In both relationships and in our general state of being, it’s not all that uncommon to experience gaslighting.  The scale is different, of course, depending on who it is that’s gaslighting us.  However, sometimes it’s difficult to tell if that’s what’s going on.

Unfortunately, the very nature of this type of manipulation means that it’s hard to detect.  Now, if you’re not familiar with the term, let us go ahead and define it.  Simply put, it’s when someone or something (“something” being a wider institution or institutional power) is utilizing techniques, be it consciously or unconsciously, to convince you that the reality you are experiencing is inaccurate or incorrect.

If that’s a bit complicated, don’t worry.  You can look at a resource like this one,, to get some further information on what it looks like.  For now, let’s go ahead and cover the top five signs that you might be experiencing gaslighting in your own life.

One: They are Never Wrong

The first sign that is pretty important to be aware of is if the person you think is gaslighting you is never, ever wrong.  It is human nature to hate to admit that we’re wrong.  However, if you’re noticing that a person in your life is never willing to accept that and will do anything in their power to convince you that you’re the one who’s incorrect, that might be a red flag.

Two: You Feel Guilt if You Question Them

Shifting gears to something a bit more subtle, this is one that you may not recognize at first.  In fact, it can take a long time to do so.  A lot of victims end up thinking that they are the ones doing the manipulating, even.  So, make sure that you think about your feelings of guilt carefully if you do notice them cropping up.

While it may not seem like it in the moment, it’s okay to question why you’re feeling guilt in the first place.  Why feel shame for asking if a person is certain of something?  You don’t need to feel bad for expressing doubt.  If you do, it may be because they have manipulated you into thinking so.

Three: An Argument Never Keeps its Focus

Here, we have more gaslighting examples that fly under the radar unless you are acutely aware of them in the first place.  What do we mean by this one, though?  Well, a large aspect of this is what happens during an argument with the party in question.

Pay attention to both the words that they use and the way that they handle themselves.  If you notice that they are purposefully using complicated or “big” words, for example, that might be a tactic in itself.  A lot of manipulators try to make their targets feel as small and stupid as possible, which could be why they’re using complex diction to throw you off.

Additionally, though, they might try to keep you distracted from the initial point of the disagreement.  If you notice that they are constantly changing the subject or bringing up seemingly unrelated points, that may be another technique that they’re employing to keep you dazed and disoriented.  In that state, it can be very difficult to properly question their motives and actions.

Four: You Find Yourself Silenced

Unsurprisingly, this is in a similar vein to the third sign that was already discussed.  However, as you can see on this page, there is a distinction here to be aware of.  If you find that you are almost never able to get a word in, that might be a sign that gaslighting is going on.  How so?

Well, someone who is a manipulator like this, especially if there is narcissism involved, will see your thoughts and perceptions as a threat.  Any signs of your individuality pose a threat to their own self-importance and self-righteousness.  So, they will do anything in their power to keep you as quiet and meek as they can.

It creates a loop that is hard to escape, of course – if you aren’t able to speak up in your relationship (no matter what type it is), then you can’t really disagree or express any feelings at all.  Unfortunately, that is usually their goal.

Five: They Deny, Deny, Deny

For the final signal today, you might want to check out this resource,, to get some in-depth examples.  Besides that, though, it isn’t too difficult to understand.  Essentially, if you notice that someone in your life is constantly denying any of their wrongdoings or saying that it simply didn’t happen, that is a sign of gaslighting.

Something important in any type of relationship, be it a romantic one, a friendship, or even a work one, is personal accountability.  When we do something wrong that hurts another person, it’s critical that we can acknowledge it, apologize, and hopefully move on from it.  However, someone who is gaslighting will want to do pretty much the opposite of that.

Instead of accepting that they’ve done something wrong, they’ll do anything in their power to convince you that it simply didn’t happen.  Your memory is wrong, according to them, or you’re making things up to make them look bad.  No matter what way they put it, the reality remains the same: you’re not wrong, nor were you imagining things.  It’s hard to see that in the moment, though.

By Swati