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“You’re always so high strung and emotional!”
These words were hurled at me by a past partner who used to gaslight me all the time. Their words made me feel insecure, confused, and raw. I always ended up believing that I was the guilty party in whatever issue we were dealing with, and as a result, I withdrew more and more and looked to them for validation all the time.
If only I knew some phrases to shut down gaslighting back then.
Today, I am stronger and have rediscovered my voice, and I can confidently shut down a gaslighter with the most appropriate phrase in each situation. It is possible to break the manipulation and maintain your boundaries – here’s how.
What Is Gaslighting?
Gaslighting is quite a popular term today, and in the last few decades, it has been used to describe manipulative behavior (or abuse) that is aimed at making you feel insecure and confused. The use of gaslighting phrases is aimed at making you dependent on your abuser and isolating you from yourself and from any other support network you have.
Narcissists often use gaslighting as their favorite weapon, and it’s very effective. Sometimes, we gaslight others because of learned phrases, without even realizing we are doing it. Any time you tell someone what to feel or how to behave and make it seem like that person is being foolish for feeling or doing what they did, you are gaslighting.
Examples of Gaslighting
A few examples of gaslighting phrases and behavior may include:
Why It Is Important to Address Gaslighting Head On
When it comes to abusive behavior like gaslighting, it is vital that you don’t back down and you face down your abuser and their gaslighting behavior. Meeting gaslighting accusations head on and in person requires that you practice introspection and use specific words to defuse the gaslighter.
Being mindful and keeping a journal can help you maintain a firmer grasp on your reality to avoid being manipulated by the gaslighter.
Only from a position of strength can you handle a gaslighter’s comments and manipulations, which is where using the best and most empowered narrative comes into play.
31 Specific Phrases to Shut Down a Gaslighting Person
Specific phrases can be used to explain to a gaslighter your truth while setting boundaries.
These phrases follow a formula:
So, if you are being gaslit, here are phrases you can use to shut the gaslighter down and take back your power:
1. “Please stop invalidating my feelings as only I know what and how I feel, or I will have to spend less time with you as you are not good for my mental health.”
2. “While I want to spend more time with you, your behavior is damaging to my well-being, and if you can’t stop being dismissive of my experiences, I will have to leave.”
3. “When you dismiss my experience of a situation, it upsets me. Either you stop telling me what to feel about a situation, or I will have to protect myself by not spending time with you.”
When you dismiss my experience of a situation, it upsets me. Either you stop telling me what to feel about a situation, or I will have to protect myself by not spending time with you.”
4. “Stop! You are gaslighting me with your manipulations, and I am not going to be a victim of this abuse or any other form of abuse. Respect me for my individuality or leave, now.”
5. “You will not make me doubt myself because you question my reality or what I experience. I am worthy of more respect than that.”
6. “When you say things to try and influence how I feel, it makes me like you less. Stop manipulating me or it’s over.”
7. “Stop gaslighting me. I am on to your plan, and I won’t be manipulated like that. I think it’s time we took a break, so you can get help.”
8. “Your manipulations won’t change my perception of who I am. Either you stop trying to destroy my self-image, or we’re through.”
9. “Your gaslighting is a dealbreaker. Sorry, but this isn’t going to work out between us.”
10. “Gaslighting is mental abuse, and your denial of my experiences and feelings is aimed at making me feel confused and manipulating my thoughts. I see you, and I choose better for myself.”
11. “Accept that we’re over, as I can’t allow someone to manipulate and destroy me like you’ve done. I am stronger without you.”
12. “I am worthy of better treatment and care than you’ve shown me. Stop trying to break me down or I will report you to the police.”
13. “Don’t try to manipulate me or make me feel inferior and crazy anymore, as I am now keeping a record of our conversations, and I won’t let you mess with my mind.”
14. “You can no longer continue making me feel like I am losing my mind, as I have support and won’t let you abuse me any further.”
You can no longer continue making me feel like I am losing my mind, as I have support and won’t let you abuse me any further.”
15. “Don’t play the victim with me. I know what happened, and I have already recorded it in writing, so don’t even think of changing your story with me.”
16. “I don’t subscribe to the idea that you know what everyone else is thinking. Stop trying to scare me. I don’t scare easily.”
17. “I am not overreacting and suggesting that I am is to deny my experiences. Stop trying to manipulate me, as I am more than capable of standing up for myself.”
18. “You are the one needing professional help for your negative behavior and abusive streaks. There are a few great therapists that I can recommend.”
19. “I see how you have been trying to make me feel alone and weak, but I know I am strong enough to stand alone. You are the one who is alone in your abuse.”
20. “I know I have an active imagination, but I am fully aware of what is going on at all times. Don’t try to confuse the matter with foolery.”
21. “Your gaslighting has cost me precious time, but I am able to get back on my feet. You will not make me doubt, and if you try, my support network and I will deal with you.”
22. “If you see me as a manipulator, you need to give me exact examples of my supposed manipulative behavior; otherwise, you are projecting your manipulative nature on me, and I will not accept it.”
23. “Please stop holding me accountable for things that I have not done. If you can’t act professionally, I will quit immediately.”
24. “Do not tell me what happened. You don’t know how I feel about a situation, and my feelings and experiences are valid. If you keep denying my truth, I will leave.”
Do not tell me what happened. You don’t know how I feel about a situation, and my feelings and experiences are valid. If you keep denying my truth, I will leave.”
25. “Don’t try to isolate me with your actions and behavior. I have a support network, and I am loved by people who value me. If you can’t accept my supportive people, we can’t be together in this toxic relationship.”
26. “I am allowed to express my feelings and have real reactions to a situation. Do not tell me that I am overreacting; I am reacting according to how I feel.”
27. “Stop calling me names. I am not crazy or stupid. My reactions and feelings are mine to express and process. Name-calling is not acceptable behavior.”
28. “My sensitivity is not up for discussion, so stop calling me over-sensitive. I have every right to my feelings and I won’t let you tell me what to feel.”
29. “I am not accusing you of anything. However, I believe there are things you do that hurt me, and I want us to discuss these calmly and find a way forward, or our relationship will not succeed.”
30. “While you believe you were trying to help me, you denied me the opportunity to make up my own mind. Please respect my independence and don’t try to force me into making decisions.”
31. “It’s not about what I want you to say. Instead, I want you to be truthful about your life and what you want, or I will cut all ties.”
Final Thoughts on Phrases to Shut Down Gaslighting
Finding ways to handle someone who is a gaslighter can be challenging, but there are ways to turn the tables on a gaslighter. When a gaslighter tries to manipulate and deceive you, it is important to stick to what you know to be true.
Only by keeping to the facts and not getting into an emotional turmoil can you remain strong in the face of emotionally manipulative and abusive behavior.
Gaslighting can leave you feeling isolated and utterly alone with the person you trust most pulling the strings and messing with your mind. This kind of treatment can drive you to unhealthy coping mechanisms and unhealthy choices that won’t do you any good.