12 Narcissistic Gaslighting Examples & How To Outsmart Them

Author: Linda Liu & Renée Shen

Most of us have been in unhealthy relationships where we felt belittled and downgraded. It happens not only in romantic relationships but also with friendships and coworkers.

If you are currently in a relationship with a narcissist that constantly makes you doubt yourself, then likely you are being gaslighted.

In this article, we will introduce 12 narcissist gaslighting examples & how to outsmart them.

But first of all, what is a narcissist? And what the heck is gaslighting?


A narcissist in a relationship is someone who has a low sense of self-worth or self-esteem, which they try to boost by putting others down.


The term gaslighting has been trending since 2018, thanks to the awareness of abusive relationships.

This term originated from a 1938 play called Gas Light, in which the protagonist's husband manipulates her to believe that she’s hallucinating. 

He turned down the gas-powered lights in their home so that they would keep flickering, and when she mentioned it he told her that it was all happening inside her head.

In short, gaslighting is the collection of psychological tactics of manipulating someone into questioning their own reality. 

Now let’s go ahead and dive into 12 narcissist gaslighting examples & how to outsmart them.

#1. They Blame You For Everything, For Instance The Weather

“We didn’t get to the concert on time because you were driving too slow!!!!”
“The dinner was horrible because you insisted on choosing that awful restaurant!!!”
“It’s raining today and you didn’t put an umbrella in the car??? It’s all your fault!!!” 

Sound familiar?

These are typical narcissistic gaslighting examples as they tend to blame everyone around them for their miseries.

By doing so, what they’re usually trying to say is:

“I’m super miserable and unhappy, the only way for me to feel a bit better about myself is to shift the blame onto you”.

#2. They Call You Crazy/Paranoid/ Delusional All The Time

A narcissist will never ever admit they’re wrong, and that’s why they will flat-out call you crazy if you suspect something.

Remember the origin of the term gaslighting? 

The protagonist’s husband convinced her that she was delusional when he was the one lying and manipulating her the whole time.

A lot of low-value men will also call their ex-girlfriends/wives/partners crazy, so if you ever go out on a date with a man who claimed the ex was crazy, that’s a huge waving red flag!

If he calls them crazy, there’s a decent chance that he will call you crazy in the future when things don’t work out.

(Of course this is not always the case, some women really do act crazy! But if you see this red flag along with many of the other narcissist gaslighting examples here, then beware). 

By the way, narcissists tend to gravitate towards a certain type of person: people who are unwilling to say no, who don’t have high self esteem or who don’t feel like they can defend themselves physically or mentally.

It’s important to always hold yourself as a high value woman with solid self esteem. If you don’t, then seriously toxic and abusive people will seek you out and even seek to create a trauma bond with you.

You should avoid showing signs of or low value and low self esteem as much as you possibly can. Did you know that there are 7 common signs of low value in a woman? Do you know what they are and how to avoid them like the plague?

CLICK here to discover the 7 common signs that a woman is perceived as low value in the eyes of men in this special report.

#3. They Flat Out Deny Negative Things They Said Or Did

“No, I never said that!”

“Why would I ever do that? You’ve got it wrong”

This all comes down to the same ego issues, they always have to be right, and if you dare doubt them they will attack you.

If you are experiencing any of these narcissist gaslighting examples, stop the debate immediately, as it will get you nowhere.

In the case that you need to discuss something serious with the narcissist, such as divorce or co-parenting children, pull up receipts from the past (text messages, voice mails, emails) to protect yourself.

#4. They Give You A Self Made Oscar Award For Being the Drama King/Queen

If you’re in a friendship or some sort of relationship with a narcissist, chances are you have heard the sentence “Stop being so sensitive” or “OMG you’re overreacting again!” 100 times already.

This is another of the narcissistic gaslighting examples as narcissists tend to disregard the emotions of others. 

They want to do whatever they want without facing consequences, so when you react, they will call you the king or queen of drama.

CLICK HERE to Learn How to Become the World’s Most Attractive & Feminine Goddess (Even if you have no self esteem or no man has ever paid you any attention…)

#5. They Accuse You Of Playing The Victim Card

Narcissistic gaslighters always love belittling anyone and everyone. It’s like a game for them and they see nothing wrong with it.

So, telling you that you only received something good in life because you did something unethical or uncouth to get it, (like playing the victim or sleeping with the boss) is actually common for narcissists.


“The bosses only gave you the promotion because you’re _____ (insert a term here like "white", "female", "trans", and so on.)”

This is a common narcissist gaslighting example in the workforce. 

If you are a person of color, a member of the LGBTQ community, or if you’re a woman, the gaslighter will accuse you of victimizing yourself when you call them out on their BS. 

That’s not to say that people of color or members of the LGBTQ club wouldn’t gaslight co-workers, but the point is that a narcissist will do or say whatever they can to bring down others. 

#6. They Tell You To “Lighten Up” Because They Were “Just Joking”

Next up in the examples of narcissistic gaslighting is dismissing the effects of their manipulative and insensitive comments. 

When a narcissist sees you upset over something they said, they will tell you to brush it off because, you know, they didn’t really mean it.

Either that or they will blame you for being too serious and that you can’t take a joke.

(Some people really are the type to joke around or banter, but the difference is that with narcissists, they will never ever empathise with you under any circumstances, whilst people who are playful and joke around have the capacity for empathy). 

In the case that you do feel hurt over this kind of gaslighting behavior, address it to them loud and clear. Because whether or not they adjust their behaviors in the future has nothing to do with you.

But let them know that you were hurt and those horrible jokes were not acceptable.

#7. They Claim They Did Something Horrible - Just For Your Well-Being

Another of the narcissist gaslighting examples is doing something mean or horrible to you, but when you confront them about it, they turn around and say it was done with your best interests in mind. 

This is very common in parent-child relationships. The mother might burn gifts from the daughter’s secret admirer, or hide the son’s acceptance letter to the Royal Ballet School.

“I was doing it for your own good! You’ll thank me when you become a parent!”

Parents who are control freaks tend to do selfish things, and then gaslight the child by coming up with dumb excuses, and usually this is the start of an estrangement. 

#8. They Minimize And Invalidate Your Feelings

I’m not talking about the military bootcamp where the sergeant has to be tough on the cadets here.

As mentioned above, a narcissist who gaslights all the time will do anything they can to get away with their crimes, and invalidating your feelings is one of the easiest ways. 

They won’t connect with you or feel sorry for you when you are sad and crying, instead they’ll tell you to “just get over it”.

Remember, you’re allowed to feel however you want to feel, don’t let a narcissist’s gaslighting behavior get to you too easily.

#9. They Pit You Against Family Or Friends

…Particularly the ones they don’t like.

Narcissists are control freaks who like to drive wedges between people, and this is very common in toxic relationships.

A high value partner will encourage you to have healthy relationships with your family and friends, but a narcissistic gaslighter will not.

Instead they may find faults in the other people you love from the get to (faults that may not even exist). They may even want you to cut off your family and friends completely, and elope with them instead, never looking back. 

Since narcissists want to be the center of your life and get all your attention, they can’t stand the thought of you spending time with others you love.  

If you have encountered gaslighting of narcissistic abuse a few times when dating guys in the past, you may benefit from hearing Alison’s story on how she finally stopped the cycle of dating narcissistic, abusive men and instead married a high value, emotionally healthy man in record time:

CLICK HERE to Discover how Alison ended her cycle of abusive relationships by learning to quickly weed out the "wrong types of men", inspiring deep devotion from her chosen man and passing the hardest test of them all - an accidental pregnancy after a month of dating! 

(...All because of one simple skill every woman should have.)

#10. They Grab Popcorn At The Speed Of Light To Tune Into The Latest Gossip

Who doesn’t like Gossip? I’m sure we all do.

The thing with narcissists is that they love collecting gossip about others as a way to manipulate those around them.

The way they weoponize gossip is, they spread false or exaggerated rumors around to pit people against each other, or they tell you the horrible stuff people say about you behind your back.

This kind of gaslighting tactic makes narcissists feel better about themselves.

#11. They Defend Themselves As If The Apocalypse Is Coming

Narcissists get super defensive when they are confronted with negative feedback.

Remember how we talked about narcissists never ever owning up to responsibilities? That’s why they are basically in defense and attack mode when you doubt them.

They will gaslight you with verbal abuse, constant denial and re-directing the blame onto you. Worst case scenario, it could turn into narcissistic rage, resulting in violent behaviors.

MORE: 20 Deadly Signs A Man Has Anger Issues & How to Resolve Them.

If you notice a narcissist being triggered and going into defense mode, don’t push them any further, try to de-escalate the situation by backing off. 

#12. They Love-Bomb You To Gain Control Of The Relationship

To love-bomb someone means to shower them with excessive or overwhelming levels of affection and adoration, which is another of the common narcissist gaslighting examples.

A narcissist who love-bombs does it to control you then later blackmail you emotionally when you need space. 

“Why are you never here!!!??? You don’t love me anymore!!!???” 

“I gave you my all so if you don’t come here in 20 seconds I will slit my wrists and you will live in regret.”

Narcissists do this to guilt-trip you into spending all of your time and energy on them. They lack the self-confidence to thrive on their own and this is unacceptable.

If you are in a toxic relationship with a narcissist that exhibit more than half of these narcissist gaslighting examples, try the following tips for how to outsmart a gaslighter.

How To Outsmart A Narcissist Who Constantly Gaslights You

#1. The Grey Rock Method:

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about a grey rock? Literally nothing. That’s how you deal with a narcissist that gaslights non-stop.

The grey rock method means you unengage as much as possible so that an abusive person loses interest and stops gaslighting you.

Examples of the grey rock method include: 

  • Just letting the gaslighter vent
  • Don’t talk back when they are instigating a fight; and
  • Stay calm and try not to let them get reactions out of you 

The more chill you remain, the less they will continue their toxic behavior.

#2. Sympathize:

Narcissists tend to behave the way they do because they grew up with narcissistic parents who gaslighted them all the time. 

Try to have some sympathy with the narcissist’s gaslighting behavior by not defending yourself too aggressively or judging them harshly. The more negativity they get from you, the worse things will be for the both of you. 

Listen to them vent, communicate with them gently, whatever you do, try to fathom how painful it must have been for them growing up.

You can’t control how a narcissist treats you but you can definitely control how you react to them. 

#3. Walk Away If It Gets Worse

We all have narcissistic traits, so narcissism is not a black and white situation, rather narcissism is on a scale of 0 to 10. 

Some people are extremely narcissistic while some narcissists only gaslight others occasionally.

In the case that a narcissist gaslights you too often, walk away. Especially if you are in a romantic relationship with an extreme narcissist.

You may not be able to leave narcissistic parents or quit your toxic job, but you do have the choice to leave a narcissist that non-stop gaslights you in a relationship.

If the relationship is toxic to the point that you are in deep pain, please re-evaluate everything and plan your escape. You deserve to be loved by a high value partner who treats you with respect.

Leaving a relationship is easier said than done, but for the sake of your well-being, it is better to be single than stuck in a dysfunctional relationship that lacks basic respect, empathy and love. 

QUIZ TIME: Anxious, avoidant or secure attachment patterns? Which one do I have? CLICK HERE to find out with our specially crafted women-specific 10 Question Quiz! (Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)

Linda Liu
Renee Shen

Linda Liu

Linda Liu is a freelance writer, translator and researcher based in Taiwan and Spain. With a strong passion for femininity and romance, it's her life goal to help high-value women and men become better versions of themselves.

Renée Shen

Author & Editor For National Council for Research on Women. Founder of the popular women's dating & relationship advice website, The Feminine Woman.

P.S. I hope you've enjoyed this article. Here are some other articles that I think you'd really like too...

12 Subtle Signs Of Gaslighting & 5 Ways to Outsmart Them

14 Hidden Signs He Only Wants You For Your Body

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

© Copyright National Council for Research on Women.  All Rights Reserved