Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted

Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Top 10 Warning Signs You’re Being Gaslighted

“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.

How can you tell if you’re being gaslighted?

If you’ve ever had a friend, family member or co-worker who is a narcissist or who suffers from narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), chances are you have been the victim of gaslighting, which is a manipulation technique they often employ to get what they want.

“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.

2. You Don’t Know Your Own Mind

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.

Again, it’s all about being in control.

5. You Doubt Your Own Beliefs and Perceptions

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.

Do you recognize any of the signs you’re being gaslighted as part of your reality?

Could this be gaslighting by a narcissist?

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?


515ILMy93HL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Have you ever been the victim of gaslighting? How would you tell a friend to handle a toxic relationship that involves gaslighting? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below! (Feel free to comment anonymously if you prefer).




More Help: Here is a video playlist packed with information to help you understand and overcome gaslighting.

What to do when people don’t support your dreams

What to do when people don’t support your dreams

I’m all about finding and focusing on your passion, which, in my opinion, can lead you to the life of your dreams. In fact, I’m living proof of that. 

And sometimes, I’ve struggled with friends and loved ones who didn’t (and still don’t) support my dreams. So how does one get the proverbial cahones to take it up to the next level? 

A hint: it’s just like I’ve always said: it all starts in your own head. That’s right. You have to love yourself enough to support your SELF. But how can one do that? 

Well, according to Huffington Post contributor and abundance coach Mercedes Maidana, it all starts by reclaiming (or claiming for the first time) your own personal power. 

Because, contrary to popular belief, YOU are powerful. You are – I promise. 

Maidana agrees, noting that everyone feels “fearful when we are pursuing something big in our lives.”

“It’s scary to drop what you’ve been doing for years and take a different path,” she adds. “It is scary to invest money in a project that we don’t know is going to be profitable. Nothing in this life is certain (well, they say that only taxes and death are).” 

“This is not about making others wrong so you can be right. This is about you living your best life. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to those around you (yes, even the non-believers). The best service that you can do for yourself, and everyone around you, is to live your dreams, so you can shine from within and touch others with your light.” Read the full story at The Huffington Post

The New Catfish Target: Women Over 40

The New Catfish Target: Women Over 40

nigerian scammer“Real love is more than a physical feeling. If there’s even the slightest doubt in your head about a guy, then forget about it. It’s not real.” ~Ethan Embry

Are you asking yourself if your online boyfriend is a fake? If so, you’re not alone–and if she’s single, divorced, or widowed, your mom might be there too.

There are 54,250,000 single people in the United States today, according to online dating statistics released by StatisticBrain, and more than 41 million of them admit that they’ve tried online dating. It’s how one in three are meeting their spouses these days – and the online dating industry raked in more than $1.2 BILLION last year. Yeah, you read that right. Billion.

Though online dating is more common than ever and given that nearly 20 percent of marriages in just the last year reportedly started out as online relationships, getting involved with someone you met online can be a risky venture. As is evident by the popularity of the MTV hit reality show, Catfish (not to mention the movie that sparked the show), there are plenty of weirdos, creeps, and scammers out there – not to mention narcissists, who absolutely love dating sites.

A disturbing trend in online dating: ‘catfish’ going after lonely women over 40.

Today, we’re focusing on the most dangerous kind of online boyfriend: toxic love scammers. You know the type–he’s the totally fake one who has no intention of really being with you. This kind of “boyfriend” is nothing more than a user, a taker, and someone who wants you only for what you can give them (usually, it involves plenty of cold, hard cash).

Your friends and family can see it–and they tell you all about it. But you feel like they just don’t understand, and you get defensive. Alternatively, you keep quiet about your online affair, telling only your very close friends, if anyone at all.

Is your online boyfriend a fake? How a toxic love scammer finds you

Scammers love hunting their victims via email and through various social media sites via private message. It’s a sneaky way to get their message to you in a seemingly personal and almost intimate way. There are a few fairly standard formulas, of course, but it usually looks something like this

Scam Alert: Love at First Profile Stalk

They usually claim to be from a foreign country and they’re often (at least in my case) hitting up the wrong sex/sexuality. That is, I’m always getting “French girls” and “Filipinas” who claim to have fallen hard for me after seeing my profile on some random social media site.

Then there are the dudes who follow a similar formula but they usually claim to be Italian or some kind of African, though this varies. A fairly notable percentage of these guys are actually working in call centers aimed at scamming people out of their hard-earned money.

Are you the target of an online love scam?

Profile stalkers tend to seek people who are (or appear to be) lonely or desperate for love. Those who are most vulnerable are generally women who may appear to have low self-esteem. The scammers count on the fact that they are starving for love so that they’re willing to allow themselves to fall for these “sweet talkers” who eventually intend to take everything they’ve got. And if they manage to bleed their victims dry, they’ll suddenly disappear without a word, eager to get started on the next affair/scam.

Who falls for this crap? A profile of the average victim

If you put all the victims in a database and creates your own Weird Science-type person out of the average of all factors and demographics of said victims, she might look something like this.

  • Over 40
  • Single, divorced, or widowed
  • Lonely (or appears to be lonely)
  • Insecure about her age, body, looks, or all three
  • Empty nester or soon will be – maybe even a grandma
  • May not be very internet savvy
  • Doesn’t keep up with social media news
  • Upper-middle-class with healthy savings (or at least access to money/credit)

Because our victim is so seemingly happy in her station (but secretly insecure and thirsty for acceptance, love, closeness, intimacy, etc.), she allows herself to overlook the apparent clues that seem so glaring to those around her. Inside her head, she’s still a woman, after all–doesn’t she deserve to feel loved and treasured?

It feels good, knowing someone might love her, though she may secretly fear meeting him because she might not be as beautiful in person as in photos, or what if he thinks she looks too old/fat/poor/whatever else she worries about?

So her own fear of loss, embarrassment, and rejection, coupled with her inability to give up that “drug” of his attention (because that’s what it feels like when she talks to him…like she’s high on life) adds up to a certain amount of manipulation material for the “love of her life”–and he totally uses all of that to his advantage.

Top Two Signs Your Online Boyfriend is a Fake: It’s all about love and money.

He Tells You He Loves You Way Too Soon–And Before You Ever Meet In Person

He’s a smooth operator, and if he’s a little choppy with his English or doesn’t understand basic cultural references, you write it off to personality quirks–you might even find it cute.

That’s because part of what these guys do is play on the emotions of vulnerable women who just want to be loved. So, as any manipulator does, these guys will get their hooks into a woman the easy way–by playing on her weaknesses. That’s why, in order to create some kind of loyalty and sense of obligation in his victim, a love scammer will spit out the L word way too soon.

For example, the story of Jodi Bourgeois, who fell for a scammer initially.

“He was very good with words,” Bourgeois told the Huffington Post. “Some of the emails he sent me were unbelievable. I showed them to my friends and they were like, ‘Oh my god, he’s so romantic. He’s wonderful’.”

But when Garic, who had started telling her he loved her within a week and talked marriage within a month, asked her for money the first time, Bourgeois said it was like somebody punched her in the gut. He had promised an in-person meeting during a business trip to London but couldn’t make it happen without her giving him $1800. She refused, but sensed what was coming next.

“When it started coming up [more often], I was pulling back a little bit. I started getting a feeling,” she said. Eventually, she ended the relationship. She never gave him any money, but she still mourns the relationship she thought she had.

He Asks You For Money

Imagine this. He always has an excuse as to why he can’t meet you in person. Usually, all he needs is a little more money and then, he swears, you will be together…forever…

If he actually gets any cash from you, he’ll suddenly be madly, desperately, deeply in love with you. He makes plans to visit but never actually shows up. Often, he cancels at the last minute and makes outrageous excuses. And again, all he needs is a little more money so he can “come home to you.”

Personal Advice from QB: Do not ever, ever, ever send money to any man you meet online. Especially if you haven’t ever met them in person.

Women Who Got Love Scammed

Debbie Best’s story is one that personifies the stereotype. Best is described as “a 50-year-old residential habilitation trainer and employment specialist from Butte, Montana, found herself the unwitting victim of an online dating scam.”

“The man she thought was a long-distance boyfriend in Florida tricked her out of her money, her credit card information and her heart,” writes The Huffington Post‘s Anthonia Akitunde, adding that Best’s scammer appeared to be “part of a larger crime syndicate based in Africa, and that his profile is used in ‘many different areas around the country.’

Her story is almost a word-for-word stereotype. Take, for example, the story of how the man systematically began to groom Best and pull her into his web, published along with Akitunde’s commentary, partially quoted above.

“Two months into our relationship, he told me he was going to take his savings of $700,000 to the United Kingdom to buy some antiques and have them shipped back to the United States so they can be sold at auction. We were planning to meet some time after that. I got a phone call from him; he told me he had got some nice antiques and that he was going to Nigeria to buy some more things. And that’s when things kind of went to hell.

A few days later I got a call from him when I was at work. He said, ‘I went to ship my stuff out and it costs $5,000 more than I have. I need you to send me $5,000.'” (Read the full story to find out how he continued to manipulate her and ended up sucking her dry.)

Another typical story comes from 51-year-old divorcee Mary Wheaton, who did lose money to her online love scammer.

“He told Wheaton that customs agents at the airport seized his cash,” writes Katie Bindley. “He said his daughter wasn’t feeling well and that he just wanted to get her someplace safe, so Wheaton says she wired him $2,000 to pay for his hotel room for two weeks. Then he needed $5,000 for legal fees. Wheaton felt that Slyd’s story didn’t add up: He asked for money to buy plane tickets to fly from Spain to Michigan, but why hadn’t he purchased round trip tickets in the first place?”

How to Spot Narcissists On Dating Sites: Red Flags and Giveaways 

This is how you recognize a narcissist’s dating profile on an online dating site or a dating app.

More Signs Your Online Boyfriend is a Fake: What Former Victims of Online Love Scams Say

A support group for victims of online love scams has compiled a really thorough and specific list of tell-tale signs that your online boyfriend is a fake–in this case, a Nigerian scammer.

Their first ten tips:

– Their profile picture looks professionally done and can be found on a modeling website,,,,, to name a few

– Their height/weight is not proportional -e.g. 6′ and 95 lbs

– They claim to have blonde hair and blues eyes when the picture is dark hair and brown eyes or vice versa

– They have a wedding ring on the photo yet they claim to be single

– They claim to be Native American or some other ethnicity when the photo is Caucasian

– They claim to be older/younger than the photo looks

– Their specified age range seems to have no limit-e.g. 25-60

– They have weird usernames containing “4real” or “4luv”

– Their first names are also weird, like Martins, Williams, Kevins, Waynes, etc… (instead of Martin, William, Kevin, Wayne)

– The women names are often misspelled, like Jenifer instead of Jennifer, Ashly instead of Ashley, or Marry instead of Mary.

Are you the victim of an online predator? Take this test and find out now

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