You’ve Been Gaslighted

You've Been GaslightedYou’ve been gaslighted if you feel backed into a corner and told you are “too sensitive” for your own good.


If you second-guess your thoughts, re-read your sent email file and wonder if you ought to try to be kinder …

If the mere thought of seeing that person gives you an upset stomach …

If you normally sleep well, but lately you wake in the middle of the night to re-visit conversations, wondering how you could have been so misinterpreted …

If their delivery hurts, but you think you need to work on your delivery …


You’ve Been Gaslighted

If you’ve been told that your perspective is “quaint” or “cute” or “old-fashioned” and that you should get with the times …

If she tries to tell you how you feel …

If he backtracks and denies what you just heard him say …

If you consider explaining this treatment to a friend, but it doesn’t sound flagrant enough to mention, so you keep the treatment to yourself …


You’ve Been Gaslighted

If your pleas for space, understanding and kindness are completely ignored …

If you try to tell her how you feel, and she makes light of your feelings or teases you about “manning up” …

If you look back and remember a time when you felt strong and confident, and realize you haven’t felt that way in awhile …

If you’ve been told that they’ll be patient while you wake up and realize that they are right …



You’ve been gaslighted if you’ve been told you take things too personally or too seriously.

You’ve been gaslighted if you’ve heard on more than one occasion, “I was just kidding!  Where’s your sense of humor?”

You’ve been gaslighted if, after trying to step back from the treatment, the exchanges become “crazier” and you feel manic and out of control.


How to Know For Sure That You’ve Been Gaslighted

If after setting a firm, unconditional boundary, you feel lighter in your step, you no longer need Pepcid and you are able to sleep through the night, you know you’ve been gaslighted.


Trust your gut!

Another is attempting to control and manipulate you.

You are not too sensitive.  In fact, you are sensitive enough to know that you are being mistreated.

You are sensitive enough to know that you’ve been gaslighted!

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  1. Or they tell people behind your back that you don’t know what you are doing then create a situation where you are questioned, doubted, and called “difficult” because you are trying to abide by the rules…

    I do not miss that department at all. I went back once to have a glass of wine with my former boss, who I am fond of, and I felt the tension building inside. I left with a headache and thought it was the wine, but it was really PTSD. lol. Ok, maybe that is an exaggeration, but you get my point.

  2. Z,

    From what I’ve read, that is the very definition of PTSD. I can relate.

  3. This is my whole childhood, right here. The cycle went like this: Mother teased me, I cried or otherwise acted upset, Mother laughed and said, Stop being so sensitive, I was just kidding.

    The Departed did similar things. He was fond of saying, I always said that … followed by something he had NEVER said. Rather more bizarrely, he had a habit of not answering me when I spoke; for example, I’d get home and announce that I was home and get no reply. And I’d either tell him he was rude or keep saying hello until a response came, and he’d insist that he’d spoken. INSIST. It’s just that he spoke quietly, or I didn’t listen, or whatever.

    The day my father was visiting and he pulled that particular stunt, I looked at my dad, who shook his head, no, he didn’t say anything, and then The Child, who was standing there and agreeing with me and grandpa … I called him out and it was actually what prompted The Departure.

    It was his official excuse, at least. I’ve often wondered how he morphed it into some sort of sane, palatable story that made me look like the bad guy, but I know that’s just what he did. I remain, to this day, as relieved I had witnesses as Ingrid Bergman was at the end of the movie (one of my favorites!).

  4. J.,

    That feeling I get when I read a comment from a survivor and the cells in my body stand up and say, “Yes! THAT! That’s it exactly.” (I still think about making a phoenix pin that we can all wear instead of a scarlet letter.)

    I’ve put the kabosh on hurtful teasing in my home. Saying, “I was just kidding” does NOT compensate for hurtful treatment. Oh, don’t get me wrong. We tease a lot around here, but we try not to push buttons or hurt each other.

    I know, too, what you mean about witnesses. If it hadn’t been for witnesses, I’d still be the buffer between my kids and my ex – still doubting that his treatment was every bit as bad as my heart told me it was.

    Thanks so much for being here.

  5. Hmm ..narcissists and psychopaths have a lot in common! The manipulative mean side.
    Best wishes on a new year Jesse.

  6. John,

    Yes, I’ve been learning about those common characteristics – quite scary, really.

    Best wishes to you, too.

  7. Psychopaths are often Narcissists… *shutter*

  8. A minor quibble, but I thought gaslighting specifically referred to that crazy-making behaviour where the narcissist presents you with a different version of reality compared to the one you know occurred.

    I guess I’d draw the distinction that while gaslighting indicates abusive behaviour, not all abusive behaviour is specifically gaslighting.

  9. M,

    You make an important distinction – not all abusive behaviour is gaslighting.

    I would suggest that gaslighting paves the way for the Narcissist to then project, manipulate, control and exhibit all their other abusive behaviours. Once they’ve made you crazy and convinced you that their version of reality is the only version, they’ve got you right where they want you.

    Just speaking from personal experience…

  10. Jesse, your response sounds exactly right.

  11. M,

    I appreciate your input here. It helps so much.

    Thank you. :)

  12. I went back and forth for 11 years with my ex N. I thought about suicide among other things. I wasn’t married and to him it was just a friendship. He had always had 2 women at one time and I saw evidence of that. But the control he had over me was so strong. One day my sister said “why do you stay” and with a mournful look i replied “I don’t know” I can not even say I loved him,it was more of an addiction than anything. Once I found out what he was( a Narcissist) I better understood what I was dealing with. I have moved on and am now 9 months free from him. My anxiety has left,I am getting back to smiling again. I can not believe I lost myself while in this relationship(on my end only) it feels good not to have my phone bombarded with nasty texts calling me names when he would accuse me of things he was doing. Total projection! People educate yourself and seek counseling. Live your life while you can and do not waste any time on these soulless creatures. You will never be loved and if you died today they would not feel a thing , you would be a fleeting thought only. Hard to believe this person in the beginning treated you like you were his/her world but that was just an illusion.Now they are doing the same thing to another. They should be locked up behind bars for the mental torture they create in others.

  13. Diana,

    Thanks for writing and congratulations on 9 Free Months away from the narcissist.

    A very wise person recently told me that my dealings with narcissists have given me an education. I sense you’ve gotten quite an education, too. Spread the word, Diana. Narcissists are not to be trusted. They will never reciprocate. You said it when you called them soulless.

    Wishing you all the best.

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