Gaslighting phrases that make us doubt ourselves

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Joe Dispenza

Gaslighting phrases that make us doubt ourselves

"It is the fruit of your imagination", "You are beside yourself" ... The person who uses gaslighting is a psychological abuser that we are not always able to recognize.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

The gaslighting phrases that make us doubt ourselves and are not contained in psychology books on family or relationships.

No one has warned us that people are capable of manipulating others, that some like to make others question their feelings, behaviors and thoughts. However, this is a very frequent and highly dangerous form of psychological abuse.

It is paradoxical to use Anglicisms to define certain behaviors, however let us say that in this case the choice of the term is appropriate. Anguish (Gaslight, 1944) is the film in which a Machiavellian Charles Boyer makes his wife, Ingrid Bergman, believe that she has gone mad.

That anguish, the perennial doubt of the female character who questions herself almost on the verge of madness, shows us how far psychological abuse can go. 73 years later, Dr. Stephanie Sarkis published an article in which she tells us about the signs of gaslighting, a practice that appears in almost all human bonds.

Many people resort to it against their partner, even between work colleagues and obviously also between parents and children. Recognizing the mechanisms of this abuse, and therefore taking into account the particular communication style that distinguishes it, is fundamental.

9 gaslighting phrases that make us doubt ourselves

Research conducted by Harvard University recalls that gaslighting is a form of abuse of power. It is practiced by those figures who try to subdue others. To this end, they plan, apply and evoke violence aimed at undermining the identity of the other, emotionally subduing and feeding him insecurities.

It almost always happens within relationships, but it is also quite common in the workplace. Many coworkers may use gaslighting phrases to keep us in check or even minimize our performance and thus get rid of a competitor.

These are undoubtedly very complex and stressful situations. Therefore, it is useful to know the expressions usually used by a gaslighter. We present them below.

1. "I know what you're thinking, you can read it on your face"

The psychological manipulator and the architect of gaslighting is an allegedly experienced psychologist, or a magician! In other words, it will make us believe that it can guess what we think, that we are just an open book and that our expression betrays us.

Furthermore, the mere fact that he tells us to "know what we think" is an attempt at domination. Because in fact what we have in mind does not matter.

Our internal reality doesn't matter, it only matters what the other believes, no matter how absurd it may seem.

2. "The problem is that you are too sensitive"

Among the gaslighting phrases to question the reality of others, this statement cannot be missing. With it, the manipulator tries to minimize the needs of others by making believe that one is exaggerated or drama queen / king.

3. Gaslighting phrases: "Everything that happens to me is your fault"

Blaming others is a resource that is as sophisticated as it is typical of any manipulator. However, trivial as it may seem, it always hurts.

By using guilt, self-esteem is boycotted and the other person feels increasingly insecure about themselves and their behavior.

4. "We already talked about it, don't you remember?"

Denying things is another asset of the gaslighting expert. Telling us, for example, that we have already had the same conversation in the past, that we have reached certain agreements or even more that we have said something in particular (when it is not true) are very common harmful strategies in these cases.

5. "You're overwhelming me with your obsessions!"

Among the phrases of a psychological abuser are: "you are crazy, you pester me with your senseless nonsense, you are neurotic / a".

With these words, not only manages to make the other person doubt, but it also makes her believe that her behavior or way of being is wrong and harmful to the other.

6. Gaslighting phrases: "You are stressed, you don't think clearly"

Another goal of the gaslighter is to break down our mental certainties. It will make us believe that we are not well, that we care about nothing, that we act out of control, that everything we say and do makes no sense.

If you ask for respect or if you ask for something you really need, it will tell you that you are stressed, that you don't think clearly.

7. Gaslighting phrases: "You have to learn to communicate better"

Gaslighting phrases to question the reality of the other are a type of manipulation that undermines any personal area.

Making us question our social skills, our strengths and even our knowledge is the gaslighter tactic.

They will tell you that you cannot express yourselves, that you cannot make yourself understood and that it is increasingly difficult to talk to you.

8. "Can't you tolerate a joke?"

The jokes of the psychological manipulator, far from being funny, cause deep wounds. They will use a stinging irony, a hurtful sarcasm and those comments that, far from provoking smiles, endanger self-esteem.

9. "You are the only person I have these problems with"

"It is clear that there is something wrong, because what happens to me with you does not happen to me with anyone". If anyone confronts us with these arguments, it is clear that we are the victim of a gaslighting.

The aim is to break down all our certainties and make us believe that we have a problem that we are not aware of.


This psychological abuse uses many dialectical techniques. Some gaslighters are so cryptic that it is very difficult to recognize them, especially the first time around.

However, to notice this behavior, it is enough to pay attention to how some people make us feel.

If they can make us question ourselves, what we are and what we are worth, it is best to distance yourself from them as soon as possible.

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