Some Examples of Gaslighting in Relationship

Some Examples of Gaslighting in Relationship
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
Ph.D. Relationship Psychology
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 01-05-2023

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Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or group induces another to doubt their own mental stability, memories, or comprehension of the world. Individuals who are subjected to gaslighting may experience perplexity, fear, or self-doubt, making it difficult for them to trust their own judgment.

Gaslighting is a frequently employed tactic in narcissistic and emotional abuse. It may occur at home, with peers, or at the workplace. It is a common pattern for one individual to consistently gaslight another, which becomes ingrained in the dynamics of an imbalance.

Examples of gaslighting in a relationship include

1. Distracting With Compassion

As a means of deflecting their partners emotions, partners who engage in gaslighting frequently sugarcoat toxic situations with kind platitudes. Unfortunately, this frequently gives their partners the impression that they are overreacting or being extreme.
Examples include:
"I love you so much, and you know I would never intentionally hurt your feelings." or "How could you believe that I was flirting with her when you know I love you and you are my only love?"

2. Minimizing Feelings

Abusers label their loved ones as over-sensitive, too critical, or dramatic. When they cry or show other signs of feelings, abusers will often get mad or make fun of them. Because of this, the partner who is emotionally influenced often feels ashamed and may try to withhold their feelings.

3. Belittling one s achievements

Partners who emotionally manipulate (gaslight) their significant partners often feel intimidated or envious of their partner s success. Because of this, they often put down or question different achievements. For example, they might say things like, "It s great that you got a promotion, but it s too bad you re still underpaid in your role!"

4. Negating the existence of abuse

In situations of physical abuse, the person who did it might just say it didn t happen. They might say that their partner fell, tripped, or hurt them in some other way, or in terms of emotional abuse they can easily convince others of their sanity. Sometimes, they can be so convincing that the target starts to believe their story.

5. Withholding Information

Some people who gaslight their partners will try to manipulate their loved ones thoughts by making them believe they asked them to do something even if they never did. Then, they will become furious with their loved ones for failing to remember. What do you mean, you didn t know? I told you not to disturb me when I am out with my friends. This shows that you don t care enough to listen! 

Examples of Gaslighting Parents

Parents who gaslight their children frequently tell them how they should feel. Any instances of harm will be denied or disagreed upon, and they will make a concerted effort to appear better than they actually are. These abusive parents frequently shame, minimize, or undervalue their child s life events. Additionally, some abusive parents purposefully hurt their kids verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually.

Examples of Gaslighting parents include:

6. Labeling the Child’s Feelings

Sometimes, even when a parent has good intentions, sharing their own emotions with their child can lead to disregarding the child s true feelings in a given situation. This can cause children to feel unheard or unsupported, leading them to suppress their own emotions over time because they don t think anyone will listen or care about how they feel.

7. Dismissing the Reality

Gaslighting parents will tell outright lies about some things. For example, they might say that they never said something or that the child is making things up. They might act like they don t understand what the child is saying. This can make kids question who they are and always feel unsure.

8. Questioning the Child’s Memory

Even if a parent has a different personal experience than a child, a parent who is gaslighting the child will insist that only their version of the story is right. Because of this, children often feel like their experiences don t matter.

9. Blame Game

Most of the time, parents who gaslight their kids blame them for their own mistakes. They might say that a problem wasn t their fault or that the child was to blame in some way. If they do apologize, it s not a real apology. It s more like, "I m sorry you were so upset."

10. Dismissing the Child’s Emotional Needs

It s fine for parents to say no to certain requests, but parents who gaslight their kids are often cruel and mean when they do so. They might say things like, "You re so spoiled" or "Why do you keep asking me for things?"This makes the child feel like he or she is a burden and can make anxiety and depression worse.

Examples of Gaslighting in Friendships

Most of the time, toxic friendships feel very one-sided and unfair. This is because friends who gaslight you are often narcissists, and they generally make the relationship all about themselves. They don t seem to care about how other people feel and often use their friends to meet their own wants. In these situations, friendship isn t about being empathetic or respecting each other. Instead, it seems like there is always a fight for power.

Examples of gaslighting friends include:

11. Manipulating friends to fight each other

Gaslighting friends like to stir up trouble and often make people fight with each other. Most of the time, this is done out of deep jealousy. This friend might start to rumour just to see what happens. They often want people to be "grateful" for the truth they tell.

12. Masking indifference with concern

Friends who try to gaslight each other may play mind games by saying they care about someone else s well-being while trying to bring that person down. The comment often makes the person feel confused, and they start to doubt their own truth.

13. Engaging in Habitual Gossip

Gaslighting friends thrive on gossip because it gives them a sense of being right, being in charge, and having power. So, they often get close to people just to "dig up dirt" on them so they can use that information later as pressure.

14. Emotional Invalidation

Gaslighting friends might say things that make it sound like others always exaggerate or act wrong. They might say hurtful things like, "You don t really feel that way" or "It s not that bad; other people have it so much worse than you!"People often feel hurt and ashamed after hearing these things.

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