**TRIGGER WARNING: These are statements made by actual narcissists that were shared with me by actual survivors of narcissistic abuse.
If you’ve ever been involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, the following statements may sound pretty familiar to you. I polled the members of my online support group (SPAN) and asked them to share things they heard their narcissists say again and again as they were being relentlessly manipulated and gaslighted during their relationships.
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is a pervasive and highly-effective tactic meant to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. This is a very common tactic used in narcissistic abuse.
What are some things narcissists say during gaslighting?
If you’re not sure you’re dealing with a narcissist, it might help you to take a look at this list of 121 things narcissists say during gaslighting. Read through the statements shared by survivors of narcissistic abuse to find out whether anything sounds familiar. You might also want to take this self-assessment to find out if someone is gaslighting you in a relationship, or this one to find out if you’re dealing with narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship.
121 Specific Phrases Narcissists Use During Gaslighting
- You’re being irrational.
- You should get tested for schizophrenia.
- You’re always making shit up in your head.
- You need help.
- I don’t do things I think are wrong.
- Why are you being so defensive?
- You are so childish/immature.
- You need to learn to communicate better.
- I’m not arguing; I’m just discussing.
- Hey, I’m not saying you need to be any different!! I’m not trying to change anybody!
- It’s always something with you.
- You’re crazy, you weirdo, freak.
- If you wouldn’t piss me off I wouldn’t have to say mean things to you.
- No wonder so and so has a problem with you.
- If you tell them about me I will ( blah blah ) and hurt you. (Either blackmail or made-up exaggerated lies to get back at you for exposing them.)
- I used to think you were a good person. (Because you tell them off and get on their level.)
- Why are you being a bitch, get over it, I’m late, I was supposed to be here at noon but it’s 2:40 pm. Do you want to go eat or not?
- ]I don’t have time for your games.
- Go ahead, tell them about me. I will make your life a living hell, bitch.
- I’m much smarter than your dumb ass.
- Just try, you will lose.
- I’m going to kiss their butt; we will see who they want more to do with.
- You would think you would have figured out by now – you can’t beat me. But hey – knock yourself out, and make a fool of yourself.
- If you’re on the phone with them, in front of an audience, you get: “Listen, you need to get help, I can’t play your games anymore. I really feel sorry for you, I’ve got to go. I’m not being pulled into another fight,”. (You’re on the other end saying “what are you talking about?”) About that time he clicks the phone off. Then, he later calls you, ” Try me bitch – have you figured out you won’t win?”
- What do you mean I have no real friends? I have an attorney friend, one who owns (blah blah), I have tons of friends! You’re the depressed loser who stays home all the time with no friends! Oh sorry, you have a volunteer pet rescue friend! Wowww, I’m impressed.
- Oh, I forgot you’re holier than thou!
- Poor you!
- You like being a victim.
- You wonder why I stay away from you.
- Others think I’m a pretty nice guy. Too bad you don’t.
- I’m going to stay away from you as long as you put me down.
- No wonder I do drugs!
- If I want to feel like shit I will come around you.
- How’s it working for you?
- Listen to yourself! You are losing it.
- If they leave you and you say, “Good riddance! Now she can put up with you. He says, “Oh, she doesn’t mind breakfast in bed! We are going to Hawaii. You could have had the finer things, but you wanted to fight me all the time. When I’m a millionaire, we will see who is doing better then.
- My ‘friends’ (on Facebook that I never met in person) tell me all the time how smart I am all the time.
- I am not trying to control you. You are thinking about your ex-husband, and taking it out on me.
- You’ve always “got a problem.”
- I’m the best thing that ever happened to you.
- No one can ever love you as I do.
- It’s always your fault.
- Why do you have to get all pissy and hurt over stuff?”
- “You just look for something to gripe about all the time.”
- “What do you get out of being all moody all the time? I hope that’s fun for you.”.
- I’m the only one that really loves you.
- “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO CONTROL ME, YOU F…ING B****!”
- I don’t give a crap about your kids.
- “Everyone” agrees with me – you’re bad!
- I never said that!
- You’re crazy!
- You’re lazy.
- You’re too sensitive!
- I know what you’re thinking.
- You never listen.
- I’ll pay you back. (Never does!)
- You better wipe that look off your face or I’ll do it for ya!
- You’re a piece of shit.
- You try to make them aware about something, like that they are going to get in trouble with either legally or personally. They say, “Don’t worry about it. Shut up, You’re such a goody-goody weirdo; you worry about everything. I’ve done this before.”
- Stop telling people stuff about me.
- After cheating on me repeatedly he wants to know why I said “some not nice things to him.”
- Also tells me “You will never find another man as good as me.”
- When he goes out someone “told me they had the best time ever because I was there.”
- I’m from the Acadian bloodline, so naturally, I’m smarter than average people like you.
- My job is more important! You just have projects, it’s just busywork
- I don’t answer your texts because you’re bothering me with your foolishness.
- It’s my way or the highway!
- Women are here to serve men!
- If you’re so great at budgeting, why are we past due on everything and broke? (After he blows entire paycheck at the casino)
- “I know how _______.”
- “I know why ________ .”
- “I have the answer, you just have to listen to me.” (You can fill in the blank with ANY subject. He always knows the answer to everything…. Peoples’ motives, parenting, why your cake just exploded. Any subject at all… he has ALL the answers. You just have to listen.)
- “Back when I lived in Florida and I was rich beyond belief and knew all the movie stars (because I grew up with them), I never had to worry about being broke all the time.”
- Watch what I do next, bitch!
- I used to race Porsches for Indy 500 and owned two Burger Kings and a Pizarro’s.
- No wonder your daughter can’t keep a boyfriend! She’s so needy and trailer park trash.”
- After one of his (often veiled) put-downs: “and that’s the truth!”
- “I know at least 3 people in this town who think you are bi-polar”
- He is incredibly grandiose and exaggerates his achievements, talks constantly to anyone about the people of high standing that he “knows,” needs to be seen as a genius, is challenged by other people’s achievements – behind their backs will call them “third rate.”
- When I was manager of over 50 people at a restaurant…” ( …Taco Bell – but you couldn’t say that – heaven forbid he was associated with fast food)!!!
- “You just want to rehash the past.”
- “You should have known that this was not a good time to (talk to me….call me on the phone….etc.).” (Followed by a “justifiable” narcissistic rage).
- “YOU treat me like shit and you’re NOT on drugs.”
- “Nobody likes you, they all laugh behind your back.”
- After he breaks up with you over the phone: “You made me! You asked if you were all right.”
- “It’s always something with you.”
- You leave me and you will be blued, screwed and tattooed!
- You will NEVER have the confidence to leave me!
- “You are delusional.”
- You have no friends.
- Nobody likes you.
- You’re too old; no one will ever want you.
- You’re too fat.
- No one will ever love you like I do.
- You’ll never find anyone as good as me.
- You’ll never find anyone else to put up with you like I do.
- You’ll never have a house as nice as this one. You’ll end up living in a broken down car on the Northside.
- What are you going to do without me? How will you ever feed yourself?
- I never said that…you’re crazy.
- You need a shrink.
- I never did that…you’re crazy.
- I can say or do anything I want to you because I own you.
- “I was busy!”
- Somebody has to earn a living!
- “I work my ASS OFF, but nobody around here seems to care!”
- No one is able to love someone like you, except me.
- Why do you always have to criticize me?
- Don’t nag me.
- Why are you upset? I was ONLY kidding.
- I want … I need…
- I … me me me.
- I was just kidding – gee, you can’t take a joke
- Rage? What rage? Oh, so I’m not allowed to get angry?
- Only I can treat you like shit!
- “I never said anything to you because I just thought you knew how she felt about you. She was talking about you, complaining. I didn’t think you were friends.”
- Narc: You have the most beautiful blue eyes.
You: Awww. Thank you.
Narc: I can’t do this anymore.
You: Are you breaking up with me again?
- “If you ever cheat on me, I’ll kill them…AND you…”
- You started it.
- Get over it.
- Grow up!
What do you think? Did anything sound familiar to you? Do you think you’re dealing with a narcissist? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section and let’s discuss it.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Think you might have C-PTSD but you’re not sure? Take our free C-PTSD Self-Assessment.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- You might enjoy my book, Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.