8 Small Things Gaslighters Say To Make You Feel ‘Crazy’

In an age where psychology is on the rise, the term ‘gaslighting’ has made its way into mainstream conversations. What was once a niche concept is now a crucial aspect of discussions surrounding abuse and manipulation. Originating from the 1944 movie “Gaslight”, gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.
However, it’s crucial to understand that gaslighting isn’t always as dramatic or overt as the clichéd abuser who would deliberately deceive their victim. In many cases, it’s far more insidious and subtle. Gaslighters, be they partners, bosses, friends, or family members, use tactics that are cleverly disguised and can leave victims wondering what hit them.

Throughout this piece, we’ll dissect eight not-so-obvious phrases that gaslighters use to create confusion and self-doubt. Recognizing these verbal manipulations can serve as a shield for anyone who may be on the receiving end, allowing them to maintain clarity and protect their mental well-being.

“You’re Just Overreacting”

Dismissing someone’s concerns as an overreaction is a classic technique of gaslighting. This simple phrase might make it seem like the problem isn’t the issue that’s being addressed, but rather the person who’s bringing it up. Victims of gaslighting are often left feeling like they’re not handling things the ‘right’ way, which is, of course, exactly the aim of the abuser.
One way to counteract this is by standing your ground and calmly explaining why your feelings are valid. It’s not you who’s misinterpreting or overreacting; it’s a natural and valid response to the situation at hand.

“I Never Said That”

A gaslighter’s most powerful weapon is their refusal to acknowledge previous acts or words. By denying their past behaviors and statements, they force you onto the back foot, reeling in confusion and self-doubt. You may even begin to question your own memory, thinking, “Maybe I did just imagine that they said that.”
To protect yourself, learn to trust your memory. Keep a diary or record interactions if necessary. Having tangible proof to refer back to can help you stand your ground when the gaslighter tries to rewrite history.

“You’re Being Paranoid”

Labeling your genuine concerns as paranoia can be a subtle form of gaslighting. It’s a way of making you feel ashamed and like you’re seeing problems where there aren’t any. However, it’s important to recognize the difference between unfounded suspicions and genuine red flags. Trust your gut – it’s often trying to tell you something important.
By educating yourself on healthy relationship dynamics and red flags for potential abuse, you can develop a clearer understanding of when your concerns are warranted. Seeking support from others can also provide you with an objective perspective.

“You’re Just Being Too Sensitive”

Minimizing your emotions and concerns is a strategy to make you feel like your feelings are somehow faulty or unnecessary. By framing you as overly sensitive, gaslighters can continue to cross boundaries without being held accountable for their actions.
Remember, sensitivity can be a strength. It’s what allows us to empathize, connect with others, and recognize when something is ‘off’. Don’t allow anyone to shame you for it. Stand firm in your right to feel the way you feel.

“You’re Imagining Things”

Similar to the ‘overreacting’ comment, this phrase is used to dismiss whatever has been pointed out, but with an added twist – now the gaslighter is hinting not just at your reaction, but at the very nature of your perception of the world. The implications of this can lead you to second-guess every thought and judgment you make.
To counteract this, it’s important to surround yourself with a supportive network of people who can validate your experiences. Regularly checking in with trusted friends or family members about your circumstances can help maintain a reality check.

“You’re Making a Big Deal Out of Nothing”

This phrase is a direct attack on the validity of your concerns, to make you doubt the seriousness of the situation. Gaslighters often use minimizing language to prevent themselves from being held accountable for their actions, even if those actions are hurtful or abusive.
Don’t allow anyone to downplay your experiences. If something feels off, it’s worth exploring further. Communicate the impact of their behavior on you and seek resolution, whether it’s through conversational give-and-take or seeking professional guidance.

“You’re Always Blaming Me”

This phrase is a defensive maneuver. When a gaslighter feels they’re being accused, they deflect by turning the tables and accusing you of always blaming them. This puts you in a position where you not only question your judgment but also start to feel guilty for the situation being turned around on you.
In these moments, it’s important to focus on the issue at hand rather than allowing yourself to be sidetracked. Stay composed and reinforce the specific problem or behavior that’s causing distress, and remember it’s okay to discuss the issue, despite any deflections.

“You’re Just Being Difficult”

Labeling you as ‘difficult’ is the gaslighter’s way of trying to control your behavior by framing any resistance as an inherent character flaw. It’s a means of making you feel defective for not going along with whatever agenda they’ve set.
Recognize that you have the right to assert boundaries, express needs, and refuse behaviors that are unacceptable to you. Being assertive is not the same as being difficult; it’s a crucial aspect of self-care and self-respect.


Gaslighting can be one of the most harmful forms of emotional abuse, yet it is often not easily identifiable, especially when the manipulations are subtle. By becoming familiar with these eight seemingly innocuous phrases, you can develop a heightened awareness of manipulative behavior and work towards better protecting your mental well-being. It’s essential to remember that your feelings and experiences are valid and that it’s not your job to adhere to someone else’s distorted reality. Trust yourself, seek support, and know that you are not, in fact, ‘crazy’.