6 Signs of Narcissistic Gaslighting in a Relationship

Gaslighting, a form of psychological manipulation employed by narcissists, represents a disturbing and complex dance of distortion. The term itself, often found in the lexicon of therapists and support groups, describes a process whereby an individual’s reality is systematically undermined by another person — in this case, a narcissist. The intent behind this manipulation is to sow doubt, making the victim question their own memory, perception, and even sanity. In this blog post we will discuss, what is narcissistic gaslighting? 6 signs of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship. And how to deal with narcissistic gaslighting.

The narcissist, acting as a puppeteer, weaves a web of deceit that can leave the victim disoriented and insecure. This is no blunt instrument of manipulation; rather, it is a nuanced and shadowy force that infiltrates the psyche subtly. It’s a gradual dimming of one’s internal light, a process that can make one’s once-sturdy grasp on the truth feel tenuous and unreliable.

What is narcissistic gaslighting?

Narcissistic gaslighting is a tricky form of mind games that can make someone doubt their own memory and thoughts. It’s like being in a maze where everything you thought you knew starts to seem unsure. This behavior is often seen in people with narcissistic traits, which means they are overly focused on themselves and may not care much about others’ feelings.

When a narcissist uses gaslighting, they might tell you things that aren’t true or deny things that did happen, just to confuse you. It’s like they’re trying to rewrite your experiences. This can make you feel lost and shake your confidence. Imagine having a clear picture in your mind but a narcissist keeps changing the colors and shapes, making you question if you remember it right.

To spot narcissistic gaslighting, you need to be really aware of how you’re feeling and what’s happening around you. It’s important to notice if you often feel mixed up, if you’re doubting yourself more than usual, or if your memories seem to slip away like dreams. These are signs that someone might be messing with your sense of what’s real.

Remember, even though this might sound a bit scary, knowing about these narcissistic tricks can help you stay strong and trust your own mind. If you understand what’s happening, you can hold on to what you know is true and not let anyone twist your reality. It’s like having a map that helps you find your way out of that maze, back to what you know is right.

Gaslighting in relationships

Narcissistic gaslighting is a sly and confusing way someone can play mind games with you. It’s a bit like being in a maze where all the paths that you thought were right, now seem wrong. This sort of trickery is something people with narcissistic traits might do. Narcissists think a lot about themselves and might not really care about other people’s feelings.

Imagine this: a narcissist tells you things that aren’t true, or they say that something you remember happening never did. Their goal is to make you second-guess yourself. It’s as if they are trying to paint over your memories. This can make you feel unsure of yourself and shake your confidence. It’s like having a puzzle you’ve put together in your mind, but someone keeps changing the pieces, making you wonder if you ever knew how it was supposed to look.

In relationships, this kind of mind game can really take a toll. If you’re with someone who is a narcissist, they might use all sorts of sneaky moves to shake your sense of what’s real and what’s not. They can twist your words, change the story, and make you question everything you thought was true.

Picture this: your narcissistic partner bends the truth in little ways, shaping the past to make themselves look better or to make you feel guilty. Over time, these small lies can wear you down, making you doubt your own mind, your decisions, and even your own sanity.

This can trap you in a web of confusion, where the narcissist’s word becomes the only thing you think you can rely on. It’s like being lost in a fog, where they hold the only compass.

Breaking free from this trap takes guts. It means trusting your own feelings and looking for the constant, unchanging truth, even when there’s a thick cloud of lies all around you. Now let’s dive into 6 signs of narcissistic gaslighitng in a realtionship. 

6 Signs of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship

6 signs of narcissistic gaslighting

if you are not sure about the signs, here are 6 signs of narcissistic gaslighting:

1. Rejecting the Actual Occurrences or events

Picture yourself on a boat in the middle of a vast ocean, where the water is thick with fog. You can’t see where you’re going, and every direction feels the same. This is what it’s like when a narcissist denies what’s really happening around you. It’s as if narcissists are telling you the sky isn’t blue when you can clearly see that it is. They make you doubt the solid ground you stand on, telling you it’s just your imagination.

Imagine looking up and seeing the sky change colors, not because it actually does, but because someone keeps telling you it’s not the color you know it to be. They say with such confidence that you start to question your own eyes. This narcissist, acting like they’re trying to help, tells you that your memories are just dreams, that the ground you walk on is just a cloud, and the trees around you are just shadows.

Every word narcissists say is like a gust of wind, blowing away the map in your mind that tells you where you are and what’s real. It leaves you feeling lost, like you’re trying to find your way through a maze with no exit. This is what it feels like when a narcissist tries to trick you into believing things that aren’t true, making you unsure of what you know and even who you are. Rejecting the actual events is the first sign of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship

2. Minimize Your feelings and emotions

Picture yourself holding a box of crayons, each one a different feeling. You have bright yellows for happy moments, deep blues for sad times, and fiery reds for when you’re really angry. Now, imagine a narcissist telling you that your colors aren’t as bright or important as you think they are. Narcissists say that what you’re feeling is no big deal, making you feel like your crayons — the ones you know are full of color — are suddenly faded and dull.

It’s like if you were to scrape your knee and it really hurts, but a narcissist says, “That’s nothing, stop making a fuss.” It makes you start to question if your knee should hurt that much, even though you know it does. When feelings and emotions are minimized, it’s like a narcissist is turning down the volume of your emotions until you can barely hear them yourself. They’re trying to make you think that the way you feel isn’t right or isn’t worth paying attention to.

This is like being in a room where everyone else’s voice seems to matter, but when you speak up, you’re told you’re just being too loud or too sensitive. It’s confusing and lonely when your colorful feelings are brushed aside as if they’re just shades of gray.

This is how someone might try to make you doubt your feelings, by making them seem smaller and less real than they actually are. Making you doubt your feelings is second sign of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship.

3. Pointing Fingers at the Victim

Imagine you’re playing a game of soccer with friends, and someone accidentally trips you, causing you to fall. Instead of saying sorry, they blame you for not watching where you were going. It’s like they’re telling you it’s your fault for being in the way, even though you were just playing the game like everyone else.

Now, picture this happening not just in a game, but in real life situations. When someone does something wrong or hurtful to you, but they turn it around and say it’s because of something you did. Like if you got a bad grade and they say it’s because you didn’t study hard enough, even if there were other reasons why it was tough for you.

It’s as if every time something goes wrong, Narcissists point the finger at you, making you feel like you’re always the one to blame. They might say things like “You’re being too dramatic” or “You made me do it,” which can make you start to believe that maybe it is your fault, even when it isn’t.

This is like being in a play where you’re always given the role of the person who messes up, and no matter what happens, it seems like you’re the one who gets in trouble. It’s confusing and unfair, especially when you know deep down that it’s not right for narcissists to blame you all the time.

This is what we call ‘victim blaming,’ the third sign of narcissistic gaslighting, and it’s a way for narcissist to avoid taking responsibility for their actions by making you feel guilty instead. It’s important to remember that you’re not to blame when a narcissist treats you poorly or makes a mistake. It’s not fair for them to put that on you, and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and say so.

4. Twissting the truth 

Imagine you’re in a room with a bunch of puzzles. Each puzzle piece is a fact or a piece of truth. Now, someone comes in and starts switching around the pieces. They take a piece from one puzzle and force it into another where it doesn’t belong. This is what it’s like when someone twists the truth. Twisting the truth is a clear sign of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship.

Narcissists take things that are true and mix them up with things that aren’t, making it hard to see the real picture.

It’s like when you tell a story about something that happened at school, but then someone else changes the story a bit when they tell it. They might add something that didn’t happen or leave out an important part. After a while, the story sounds so different that you start to wonder what really happened.

Twisting the truth can make you feel like you’re standing in a hall of mirrors, where every reflection looks a bit off. You know something isn’t right, but it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. This can be really confusing, especially when the narcissist changing the facts makes it sound believable.

This is like a magician using tricks to make you believe something that isn’t true. It can make you question what you know and even doubt yourself. But remember, just like a magician’s trick, it’s all an illusion. The real truth is still out there, and it’s important to trust what you know and not be fooled by the mixed-up puzzle pieces.

5. Using hurtful language

Think of words as colors. Most of the time, they paint pictures of our thoughts and feelings. But sometimes, words can be like dark splashes on a bright painting, spoiling the image. When people use hurtful language, it’s like they’re throwing these dark splashes at you on purpose.

Imagine someone using words to make fun of you or to point out things about you in a mean way. They might say it’s just a joke or that they’re being honest, but it doesn’t feel good. It’s like someone scribbling all over a drawing you’ve worked hard on, making you feel sad and upset.

These kinds of words can feel like little cuts that hurt your feelings and make you doubt yourself. It’s like every insult is a tiny pebble thrown at your confidence, and over time, those pebbles can pile up and make you feel really small.

Sometimes, people might say mean things that stick in your head, making you think about them over and over. It’s tough, especially when these words pick at things you’re already sensitive about. It can make you feel like you’re not good enough, even though that’s not true.

When narcissist uses hurtful language, it’s not about you; it’s about them trying to make themselves feel more powerful by making you feel bad. Remember that your worth isn’t determined by what narcissists say. It’s important to surround yourself with people who use words to lift you up, not tear you down. Using hurtful language is another sign of narcissistic gaslighting in a relationship.

6. Withholding love or affection 

Picture a beautiful, sunny garden where plants grow tall and flowers bloom in all colors. This garden gets plenty of sunlight, which is like the love and kindness we need from people around us to feel happy and safe. Now, imagine if someone put up a big shade that blocks the sun from reaching the plants. The garden would start to look sad, and the flowers might stop blooming because they’re not getting what they need to grow.

When someone withholds affection or love, it’s like they’re that person who puts up the shade. They stop giving you the warmth and care that you’re used to. They might ignore you, stop being kind, or not want to spend time with you, and it can make you feel lonely and unimportant.

It’s as if they are controlling the weather in your garden, deciding when to let the sun shine and when to make it disappear. This can be really confusing, especially when you don’t know what you did to make the sun go away. You might try really hard to make them happy so they’ll bring the sunshine back.

But just like plants can’t control the weather, you can’t control how a narcissist acts. Withholding affection is a way for narcissists to try and make you do what they want by taking away the love and care you need. 

It’s not a fair or kind thing to do, and it’s important to remember that everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect all the time, not just when someone feels like giving it.

How To deal with Narcissistic Gaslighting? 

Dealing with narcissistic gaslighting can be difficult, especially since the gaslighter’s tactics can leave you feeling confused, insecure, and unsure of reality. However, there are strategies you can use to protect yourself and respond effectively. Here’s a guide on how to deal with narcissistic gaslighting:

1. Trust Your Feelings and Memories

Remember that your feelings and memories are valid. Write them down or keep a journal to help you remember events accurately.

2. Seek Support

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor about what you’re experiencing. They can offer perspective and remind you of the truth.

3. Set Boundaries

It’s okay to set limits with the person who is gaslighting you. You can choose what behavior you will and won’t accept and stand firm in your decisions.

4. Stay Calm

Try not to react emotionally to the gaslighter’s provocations. Remaining calm can prevent them from gaining control over the situation.

5. Educate Yourself

Learn more about narcissism and gaslighting. Understanding these behaviors can help you recognize them when they happen.

6. Focus on Self-Care

Take care of your physical and emotional well-being. Engage in activities that make you happy and help you relax.

7. Avoid Arguing

Arguing with a narcissist can be counterproductive. They may use it as an opportunity to manipulate you further. It’s okay to disengage.

8. Practice Assertiveness

Stand up for yourself in a calm and assertive way. You have the right to your own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.

9. Seek Professional Help

If you’re finding it hard to cope, consider speaking with a mental health professional who can provide guidance and coping strategies.

10. Plan for Safety

If the situation becomes harmful or abusive, have a plan to keep yourself safe. This might include saving important phone numbers or knowing where you can go if you need to leave.

11. Build a Support Network

Surround yourself with people who support and believe in you. A strong network can counteract the negative effects of gaslighting.

Remember, it’s not your fault that someone is treating you this way, and you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. It’s important to take steps to protect your well-being when dealing with someone who uses gaslighting as a form of manipulation.

Last words on 6 signs of Narcissistic Gaslighting in a relationship

Imagine being caught in a maze where every turn seems to confuse you more, and the voice guiding you is not a friend but someone trying to trick you at every step. This is what it feels like when someone is trying to control your mind and play games with your feelings. It’s like they’re telling you lies so often that you start to wonder what’s true. They never say sorry or admit they’re wrong, and they make you feel like your thoughts and feelings don’t matter.

It’s as if you’re a puppet, and they’re making you dance without you even realizing it. You forget what it’s like to make your own choices because someone else is always calling the shots, making your life feel like a big mess.

But here’s the deal: you can break free from this narcissistic gaslighting. It starts by realizing what’s happening to you — that’s your first weapon. You also need people who’ve got your back, friends, family, or anyone who cares about you and can help you see the truth.

Be strong and keep looking for what’s real. Don’t let anyone shut you up or make you doubt what you know is true. It’s about taking back control of your story, and even though it’s tough, it’s worth it because it’s about getting your life back from the shadows where someone else has been trying to hide it. 

You can share your thoughts about narcissistic gaslighting in the comments section.

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