9 months, after 2 weeks of her mom verbally and physically abusing our 2 sons when my wife took all 4 kids she at least knew will her mom was going to escalate and let me get them. Our boys are 11-13 and we’re traumatized by her mom and my wife one this was all happening and sat there and did nothing while her mom screamed at my 10 yr old son calling him a coward because he wouldn’t agree thaty side of the family- my dad, mom, stepdad, stepmom were bad, evil, losers, the devil when all 4 of our kids all they knew for grandparents was my parents as in over almost 14 yrs never sent a bday card, never once asked for pics of the baby’s, kids or ever asked to talk to our kitchen D’s on phone. Ever. Now I’m in a divorce- custody battle and trying to get her dragged back to our home state for the divorce case as she filed our state and went to her mom’s thinking I have zero rights as a dad. I know this case is going to get ugly and I’ll probably lose but I do know and it breaks my heart our sons know what’s up and I feel bad that our sons don’t feel they have a mom. It’s sad, they have been in therapy since I got them home and go every week. What’s terrible is I’ve asked my wife to get our girls into therapy but she she refused and my wife is a Social Worker, I’ve asked her wouldn’t you tell any of your clients to make them do therapy? She ignores it, my gut feeling is she oniw if they go to therapy the counselor will find out about the parental alienation going on by my wife’s mother. It’s a mess.
    Reply; This sounds like my story. Except when I stopped engaging completely, he found someone else. 14 years of marriage, and this is how I was treated. I moved 4xs for his career. Only to be chewed up and spit out like a bad piece of meat. But, I won in the end! For I have my sanity back! I’m still going through the divorce process. Writing up a settlement. He’s in a hurry to divorce. So hopefully he will sign.
    Reply; Alicia, I’m so sorry. What sucks is I finally ha e my our girl’s up in my house after 11 months she kept them away and wouldn’t let me see them all while our older boys she pushed them away just to have control with our little girls but we finally signed the parental visitation schedule and I lucked out in that I get 2 extra weeks so 5 weeks for the 1st visitation this summer as her parents, my kids Grandparents dont want to watch our boys while my wife works so she is only going to have them 1 week while she takes off work. It’s sad. Its demoralizing to realize 15 yrs of marriage to find out that she cant even defend her own children from her parents narcissistic behavior but in one way it wakes me up that if a mother cant have unconditional love or loyalty for her kids how could she ever have or been loyal as a spouse you make a life commitment to. All I can do is be there for the kids. We are having a blast this summer!
    Reply; Raven I have just started doing the detachment thing and no longer dance to his tune. Can you tell me how your husband has been in the last 5 years after you stopped trying to please him? I’m unsure where things will go now I have changed how I relate to him
    Reply; @Caroline I am still married but things are very different now. I belong to a culture where divorce is a last resort. At first, he reacted quite badly. He was unfaithful and then not. He went through many cycles of attempting to love-bomb me and devalue me. He is not a violent or aggressive person, luckily. Eventually he decided to give me the space and time I requested, and that he could do without my input. Now, he still tries to manipulate or bully her me at times, but mostly we limit our interaction to what is necessary.
    Reply; “…all while playing the victim and hero…”

    OMG – to me that is such a key point. I’ve discovered my wife texting/flirting and more with four different men over the last few years. But SHE’S the one who’s unhappy, you see? She sacrifices everything for the family. The problem is that I won’t trust her, not that she’s betraying my trust. The problem is that I won’t let go of old issues, not that we’re talking about a betrayal from a few days/weeks/months ago.

    She’s portrayed me as unstable to friends and family. She is the poor, helpless, misunderstood victim. She is incapable of taking responsibility for her actions. She has a sense of entitlement to do whatever she wants and feels that if she gets caught it’s me “stalking” her.

    I’ve been married 25 years and I don’t know if my wife has always been a gaslighter, but I now see how much of one she is.
    Reply; WH it might be wise to get away from her for good. Sounds like she has been pulling some truly disrespectful, emotionally cruel and abusive behavior on you for quite sometime. It’s also a good possibility that the things you have actually caught her doing are only the tip of the iceberg. In other words God only knows what she’s gotten away with.

    There is really no excuse for the behavior you’ve described. Now you must ask yourself is this what you want to endure for years to come?

    You’ve described a truly abusive woman it might be time to save yourself my friend.
    Reply; WH Joe is correct i am going through the same thing as you with my wife, it’s like you were written about my life..I been married for 24 yrs and just caught her cheating i knew she was since 2015 however it caused me to have a mental breakdown. And she was using my breakdown to validate that I was the one who is crazy and imaging what she was doing..We are still married due to having a 12 yr old son together thank God she doesn’t mentally abuse him..I know that I have to be physically & mentally detached from her..I have to start the process of getting away from her.I’m sorry your also going through what I am I wish you the best in your life…
    Reply; My ex-neighbour played the victim/hero cards, it was bizarre to listen to him keep repeating stuff to different audiences about how wonderful he was, especially about caring for children. His daughter wouldnt let him near his grandchild unless he was sober. He also had a thing about having lots of friends. He gets himself involved with church groups, and volunteers for activities.
    His hysterical trigger is any criticism from males, this gets him banned from the Church when threatens to kill.
    Reply; Holly – ask yourself if your mom treated you that way in front of others. Did she just treat you that way behind closed doors? Or in the supermarket, place of worship, etc. as well? If it was just behind closed doors, she knew. They are super crafty at appearing clueless as to what they are doing. Again, part of playing the victim. Abuse is most often a choice abusers make and they only do it when they feel safest and there’s not much likelihood of them getting seen by someone who could back you up.
    Reply; Holly: Comparing your relationship with your Grandmother (grandparents), parents one generation removed, with that your mother (parent) had with her mother aren’t comparable. Your neglecting your grandparent’s time with your parent, mistakes made and lessons learned. After all, your relationship with your Grandparents paralleled your parents relationship with their parents, but your relationship was subsequent your mother’s earlier relationship with her mother.

    Not until you establish yourself independent your mother, will you be able to see or hear her without reacting. Your mother was the adult early in your relationship; so, she doesn’t get an absolute pass* but she may have a minor point to consider once you’re done licking your wounds.

    *Mary L. Trump. Ph.D author of Too Much & Never Enough was on Stephen Colbert last night.

    Shahida:

    Enjoyed blog. Read Patricia Evans book about Abusive Relationships in ’05 and your blog great followup!
    Reply; Rebecca they don’t always know that there’s a name to what they’re doing. It’s a psychological/spiritual disorder. I would suggest you see more of Rashida’s videos on narcissism, on youtube.
    Reply

  • Bob

    I like Shahida , when ever I see one of your articles I’m always excited to get to read it.
    this one describes just about my whole experience in a narcissist relationship, if only I would have known some of this a lot sooner, or maybe not, it took as long as it took for me to wake up maybe for a reason. I am still not out of the relationship , any sooner an I wouldn’t have been strong enough to observe what is happening and not play or get sucked into the manipulation. it’s like I’m watching a play on a stage an the actors want the audience to participate, only i’m not doing it. I know that I don’t want to go on like this forever, I want more true intimacy with a deep emotional connection, an I know it will not happen with her. Then there is all the mental an physical, healing I’ll have to do before I can start to achieve this.
    thank you
    Reply; I could have written this word for word myself! I am in the exact same situation. I’m just glad I have finally realised and as you say we no longer play the game. He was the puppeteer but I have cut the strings. Wishing you all the best on your journey to recovery Bob
    Reply

  • AC

    This reminds me of the current psychiatric ‘model’. Good professionals and many patients* will recognise it. The attitude and language of some is nothing short of disgusting.
    Bad genes or bio/psycho/social? It seems to be subjective. To those in the field, and those considering it, who have open-minds and caring attitudes – thank you; with over seven billion unique beings on the planet, your job is no small task. I suspect the genuinely caring ones find it rewarding, and those who see only ‘wrong’ humans are those who become ‘stressed’.
    Peace of mind is priceless. When all parents know about childhood attachment, emotional support and validation, fewer lost souls will be roaming the earth. I take my hat off to those who’ve broken sad generational cycles, and that it happens makes it clear that genes aren’t responsible for everything.
    Family therapy needs to be more of a consideration rather than the seemingly-popular idea in ‘mental health’ today that the receptacles of ‘dysfunction’ are the entire cause; it takes many to do the Hokey Pokey, as it were.
    * patients/patience: waiting
    Reply

  • Josiah Thompson

    One thing that wasn’t mentioned…while the play did alot to bring Gaslighting to the public consciousness, the origins of the technique are far more sinister and older than this. The Nazis used gaslighting when interrogating their prisoners of war, torturing them and depriving them of sleep, food and water while their sanity would be questioned. The interrogators would twist the prisoner’s words and claim they admitted to things they hadn’t until they had no grasp on what was real or imagined.

    These abhorrent, demented acts were done in damp, dark basements, tunnels and even dungeons under…gaslight. Hence the term, which was later repurposed for the play and film.

    As an FYI, the initial use was just as evil as the psychological warfare used in toxic relationships.
    Reply; Josiah, thank you so much for the background on this. I have experienced this for over 34 years, and have recently divorced. I have also recently watched the movie “Gaslight” and as it brought chills to me to see how absolutely in sync it has been, in essence,m to my reality, I kept wondering how in the world the author and screenwriters would have known so intimately about this gaslighting process, especially back in the 1940’s. This is a huge piece of information to me, which I would like to research. If you have any sources for this, please direct me to them. Thank you.
    Reply; Janice,
    Im in it too for decades. I think Im the one losing it and not him. I wish we coykd chat privately, because I feel so alone.
    Reply

  • Holly

    I am in a gaslight marriage, each time I read what the abuser will say or do I live this nightmare every single day, and have noway to get out. I deal with mental Illness already and he magnifies it times 1000, he places things in and outside the home of women’s personal clothing items, I found he had purchased light bulbs that are used with the Alexa app to control things in your home, He would make the refrigerator beep then stop beeping telling me our refrigerator was broke, It’s a new one let me add, Then everything in my home began tearing up so I began digging I knew something wasn’t right, so I found this thing I’m between the door of my refrigerator that had been placed there to control the functioning of my refrig. He has told everyone in my town how crazy I am, he has to me I’m going to have you locked away for a very long time, he will rare back as to hot me then laugh saying I’m just joking, he had picked up a bar stool raised it above his head, coming down quickly like he was going to hit me over the head, stopped right before he reached me and laughed, saying just kidding, He hit me and my son came running in and he tells my son she hit me I didn’t do anything my son calls the police and my husband tells them Everytime he is a victim of demostic violence I’m so depressed and lost nowhere to go or seek help
    Reply; I’m so sorry. ❤️
    Reply; Please pack your things, walk out the door and most importantly never ever return. End this chapter in your life, shut the book and bury it. I understand and know this is far easier said than done but
    this is your life so you can open up a new chapter where you can write the rest of your lifestory just the way you like it to be, with love peace and harmony, but you don’t get to experience life’s simple luxuries when a narcissist tells your storyline, they rewrite you an insanely bleak future, with a promise to rape and crush your soul daily.
    Please know that there is help for you to.escspe this evil abuser and when you are freed, keep turning the pages to a new leaf, of a new ilife, turn the pages grow stronger turn the pages keep learning keep turning get clever become wise. Keep on moving forward and further away from a life made in hell.
    All the power to you !
    Kia kaha
    Reply; Holly, just read your post.

    I just wish to mention the issue with the bar stool as you have described is no joke and no he wasn’t kidding either. It was indeed an intentional act he was able to arrest at the last moment. Please take heed of Lourz’s reply. A life lived with out stress is a happy life.
    Reply; Please look in your local community for a victims intervention center, you can usually get a number for one from local or state police, doctors offices, even the dmv. Most professional offices as well as welfare/public assistance offices have this number displayed and will provide it if you call and ask. Many can provide some sort of counseling, some have pro bono (free) or reduced price legal services, as well as connections for safe houses or housing, they can help you with a ride out when he is normally out. I know it feels as if you can not escape, I know because I have been there, twice! I know you feel alone and as if there is no hope, no help- that is Not the case, that is the result of what he has done to you. The verbal abuse is not only a control, torture, and for them an enjoyment tactic that is used to punish you and eventually break you psychologically, it is to break your self-esteem, your self-confidence, your desire and your soul. It is a way to imprison you without chains and locks. The words Are the chains which lock up your mind, beliefs, and silence your inner voice. The words train you, he will tell you so often something, anything over and over again that you will believe it as fact. Please, please call for help! Yes they’ll help your son as well. His abuse is escalating, I understand this from my experiences as well, this escalation could turn deadly. When I left my last abuser, it was after the physical abuse escalated, I left after he got extremely physical slamming me against a wall repeatedly, choking me, and I grabbed him back by the throat for the first time, which resulted in incresed pressure from his hands on my throat while he jerked my neck around so he could again slam my head into the wall. He gave me a moments release on my throat when I heard myself begging him to ” just kill me please, I can’t live like this anymore”… he let me go, I tried to get off our porch when he spun me around and punched me in the face. The force of the punch sent me flying, I flew over 3 steps down and landed face first, on the walkway, the next thing I felt was the tip of his construction boot connect with extreme force into my ass, right at the base of my tailbone. He started back into the house, I crawled to my car, luckily my keys and phone were in my pocket, I had been carrying both 24/7 for months. As I was pulling out, he was coming back out the door with a metal baseball bat! There is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT IN MY MIND that if I would have been outside my car, he would have bashed my skull in! I was lucky that day, although the kick in the ass broke so many blood vessels that what began that day as a purple bruised area the size of a golf ball, turned into a large purple blood marking under the skin that went from my tail bone, covered a grapefruit sized area of my left top ass cheek and my right ass cheek(the side that took the force of the kick) was fully purple, my ass was not tiny either, and the purple extended down the back of my thigh covering it completely, to just an inch above the bend of my knee. I could not sit on that cheek for over a month. Please get out of that environment ASAP!
    Reply

  • Natalie

    I need some help… our youngest son is a gas lighter. He is a master at it. I love him so much but don’t know what to do to make him get help. I can’t just walk away and leave him homeless. He is very intelligent.. went to college, working while doing so, earned his degree had a good job but after learning home got mixed up in a horrid religious cult.. lost his job and has become so bitter. We are keeping him going with his apartment, food etc because he likes to provoke arguments w/me. I’m old and can’t live forever but I am worrying about what will happen when I and his father pass away. I’m so sad and heartbroken over this.
    Reply; You have to accept that you cannot control someone else. Your son will never change as long as you keep enabling his behavior. He knows this and is using it to his advantage. It is not a bad thing to walk away from an abuser, no matter how much you love them. As long as you keep allowing someone to abuse and take advantage of you, they will continue to do it. Set boundaries, and if your son refuses to accept your boundaries, walk away. There is nothing more you can do to help him.
    Reply; I have been estranged from my adult daughter for over a year. Actually, for 11 years. I cut off all communication a year ago. I couldn’t understand her behavior, which became increasingly hostile over time. She has lived at a good distance from me all these years, refusing to visit me, demanding that I visit her. When I did so, her abusive behavior became more and more toxic. The accusations, the demands, the put-downs, the blaming. Conversations that began and ended with “What kind of a f*****g moron are you?” because I didn’t agree with her assessments.
    Her father, from whom I have been divorced for over 15 years, is the same way. And yet she was not like this until around age 20. I have no idea who, a dozen years later, this person is. Until one of my close friends said to me. “I can’t stand watching your daughter destroy you. She is killing you”, and I had to acknowledge that reality, I couldn’t find it in myself to cut her off.
    I don’t know where she is or what she is doing. I have loved her more than anything in my life, and given her all that was best in me to give. It serves no one to let myself go into her darkness. I pity her more than anything. I would do anything to help her, but it is beyond my ability to do so at this time. I continue to read, discuss, attend meetings, try to understand. There is an undercurrent of sorrow to my life, and she is it, but at the same time my life is the best it has ever been. I am my own person. I like who I am. I have much to offer and I do so freely. If it never gets any better than this, I am still grateful.
    Reply; Thank you for this. I have saved your last paragraph to remind me of my abusive relationship with one of my siblings. When I read them, I know I am doing the right thing by not being in contact with her. It’s hard, but I know it’s right.
    Reply; maggie, im a mom of two and i know how much you gave to your daughter you fed her you loved her you made sure she was ok woke up with her at night, its so sad that she has treated you this way, its not fair but you are so full of love give it to someone who appreciates you. it is a fear of mine that my children will be fucked up one day despite the love i gave them, hold on to the good years… hold on and let go..
    Reply; That’s part of your son’s problem and your’s. You’re enmeshed with him. Let him be. He’s an adult. He’s capable of finding a way to figure things out. See a therapist. It will help you to separate and your son to individuate. Namaste.
    Reply; I am sorry to hear about how you are being manipulated and used by your son. I am a psychologist, and I have seen many people in this situation over the years. I had an adult stepson who was like this, and his father was enabling him for a while. He was really good at making it seem like he was “really trying” to find a job and get on his feet, but as long as he was being enabled, he had no incentive to get his act together. He ended up stealing from us and taking the items to pawn shops and swap meets. When he was finally cut off from being supported, he magically got his act together and got a job. It is so hard for parents to let go in these situations. It sounds like you are basically being held hostage by your son’s ability to create feelings of guilt and obligation in you. People who use others will keep doing so as long as they are allowed to get away with it. They will play the eternal victim. Mothers are unfortunately “the perfect target” because they feel that they can’t bear to “give up” on their adult child. One way to think of this: You are not really helping your son by continuing to support him. You are reinforcing his belief that he cannot make it on his own. You are keeping him from having to take personal responsibility for his actions, which is the bedrock of being an adult in the world. You deserve to be free of this manipulation and guilt, and to live your own life in peace. One thing to realize: when you cut him off, he will ratchet up the guilt trip to try and keep you hooked in. You have probably already experienced this many times. It is often necessary to go “No Contact” after cutting off a relationship with a narcissist, because they are relentless with their manipulation. It can be painful, but you are already in a lot of pain as a result of trying to meet his demands. If you aren’t already seeing a therapist, it could be helpful to start seeing one in order to have support for this process. If you do, make sure to ask if the therapist is knowledgeable about narcissistic abuse, because many are not, unfortunately. Best of luck to you in finding peace in your life.
    Reply

  • Dawn Sullivan-Jimenez

    This is 100% accurate. I would and could with evidence, witnesses, anything necessary, testify to get my husband (live 2.5 hrs away from him because I’ll die if I dont) to answer and pay for what he has done to me.
    Reply

  • Asher

    Good article. After all that I experienced with gaslighters (ie. malignant narcissists) and observed and heard about them, it really bothers me that this endemic problem doesn’t get public attention on news and media outlets. You have disease outbreaks– like the current one: coronavirus– which always receive global coverage on the news and media, so it’s very disturbing to me that a global pandemic as sinister, ruthless, and virulent as gaslighting (ie. malignant narcissism) continues to fly under the radar from one decade to the next.
    Reply; Great point, Asher! The epidemic of this type of devastating psychological and emotional terrorism must be spoken about more and exposed. It is harming so many people and often victims don’t even realize what they are going through and blame themselves. Thanks for reading!
    Reply

  • Nora Sullivan

    Having lived with a diagnosed narcassist( by 2 Dr)
    I was broken down to point of a full blown nervous breakdown. Anyone trying to divorce one just know they will use any form of abuse especially in court by financially breaking you. Even after if you have children I beg you to please get them specific counseling on NPD abuse or children of a NPD. My children have excelled AFTER I found specialists on you tube of all places. But the majority of them hit the nail on the head compared to reg therapy from someone who has little experience w NPD ABUSE. I physically SURVIVED but barely make it thru the day and still suffer the aftermath and it’s been years. Good luck to you all.
    Reply

  • Tamila Griffeth

    My boss (woman) is a narcissist. I and my fellow employees feel helpless because no one we can go to believes us. It’s very oppressive.
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  • AS

    What are the odds of a person receiving all 7? Well you can count me as number 1

    It wasn’t me who realised what was going on. I thought it was me with the problems but no, my bitch of wife messed me up good and proper. I’d never ever heard the term gaslighting. It was my therapist after talking pointed out what was going on. Her ringing words were she could become very dangerous if I wasn’t careful.
    Reply

  • Anne Kane

    Outstanding outline of what to expect if a narcissist comes a-calling, or worse still (perhaps, because comparisons are unhelpful), if a family member provides all the introduction one might ever wish for as to the wiles of these geishas of emotional destruction. Can’t wait to read the book.
    Reply; I am so glad you found it helpful, Anne! Thanks for reading!
    Reply

  • John

    As concerning the abuse through supposed jokes. They also use questions. Then when you try to defend yourself they’ll say “I was just asking a question.” As if that justifies the abuse.
    Reply

  • J swanberg

    I have been abused by 2 people that have been gaslighting me for years and they have not stopped. They are feeding off of each other and it is my Niece and my sister. ( They are not mother or daughter. ).
    I know when they lie because I have decided to write a Journal and to right down what they have said and I have decided to record them also.
    Both of them are doing this so they can take control of my mother.
    What gets me is my sister is a psychologist and she knows better not to do this and she does not care. My Niece has been doing this since 2009 telling me she wishes that her grandmother dead and her grandfather alive. She Denys it. The same with my sister. She told my mother that she wants 2 people dead and that is my older sister and me.
    I will not let them to control me. ??
    Reply

  • Pollyanna

    I hired a narcissist employee. She tried to dominate other people to the point I got complaints and put a stop to it. Then she started lying to make herself look more important, smarter, and kinder than anyone else. Other employees complained about her lies but I had to stay neutral.
    Finally she told me she had donated $25K to our company’s non-profit foundation. This was so extreme (she has been bankrupt and a single parent driving a 15 year old car) that I called her on it. She went into attack mode, saying ‘prove it’ and I just let it go, but after that she realized her BS was not going to work.
    She truly believes she is a kindhearted, admirable human being. She thinks she has extraordinary conceptual abilities and brilliant ideas. Nothing she’s ever suggested was useful or original. She will never change but at least I wore her down to where she doesn’t annoy everyone.
    Reply

  • Jawaharnarang

    Though it has been done with very much sensitive information and hardworking process .it contains so many mind opening thoughts. I wish to give my special thanks to you for your nice article and God bless you dear.
    Reply

  • Nina

    Almost 1 year of little to no contact from my ex BF narcissist abuser and yesterday texted me happy birthday. The phone block expired…made the mistake of engaging him and thanking him for the birthday wishes. He almost immediately went back to his usual bizarre behavior. Fortunately, things went bad quickly and I blocked him again. I have been like a new woman since breaking up with this psycho. Calm, peaceful, happy, content to be alone with just my pets….he didn’t want to hear that. He absolutely mentally tortured me for 6 years. I cried almost continually. He was a great actor. Would buy nice gifts, cook dinners….then I had to pay. Won’t go into it as the abuse tactics were constant and it would take pages to explain. My advice to anyone dealing with a person like this is to block them, go NO CONTACT if you can. If you have kids together, you have to go gray rock…..don’t take their bait!!! They are waiting for you to take the bait. They are waiting for you to snap and lose it on them. That’s their weapon. To make you look like a crazy, evil, horrible, mean, idiotic person who can’t even tie their own shoes. They are very sick. Get far away if you can. They are very dangerous. I feel fortunate that I got away unscathed and have my sanity back.
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  • FamilySnyder

    My mom and step dad did this to me. I freed from my step dad in 2011 when he died. My mother I cut off two years ago. She did everything and more to me, my sister, my dad.
    Reply

  • Emily Wells

    I’m single (thank God after reading this article) but what has me intrigued is that I see what you have written here in action in every relationship I have ever observed.

    This regardless of how long the relationship lasted, or is lasting, including those that have stood the test of time i.e. 30, 40 and even 50 years. I have observed this behaviour mostly from the male partner, but also from the female partner. Thinking about this perhaps those relationships where it is the female who is the perpetrator, we except her behaviour by just proclaiming that her male partner likes being ‘bossed around’ and is enjoys being ‘hen pecked’.

    I guess from my awakening I now have two questions: Do 50% of the population have narcissistic tendencies, at least to some degree? and; Are those who are not narcissists predisposed to from relationships with narcissists?
    Reply

  • michelle

    you could add another one to the list: “I’m just trying to make you a better person”.
    Reply; Damn, I got this too. He would also say, “honestly believe you’re just that stupid you don’t even get it.” …..Get what? That I saw through your bs and called you out on it?!? Then he would flip it and say I was a raging narc and I am deflecting. Then send me narc posts. Definitely makes me question everything in my life.
    Reply

  • Mari13

    Hello,
    I don’t know where to start.I was in a very toxic relationship, it was more verbal than physical.I was in this crazy relationship for 19 and a half years.i finally left him about 3 months ago.We have 4 children.My oldest lives with him still, she’s 15.
    The other 3 are currently living with me.I live in another state right now, and the legal system here in this state is not helping me. I filled a restraining order 3 days after I left him , and they dismissed my case , so after filled against me,and he calls me here and there to harass me, and to make threats that he’s taking my kids away soon.
    I’m like literally walking on eggshells. Now I’m living with my parents, and they have been supporting me, and helping me out with my kids.
    All I want is for him to leave me alone.The time I lived with him he was controlling, jealous,and he would accuse me, would criticize me for everything.He would accuse me , if a guy would look at me, or when I would do my makeup, hair , I couldn’t leave the bathroom door shut, I had to unlock the door when I would shower….
    It was becoming uncomfortable.I was very stressed towards the end, because I felt like I had to run away.His family never liked me, they also verbally abused me and he would not do anything about it, his excuse was he didn’t want to put himself in a bad situation “, but this went on all 19 years.Now I take high blood pressure meds,I’m 37 years old!!i currently stopped taking antidepressants! Theres so much I’m going through right now.This literally ruined my life to a point were i feel numb, and I can trust certain people.My advice to any one going through a toxic relationship is to please , please don’t think twice, don’t feel sorry, if you know in your heart that it’s wrong , please walk away from the relationship, and don’t be afraid to get help.The longer you wait , the worse and hard it’s going to get!!And most important remember to love yourself!!!
    Reply

  • Angel

    Id like to add the phrase “your so controlling, why wont you just let me do what ever I want?” to the list.
    Reply; So true! I was accused of being of being the crazy jealous controlling psycho and nothing could be farther from the truth. He was describing himself. I was constantly put down. He used to tell me you have no friends. And yet he never allowed me to have friends of my own. Anyone that I knew in the last six and a half years that knew him too I know I cannot trust anymore. He called me controlling and it had only begun to escalate in the final throes because he wanted more freedom to betray and humiliate me further.
    Reply; My mother was exactly like that. From kindergarten onwards, she banned me from having friends. She wouldn’t let me go on play dates with kids who lived on the same street, or in the same building (when we lived in a block of flats). She would claim that the kids or their parents might have a bad influence on me, the parents were not from a good enough social class for us (my mother was a French aristocrat and lived off her family’s wealth, and my father’s salary – he didn’t live with us, he fled after only 4 months of marriage but unfortunately she was already pregnant with me), the parents did not have ‘good’ political opinions, they didn’t go to church, the mother wore blue jeans, the father wore bermuda shorts, the older son’s hair was too long, the older daughter was allowed to wear trousers and to go out shopping etc. on her own.
    If I did managed to make friends with another kid at school, my mother would do everything in her power to put an end to the friendship. She told one of my schoolfriend that her father should be sent back to Algeria (he was born there but he was French and Caucasian, not Northern African, Algeria was a French colony at the time), she told another of my schoolfriends, a refugee from Chile, that Pinochet was a great man and that we needed someone like him in France, she told yet another schoolfriend, a refugee from Vietnam, that her family should have moved to another country in South East Asia, as they would never ‘fit in’ in France because of their physical appearance. In some cases (the girl from Chile) the friendship lasted only a couple of days.
    This made me extra hard for me to leave my family when I was in my 20s as I had no friends to ask help of, I was completely isolated.
    Reply

  • ccf

    It’s been really hard to accept that a person I care so much for has all these behaviors of a narcissist. He played the victim because of the struggles he goes through as a law enforcement officer. He has discarded me a couple of times when i questioned his behavior of disappearing constantly from me and used me in very abusive ways, He said he does things his ways. I have been in a extremely confused state of mind that affected my everyday simple things I was used to. Thank you for this excellent article, it is very helpful, my faith, therapy and a lot physical exercise is what is healing me from this painful heartache and confusion.
    Reply; I hope you’re away from him now because the gut wrenching truth is that they are so very scary and dangerous and their feelings are so nonexistent they’d shove their own child in front of a bus if was gonna save them. It’s so scary when you finally realize this because narcissists are siblings of serial killers and pedophiles. They don’t care who they harm and they charm everyone with the same words and make us out to be crazy. They usually have something to offer as well cops with mental health problems that nobody can prove is devastating! My husband rode with biker cops who were more dangerous than any thug I could have encountered in a dark alley. I dealt with the worst sexual harassment verbally threatened even screw things up somewhere legally speaking like they got a word into someone. My husband let his buddies hurt me and even drop drugs in my drinks and would put testosterone gel in my hand sanitizers!! I had so much happen to me and was paralyzed with fear just like with my father to keep my mouth shut. Eventually I’ve hidden and gotten further away but I’m not improving very fast and extremely hyper vigilant and can barely complete a sentence without stuttering. I just locked myself away but my family thinks I’m being worthless and just get over it. I fell apart 2 years ago roughly and finally admitted outloud all the details of my childhood abuse to learn at the very same time I married a man and his friends was just like growing up with my dad and grandpa!! I hate my guts!! But I as disgusted as I am with myself I still desire that rescuer. When out and about I’m disgusted with the being hit on so obnoxiously point being is the couple dates I’ve had I just know a narcissist so well and exactly what they are gonna say and even respond to comments I say to test on them and as sweet natured as I am worried about everyone’s feelings but mine plus so shy, I’m so numb that I’m able to to be rude outloud now and it is sooo invigorating wow!!! Like I’m a sick way I’ve enjoyed my couple encounters with them because it’s fun to call them out finally and to know how not to get stuck with another one:) sorry about your situation my point was just to say that he will promise swear get all sweet and romantic with you but is capable of saying and doing exactly the same thing with the lady next door if he’s trying to gain something for only himself. My husband told like 9 women they were his soul mate and I married him twice. Just wanna spare any agony. Good luck and god bless, Jen
    Reply; It was mentioned that it isn’t known where the Malignant Narcissist comes from, But i am Confident that is what love was for them from home beginning in childhood!. They were continually told lies & tactics I.e.gaslightjng to lower their confidence /self image and sense of self!
    Reply; It was once hard for me to accept but it’s true! I was taught, “don’t believe wat U want it to be but what it IS…!” I wish I had more Knowledge when I encountered red flags!
    Reply; I’m VERY scared to hear that someone like this is a policeman! But sadly, I’m not surprised. What other profession allows you to push people around like this? I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses his home life as an excuse to be abusive on the job, just like he used his job as an excuse to be verbally abusive at home.
    Reply

  • Stacy

    I agree with this post but I do disagree with the part where it mentions remember: the one who has something to hide hates being interrogated. My ex narc interrogated me, his kids, his ex all the time. He would DRILL us like we were on the witness stand. It drove me insane. His kids and I dreaded telling him anything because he would go on and on convinced we were hiding more details. That was because he was always hiding something. Hard to unlearn the 4.5 yrs of the gaslighting damage. I am a shell of myself and I can’t remember ANYTHING anymore. So scary. I feel like I am losing my mind half the time. 15 days no contact!
    Reply; Narcs are like that. Because they lie and manipulate all the time, they suspect others too do likewise
    Reply; My experience too.
    My mother would search my room (like in Escape from Alcatraz) several times a week. She didn’t allow me to walk to the mailbox, even though she was really lazy, she walked there herself and opened ALL the mail that was addressed to me. She wouldn’t let me use the phone and if a school colleague called (to know what homework we’d been given) she would listen in on the conversation. I wasn’t allowed to get out of the house on my own – even as an adult. I wasn’t even allowed to go in the bloody garden all by myself, and the doors of the house were always locked (and she had the keys and when I was in my 20s she had bars put on all the ground floor’s windows). If you watch the Black Mirror’s episode, Arkangel, that’s what my mother would have dreamt of.
    Fast forward to my 20s, 30s and 40s, I’ve left my mother, but I’ve had a series of landlords (especially landladies) and employers (managers, team leaders, company directors) who behaved just like my mother. Constantly spying on me, following me to the toilets at work, following me out on the street during my lunchbreak, dropping in on my at the weekend to see what I’m up to, and of course calling to check on me… They want to be your friends on Facebook, and they get real angry if you don’t pick up the phone when they call (or if you leave it switched off) outside work hours, and of course if you won’t give them a detailed timetable for what you did last weekend/last evening, including what you ate. I gave up being honest, I now lie… I’ve also been asked for the login details for all my social media accounts, emails, and even bank accounts… because they ‘care’ about me and are ‘worried’ about me… My foot…
    Reply; Truth lies in the details. The original statement said they hate being interrogated. They absolutely love questioning our every move but HATE being questioned on absolutely ANYTHING! Kings and queens of all things petty without a shred of accountability in them. Should come with a warning label that reads “best when used sparingly or not at all and extremely dangerous for your health if exsposded to long-term”. just reading this stuff triggers me. after reading a lot of the comments I can’t help feeling a lot of the people posting replies are narcissists in disguise. Like maybe this material reaches more narcissists than the people it’s intended for. That’s a scary thought but after what I’ve learned and observed on my journey it’s not a thought I’d bet against. Please excuse if my experience with narcissism has let me a bit jaded and robbed me of my sunny disposition
    Reply

  • Dorian

    I have experienced this behavior from my sister..I was always aware of some type of mental illness from my sister but as I became my mother’s caregiver, this is when her crazzee escalted. When I did not supply her, that is when she sought family to discredit me. I often read about romatic relationships, but can you address the family dynamic and how sisters and other siblings portray these behaviors as a child in sibling relationshops? I knew as a child that something was wrong with my sister, and as an adult her behavior escalated with bad choices and decisions. My mother was a saint so she did not get any of these traits from her. My dad wasn’t a bad person but a person who di not make good choices but by no means was he evil. So where does it come from and how to detect these types of behaviours in a family?
    Reply; Maybe it was just some form of childhood abuse experience, or unrealistic expectations, they called it ACE: https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/
    Reply

  • Nanny R

    My life story. From parents, to ex husband. Single 25+ yrs, when it all started again. My ‘happy family’ (me, adult kids in their 30s + grandkids all living in same home) rented a room to a young man…within days I knew it would end badly. Within 3 months, My oldest 2 estranged from me, now over a year since I was ‘blocked’ from their lives and the grandchildren I helped raise for 16 yrs.
    It was seriously like living in a bad movie. I went 1,000 miles away, ended up in homeless shelter. Getting back on track, but at age 57, not easy. I’ve aged /10 yrs in last 15 months. The damage is widespread…are they ever held accountable?
    Reply

  • Alice

    I just found out my husband has brain cancer- but he was doing things before- I am not sure if it’s in my head.
    Reply

  • Shalee

    Two more :
    1. Everyone has problems … yeah, this is common, so many others are dealing with this. *Used for the purpose of invalidating your pain by diluting it in the ocean of humanity, thus effectively shutting you down*
    2. Stop talking about it, you are causing your own self-fulfilling prophecies by focusing on them. *Making you feel like you are only wanting attention by being dramatic about things you are purposely creating yourself, thus effectively shutting you down.
    Reply; Tamika you are the first time I’ve read ‘ you are creating a self fulfilling prophecy’ just as my ex would use. All communication from me was ‘nagging’ both used to shut me down and deflect responsibility.
    People with this condition are incapable of empathy and therefore true connection/relationship to others.
    The world exists solely to serve their needs and interpersonal interactions are translated simply as transactions that support their grandiose sense of self or any departure from the script is perceived as a threat. My ex was paranoid that I was plotting evil against him; effectively I was married to my enemy because he imagined that everyone is like him: plotting and manipulating oucomes to benefit ones self and ‘win’. It results in bizarre behaviour as he reacts to imagined hostilities. Blaming and accusing and retaliating to imagined intentions is crazy making . Creating chaos is part of the arsenal. Never allowing time to reflect or respond, just on the back foot; tied up reacting and coping.
    I recognised when our daughter was young that she was regarded like a pedigree house pet; making him feel important. Extracting approval and status from others with the title of father. We were both regarded as reflections on himself so any disruption by our own needs or requirements of him was irritating and treated like mutiny/betrayal and he became the victim.
    Reply

  • Judi Atwood

    Why do the States ignore the complicated conditions of Narcs and Psychopaths? Are we advancing in terms of Criminal Justice and are we relying on these people to help compensate the states in regards to victimizing the victim?

    How many victims of psychopaths and narcissist end up having a financial impact or a criminal justice impact to them after being victimized.

    In Boulder County Family Court they are unable to recognize the devastating impact to children whom are born to psychopaths instead they enable them and I got to think the judges are intelligent enough to see it. Are the judges giving children to psychopaths and narcissist knowingly because they perversely enjoy seeing victims being destroyed?

    Judi Atwood
    2013DR30319
    Reply

  • Rahul Kumar

    I love this article about “7 Gaslighting Phrases Malignant Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths Use To Silence You”.
    Thank you so much.
    Reply

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