There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with a narcissist, especially one lacking self-awareness. But the sad truth is, they’re everywhere. There are narcissists at school, college, work, and even in your family. To most people, walking away from a narcissist who only seeks to disrupt your life is often the best option.
However, you may not always have a choice, especially when you’re in a position where you have to see them often. Here’s a brief guide to narcissism, gaslighting, and signs of narcissist gaslighting you should watch out for.
What Is Gaslighting?
“Gaslighting” is a term that has grown in popularity in recent years as more and more people have joined the discussions about human nature and emotional abuse. Gaslighting is a combination of emotional abuse, manipulation, and deceit carried out with the intent to make someone doubt their own sanity or perceptions. It is aimed to break someone’s identity and make them easier to control.
Narcissists have a tendency to gaslight because it gives them the ego boost they need in order to function. It’s an incredibly destructive trait that causes significant mental anguish. The problem with gaslighting is that it’s often subtle, making it difficult to detect.
Narcissists and sociopaths are renowned for their exemplary cunning. It’s important to be privy to the signs someone may be gaslighting you so that you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
What Is A Narcissist Personality?
A narcissist to put it simply is a person who lacks empathy and has an inflated sense of self-importance. They tend to put themselves before everyone else and have no compunction about being apathetic when it comes to making ends meet. Sometimes, they have a fragile sense of self-worth that needs to be reinforced constantly by trying to subjugate and control other people.
It’s still unknown how narcissism develops. A narcissistic personality disorder is considered to be rare. Most major psychologists speculate that narcissism emerges from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. It has also been found to be more common in men.
Narcissism often goes hand in hand with sociopathy or psychopathy, although only in extreme cases. A lot of major criminals share one trait in common — narcissism.
Signs Of Narcissist Gaslighting
If you think you’re being gaslit and are dealing with a narcissist person, here are some signs you should watch out for:
#1. They have complaints and grievances about the smallest things you say or do and confront you if you don’t obey them.
#2. They change past events when retelling them to confuse you into believing things that never happened and change your perception of reality.
#3. They are obsessive, bossy, and controlling.
#4. They constantly compare you to others to lower your self-esteem.
#5. They twist your leg and blame you for being too sensitive.
#6. They talk about you negatively behind your back.
#7. They deny, scoff, or ridicule your opinions, your recollection of events, or your state of mind.
#8. They never admit to being wrong about anything.
#9. They lie and exaggerate frequently to gain attention.
#10. They project their own insecurities onto you as a way to avoid having to confront their volatile sense of self-worth.
#11. They get defensive when criticized.
#12. They try to coerce you emotionally.
#13. They have no qualms about breaking rules or boundaries.
Phrases Narcissist Use When Gaslighting
Here are some common examples of the kinds of things you will often hear from a narcissist attempting to gaslight you. Just remember, on their own, these phrases are not an indication of narcissism. It is only when they are used in the context of a confrontation where your feelings are being ignored that they may indicate a narcissistic undertone.
#1. “You’re being too sensitive” or “You’re overreacting.”
#2. “It was just a joke, you need to have a sense of humor.”
#3. “What you’re talking about is not important.”
#4. “You’re the problem, not me.”
#5, “You need to be more open-minded.”
#6. “You’re imagining things that never happened.”
#7. “It’s not my problem.”
#8. “It’s not my fault.”
#9. “I already said I’m sorry, you need to let it go.”
#10. “You’re just jealous and insecure.”
#11. “You have a lot of issues.”
#12. “I don’t have time for you right now.”
#13. “You’re not that special.”
Examples Of Narcissist Gaslighting
Narcissistic gaslighting can take many forms. As mentioned earlier, a narcissist’s goal is to manipulate your emotions, not just trigger the negative ones. They may say things to make you feel good from time to time, although that’s just bait.
Here are just a few examples of narcissist gaslighting you may recognize:
#1. Shaming or humiliating you in public.
#2. Making you feel insignificant.
#3. Sardonic humor at your expense without any compunction.
#4. Making you feel like you’re the problem.
#5. Reminding you how lucky you are to know them.
#6. Constantly criticizing or berating you.
#7. Shaming you for being sensitive and raising grievances.
#8. Cutting you off in a conversation.
#9. Scoffing at your comments or opinions.
#10. Recalling events differently on purpose to confuse you.
#11. Make you believe that you’re going crazy.
#12. Trivializing your struggles or problems in life.
How To Fight The Gaslighting Of A Narcissist
Now that you have a rough idea of what narcissists are like and how they gaslight, it’s time to talk about how you can deal with them. Narcissists exist everywhere, and you’re likely to encounter one at some point.
Letting someone with a complete disregard for your feelings, personhood, and identity into your life is one of the worst mistakes you could make. Do not underestimate the impact narcissists can have on you.
Fortunately, dealing with a narcissist is not too difficult. They’re hungry for your attention, time, approval, and often submission. In other words, they enjoy possessing people. But you can’t possess someone who doesn’t want to be possessed. When you stop being receptive to their gaslighting, it will bother them a lot, and that’s where the tables turn.
In cases where the narcissist in question is just a friend or partner, the best thing to do is leave and never look back. However, if it’s a family member, relative, or co-worker, you often don’t have much of a choice except to adapt and deal with them.
Here are some tips you will find useful when dealing with narcissist gaslighting:
#1. Practice silent treatment when you aren’t being respected. Narcissists loathe being ignored over everything.
#2. When they make harsh comments, critiques, or hurtful jokes, keep your responses curt.
#3. Give no praise or compliment and be very withdrawn with your emotions.
#4. Boldly call them out on their behavior.
#5. Focus on caring for yourself before them.
#6. Remain confident in your version of events if you remember them clearly and casually deny the narcissist’s version.
#7. Give yourself space from the narcissist from time to time.
#8. If they ever take gaslighting too far, involve others or seek professional support.