What is Gaslighting? How do you know if someone is gaslighting you?

What is Gaslighting? How do you know if someone is gaslighting you?

What is Gaslighting? How do you know if someone is gaslighting you? what is gaslighting? how do you know if someone is gaslighting you?
Photo by Alex Wolowiecki on Unsplash

Have you ever felt as if you were being manipulated, but you weren’t sure what was really happening? If so, then you are probably being gaslighted.

Gaslighting is a manipulative technique that toxic people use to convince you that your perception of reality is wrong. It is an insidious form of psychological abuse that makes you feel so confused and anxious to the point where you no longer trust your own judgments, memory, or perceptions.

Gaslighting can occur in all kinds of relationships, from romantic and family relationships to the workplace. It can be really hard to recognize that you’re being gaslit since it happens slowly and subtly. While some gaslighting behaviors are deliberate, there are a few cases when someone can do it unconsciously and may not be fully aware of their manipulative behavior.


On the other hand, abusive people intentionally use gaslighting to drive a victim to the point where they cannot function independently, targeting their mental stability, self-confidence, and self-esteem to control them as they wish. When someone is gaslit for too long, they will begin to lose their sense of self and think that they are insane, making them fully reliant on the gaslighter’s sense of reality.

Why is it called gaslighting?

According to Christine Louis, author of ‘The Gaslighting Syndrome,’ the term “gaslighting” originates from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. In the movie, a husband deceives his wife (Paula) into thinking that she is going insane so that he can send her to a mental institution and steal her inheritance. The husband (Gregory) tampers with the gas-fueled lights in the attic, which dims the lamps in the house. When Paula mentions hearing footsteps from the attic and noticing the lights dimming, he tells her it’s all in her imagination and that there’s no change in the light’s brightness. He further confuses his wife by seducing the housemaid, and when Paula complains about it, he tells her that she should be friendly and that no woman should feel humiliated by that act.


How do you know if someone is gaslighting you?

The most common warning signs of gaslighting that you can use to determine if you are being gaslighted are as follows:

  1. Indecisiveness: As the gaslighter distorts your sense of reality and undermines your independence, you may find it extremely difficult to make simple decisions.
  2. Constantly Second-Guessing Yourself: Gaslighting leads you to be so unsure of yourself and the reality you’re living in that you frequently second-guess yourself. You may also fear making mistakes.
  3. Excessive Apologizing: You’ve been led to believe that everything is always your fault, resulting in excessive apologizing to maintain peace.
  4. Inability to Explain Your Feelings: Gaslighters consistently dismiss your feelings and instead tell you how you’re supposed to feel, making it hard for you to articulate your emotions.
  5. Denial Even with Proof: Gaslighters continue to lie even when you’re certain and have evidence of what you witnessed. Abusive individuals will lie even when presented with screenshots, leaving you confused and questioning your reality. You might even find yourself wondering, “Am I making things up?”
  6. Incongruence Between Words and Actions: When their actions don’t align with their words, and you’re unsure of what you’re witnessing, you might be a victim of gaslighting.
  7. Feeling Unlike Yourself: You’ll realize you’re being gaslit if you have a gut feeling that you used to be different from who you are now. You consistently sense something missing, even though you can’t pinpoint it.
  8. Believing You’re Crazy or Insane: If you’re constantly questioning your sanity, the gaslighter has distorted your reality to the extent that you doubt your normalcy, reactions, and feelings. They may have reinforced this by labeling you as “crazy.”

Examples of Gaslighting

Manipulative individuals commonly use phrases like:

“You’re crazy.”

“Stop being so sensitive.”

“I never said that; you have a bad memory.”

“You’re always twisting things.”

“You’re imagining things.”

“You’re remembering things wrongly.”

“You’re so dramatic.”

“I was just joking.”

“Here we go again.”

“You always have issues.”

“You’re always making things up in your head.”

“You’re too forgetful.”

“You always get angry over small things.”

“I can’t remember saying/doing such a thing.”

“It must be your boss feeding you lies.”

Gaslighting can significantly harm mental health, leading to disbelief, stress, and hopelessness, especially with prolonged exposure. The best way to protect yourself from a gaslighter is to educate yourself about gaslighting and always trust your version of reality rather than someone else’s. When in doubt, trust what you see and think, as your thoughts and reality might have been distorted by a manipulative or narcissistic individual.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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