signs of gaslighting

Signs of Gaslighting: The 7 Signs You Must Know

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Would you like to know the signs of gaslighting so that you can better protect yourself against it the next time it occurs? Here are the most common indicators and examples you need to know.

signs of gaslighting

People can gaslight you without your even knowing it’s happening, which is not only harmful, but also confusing. As a former target of it myself, I’m giving you the sure-fire signs of gaslighting you must know so that you’ll recognize it and be prepared.

You are going to learn about the signs of gaslighting and examples of it as well.

After learning about all these tactics and what they look and sound like, you will better be able to defend yourself against them.

This post is all about the most common signs of gaslighting in both your abusers AND yourself you should be aware of.

The Most Common Signs of gaslighting

1. Bullies deny their behavior.

Denial is one of the most obvious forms of gaslighting.

Often, when a bully or abuser says something to insult you and you call them on it, they will flat out say, “I didn’t say that,” when you know doggone well they did. Understand that this is their way of covering up their behavior by making you look unstable.

Moreover, the bully has the chutzpah to lie and deny even when you present clear evidence of the truth. That’s what makes this form of gaslighting so astonishing.

The goal of this tactic is to cause the people around you to think that maybe you’re hearing things. Also, bullies do this deliberately to cause you to doubt yourself. The bully wants you to wonder if you heard them correctly.

In other words, their goal is to convince you that what happened didn’t really happen. Therefore, they plant seeds of doubt in your mind to trick you into thinking that it is all in your head.

Furthermore, there’s another thing bullies like to say when you call them on their behavior. “You’re only imagining things.”

Additionally, they might say that the bullying you report “is only in your imagination.”

Again, this is denial and it’s designed to make you doubt yourself and to make you look paranoid to any bystanders. And if you doubt yourself, it will inspire others to doubt you too.

Don’t fall for it. Chances are that you heard them correctly or actually saw what you saw. Counter the gaslighting by telling them, “You did say that,” or “I know you did because I saw you with my own two eyes. Don’t even try to gaslight me, buddy.”

Yes, call out the gaslighting. Then walk away and limit any future engagement with them.

2. Bullies questioning your memory IS ALSO ONE OF THE SIGNS OF GASLIGHTING.

Questioning your memory is another slick tactic bullies use to shirk responsibility for their questionable behavior. Bullies mostly pull this number on older adults. However, anyone at any age can be a target of this kind of gaslighting.

For example, when you confront an abuser on something they did in the past, the bully may ask you, “Are you sure that’s the way it happened?”

Just as it is with denial, bullies use this method to make you doubt and question yourself. Consequently, it’s so easy it shouldn’t work. But it does.

Again, don’t fall for this trick. Tell them right away and up front that your memory is just fine and that they’re only gaslighting you to cover their own butts. Also, when you tell them, do it with conviction. Then, again, walk away and have no further association with them.

3. They trivialize the way you feel or what you experienced

This is yet another tactic designed to make you look immature or mentally imbalanced.

For instance, you may report a bully for bullying you at school or a perverted boss at work for making a sexually suggestive comment to you. As a result, they may counter your complaint by making statements like:

“You’re just being a crybaby”

“You’re too sensitive. You need to toughen up a little.”

“Oh, shut up!”

“Awww, stop whining.”


“You need to lighten up.”

Bullies do this to embarrass and shame you into silence while, at the same time, covering themselves by minimizing their own behavior. In other words, they use shame and embarrassment, hoping you’ll shut up and allow them to keep abusing you.

They employ this tactic to cause others to doubt you too. When others don’t believe you and choose to side with your bullies, it’s even tougher to know when someone is gaslighting you.

Moreover, when others agree with them, you’ll feel even more compelled to keep your mouth shut and go along with it. The reason for this compulsion is fear.

Bullies and abusers hope you’re afraid that if you don’t clam up, you’ll only suffer more abuse as punishment for daring to open your mouth.

However, don’t stay silent. Keep speaking out and do it calmly but with a strong voice.

Never apologize for feeling hurt or angry at someone else’s abuse! Never! In these situations, you have a right to feel the way you do! Let no one tell you how you should feel when you know with utmost certainty that you’re being abused!

Just tell them to shove it, walk away, and have nothing more to do with them.

4. you constantly second-guess yourself

The signs of gaslighting doesn’t only show up in your bullies, they show up in you too.

Notice that you’re hyper-self-aware, self-conscious, and always on guard. You self-monitor to make sure you do and say the right thing.

Furthermore, you say something, make a judgement call,  or make a choice, then turn right around and begin wondering if you said the right thing or made the right decision. You’re confused all the time.

Should I do this or should I do that? Should I say it like this or like that? Do I make this choice or that?

Gaslighting does this to it’s victims. Understand that this is no way to live.

You can only solve this problem when you stop worrying about what others think and know that your first instinct is usually the correct one. Also, cut the toxic people out of your life.

5. One of the main signs of gaslighting: you constantly bend knee to keep from being further gaslighted

When bullies gaslight you on the daily, it can be tempting to apologize way too much. Again, understand that when bullies gaslight you they re-victimize you by countering you for calling them out or reporting them. In a sense, they re-victimize you a second time.

 Gaslighting is the main reason why targets are often programmed to apologize for things that don’t need an apology. And calling someone out on their evil actions is one of those things that doesn’t warrant one.

I understand that the apologies that victims make are often knee-jerk reactions that come from extreme fear of gaslighting. Moreover, the incessant apologies are ways to appease the bullies and make them go away and leave them alone.

However, bullies know this and that’s why they gaslight you and use it to their advantage. They also know that such an apology isn’t heartfelt and that you’re only trying to pacify them and keep them from harming you again.

never give an unwarranted apology.

As tempting as it is, you should never apologize for confronting anyone over their abuse because, when you do, you only take away your own power and hand it over to your bullies.

On the other hand, when you refuse to apologize where an apology isn’t needed, it’s a sign of greater self-esteem and increased feelings of power. It also shows that you have more dignity and integrity.

It pays to know when you should and shouldn’t apologize. So, do it only when you should. Not when others think you should.

This only gives the bullies an ego boost and makes you look like a simp.

Doing other things to appease the bullies, such as staying silent and doing what they want at your own expense is also bending knee to them. Because bullies don’t only gaslight you for speaking out about their abuse and reporting them to authority members, they also gaslight you for refusing to give in to their demands.

Therefore, never apologize for calling a bully out nor refusing to do what they want. Also, never cave in and obey if the bully demands that you do what they want. The only chances you have to end the gaslighting is to stand up to it, then ditch the gaslighters.

6. your bullies label you as “crazy.”

This is, perhaps, the cruelest form of gaslighting.

There is nothing that discredits victims like the “crazy” label. Even bank-robbers and former prison inmates get more believed by others than someone whom others have labeled mentally ill.

Labeling another person crazy is too easy because people have a strong tendency to see the worst in others, especially today. The label of crazy also has lots of staying power.

Moreover, mental instability is the most difficult to disprove. Why? Because although your abusers can never prove that you are, in fact, crazy; there’s also no way you can prove that you’re not.

Another reason it’s so hard to disprove is that any victim of bullying will more than likely be an emotional wreck because of the chronic abuse they suffer. And if your bullies can make you look loony, then who’s going to believe you when you speak out about the abuse?

The burden of proof falls on you.

However, know this. Any time bullies and abusers pull the “crazy” card, they do it as a last option. The crazy label is used when there’s nothing else they can pin on you. Bullies use this tactic out of desperation when they know you’re onto them and their true natures are about to be discovered.

Here’s something else you should think about.

when bullies label you crazy, they actually know you’re not.

When bullies label you as crazy, it doesn’t mean they actually think you are.

Remember that bullies are big cowards and if they really and truly thought you were crazy, they they wouldn’t come near you.

In other words, if a person with any common sense knows someone who is factually and legitimately bats*** crazy, their first instinct is to either stay away from the person or walk lightly around them and do their due diligence to keep from setting them off!

Why? Because a crazy person has no filter and no sense of right and wrong. Therefore, they have no reservations about seriously hurting someone or worse.

So, though they may label you as such, they know that you aren’t. What your bullies really think is that you’re weak. They only play the “crazy” card to discredit you.

Always remember that.

To counter this, you must point out exactly what they’re doing and why they do it. Reject the label, and continue to speak out no matter what they may call you. The key to doing this is not to care what people think and eighty-six anyone who sticks you with the label, or any label for that matter.

7. you feel you can’t do anything right.

In other words, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you stay silent and take it, they call you a wuss. If you report the abuse or stand against it, you’re either a bad person or you’re mentally ill.

This is a form of gaslighting because it’s designed to confuse you and leave you filled with doubt. That’s what gaslighting does.

The way to combat this type of gaslighting is to stand strong and never give relevance to your bullies or their tactics. Stand your ground and stick to your guns. Remember the trick is to not to care less what they say or think. Don’t give it any oxygen and put some distance between yourself and your abusers. That’s how you win against gaslighters.

Your bullies may not change their attitudes toward you but they’ll eventually disappear from your life if they can’t manipulate and gaslight you. Why? Because they prefer easy prey rather than someone who makes them work at it.

Also, you’ll feel much better about yourself knowing that you were wise to their games and stood up to them.

this post was all about the 7 most common signs of gaslighting to help you wise up to the mind games and gather the confidence to stand against it and put a stop to it.

Related posts you will enjoy:

  1. Defending Yourself from Bullies: 11 Best Defenses
  2. Important Facts About Bullying: 3 Truths You Must Learn

  3. Reasons Why People Bully – 7 Most Common Motives

9 thoughts on “Signs of Gaslighting: The 7 Signs You Must Know

  1. 80smetalman says:

    Once again, Cherie, I know this all too well. One tactic I developed in my later years was when called crazy, I affirmed it and responded, “It’s best to stay away from me,.” On another note, I’ve written more of “He Was Weird 2.”

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