17 Gaslighting Phrases To Watch Out For In Your Relationship

17 Gaslighting Phrases To Watch Out For In Your Relationship Shutterstock

Have you ever felt uneasy or confused about your partner’s words in your relationship? Do you often question your sanity or feelings because of their remarks? These might be signs that you’re experiencing gaslighting, a subtle form of manipulation. Being aware of common gaslighting phrases can help you identify this behavior and protect your emotional well-being.

1. “You’re too sensitive/emotional/crazy.”

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This phrase minimizes your feelings and emotions, making you doubt your reactions. Your emotions are valid, and it’s not fair for your partner to dismiss them. When they label you as “too sensitive” or “crazy,” they’re trying to invalidate your experiences and shift the blame onto you.

2. “I never said that.”

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This classic gaslighting line makes you question your memory and perception of reality, Verywell Mind notes. If your partner denies saying or doing something that you clearly remember, they’re trying to manipulate you into believing their version of events. Trust your instincts and remember that your memories are valid.

3. “You’re imagining things.”

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This phrase aims to make you doubt your own sanity and perceptions. If you raise a concern or express a feeling, and your partner tells you it’s all in your head, they’re gaslighting you. They want you to believe that your concerns are unfounded and that you’re overreacting.

4. “You’re always making a big deal out of nothing.”

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This phrase dismisses your concerns and emotions as unimportant. It’s a way for your partner to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to make you feel like you’re exaggerating. Remember that your feelings are valid, and it’s okay to express them.

5. “You’re so forgetful/mistaken.”

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This phrase repeatedly questions your memory and perception of events. When your partner constantly tells you that you’re misremembering things, they’re eroding your confidence in your own abilities. This can make you doubt your sanity and become more dependent on them.

6. “You’re overreacting.”

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Similar to “you’re too sensitive,” this phrase minimizes your feelings and emotions. When you express a concern or frustration, your partner might accuse you of overreacting to avoid addressing the issue. They want you to believe that your reaction is disproportionate to the situation.

7. “You wouldn’t be so upset if you loved me.”

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This manipulative phrase uses guilt to control your emotions. When you express dissatisfaction or anger, your partner might try to twist the situation by claiming that you’re not showing love by being upset. This is a way to make you feel guilty and question your feelings.

8. “That’s not how it happened.”

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This phrase rewrites history to fit your partner’s narrative. When they deny your version of events, they’re attempting to manipulate you into believing their version instead. This can be particularly damaging if it happens repeatedly, as it can make you question your own perception of reality.

9. “You’re just being difficult.”

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This phrase dismisses your concerns and opinions as simply being difficult or unreasonable. When you raise a valid point or disagree with your partner, they might accuse you of being difficult to avoid engaging in a constructive conversation. This is a way to shut down communication and make you feel like you’re the problem.

10. “Nobody else would put up with you.”

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This hurtful phrase isolates you and makes you feel like you’re lucky to have your partner, even if they’re mistreating you. When they tell you that nobody else would tolerate you, they’re trying to undermine your self-esteem and make you more dependent on them. Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

11. “You’re lucky to have me.”

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Similar to the previous phrase, this one reinforces the idea that you’re not good enough and should be grateful for your partner. When they say you’re lucky to have them, they’re trying to manipulate you into accepting their behavior, even if it’s harmful. Remember that you deserve a healthy and supportive relationship.

12. “Why are you trying to start a fight?”

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This phrase deflects blame and shifts responsibility for conflict onto you. When you try to address a problem or express your feelings, your partner might accuse you of intentionally trying to start a fight. This tactic allows them to avoid accountability for their actions and makes you feel like you’re the one causing the conflict.

13. “You’re so insecure.”

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This phrase attacks your self-worth and makes you question your own feelings and insecurities. When your partner labels you as insecure, they’re trying to invalidate your concerns and make you believe that you’re being irrational. This can erode your confidence and make you more vulnerable to their manipulation.

14. “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t question me.”

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This manipulative phrase uses guilt and conditional love to silence your concerns. When you question your partner’s behavior or decisions, they might accuse you of not loving them enough. This is a way to make you feel guilty for expressing your doubts and to discourage you from questioning them in the future.

15. “I’m the only one who truly cares about you.”

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This phrase isolates you from your support system and makes you feel dependent on your partner. When they claim to be the only one who cares, they’re trying to control you and limit your interactions with other people. This can make it harder for you to seek help or support outside of the relationship.

16. “Everyone thinks you’re being dramatic/crazy.”

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This phrase tries to turn people against you and isolate you further. When your partner claims that everyone else thinks you’re overreacting or being unreasonable, they’re trying to undermine your credibility and make you feel like you’re the problem. Trust your instincts and remember that your feelings are valid.

17. “You’ll never find anyone better than me.”

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This phrase instills fear and insecurity, making you feel trapped in the relationship. When your partner tells you that you’ll never find someone else who loves you, they’re trying to control you and prevent you from leaving. Remember that you deserve to be with someone who treats you with respect and values you.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.