Have you ever been gaslighted?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief system.

Catfishes use these tactics quite often since they have no intent on actually meeting anybody offline. Their goal is to make you feel and sound crazy when they give you their excuses on why they can't meet. Some people fall for this type of manipulation but most of the time can be squashed by just going with your gut feeling that something just isn't right here.

So have you ever been or know someone who has been gaslighted? Share your stories below!

  • YES
    Vote A
  • NO
    Vote B
  • NEVER HEARD OF IT UNTIL NOW
    Vote C
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Most Helpful Girl

  • Next to guilt-tripping, this is my mother's favourite manipulation tactic.

    My ex was also quite fond of it, so much so that it was his response to virtually every disagreement. Even something as simple as a difference of opinion over what to eat was met with, "I assumed that you would like my choice better because [insert long, convoluted story about incidents that never happened or did happen but were skewed in such a way so as to back up his claim]".

    In the initial stages of our relationship, he would also question my memory during a lot of these disagreements. I figured (perhaps hopefully and idiotically) that if I met his claims with dispelling evidence and also went to great lengths to prove that I have quite a stellar memory in general (it's something I've always prided myself on), it would dissuade him from making these claims. Well, it did. But, instead of questioning my memory, he went on to questioning my sanity. :/

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    • Amazing to see how these people operate. It's down right evil. It's almost like you have to record everything like that one episode of black mirror... where they could simply rewind to any moment in their lives. CRAZYYYYY... Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • Your experience with your ex sounds dead-on like mine. Anyone else that knows me personally would say i am a good person but he tried hard to convince me that i was a selfish and crazy.
      He wanted to control every aspect of my life and would claim i agreed to things i hadn't and blame my memory when I'd disagree and try to make me feel bad about it till i change my mind.
      People like that are the worst and they don't deserve to be in any relationship.

    • @Juleve

      My exe did this to me too, except she had an excellent memory, but mine is poor. She'd quote me as having said terrible things that just were totally out of character for me to say. I started to doubt my sanity.

      After months of that, I actually DID start to record our interactions and reassured myself. She was also an expert, with , degrees, in children and child-raising, so at first I thought what she was doing to our daughter was legit, but that turned out to be a way to manipulate the medical establishment. It took years to prove otherwise.

Most Helpful Guy

  • Yes but my girlfriend of the time. Face to face. I never wished her any bad.
    In the e d i had to record our conversations to check if I was nuts.
    This is not a word for word transcript but will give you an idea.
    "So what happened to your car?"
    "Some idiot ran up the back of me and nearly wrote off the car. Lucky it was still driveable and I could make it here"
    "So what the hell are you telling me for?"
    "You just asked me"
    "Did i? Whatever your fuct up head is telling you again is it. I never asked you anything".

    This went in until I ended up recording these exchanges and when i finally had the humility to play them with friends present there jaws were in the floor because she had been trying to sew the same seeds into a my friends.
    Anyway dropped her off at the post office marked RETURN TO SENDER.

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Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 75

  • Yes, Unfortunately. So sad when people do this type of manipulation. I think I have been gas lighted for sure by two ex boyfriends and my ex husband

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    • Unbelievable at how many thumbs down you got. Don’t know how they can do that when people don’t know you

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    • Wait why the hell does this have so many dislikes? I'm genuinely wondering? What the hell?

    • @maiave
      Got some dislikes on my comment as well not sure what's up with that

  • No never, first time I’ve ever heard of that before.

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  • i have been gaslighted by someone whom i thought was my best friend at one point of my life. she would do it all the time when we're hanging out in a group. she would say something that never happened and then be like oh you remember right and i would look confused and she would just say oh you probably forgot, you have bad memory. because i don't want to argue while hanging out as a group i'll just agree with her to get it over with without causing a big drama. also sometimes when i said something and i'm positive of it, she would say i never said that. when i wear new type of clothes, and jewelry, she starts copying my new style and then goes around telling other people like she started wearing it before me, making others think i'm the one that copied her. i got pretty fed up with her and slowly cut her out my life, don't need toxic people in my life.

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  • Any empath who had to deal with a narcissist in their lives has gone through this. It's especially destructive for us empaths. It takes a toll on our mental sanity and sense of self-worth.

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  • Yup. I was briefly catfished when I was 16. Then I spent an afternoon digging on the internet and found the real person who the catfish was using. Then the catfish accused me of being crazy (and a bitch).
    And a few years ago, I had a thing with a guy who at first seemed perfectly normal. But then he started treating me badly by ignoring me when he felt like it, not showing up when we'd decided to hang out, giving tons of excuses etc. Whenever I confronted him and told him I didn't like the way he was treating me, he'd try to make it seem like it was all in my head, that what he was doing was "normal behavior", that nobody else had reacted like I did, that I was just overly sensitive and impatient. Or he'd just keep ignoring me and try to make me feel like I was causing a scene over nothing.
    He'd go back and forth between being sweet and caring for a while, to being cold, distant and manipulative. It made it really hard for me to let go of him because I wanted to believe in the good in him. But eventually I just got really fucking exhausted of his attempts at making me feel guilty and unstable for having the nerve to expect decent treatment from him.

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  • It's happened to me twice and thankfully I was already seeing a therapist who told me what was going on she was a mediator who was dealing with my divorce & brung it to the judges attention too. I got what I need which was out of that marriage and I'm so glad I now know that it is and can stop it before it gets started. That fuckery is for weak people and they the ones who truly need HELP

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  • My stepmother does it. Whether deliberately or not, she's always disregarding both my opinions and my memories.

    What i believe, and what i remember is wrong unless it matches her version of events. I thought there was something wrong with me as a kid. Now and then she still convinces me im wrong, even though im old enough to know better.

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  • I often wonder if I was gaslighted or if the guy was just confused. I had an ex that unbeknownst to me was seeing like 12 other girls. He moved a away several years into our relationship and it was more open and casual in the fact we got together when he was in town.
    Apparently before he left he started building up some other girls to have around when he came back. He used to swear he told me things he never did and would convince me I was crazy or deleted the text about when he was available. Years I put up with it and was almost convinced I had a failing memory, until he confessed to all the other girls he was seeing and it all made sense.

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  • My parents. Until late high school I thought it was a legitimate way of arguing. I just assumed whoever had the best memory won. So I'm realky good at remembering things verbatim now haha

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  • Yes, but in a very minuscule way... which also, have to mention it, didn't work for them because I have excellent memory...

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  • I was in an abusive relationship with a controlling psycho, so yes.

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  • Yeah. I’ve grown to be pretty good at detecting manipulation tactics. My mom’s a master at it

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  • Wow, I am so glad to have learned this term. It definitely has happened but it is nice to have a better idea of what it is in order to avoid it.

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  • Oh my god yes, it's a complete nightmare.

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  • First time I've heard of it

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  • I was in a relationship with someone who used this technique on me for 3 years. He was a malignant narcissist and ten years older than me. Met him when I was 18. Eventually I was so broken down and depressed my self worth deteriorated to a point where I couldn’t even leave the house and I had a newborn at the same time!! 6 months after my son was born I left him and the healing process began. 3 years later I’m on my own and graduating school next week. As a single mother. From time to time he still plays his tricks on me. Threatens me with legal action over our son once in awhile. I’m still dealing with him.

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    • Why would you conceive with him? You have poor taste and discretion.

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    • Well done!, Good to hear ur on the right track, stay strong

    • @love_conquers_lust you don't understand how gaslighting works, in your mind the person who is perpetrating it can be almost god-like in your eyes and you can't pick up that they're doing something wrong. You view yourself as the problem, not the other way around

  • Ex friend liked to do it, I keep a paper note she wrote that said someone told her online I wanted her to die and hated her and thought she was shit to remind myself that I’m stronger now. She’d run away or make me feel like I was neglecting her. It took me a year to realize what she did to me, and a year to seek therapy, and this is the first year I’ve been fully separated and recovered from the residual trauma except nightmares.

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    • Good for you !!! This shit fucking sucks ass... thank you so much for sharing.

    • Thanks! I’ve found talking about it makes it easier to think about.

  • Yes , its so sad. Makes you doubt yourself and thinks that i am crazy. Lol but Thank God i am weak emotionally but very strong mentally. Even sometimes i have a total melt down i always hold myself not pass it to other people.

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  • As surly most of people here, I was gaslighted by an ex and he does sometimes try to get in contact with me but I blocked him totally. I was a run down to Hell.
    Fortunately I'm way better now even more than the before meeting him.
    Sad part, gaslighting is in every aspect and I'm unable to help à family member who is being gaslighted by his boss at work to make him work for almost nothing.

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  • I grew up being gaslighted every day, by my stepmother whom i lived with from ages 4-15. I even thought I was legitimately delusional.

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  • Yes I have. I believe society gaslighted me because society at one point made me believe it was normal to believe in God - saying I don’t know the way only God knows the way, I am a wicked sinner, and the Message is full of contradictions. I spent a lot of time being an outcast - because if you actually try to live biblically snd belief biblically your self esteem and social standing will go way down

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  • Yes, by my mother.

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  • I don't even have to look at the definition. Because I know what it is and yes. I got out of it. Best decision ever

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  • Yes, I have. Almost broke friendship with all of my existing friends due to how much I started doubting everything.

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  • No. People Have tried but I have just ignored them

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  • never heard of it

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  • Yes, by my ex-boyfriend...

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  • Yeah, my last Dom-bf was that way. It was cute at first but got obnoxious and kinda scary fast.

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  • Unfortunately yes, It was probably the worst time in my life.

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  • People gaslight me all the time, and I watch others do it to other people. This is one of the reason I avoid humans, they set out to drive one another crazy.

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What Guys Said 121

  • No, but I have built-in defenses against this: I don't care what most people think AND I am more than aware that there are lots of people who are self-delusion and living in denial, so they don't rate high enough with me to make me question anything. Lol.

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  • I said A, but the best scenario I can think of was a professor who pulled a pretty funny trick on me. I fell asleep during class, and unbeknownst to me he told my classmates to all raise their hands in the air. Someone then hit my desk waking me up. When I saw everyone's hands raised I naturally raised my hand as well. My professor said, "Oh, LADSIN, I'm glad you volunteered to give a ten minute presentation next class." Devious bastard XD

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    • Not quite gaslighting, but still a funny way to show how we typically conform to the group.

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    • Not bad, I think I did it on Zimbardo's prison experiments because I was interested in it at the time.

  • My childhood friend, was almost like a brother to me, was the king of the gaslight. He was a pathological liar that would lie on top of lie on top of lie to keep himself from being caught. You always felt like something wasn't quite right with any story he would come up with, however, he always had plausible deniability, you could never 100% call him out on something even know you knew he was full of shit because he was that good at cooking up a story or an excuse.

    One reason everybody knew he was full of shit was that he would openly lie to someone over the phone to get out of shit, including his own parents, and of course, anyone who is willing to lie to one person most certainly isn't going to be above lying to you.

    Any guy that is saying "you are being crazy right now" and twist things to make it look like you are the irrational one when they are the ones who are instigating shit is a classic gaslighter.

    Dude ended up being a prescription pill popper later down the line and things would end up going "missing", including cash, when he just so happened to be around. Had to cut him out of my life real quick.
    Later I found out he catfished this woman online by acting as a semi-famous online game streamer and the real streamers girlfriend called him out on it on Facebook.

    Anyone who is willing to manipulate in this way obviously has no scruples. Makes you wonder if they have some level of sociopathy.

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  • I didn't know that there was a word. But I would say I have as I have been catfished. The second time it happened I saw it a lot faster. My most recent ex could say that about me because she seemed really unsure about us even though I promised every time and I had intentions for it. (She ended up ghosting me as it was long distance)

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  • I do remember people trying to gaslight me. As an asexual guy, I do have people trying to gaslight me... Most of the time, it usually doesn't work because I'm a very confident guy who knows himself. Maybe when I was a kid, somebody may have gaslighted me to think I'm not good enough at something.

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  • I have been gaslighted my whole life. Too many stories to tell, but I'll share one near and dear to my heart.

    I was in love with a girl who never truly wanted to meet up, imho. Talked for two years, never gave me her last name, but I was okay with it because she had mental problems that I was aware of, and I tried to be patient and empathetic.

    After two long years, talking on Skype, sharing personal details, etc etc, she couldnt give me her address after i bought her a beautiful necklace for Christmas.

    About a few days later, she cut contact altogether, told me to stop contacting her, she didn't want this, and didn't care to give me an explanation as to why.

    Along with gaslighting online, i have learned, comes with LONG periods of avoiding communication. There were times that I went a whole week without hearing from her. Fortunately, all i bought was a necklace, but i gave the girl of my heart and soul and she ripped me apart. That's much more an expense than a damn necklace.

    It made me bitter, made me feel used, and untrusting of ALL people. Sadly, I never intended to fall so deeply for someone, but I think that goes with the manipulation.

    Anyway, no one deserves this hurt. Hope you all use more wisdom than I did.

    Kind regards.

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  • Yes, bosses are known to gas light at work.

    Catfishing is creating a FAKE online presence, like pretending to be someone you are not (fake pictures, social circles, fake information about yourself) to get someone in an online relationship without any intent to meet up in person because the fake identity can be revealed. This hasn't happened to me, but based on your definition, I met a REAL girl on okcupid, we spent like 2 - 3 years talking on the phone, emailing, and linking up on Facebook but never actually met in person even though she lives 45 minutes away, we become friends and never met up. Eventually we stopped talking and I haven't heard from her for the past 2-3 years.

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  • Many times, till I found the answer:
    How to handle being a non priority ↗

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  • Fortunately, I caught on rather quickly, before any damage was done.

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  • I'm glad you've posted this to spread awareness of it, it's like advanced guilt tripping and victim card playing. I've fallen for it before but I've grown to be aware of it.

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  • The thing with this is not to let it control or consume you. I recently believed this was the case with me. I'm a member on this website that will remain anonymous and it not at all has to do with dating. I was talking to this woman, and we were commenting on another post and turns out she's only 13 miles away from me, divorced like me, & only 4 months younger than me. Perfect, right? So were getting ready to meet and she starts an flirting conversation with a guy from New York who's in a relationship already. I blocked her and last thing I heard she's meeting him in February. I couldn't care less but, I'd like to know if this really does happen. If for no other reason, just to see if they're both practicing in G. L. What everyone needs to do is get that person outta your life. This woman still is trying to get hold of me to tell me it's my fault. You know I don't care...

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  • Well, i've never heard of it. But it's funny, because i just wrote this in another post:
    Last week i met a girl on tinder. I wrote her, we had a nice flirt, and so i suggested we meet. We arranged a place, a time, and she agreed. She even told me where she was coming with the bus. And then she had the guts and asked me if i could remind her. So, reluctantly i reminded her. Something like "don't forget, you've got a date tonite" ... and she went "so they say"! That was enough for me, so i was at the arranged spot on the arranged time. And when i wrote her over tinder what bus stop she's going to exit her bus, she wrote me how she wouldn't come. And that it is my fault because i didn't give her a time, place or phone number.
    It's strange, because the time and place is all ther black on white, in the chat history. And it really wasn't like cryptic or anything.
    Sorry for the novel

    Was that gaslighting? Sounds like it.

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    • That sounds like something people do to online scammers; request a meeting somewhere there's a webcam covering the area and watch them wait.

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    • Fun!
      I've heard about a trend, where people, mostly girls, arrange meetings and then just don't show up. Now i know what it's called :)

    • Scammers deserve it, for wasting people's time and stealing their money, I'm not so sure it's right to do it to innocent people.

  • Heard of catfish but not gaslighting, thanks for putting a name to a behavior I've witnessed all over and with a particular few.

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  • Not heard of gaslighted before but I totally agree with @Quintessence comments my ex used to guilty trip me but I knew what she was doing lucky enough, and I've seen friends doing it to their 'current' partners it's pretty much mind games, I have a pretty strong mind... Or just very stubborn 😂😂😂 so my only got away with small thing when she played these mind games

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  • Gaslighting is a terrible term only used by narcissists. The definition of gaslighting is the exact same as that of lying. When you lie, you are attempting to convince someone of something that is not true, even in spite of evidence.

    The difference is that gaslighting is used to identify effect in an individual rather than the action. The end result is that we have people walking around essentially saying to themselves, "Well when I do it, it's lying and lying is sometimes ok. But when people do it to me it's gaslighting and I feel manipulated and thus it's never ok.

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  • Yes, people who do this are the biggest pieces of shit and can get hit by a bus.

    One girl I dated, invited me to her place again on the 3rd date, told me to go to her room and i found an empty condom wrapper ON THE FUCKING BED. What was even worse was she had the nerve to turn it around on me by basically saying fuck off and never talk to me again, blocking me on social media and then accusing me of stalking her when I'd see her at concerts later on, despite that we had similar music tastes, and that I was with friends and on one occasion another girl I dated.

    That shit is really messed up and can really fuck with you. Fuck gaslighting but more importantly fuck people that do it.

    I've been meaning to do a take on it.

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    • I didn't know what gaslighting was until months after this happened. My friends did say that she sound manipulative and like a sociopath which are definitely affiliated with gaslighting.

      What pissed me off the most was I never got an apology and I was treated like I was the psycho/asshole. I guarantee you that if the roles were reversed and I brought some girl to my place with an empty condom wrapper in my bed used on another girl, id be fucking crucified and would be hearing about it nonstop. Rightfully so though.

  • Never happened to me. Didn't even know this was a thing lol

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  • I probably have been before without knowing it, but everyone that is regularly a part of my life is decent enough not to do that. I also have a good amount of self confidence, and have resisted gaslighting before. I can imagine that the only time it’s ever worked on me is if someone did it without my noticing.

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  • Like most people who've turned on a TV or been on the internet in the past few years...

    I've been gaslighted by the President on a pretty regular basis.

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  • Yes. I had 3 people using me a comfort animal, they would only talk to me when bored. This went on for almost 10 years until I had finally had enough and called them on their bullshit.

    I even travelled for work and had several opportunities to meet them in real life but they refused every time. There was one I really liked but I told her to fuck off since she couldn't respect me enough as a friend to meet. I've had problems ever since because when I cut them off I want MGTOW and deleted all my female friends with the expecation that by removing myself from the friendzone I would open myself up to actual romantic interests. That never happened so now I'm miserably lonely, women won't approach me because I'm MGTOW, and I have an impossible time considering women to be friends when I don't have anyone of the opposite sex that I trust anymore.

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  • I didn’t know this had a name! Yes, I’ve seen this used by those with extreme media power, mostly by zionists

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  • actually the show Rick and Morty did this to everybody by adding a character to the credits that only appeared in that episode the very first time, making everyone question their memory of the previous shows xD

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    • but yeah often scammers use this technique on dating sites by going like "hey i'm that person from back then, remember me?"... can't claim that i never fell for that but yeah now i'm prepared for that bulshit.

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    • I don't either, but I use the live-feed lol

  • my dad does this but it doesn't work

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  • Yes. There are common tactics that make it quite clear. Usually, to point out that you see through them is enough, though sometimes a bit more forceful intervention is required. I watch mostly for logical errors. straw men, ad populum, begging the question, non-testable hypothesis, that sort of thing.

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    • What do straw men and ad populum mean?
      (English is not nt mother tongue)

    • @SweGot a straw man argument is an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument. An ad populum argument is "everyone believes it, so it must be true"

  • Yes, when I asked my ex why she was treating me so poorly. She insisted it was me who was acting different and treated her bad, turn out she was in an affair

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  • I'm good at recognizing it and just tell the person to screw off.

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  • I've been gaslighted. I think it's important to realise that it's just as possible to gaslight someone without realising that you're doing it as much as it is intentionally. It's not something that always occurs as a devious manipulation.

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  • I have been gaslighted, but briefly. I usually bail out as soon as I see the signs.

    Nobody wants to be treated like that.

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  • My daughter keeps telling us what an amazing memory she has, coming up with (unverifiable) anecdotes from when she was 3-4 years old. Equally amazingly, her memory only works with promises we've apparently made to her years ago, never the ones she made to us this week.

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  • I often hate to admit it but there is apart of me that with out doubt can easily manipulate people and this way is one of them but i don't ever try to do this on other people i have actually tested this out on myself and it really trippy but other than that i don't believe I've eve been gaslighted cause I'd probably know it was happening right away unless done by someone really good at it

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