How To Recognize Narcissistic Gaslighting? Examples And What To Do About It

Last Update on October 3, 2022 : Published on October 4, 2022
Narcissistic Gaslighting

Have you been walking on eggshells around your partner?

Have you been constantly second-guessing your decisions at your workplace?

Well, if yes, you might be a victim of gaslighting, specifically, narcissistic gaslighting. Narcissistic gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse used by narcissists or people with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to manipulate you into questioning your reality.

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder that can be described as someone having a high level of self-importance, a sense of superiority, a lack of empathy towards others, and an excessive level of needing attention from others.

People with NPD or narcissistic personalities can have a high level of confidence and can’t seem to accept criticism – of any kind. On the other hand, gaslighting is another manipulation tactic that is too subtle to notice. This kind of psychological abuse can make the victim feel lonely and confused, and make them question their sanity.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at what is narcissistic gaslighting, what it looks like, and how you can deal with narcissistic gaslighting.

What Is Narcissistic Gaslighting?

Narcissistic gaslighting isn’t much different than normal gaslighting tactics but gaslighting in narcissism can be used for different purposes. For example, your narcissistic partner might use gaslighting to protect their ego or keep their sense of self-importance and superiority intact.

In a relationship with a narcissist, you might often experience different stages. In the first stage, you may begin to trust your partner before they gradually begin their toxic behavior of devaluing you. Gaslighting in a relationship begins slowly and a narcissist may even use love-bombing to gain your trust.

Most of us have experienced some form of gaslighting in our lives, some more than others. Some common forms of manipulation include:

  • Shaming
  • Bullying
  • Name-calling
  • Emotional abuse
  • Intimidation, etc.

Signs Of Narcissistic Gaslighting

Narcissistic gaslighting is not easy to spot as it can be too subtle. However, here are some signs that can help you recognize narcissistic gaslighting:

  • You’re second-guessing yourself more than ever
  • You’re constantly wondering if you’re overly sensitive
  • You feel like you’re losing your control over reality
  • You unnecessarily apologize a lot
  • You’re losing satisfaction in life and are unhappy most of the time
  • You feel like something is wrong but can’t put a finger on it

Some of the common traits of a narcissistic gaslighter can include:

  • They refuse to hear your thoughts or concerns about anything
  • They reframe certain events and blame you for them
  • They insist that you did something that you know you didn’t
  • They scoff or derail the topic when you try to explain your point of view
  • They tell your loved one about how you’re wrong in your actions
  • They often tell you and others how you’re being too sensitive these days

Examples Of Narcissistic Gaslighting

There are many ways a gaslighter may use this manipulation tactic but most of them involve distorting the events, emotional manipulation, and misinterpreting events. Here are some examples of narcissistic gaslighting that you should keep in mind:

1. Questioning Your Credibility

One of the most common examples of narcissistic gaslighting can be when a gaslighter cites your past mistakes against you. They bring these mistakes and undermine your credibility as well as confidence in your skills while giving an excuse for why you can’t be trusted. They also bring these mistakes to the surface because they are aware that recalling them will only trigger you.

2. Denying The Facts

Another example of gaslighting in narcissism can include the denial of facts. A narcissistic gaslighter would use phrases such as, “This never happened. You’re imagining things,” or something similar to deny your concerns.

3. Being The “Good Guy”

Narcissistic gaslighting can also include the gaslighter being a “good guy” or being the “hero” in almost every event. They will only pretend to care about you while pointing out how other people have let you down but them.

4. Shifting The Blame

Another narcissistic gaslighting example can include the way a gaslighter often shifts the blame on others to avoid responsibility. They rarely apologize for their mistakes and are likely to change facts to avoid blame on themselves. They might use words such as “coincidence” or “accidental” instead of owning up to their actions.

5. Getting Angry

Narcissistic rage is also an example of narcissistic gaslighting. When a narcissist’s ego is in danger, they may reply with rage or anger. They would portray themselves as victims and say things like, “How can you accuse me of this!?” Or “I won’t stand for this!”

6. Comparing You To Others

Another common example of narcissistic gaslighting can be compared to others. They will compare you to others in ways to make you feel unskilled and uncomfortable. This tactic is used to lower your confidence and strike your self-esteem. They would say phrases like, “You should ask them for help, they are better than you in this regard,” or “I hope you learn something from them,”

7. Faking Concerns About You

A narcissistic gaslighter is an expert in faking concerns. They would pretend to care about you in a way that would suggest that you’re being too sensitive or even crazy. This is also a passive-aggressive tactic that can lower your self-confidence. They might use phrases like, “Are you doing OK now?” or “Did you get enough sleep last night?”

8. Using Your Words Against You

Another example can include using your words against you or twisting the meaning of your words. They would often use your words to trick you into thinking you were wrong. They’ll use phrases like, “I thought you were the one who said…,”

9. Reversing The Truth

Another common tactic that narcissistic gaslighters use is reversing the truth. They would say the opposite of what is true and accuse others of the events that transpired. They may use this tactic as a pretense of love. This tactic is quite a blatant and subtler form of gaslighting in narcissism.

10. Stonewalling You

Stonewalling or shutting down is another example of narcissistic gaslighting. In this, a narcissistic gaslighter would shut down and refuse to continue the discussion. This would frustrate you and prevent you from making a point in your favor. Phrases like, “There’s no more to talk about this,” or “I’m not discussing this anymore,” are common.

How To Deal With Narcissistic Gaslighting?

Dealing with a narcissistic gaslighter can be challenging and mentally exhausting. Continuous gaslighting can lower your self-confidence and increase your risk of depression and anxiety. Here are some ways to deal with narcissistic gaslighting:

1. Reach For Your Support System: One of the first things any abuser would do is cut off contact with the people you love. In such a case, try to reconnect with your support system to help you guard against gaslighting in narcissistic relationships.

2. Set Boundaries: You need to stand up for yourself and set boundaries when you’re dealing with narcissistic gaslighting. This includes raising your truths, not letting the narcissistic gaslighter get under your skin, and learning to say “NO”.

3. Keep A Record: Use a diary to keep track of your truths. This way you can fight the narcissistic gaslighter. Write down everything; the dates, the event, what was said, etc. Look back to this record to stay on the path and avoid second-guessing yourself. This will also help prevent reversing the truth tactic.

4. Seek Outside Help: You can also seek others’ opinions and ideas on how to fight and answer the gaslighter. You can reach out to your support system or a therapist even. Try to stay grounded by seeking truth and objectivity.

5. Educate Yourself: Try to read up on narcissism and gaslighting. When you know how NPD affects a person, what it looks like, and the manipulation tactics a person can use, you’ll be more and better prepared to recognize the signs and how to deal with narcissistic gaslighting.

6. Avoid Arguing: You can’t argue with someone who believes they are right. Arguments with a narcissistic gaslighter are more likely to result in more manipulative behavior. So avoid that. You can use these phrases to disarm a narcissistic gaslighter.

What Next?

It’s not easy to recover from narcissistic abuse, especially if it’s been going on for a long time. If you’re struggling with self-doubt, low confidence, and problems in making decisions, then it is recommended that you speak to a therapist. If you leave this narcissistic abuse unaddressed, then it can result in anxiety, depression, and trauma.

When you learn to spot signs of narcissistic gaslighting, you can learn to keep yourself protected and distance yourself from abusive people. Gaslighting, while subtle, can be a small part of emotional abuse and can leave a larger impact on your psyche than you might believe.

I hope the above steps on how to deal with narcissistic gaslighting might help you learn how to protect yourself from a gaslighter. For more, you can connect with a therapist or write to us at info@calmsage.com, or DM us on social media.

 Found this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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