Narcissist Gaslighting: Uncover The 4 Types of Gaslighting Relationships and How to Stop The Abuse

narcissist gaslighting

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Do you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells around someone?

Do you find yourself constantly second guessing yourself and your decisions?

You might be a victim of narcissist gaslighting. This is a type of manipulation that is often used by people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It can make you feel like you’re going crazy and leave you feeling isolated and alone.

In this blog post, we will discuss what narcissist gaslighting is, how to recognize it, and what to do about it.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Not everyone who has NPD gaslights those around them, just like not everyone who gaslights has NPD. NPD is a personality disorder that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. People with NPD often have difficulty handling criticism or rejection. They may also take advantage of others to get what they want by manipulation or coercion.

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse that can be used to control, manipulate, and isolate someone. It is characterized by constant invalidation, denial, and criticism. Gaslighting can make a person question their memories, thoughts, and perceptions.

Signs of Narcissist Gaslighting

There are some common signs that you might be getting gaslighted by someone with NPD. They may try to make you feel like you’re overreacting or being too sensitive by saying things like, “You’re being paranoid,” or “You’re imagining things.”

They might also try to control what you do and who you see by trying to isolate you from your friends and family. And they might try to make all the decisions in the relationship. If you’re being gaslighted, you might start to doubt yourself and your perceptions. You might feel like you’re going crazy.

They may also tell you that you’re imagining things or remembering things wrong. Gaslighting can also involve making someone doubt their own judgment. The narcissist may try to convince you that other people are better than you or that you’re not good enough. They may also try to make you feel like you’re powerless or that they are the only ones who understand you.

Common Traits of Narcissist Gaslighting

There are some common traits of gaslighters. They may be very charming and charismatic and may also be very manipulative and controlling. Narcissists can be charming to hook you in, but then their true colors come out by being very critical and judgmental. Narcissists are also often experts at playing the victim.

If you confront them about their behavior, they may try to make you feel guilty or like you’re the one who is in the wrong. Gaslighters often have a history of lying or deception. They may also have difficulty taking responsibility for their own actions and will almost always find a way to blame you or someone else.

Examples of Relationships

You might encounter being gaslighted by someone with NPD in different relationships. It can happen in work relationships, friendships, family, or even romantic relationships. 

Example of narcissist gaslighting in the workplace:

Your boss might tell you that you’re not meeting their expectations, even though you know that you are.

A workplace narcissist may say:

  • You’re not working hard enough or that you’re not being productive.
  • You’re not good enough for the job.

An example of how this would play out in conversation is if your boss said to you, “I’m not sure if you’re cut out for this job. Maybe we should consider finding someone else.” If your boss is gaslighting you, you might start to doubt yourself and your abilities. You might feel like you’re not good enough for the job or that you’re not working hard enough.

Example of narcissist gaslighting in a friendship:

Your friend might start to isolate you from your other friends.

A friendship narcissist may say:

  • That they’re the only one who really understands you.
  • Things try to make you feel like you’re not really their friend.
  • Things to try to control what you do and who you spend your time with.

An example of how this would play out in a conversation is if you express an opinion that differs from your friend’s, and they immediately shut down the conversation or make you feel like you’re wrong.

Example of narcissist gaslighting in a romantic relationship:

It is sometimes difficult to see gaslighting within a romantic relationship because you may be so focused on keeping your partner happy that you don’t focus on how they make you feel. 

A romantic narcissist may say:

  • You’re not really in love with them.
  • You don’t really care about them
  • That you’re just using them causing you to feel insecure in your relationship.
  • anything to try to make you feel like the relationship is not really worth your time and effort.
  • Things to control your relationship by making all the decisions or by isolating you from your friends and family.

An example of how this would play out in conversation is if they say something like, “I don’t think you really love me,” and when you respond with, “Of course I do; I wouldn’t be in this relationship if I didn’t,” they gaslight you by saying, “Well, then why don’t you ever show it?”

Example of narcissist gaslighting from a family member:

Family gaslighting can be incredibly difficult to handle because you cannot always leave or cut off communication with your family members.

Your narcissist family member might say:

  • Things to try to convince you that you’re not really part of the family.
  • You’re not really related to them
  • You don’t really care about them.

 An example of how this would play out in conversation is if they say, “You’re not really my son/daughter” or “I don’t really consider you part of the family.”

Check out this video, 3 Ways to Know if Someone is Gaslighting You, on our YouTube channel!

Reasons Why a Narcissist Might Gaslight Someone

Manipulation and gaslighting are usually done with a purpose. Here are some common reasons why a narcissist gaslights others:

  1. They may want to control you or make you dependent on them.
  2. They may also do it to boost their ego or to make themselves feel better.
  3. They are insecure or have low self-esteem.
  4. They may also gaslight as a way to manipulate, hurt, or gain power or control over someone.
  5. Another common reason narcissists may gaslight someone because they want to keep them from leaving the relationship. Narcissists have difficulty maintaining sincere relationships, so manipulating people to stay, even if unhappy in the relationship, is their way to make sure people don’t leave them.

Remember that what a narcissist does or says to you is not your fault, no matter the reasons behind their actions. You deserve respect, autonomy, and healthy relationships in work, friendships, romantic and family dynamics. 

How To Stop The Gaslighting

Having concrete steps to put an end to narcissistic gaslighting is vital to taking back your power and creating healthy dynamics around you. Here are some examples of how to stop this abuse in the different types of relationships mentioned above:

1. In the workplace:

Documenting instances of gaslighting and reporting them to HR or a supervisor can help address the behavior. Setting boundaries and avoiding engagement with the gaslighter whenever possible can also be effective.

2. In friendships:

Identifying the signs of gaslighting and communicating assertively with the friend about how their behavior is affecting the relationship can help set clear boundaries. Consider ending the friendship if the behavior continues or worsens.

3. In romantic relationships:

Seeking therapy to gain clarity and support can help individuals identify and address the gaslighting behavior in the relationship. Ending the relationship may also be necessary for one’s safety and well-being.

4. In family dynamics:

Limiting contact with the gaslighter and seeking support from other family members or a therapist can help individuals cope with the effects of gaslighting in the family dynamic. Setting boundaries and standing up for oneself when necessary can also be effective in reducing the impact of gaslighting.


In all cases of narcissistic gaslighting, it is important for you to prioritize your emotional well-being and safety, seek support when necessary, and avoid engaging with the gaslighter whenever possible.

If you think a narcissist is gaslighting you, it’s important to get help. Gaslighting can be very damaging to your long-term mental health, and support from a licensed therapist can help guide you how to do so safely. 

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s essential to get out, but it may be unsafe to do so. Narcissists are very manipulative and controlling, so there may not be an opportunity to leave if you feel your or your family’s safety is at risk. 

There is a hotline for those seeking help from narcissistic gaslighting. Call the Narcissism and Abuse Hotline, text “START” to 88788, or visit their website for the chat option at the bottom of the page to talk to someone from their team. If you are in serious danger, always call 911 to get immediate help.

If you are struggling to deal with narcissistic gaslighting in any area of your life, your therapist can help you understand your situation better, and create an individualized action and healing plan to help you heal and create a healthier environment for you to flourish.

You deserve to be free from narcissistic gaslighting. If you’re ready to start your healing journey, give us a call or make an appointment today.

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Picture of Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. eagelMD

    Watch out for narcissistic nurses and doctors. They will feel threatened by anyone who challenges them, even when the other person is right. These are not good people to deal honestly with patients. They don’t care about patient care. They care about paychecks. They are best placed in hospitals, not home health, so they can be watched and observed by others.

  2. Susan

    Where is the “And What to Do About It” part?

    1. Makinwellness

      Hi Susan, thank you for your comment. In the article, we suggest talking with trusted friends, family, and a counselor or therapist for support and help getting out of the relationship. If you or someone you know is in a relationship with a narcissist and need help, we are here for you. You can call us at 833-274-4325 to schedule an appointment, or schedule one online at .

  3. Anthony Martial

    This is such an important topic, and you’ve done a great job providing practical guidance.

  4. Nancy Wright

    I was married to a narcissistic husband for 11 years. The affairs and lies never stopped. He was fired from his job because he caused so much conflict there. I’ve been divorced for 17 yrs & his game changed to narcissistic gas lighting. Once you recognize the game it’s easier to deal with it, and seek therapy.

  5. Bee

    You shared a great article. I would like to appreciate your time and effort in creating this meaningful information. I found this article on narcissist gaslighting truly eye-opening. It’s crucial to recognize these manipulative behaviors and their impact on mental health. Understanding the signs can empower individuals to break free from toxic relationships. The practical tips provided here are invaluable for anyone navigating such situations. Great insights!

  6. Judy

    I really like that the article shared the meanings of gaslighting. I had a Very Narcissistic husband and had to take him to court for major abuse and he landed himself in jail for 10 years. Later had a neighbor that was/Is narcissistic and after 13 years, I did the “gray rock” (ignored him). I had to stand my ground by not answering his calls, texts, etc..he eventually got the hint and pretty much has left me alone. I’ve had to tell myself that I was not being selfish by not answering him, but rather I am protecting myself from further harm and that that is very very healthy!

    1. Makinwellness

      Glad to know you are out of that abusive relationship, Judy. Also, it shows a lot of growth hearing how you expressed a boundary with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable. It shows you are healing from the abuse you have experienced. Surrounding yourself with those who make you feel comfortable is important. Don’t feel bad for protecting your personal space.

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