Does it seem like your significant other is constantly making you question yourself?
Though they may not say it out loud, they consider themselves perfect and act as though you are causing all the problems in the relationship.
You thought you were a good partner, but now you’re not so sure.
If so, you might be a victim of gaslighting, a form of emotional abuse.
Read on for gaslighting phrases in relationships that narcissists commonly say.
What Are The Kind of Things Gaslighters Say?
One of the first signs of gaslighting in a relationship is how your partner speaks to you – their tone of voice and their words.
Maybe you’ve noticed that you are berated or dismissed every time you bring up a concern within your relationship.
The following are some gaslighting terms that will help you better understand the speaking tactics they may use to manipulate you.
- Stonewalling: This tactic is an amplified version of the silent treatment. Gaslighters will refuse to engage in conversation or play dumb to avoid discussing things. They might also withhold affection as a way of punishing you.
- Denial: Gaslighting narcissists willfully deny any wrongdoing when you confront them. They will flat out lie and double down on their denial to avoid facing the consequences of their behavior.
- Deflection: This tactic is when a gaslighter changes the subject to avoid topics they don’t want to talk about. It’s also common for them to purposely and intentionally misunderstand the issue.
- Trivializing: Gaslighters love to minimize your experience and make you feel your feelings and emotions don’t matter. They will use this tactic to make you feel unimportant and like your concerns are trivial.
- Countering: This is a tactic gaslighters use to question the victim’s thoughts and perception of events. They may question your depiction of what happened and accuse you of remembering incorrectly.
31 Common Gaslighting Phrases in Relationships
It’s not always easy to tell when you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship. Watch out for the following common gaslighting phrases if you suspect your partner is a narcissist.
1. I never did that.
A common trait among narcissists is they refuse to take accountability for their actions. If their behavior hurts you, their first instinct is to deny so they can convince you it was all in your head.
2. You remember things wrong.
If you confront a gaslighter about their behavior, and they can’t see a way out of it, they will often try to convince you that you simply remembered things wrong.
3. I only did that because of you.
Another common tactic is to convince you that their behavior was your fault. They will take the blame off themselves by saying that you were actually the problem all along.
4. You’re always twisting things.
Gaslighters try to get in your head by persuading you that your perspective is twisted. They will make you feel like the manipulative one in the relationship.
5. You make no sense.
If all else fails, a gaslighter will just play dumb. Using a phrase like this allows them to derail the conversation entirely.
If they act like they don’t understand, you have no way to further discuss the issue with them.
6. All you do is try to start fights.
Every time you bring up something bothering you, they accuse you of always starting drama for no reason. This tactic is a way to divert the attention from the issue at hand without dealing with it.
7. Why are you so sensitive?
You try to discuss things calmly and rationally, but you’re constantly accused of being “too sensitive.” This is a gaslighter’s way of attempting to condition you to accept their bad behavior.
8. You always do this.
This phrase aims to make you feel like you’re being difficult for no reason. Then, in the future, you’ll be more hesitant to bring your concerns to the table, which is exactly what a gaslighter wants.
9. Why are you like this?
If you are dating a narcissist, they will say things like this to make you think something is wrong with you. You’ll start to question your behavior until you wonder if maybe you’re the abusive one after all.
10. I guess I just do everything wrong.
This phrase is a sarcastic attempt to shut you down whenever you bring up how they’ve done you wrong.
The purpose is to make you believe that your expectations are unreasonable.
11. I just won’t say anything at all then.
You call out your boyfriend for talking rudely to you, and he hits you with this phrase. This language is his way of giving you the silent treatment to punish you for calling him out.
12. Why can’t you be a normal girlfriend/boyfriend?
When you say something a narcissist doesn’t like, they will turn the situation around on you. They do this by making you feel like you aren’t normal.
13. Why are you so crazy?
If your partner is a narcissist, they will deflect and deny it whenever confronted with their poor behavior. They will call you crazy to plant the seed for you to start doubting yourself.
14. You always take things the wrong way.
You confront your partner about something they said to you that hurt your feelings, but they tell you that it’s not what they meant.
This excuse allows them to continue using hurtful words while making it seem like your feelings aren’t valid.
15. It’s always something.
Maybe your partner frequently crosses your boundaries or does things that hurt you. Instead of taking accountability, they make it seem as if you’re always trying to create problems for no reason.
16. You’re so ungrateful.
When you’re upset with your significant other, perhaps they say things like, “After all I’ve done for you, this is how you treat me?” They’ll make you out to be ungrateful to avoid consequences for their actions.
17. Nothing ever makes you happy.
Your demands are perfectly reasonable. However, if you’re dating a gaslighter, they use this phrase to convince you that you’re always asking too much.
18. I guess I’m just a piece of garbage.
Instead of owning up to their wrongful behavior, narcissists often make themselves out to be the victim. They want to make you apologize and beg for forgiveness even when you haven’t done anything wrong.
19. If I’m so awful, why are you with me?
This phrase is a subtle way of blaming you for their actions. They reason that if what they were doing was really all that bad, you would have left already.
20. You’re ridiculous.
This statement is just one of many gaslighting phrases a narcissist partner might use to make you out to be crazy. You are entirely sane, but they make you feel like you’re losing your marbles.
21. Don’t put words in my mouth.
Your partner implies something hurtful without directly saying it, but what they meant is loud and clear.
When you call them out on it, they accuse you of putting words in their mouth even though their intended result was obvious.
22. You never listen.
Gaslighters often use this phrase to manipulate your perspective of reality. They will convince you that you came to an incorrect conclusion because you didn’t listen closely enough.
23. Why are you always overreacting?
A gaslighting partner will convince you that your emotions are overreactions, even when they are not. It’s is just another way of slowly eroding your sense of self-trust over time.
24. Can you hear yourself?
You’re tired of your partner’s continuous bad behavior, so you eventually snap. A common gaslighting technique is to wait until the victim has had enough and their emotions bottle over.
They hyperfocus on your reaction that was only a result of their mistreatment.
25. I’m not arguing.
This statement is a stonewalling tactic gaslighters use to withhold their feelings. They avoid the argument entirely by giving you the silent treatment and refusing to engage in the conversation at hand.
26. It was just a joke.
Here is a classic manipulation tactic. Maybe your partner said something that upset you, so you let them know it hurt your feelings. They brush your feelings under the rug when you bring it up by excusing it as a harmless joke.
27. It’s not a big deal.
Minimizing is another way a narcissist will try to convince you you’re overreacting. They want to downplay the situation so that they don’t have to face the consequences for their actions.
28. What’s wrong with you?
Gaslighters use this phrase to make you wonder if maybe you’re the bad guy after all. It’s another attempt to create self-doubt and make you question your sense of reality.
29. You have issues.
If you are with a narcissist partner, they likely believe they are above you. They will point out all your faults and tear down your self-confidence to distract you from their flaws.
30. You’re way too emotional.
A narcissist will try to spin situations where they are in the wrong by saying your emotions are out of control. They may even laugh at you or get exasperated when you get angry or cry.
31. You need to get over yourself.
If your significant other uses this phrase, they are attempting to knock you down a peg. They act as if you are the one with an inflated ego and selfish nature but in reality, they have those qualities.
If you notice your partner using these narcissist gaslighting phrases, know that this is not acceptable behavior.
You can try to discuss the matter directly first and see if the situation improves. If that doesn’t work, consider whether or not you want to continue the relationship.