“Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless.” ~Jeffrey Kluger
What is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is an ongoing form of manipulation that causes you to doubt what you see, hear and experience; in fact, to doubt your own perception of the world around you. Often used by toxic narcissists, it’s a type of brainwashing that can cause you to lose your entire sense of self. Repeatedly experiencing gaslighting will destroy your self-worth and cause you to question reality.
Where does the word Gaslighting come from?
The word gaslighting comes from Gaslight, a 1944 American film, adapted from Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play Gas Light, where a husband tries to persuade his wife to believe that she’s insane by causing her to question herself and her reality.
What Does Gaslighting Look Like?
It can be hard to detect gaslighting from outside the relationship. It is insidious, oddly subtle and emotionally/psychologically debilitating to the victim. During gaslighting, the toxic person makes declarations and allegations which are typically based on deliberate untruths and intentional efforts.
“Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction — whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness — in the person they are dealing with,” writes Yashar Ali in a Huffington Post article. “Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren’t rational or normal.”
While the signs you’re being gaslighted may seem “obvious” to some people, the fact is that when you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, you can’t always see the proverbial forest for the trees.
So if you find yourself feeling like you might be a little crazy (part of the whole gaslighting technique)—or even if you’re aware that it’s happening and want to recognize it as it happens—understanding the signs can be the first step to making your life a little better.
When you’re aware of the behaviors that cause your narcissist to engage in gaslighting, you can react differently and change the course of the outcome. So what are the signs you’re being gaslighted?
Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted
1. Your Fears Are Used Against You
Many narcissists are very charming, at least when they want to be. Often, they will listen to every word you have to say and file away any vulnerabilities you reveal for later use.
For example, if you told a narcissist you felt insecure about your weight, they might later make discreet pokes at it, or in a romantic relationship, make comments about others who are thinner than you are – in any case, they’re out to feel “better” than you, and to tear down your self-esteem so you don’t think you can do better than them.
Some narcissists will claim to know what you (or others) are thinking—and if you deny that your mind’s working the way they believe it is, they might just secretly think you’re lying.
They might make a face or a gesture to indicate it—or in the most extreme cases of NPD, they might actually tell you that you’re lying—and even accuse you of lying to YOURSELF. Because of course, as narcissists, they can’t be wrong.
3. You Don’t Know What’s Normal
If you are regularly being told that things are normal when, deep down, you know for sure they are not, you’re likely the victim of gaslighting.
For example, say your toxic boss asks you to blatantly lie to a client about the safety of an item.
When you refuse, you might be told that ALL employees lie on behalf of their employers and that if you don’t want to be a team player, maybe you should find another position.
4. You’re “Diagnosed” With Major Issues
When a narcissist is lying or manipulating a friend, coworker, or loved one, and isn’t getting their way, they may turn up the intensity by questioning your sanity.
You might be called paranoid, stressed out, too sensitive, or even hormonal.
They might even tell you that you need therapy or meds to get through it.
You’re told that what you know to be true is not real.
For example, if your narcissist mother tells you that your significant other is a loser and that you need to dump him, after a while, you could start to believe it and might even end up sabotaging the relationship because you begin to question your own judgment, thanks to regular conditioning during visits, phone calls and emails with her.
6. You Can’t Remember Anything Anymore
The narcissist is infamous for selective memory; that is, they will deny that he said something that upset you if you confront them on it, or they will promise to do something and later tell you that it never happened.
They might also use creative language to downplay their own behavior and act as though your reaction is totally out of line.
7. You Lie to Keep the Peace
You aren’t a liar by nature and you don’t lie to other people in your life.
But due to the extreme stress caused by upsetting or angering the narcissist, you might find yourself at least bending the truth a little in order to avoid the verbal/physical abuse that is sure to follow any discussion or situation that is against the narcissist’s “rules.”
8. You Stop Trying to Be Heard
As humans, we are programmed to share our experiences and thoughts with the people in our lives. But when you’re dealing with a narcissist and there are signs you’re being gaslighted, you eventually might just give up.
You stop talking about yourself around the narcissist, and depending on the depth of your relationship with him or her; you might even stop talking about yourself altogether.
Then one day, when someone asks you a question about yourself, you’re stumped. You might even forget HOW to talk about yourself.
9. You Start Thinking Maybe You Really Are the Crazy One
The intensity of a narcissist’s manipulation tactics can really get to a person. And when you are looking for a solution (AKA a way to just END the disagreement or argument), you might just convince yourself that the narcissist is right – that there are things you could be doing better.
And maybe you start to think that maybe their behavior WAS a logical reaction to your mistakes.
Maybe you are the one who owes them an apology. And when you apologize, they eventually (probably) accept your apology, only to later throw your “bad behavior” back in your face when it serves them to do so.
10. You Are Depressed
As a narcissist wears you down with repeated and consistent manipulation and controlling behaviors, you may become depressed and anxious. You will constantly question yourself and feel generally hopeless.
If you’re in this situation, you might feel exhausted from the roller-coaster ride the narcissist has been taking you on – and you might even think you’re just a little oversensitive (thanks to the NPD manipulation tactics to which you’re being subjected.) You get confused and start to feel disoriented.
And thanks to all those references to your paranoia and memory issues, you’re likely to seek help for depression rather than the actual problem – the gaslighting narcissist in your life who is subjecting you to narcissistic abuse in a toxic relationship.
Even the so-called normal relationships in our lives can suffer from misunderstandings and miscommunications, but when someone starts using the manipulation tactics involved in gaslighting, chances are they might also be a narcissist – and if you’re going to maintain a sense of self, you’ve got to start making some changes in your life.
Gaslighting is common tactic used by most narcissists. It is a pervasive and highly-effetive tactic meant to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity. Try this gaslighting test to find out.
Are you dealing with gaslighting in relationships?
“Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~William Morris
My husband and I bought what we consider our dream home last year. When we first moved in, we set aside a certain amount of money for new furniture and decor.
By the time we were done decorating our new bedroom, we had used nearly half our budget. So I told my husband to stand back and watch the magical power I happen to be really good at wielding. That’s right.
It was my time to shine, people.
Something you may or may not know about me: I have Dom Perignon tastes and I know how to make them work on a Boone’s Farm budget.
(No strings attached, of course. All you need to do is visit the link, click and download the book. It’s free and you’ll own it forever. Consider it my gift to you! But as always, reviews and shares are appreciated.)
Do you feel like your life is out of your control?
Do you feel the need for personal change but you don’t know where to start?
Ever feel like you’re meant to do great things, but you can’t seem to figure out what you’re great at doing?
Believe it or don’t, your everyday habits can help make or break your life. That’s right – whether we recognize it or not, our habits and behavior are a result of some form of conditioning.
It begins when we’re children–our parents’ opinions of us begin to help us form our own perceptions of ourselves.
If they tell us we’re beautiful, we believe that we are–but if they tell us we’re horrible and sick, we’ll believe that too.
And it doesn’t end there–add in the opinions of your teachers, siblings and friends…and later those of your spouse, your bosses and coworkers, neighbors and don’t forget that lady at the dry cleaner’s last week.
All of this “conditioning,” left unchecked, can sometimes add up to a very negative self image–especially if you don’t know that you don’t have to accept it.
And, we become what we perceive–we are what we believe we are.
Here’s the thing, friend.
You don’t have to accept someone else’s judgment, perception or opinion of you. You get to write your own story.
You can be whomever and whatever you choose. All you have to do is believe that you can–really believe it. I mean, feel it down to your bones. And then, believe that you’re receiving it, that you’ve already received it. Own it–because it’s yours if you want it.
This book will teach you exactly how to do that. Inside, you’ll discover
Why 100 days is an ideal amount of time to completely change your life
How life is really more of a journey than a destination
How to get over feeling “stuck” in life
How to choose your experiences, instead of “letting it happen” to you
How to live in the moment
How being thankful can make you richer, happier and more fulfilled
How to make everyone love you
How to alter your perception and change your life forever
How to set goals that really happen
What you need to do to make all of your dreams come true
“I think it’s important to get your surroundings as well as yourself into a positive state – meaning surround yourself with positive people, not the kind who are negative and jealous of everything you do.” ~Heidi Klum
Did you know your home can have a serious impact on your frame of mind, and in fact, on your mental and physical health in general? It’s true.
For example, dark and ugly rooms can make you feel sad and discouraged. Bright, cheery rooms rejuvenate you. Clutter makes you feel crazy and scattered.
Do you feel good about your environment?
Whether it’s at home or work, it matters – a lot more than you know! Not to worry if you don’t love it – there are plenty of ways to brighten your home and lighten your mood – and I’ve rounded up ten of the most effective for you.
But first, let’s discuss the psychology behind it, shall we? Because, of course, it all starts in your head.
The Psychological Effects of a Messy House
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, says that “When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and ‘good, orderly direction’ to enter.”
It’s more than just that, though – the way you keep and decorate your home can definitely affect you to the very core.
“The environment with which we surround ourselves is very often a direct expression of where we are emotionally and psycho-spiritually – our global state of mind,” said life coach and personal development expert Michael Formica in a 2008 Psychology Today report. “If we are distracted, we tend to lose things. If we are disorganized, the piles begin to collect. If we are feeling disconnected, the emails pile up, and the voicemails remain unreturned.”
10 Home Hacks to Boost Your Mood Instantly
1. Lighten up! Add more light. Light is one of the easiest ways to boost your mood. Increase the amount of light in a room by opening blinds and curtains. White blinds and curtains reflect the light.
2. Brighten up! Choose bright and cheerful paint colors. You may be creating drama with dark brown or black paint, but it won’t help your mood.
Dark colors aren’t the only issue because neutrals can also be dreary.
Brighter colors like yellow, pink, blue, and green can freshen up a room and give it an instant lift.
Your mood will also benefit from the change.
3. Happy art, happy you! Add happy artwork. Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” isn’t the type of artwork that lifts moods. Select art that makes you feel happy. Images of beautiful landscapes, animals, and abstract designs are popular choices. You can also frame your children’s artwork as a reminder of the joy they bring into your life.
4. Add flowers to brighten any room! Fresh flowers are preferred and will also add a nice fragrance to a room. However, they’re not the only option. Silk flowers come in a variety of realistic choices and can instantly brighten a room.
5. Be a switcher-upper! Rearrange or replace decorations. Does the vase from your aunt make you want to cry? Do you wish your decorations could get an upgrade?
Switch it up! Changing the decorations in your home can help you lift your mood. Replace old and hated objects or rearrange other items. Even a simple pillow swap for new pillows can make you feel better.
6. Get rid of clutter! Clutter can weigh you down emotionally and negatively influence your mood, even if you think you don’t notice it. If you clean your house and eliminate clutter, you’ll notice a big emotional change. Consider new storage ideas, such as bins under your bed, to prevent clutter from reappearing.
De-Cluttering Tips from Dr. Regina Lark, chairs the Education Committee of the National Association of Professional Organizer, and WiseBread.com.
Make it all about YOU! “You can make your space what you want to be,” Lark says. “But decluttering your space can’t be successful if you don’t have clarity of what your space will look like when you are done.”
Visualize it – on a board! “Create a vision board of your perfect space by either by cutting photos out of magazines or on Pinterest,” Lark says. “My vision has great art. My vision does not have two crock pots.”
Don’t go it alone! “Once you’ve created your vision for your space, enlist some help in the decision making process and to declutter. If this were pleasurable, you would do it in one second. Ask a friend whose taste you admire, to help you pare down your closet to only the clothes that make you look and feel great about yourself.”
Party on! There’s NO WRONG WAY! Just do it (with friends)! “Ironically, many people avoid decluttering because they are afraid that they are decluttering incorrectly,” Lark says. “To make the experience go faster have a declutter party with wine and snacks. Explain that you can accept criticism from friends at the party if it’s made with kindness. Take turns clearing each person’s home.”
7. Select your favorite SMELLS! Work with fragrance. If you don’t have allergies, then you can use fragrance for a positive change. Essential oils are one way to brighten your mood and modify the ambiance in a room.
Citrus oils like grapefruit and orange are linked to happier moods. Mint oils, such as peppermint, also have a similar effect. You can spray a small amount of the essential oils in the air to create a lasting impact. You can also add oils to a burner for another way to add fragrance..
Candles are also an awesome addition to any home environment. They can seriously enhance the ambiance. If you’ve got small kids, be sure to keep them up high – or just use the ones that have electronic flames. Some even come with a scent-emitting feature.
8. Photos add love energy! Add more pictures of your family and friends. If seeing an image of your loved ones instantly makes you smile, then consider adding more of their pictures to your home.
The refrigerator and fireplace mantel aren’t the only locations you can display pictures of your friends and family. You can add their photos to the walls, coffee tables, and side tables.
9. Bust down those walls! No, seriously! Remove a wall. If a wall is preventing one of the rooms from getting enough light, then removing it can help you feel better. When you don’t get enough exposure to light, it can literally disrupt your body’s natural functions and cause depression and insomnia, among other things – and that can lead to health problems.
10. Warm up your tootsies! Go big and add radiant heat to your floors. My Aunt Jan has a room in her house she calls the Florida room and it’s got radiant heat in the floor – it feels like heaven, especially when it’s cold outside.
Since I don’t personally have this one, I did a bit of research on it at one of my favorite sites as a homeowner – HealthyBuiltHomes.org. According to their experts, radiant heating is also called “underfloor heating,” and it “allows you to have warm floors throughout your home and reduces the amount of time your furnace or heating appliances must operate.”
Plus, “radiant floor heating will not only reduce your energy consumption within your home, it will also cut down on the wear and tear on your HVAC equipment.”
Like I said, while I’m in love with this idea, I haven’t implemented it at my own home just yet, so I’m not totally sure of the pricing – but you can get a custom quote from a local, trusted contractor in your area through HealthyBuildHomes.org – and it’s so easy – just visit their Radiant Floor Heating page to set it up.
Uplift your mood by making simple changes around your home. You’ll notice a difference in how you feel almost immediately – I promise!
How do you feel about where you live? What can you do to feel better about it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments, below.
“In the ancient world, dancing Bees were special – the Queen Bee in particular, for she was the Mother Goddess – leader and ruler of the hive, and was often portrayed in the presence of adoring Bee Goddesses and Bee Priestesses.” ~Deborah DeLong, RomancingtheBee.com
Are you ready for an interestingly sad/funny/odd story about yet another narcissist? Here we go.
For example, I got this message from a reader through the private messaging system on my Facebook page.
Hi Angela, did you know Sam reposted your article on his Facebook page titled “LESSON: Never tell a dumb person they are dumb.” I follow him on Facebook and read your article. I noticed all the comments were supporting Sam, which seemed weird. I wrote “I agree with her. Sam, way too harsh on someone who sincerely admired you and wanted an interview.” Ten minutes later, he removed my comment then blocked me. What the hell? Even though his insights on narcissism were helpful, he doesn’t get to decide what I say! LESSON: call out a narcissist on their Facebook page and get blocked! #noregrets. Plus, think of the free exposure he is giving you!
Each time someone reached out to me, I felt vindicated and supported at the same time. But, you had to know it: not everyone was so supportive.
The Attack of Vaknin’s Followers
Some of Vaknin’s followers are fellow narcissists. And narcissists? They can’t help themselves.
Despite the fact that they see nothing wrong with their less than human behavior, narcissists can’t help but take an opportunity to proverbially (or literally) “kick” someone while she’s down.
It’s like when a comedian’s on stage before a distracted crowd and some jerkoff starts heckling them from the back row. It’s enough to make anyone feel a little crazy.
But sometimes, the hecklers are so wrapped up in their own special kind of obliviousness that they fail to notice that they are, in fact, entirely predictable.
Your Standard Narcissist: This One is No Different.
Every now and then, one of them strikes out at me in a huff, probably as a direct result of some type of narcissistic injury, real or imagined, as a result of something I wrote.
See, I have written extensively on narcissism, including several books as well as a whole host of articles and blog posts.
My Theory on Narcissists and Insecurity
I have a theory about these folks, and it’s pretty much the same one I have about every narcissist: they are so insecure with themselves that they need to attempt to pull others down to their levels.
In the convoluted mind of a narcissist, this evens the playing field, allowing him to climb up on your proverbial back to reach the level just above yours – but in reality, this behavior simply exposes him for what he truly is – an insecure, sad and lonely little person.
Why We Shouldn’t Feel Angry at Narcissists
It’s really a handicap if you think about it – the crippling insecurity and lack of personal development that leads to narcissism. When it comes to the haters, the naysayers, the bullies, and the narcissists in general, there are things you’ve got to remember if you want to avoid going completely insane.
Do you know what it feels like to be underestimated? It really used to bug me. A lot. But now, I recognize that people are actually not hurting me when they make stupid assumptions about me. They’re simply showing their true ASSumptive selves.
Narcissist See, Narcissist Do: Vaknin’s Fan Fires a Shot
My favorite (absolute favorite) kind of heckler is the unprovoked one. For example, I got a comment on my Facebook wall from a “woman” who promptly blocked me after posting the comment, without even giving me an opportunity to reply.
Since she’s clearly a very insecure person, I thought I’d offer her the pleasure of being the subject of this article.
So, dear “Yuriko Unicorn” (AKA Yuriko Naradi Beniwal, if that’s your real name), this one’s for you.
Sam Vaknin’s Facebook Follower Offers Up Yet Another Display of Narcissism
Apparently, this “fan” of Dr. Sam Vaknin, who recently gaslighted me on Facebook, felt compelled to follow up on Vaknin’s original insults with a few of “her” own.
Now, to be fair, the thought has crossed my mind that this might actually be a Sam Vaknin alternate account, but for now, let’s assume that “Yuriko” is a real person.
I find your use of the metaphor of being a queen bee fascinating…… here’s a biology lesson… there is only 1 queen per hive….. the drones ( the male bees) are born simply to impregnate a new queen when the hive either kills the old queen because she can no longer lay eggs (her only function), or because the hive is too large and it’s time to establish a new hive. The drones never eat… they are never fed by their sisters (the other bees) nor do they eat on their own… after one impregnates the queen, they are driven out of the hive to starve to death or outright killed if the won’t leave by their sister bees. The bees that kill the queen are all her own daughters. Dr. Sam Vaknin says that it is pointless to argue with the stupid…. let’s find out:) BTW, did u know that there are insects called wasps? Like bees, but they are mostly solitary, non hive living… they can sting repeatedly, unlike bees, who die when they sting you:) Buzz buzz buzz….
I honestly could not help but laugh when I read this again just now. I mean, really?
To be fair, I DO like the whole Queen Doing thing, so you can expect me to do something with that in the future. So to my new little block-happy friend, thanks for the thoughts – and thanks for the blog post material. Keep it coming. 🙂
Other than that, I don’t even want to justify this ridiculousness with a response. But I’ll tell you this: I use the Queen Bee in its symbolic form, not its literal one. It is, after all, a symbol.
So tell me: what do you think of this person’s attack? Am I wrong to call it rather narcissistic? Do you believe the person is as insecure as I do? Tell me your thoughts below. I can’t wait to hear your two cents.
Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.