“Gaslighting” is a term that has seen widespread use in recent years, but the term actually originates from a 1938 play (and subsequent movie adaptations) called “Gas Light,” wherein a woman experiences a form of narcissistic emotional abuse from her husband who continuously manipulates and questions her reality and sanity. This type of insidious deception and psychological manipulation in toxic relationships continues to this day. Here at Jenny Seale Coaching, we’ve collected some of the most common gaslighting phrases to look out for.
4 of the Most Common Gaslighting Phrases to Look Out For
“You’re Always Overreacting.”
Everyone is susceptible to overreacting at times — it can be a natural response, especially if you’re taken by surprise by a situation. However, if you’re being told repeatedly that you’re “always overreacting,” it’s possible that someone is trying to make you doubt or invalidate your beliefs, boundaries, or thought processes, and that seed of self-doubt can be very damaging.
“You Are Way Too Sensitive.”
Feeling and experiencing emotions doesn’t make you too sensitive — it makes you human. When we’re told repeatedly that we’re always “being too sensitive,” we can bottle up our emotions, and even truly begin to believe that there’s something wrong with the way we feel things. You do not need to feel ashamed or apologize for having feelings and expressing them.
“You Must Be Imagining Things.”
This is the central gaslighting phrase showcased in the play and film adaptations of “Gas Light.” This phrase is meant to make you doubt something you’ve seen with your own eyes or experienced firsthand, and rather than the gaslighter explaining themselves or telling the truth, they tell you that you either misunderstood or imagined something that isn’t there. You can respond to this phrase by standing your ground and saying “I’m not imagining things — I know what I saw or heard, and I expect you to tell me the truth.”
“It’s Not That Big of a Deal.”
This gaslighting phrase is often used to belittle or diminish the gravity of your own life experiences and is another method used to make you feel like your feelings aren’t valid or that you’re blowing things out of proportion. It’s possible that the person using this phrase isn’t being malicious — they simply don’t understand that what was stressful for you might not have been stressful for them, but that shouldn’t invalidate your feelings. You have a right to feel the way that you feel.
Gaslighting can be difficult to spot, and much of the time, the person gaslighting may not even be aware of what they are doing or how much it hurts. Remember, nobody deserves to be gaslit — if you feel like you’re experiencing gaslighting in a toxic relationship, contact Jenny Seale Coaching and schedule an initial consultation today.