Am I Being Gaslighted?
Do you suspect that a partner, relative, friend, or co-worker is gaslighting you? Gaslighting revolves around making someone question their reality and lived experiences and is a type of emotional abuse. Some examples would be if your partner, relative, or friend said a statement to the effect of: “That never happened” (and you have proof it did), “I did that because I love you so much,” “You’re overreacting,” etc.
Gaslighting can be incredibly confusing, disorienting, and hurtful—and sometimes it’s even hard to know when it’s happening. We’ve made a quiz to help you closely examine your experiences in a clear light, so you can know what next steps to take in your relationship.
- All the time! They call me that after any argument.
- Pretty frequently. That’s one of their go-to phrases.
- Not that often. They might have said it once, but not recently.
- Never! Our conversations are always respectful.
- 1-3. I really don’t feel like myself these days.
- 4-6. I don’t feel great, but I guess it could be worse.
- 7-8. Pretty good! No complaints here.
- 9-10. I’m feeling on top of the world!
- Almost constantly. It feels like everything is somehow my fault.
- A lot. I’m usually the first (and only) one to apologize.
- Occasionally, but it’s not a daily thing.
- Only when I'm in the wrong.
- Always! I don’t want anyone making a big deal about it.
- I do, but not all the time.
- Only sometimes—some situations need extra context.
- Nope! If they’re in the wrong, I won’t try to defend them.
- I pretty much feel invisible.
- I feel seen and heard maybe 25% of the time.
- I sometimes feel ignored, but not often.
- I always feel listened to and respected.
- Constantly! I can barely make simple decisions on my own.
- Frequently. I just don’t feel that confident anymore.
- Occasionally. I don’t doubt myself that often.
- Almost never. I feel good about my choices.
- Relieved. It feels like a weight is lifted from my shoulders.
- Pretty okay. I feel better without them around.
- A little empty. I miss their company.
- Super sad. They add a lot to my life.
- Yes. They can't handle being wrong.
- Sort of. They don’t like to concede very often.
- Not really. We can reach a compromise.
- Nope. They’ll admit when they’re wrong.
- “You’re crazy. That’s not what happened.”
- “Would you please stop overreacting?”
- “I don’t think that’s right, but I’m willing to hear you out.”
- “I hear what you’re saying. Could we talk this through?”
- When don’t they use my words against me?
- Yeah, a lot of the time. It’s pretty frustrating.
- On a rare occasion, but only when they’re really angry.
- Nope. Our conversations feel fair and structured.
- They’re completely right. What was I thinking?
- Why did I bother saying anything?
- They might have a point, but I’m not ready to concede yet.
- I’m entitled to my beliefs, and they’re entitled to theirs.
- Most of what they say is completely made up.
- They’re a little truthful, but they exaggerate a lot.
- At least 80% of what they say seems accurate.
- They are very accurate.
Signs and Solutions for a Gaslighting Relationship
The word “gaslighting” has grown more common and widespread in the past few years, but the term itself actually comes from the 1938 play Gas Light (and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations), which tells the story of a husband who tries to convince his wife that she’s crazy.
In the play, the husband plays his wife’s valid concerns off as paranoia, including her correct suspicions that the gaslights in their home are gradually dimming. Just as the play demonstrates, gaslighting isn’t always easy to identify and escape from—but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, either. Here’s a quick run-down of some gaslighting signs to watch out for, along with ways to respond and get support.
Common Signs of Gaslighting
- They question your memory. Statements like “That didn’t happen”, “I have no clue what you’re talking about,” or “Your memory isn’t that great” are all common excuses used by gaslighters to control the narrative.
- They don’t care about your feelings. Gaslighters love to break out lines like “It was just a joke!” or “Why are you making this all about you?” instead of seeing your feelings as real and valid.
- They downplay what you’re feeling. Abusers like to throw around words like “crazy,” “sensitive,” and “ridiculous” to make you question yourself.
- They dismiss your concerns with lies. Some gaslighters try to tackle your doubts and concerns head-on—by offering lies that make you doubt your original statements.
- They interrupt you. Some gaslighters quite literally shut you down by cutting you off before you can share your concerns.
- You feel the need to apologize all the time. Gaslighters can never be at fault and make you feel like you have to apologize for everything in the relationship.
- They refuse to address your concerns directly. Some abusers keep putting off the conversation, so you never get to share what’s on your mind.
Ways to Respond
- Stand your ground in a conversation. Don’t let another person rewrite history; instead, make it clear that you aren’t going to roll over and accept their version of events. You might say something like “Respectfully, that isn’t that what happened” or “I’m not being sensitive—I’m rightfully angry and upset over the way you’ve treated me.”
- Exit the conversation if the gaslighter refuses to cooperate. Gaslighters like to pretend that they hold the power in a conversation, but it’s actually you who’s in control. By stepping away and leaving the conversation, you’re denying the gaslighter a chance to take any power and control back for themselves.
- Continue to call out the gaslighter in the future. Let them know that you won’t tolerate their hurtful and abusive language and that you refuse to buy into their toxic narrative.
- If there are any signs of physical abuse or you are fearful for your life, please call or text the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline or Love Is Respect.
Ways to Get Help
- Write down your conversations and interactions in a journal. What did the other person say or do, and how did you respond? Jotting down exactly what happened gives you physical, tangible proof that you’re being manipulated and abused.
- Chat with a trusted friend or loved one. Share what’s going on between you and the possible gaslighter in your life and get a second opinion from a close friend or relative. They can take a close look at your situation and help you see things more objectively.
- Take time for self-care in your daily life. Self-care activities like yoga, crafts, meditation, and quality time with friends allow you to reach a grounded and healthy headspace, which makes it easier for you to separate from a toxic relationship in a healthy way.
- Talk with a trained professional. A trained counselor can help you work through your experiences in a safe and healthy environment so you confront and grow from the emotional abuse you’ve experienced.
- Get help if you’re in an abusive situation. Find safe places where you can stay for the time being (like a friend or relative’s home) and create a safety plan for yourself as you prepare to leave. Organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Love Is Respect offer free chats and calls with advocates 24/7. You’re never alone!
Want to learn more?
Gaslighting is a serious type of emotional abuse, and it's completely valid if you're feeling confused, hurt, and unsure of what to do next. Read on for more information on what gaslighting is and how you can escape from it:
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