Have you ever encountered someone who twisted your words around to make you feel small? Are you constantly second-guessing yourself to the point where you might question your sanity? If so, you might be a victim of gaslighting. There are many signs and definitions of a gaslighter, making the information seem overwhelming at times. If you’re looking for quotes about gaslighting and quotes about gaslighters, we rounded up a collection of phrases and definitions that can help you gain the clarity and strength to hopefully walk away from a toxic situation.
According to Psychology Today, gaslighting is a situation that causes you to question your reality and is often practiced by a narcissist, or the gaslighter. Gaslighters often convince their victims they’re over-exaggerative, “taking things too seriously,” or flat out wrong when it comes to certain events or conversations. They do this when they want to assert dominance and feel a strong sense of power and control over the other. Being gaslighted makes you question your reality and often plays with your self-esteem and confidence. The term gaslighting comes from the 1938 play Gaslight, which was later made into a movie starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, a husband dims the gaslights in the couple’s home every night, only to vehemently deny doing so when his wife notices. A gaslighter’s actions might not cause harm initially, but, over time, their behavior will cause much anxiety and distress for their victims.
The following gaslighting quotes will give you further insight into this toxic behavior and the type of people who employ it.
Gaslighting Quotes That Capture This Emotional Manipulation
- “Gaslighting is mind control to make victims doubt their reality.” — Tracy Malone
- “Gaslighting is a subtle form of emotional manipulation that often results in the recipient doubting their own perception of reality and their sanity. In addition, gaslighting is a method of manipulation by toxic people to gain power over you. The worst part about gaslighting is that it undermines your self-worth to the point where you’re second-guessing everything.” — Dana Arcuri
- “It frightens me because I feel vulnerable to attacks, an easy target for gaslighting. Phrases like ‘No I didn’t say that!’, ‘You don’t remember,’ and ‘You must have forgotten,’ start rattling my brain and making me jittery.” — Ankita Sahani
- “Narcissists are consumed with maintaining a shallow false self to others. They’re emotionally crippled souls that are addicted to attention. Because of this, they use a multitude of games, in order to receive adoration. Sadly, they are the most ungodly of God’s creations because they don’t show remorse for their actions, take steps to make amends, or have empathy for others. They are morally bankrupt.” — Shannon L. Alder
- “In terms of gaslighting, I define it as ‘to implant false and/or distorted narratives that are specially designed or formulated to manipulate a person into a destructive web of deception, loss of control, and the surrender of personal freedom and beliefs of self-worth, self-value, self-esteem, and productivity.'” — Ross Rosenberg
- “It is not OK for someone you like to treat you poorly and then pretend it didn’t happen, making you question your own grasp on reality. This dynamic is called gaslighting. It’s a common tactic of abusers to shift the focus of the blame from their bad behavior onto the person they are victimizing. One important side effect of gaslighting is having your memory ‘black out’ after a fight (because your brain is trying to protect you from the cruelty of the abuse), which results in not being able to remember how an argument started. You may start to internalize the idea that there is something wrong with you and that you did something to provoke the situation as you’re increasingly beaten down and confused.” — Shannon Weber
- “Remember, someone that does something bad to you, will always try to control the narrative, and they generally get out there first and spin the story to anyone who will listen. I always like to watch the quiet one. You are not alone.” — Maranda Pleasant
- “Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another person’s reality by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so — and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person.” — Robin Stern
- “I have just this one heart okay I was burned I was gaslit nearly to ash on the first try, From the start, I was told I was a powerful speaker I was told when & how I should speak, It’s true I made a feast of my own misery I invited everyone the whole gang.” — Emily Skaja, [Remarkable the litter of birds]
- “Gaslighting can be subtle and unintentional, but as feminist writer Nora Samaran explains, it is particularly insidious because it undermines people’s trust in their own capacities: ‘If you think of the power, the strength, the capacity to effect change that women who trust themselves are capable of, what we are losing when we doubt ourselves is an indomitable force for social change that is significant and therefore, to some, frightening. In other words, our capacity to know ourselves is immensely powerful.’ All forms of oppression seem to have this tendency: racism, heteropatriarchy, ableism, ageism, colonization, and other systems of oppression contort people’s insights, experiences, and differences into weaknesses or deny them outright. For this reason, the emergence of trust can be a powerful weapon, which is being recovered all the time through struggle.” — Carla Bergman
- “You attempt to disparage my efforts,
belittling the tiny achievements I’ve made;
You try to add poison to my words,
highlighting errors that only you could deem;
Yet, I see your intent, darling,
and I know the game you’re playing —
your decaying heart, wide-open,
and the itsy-bitsy worms are peeking.” — Diwa
- “When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes — but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. The ego is self-anointed; its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.” — Ryan Holiday
- “This term is used in the 1944 Ingrid Bergman film Gaslight, in which a husband purposefully drives his wife insane by flickering lights, making noises in the attic, and then claiming the very real experience was all in her head.” — Samantha Rodman
- “Let us not get scooped up by gaslighting manipulators stealing our emotions and taking possession of our inner child to carry out their dark agenda. Let the light of our intuition guide us subtly and wisely along the path of trust and suspicion.” — Erik Pevernagie
- “Gaslighting, brainwashing, cults, hostage situations, and totalitarian propaganda have a common basis. They use similar techniques to confuse, intimidate, and disempower people. These methods are used by abusers of all kinds for the purpose of controlling other people, and promoting the abusers’ interests.” — Linda Hatch, PhD
- “Gaslighting is confusing because they switch to intermittent concern.” — Tracy Malone
- “It’s OK to get gaslighted once in a while; that’s how you learn to burn brighter without guile.” — Philusufar
- “You tried to gaslight me.
You pissed on my foot and told me it was raining.
Then you got mad when I didn’t accept that and asked you to meet me with the same respect and understanding you demand.
Then you left.
And I don’t miss you.
Teammates shouldn’t be against each other.
I nailed the door shut behind you, by the way.” — Helen M. Pugsley
- “Gaslighting, at its core, is a form of emotional abuse that slowly eats away at your ability to make judgments. Essentially, a Gaslighter spins their negative, harmful, or destructive words and actions in their favor, deflecting the blame for their abusive deeds and pointing the finger at you. This is often done by making you feel ‘overly sensitive,’ ‘paranoid,’ ‘mentally unstable,’ ‘silly,’ ‘unhinged,’ and many other sensations which cause you to doubt yourself.” — Aletheia Luna
- “Gaslighting are lies with a purpose to confuse and control.” — Tracy Malone
- Gaslighting: These predators prey on susceptible individuals who believe in their false altruism, affection, and promises of protection. Gas-lighters are most successful when they believably cast themselves as loyal and dutiful protectorates who are unconditionally invested in defending and caring for their beloved gaslit victims.” — Ross Rosenberg
- “Playing the victim role: Manipulator portrays him- or herself as a victim of circumstance or of someone else’s behavior in order to gain pity, sympathy or evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. Caring and conscientious people cannot stand to see anyone suffering and the manipulator often finds it easy to play on sympathy to get cooperation.” — George K. Simon Jr.
- “Whenever someone is not seeing, accepting, owning and expressing their actual personal truth, it will automatically become a gaslighting situation.” — Teal Swan
- “Emotional abuse is designed to undermine another’s sense of self. It is deliberate humiliation, with the intent to seize control of how others feel about themselves.” — Lorraine Nilon
- “Someone who gaslights you is trying to talk you out of your experience to alleviate their shame and responsibility to an issue. It’s a tool to control and manipulate you.” — Dr. Henry Cloud
- “Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation and emotional abuse. The gaslighter avoids responsibility for their toxic behavior by lying and denying and making you question facts, your memory, and your feelings. Basically, the gaslighter makes you feel crazy and confused.” — Karen Salmansohn
- “Gaslighting qualifies as a form of emotional abuse that involves denying a person’s experience and making statements, such as ‘that never happened,’ ‘you’re too sensitive,’ or ‘this isn’t that big a deal.'” — Ramani Durvasula
- “Invalidation is crazy-making, and it is also at the root of gaslighting, where victims’ feelings are purposely denied or manipulated in order to make them question their sanity.” — Samantha Rodman
- “Gaslighting their partners into believing the abuse isn’t real by denying, minimizing, or rationalizing the abuse. This includes deflecting any conversations about accountability using circular conversations and word salad in order to avoid being held accountable for their actions.” — Shahida Arabi
- “Love doesn’t stay where love is but an excuse that is really used to confuse. Your choices should not be turned into guilt trips that rot. Love doesn’t stay where manipulation, sweetly disguised as care, forces one heart to run fast always trying to beat the other, but never together.” — a_random_meaning
- “Gaslighting is a slow unconscious loss of reality.” — Tracy Malone
- “The malignant narcissist has a split persona. They are like Jekyll and Hyde. One minute, they are sweet as sugar. The next minute, they fly into an uncontrollable seething rage! The narcissist loves playing mind games with you. They are clever to conceal who they are. Wherever there’s a narcissist, you can find a false mask plastered upon their face.” — Dana Arcuri
- “It starts with a lie. Each day the lies amplify. Time goes by, the lies turn to gaslighting. Eventually, the lies become smears about you.” — Tracy Malone
- “One of the first steps in freeing yourself from a gaslighting relationship, then, is to acknowledge how unpleasant and hurtful you find this Emotional Apocalypse. If you hate being yelled at, you have the right to insist that yelling not be a part of your disagreements. Maybe some other woman wouldn’t mind the loud voice, but you do. If that makes you sensitive, so be it. You have the right to set limits where you want them, not where some mythical other, ‘less sensitive’ woman wants them.” — Robin Stern
- “Toxic people be like, ‘How dare you set boundaries and not allow me to control and manipulate you?'” — wingheart
- “When you broke out in anger and lashed out at me, for a moment, I believed that there was something wrong with me. Luckily enough, well before the belief turned into self-hatred, it dawned upon me that your anger was a reflection of your own messed-up self. And just then I knew, I was fine. I was alright, but not with you.” — Nagashree KC
- “There is nothing called being ‘too emotional.’ If anyone makes you believe that you are a sensitive person and probably you should change that habit, remember they just want you to be their way. They don’t want to be held accountable for their own behavior. Don’t fall into that trap.” — The Lost Phoenix
- “The secret to healing is when you learn that you had the power all along. The brainwashing fades and the fears retreat as you rebuild and create the happiest you. Be strong and fight for the future of drinking lemonade in peace.” — Tracy Malone
- “Changed behavior is the only apology; otherwise, it’s just manipulation.” — Maranda Pleasant
- “Some people do Oscar-winning performances to gaslight your good heart. Do not forget what they are.” — Dinakar
- “The aim of gaslighting is to make you feel bad about something you need not feel bad about. Gaslighting is emotional abuse… happens in the real world and on social media, too.” — Vikram Karve
- “Gaslighting is psychologically manipulating someone to believe that they are not sane. This is very dangerous, and it happens to most of us without our knowledge. If you or someone close to you is being gaslighted without your knowledge, the best way is to end the friendship or relationship because they make you believe that something is wrong with you.” — Navs
- “The level of impunity men are afforded for their actions is directly proportional to the infantilization and gaslighting of women’s narratives. That’s how the second rung of oppression is meted out when the oppressor fails to prevent the oppressed from partaking in power, in institutional decision-making, hence, gaining representation and, as a consequence, their own voice. This is applicable to any societal relation wherein one party historically and systemically holds power over the other, be it emotionally, economically, racially, culturally, politically, etc.” — Aishwarya Karan