How do you convince someone that something they know to be true isn’t? In psychology, what is known as the “illusory truth effect” is a phenomenon in which a listener comes to believe something primarily because it has been repeated so often. When an abuser continually tells you that you are oversensitive or that what you are experiencing is in no way abuse, you begin believing it, even if you know deep down it isn’t true.
Examples of gaslighting:
“If you were paying attention…”
“If you were listening…”
“If you knew how to listen…”
“We talked about this. Don’t you remember?”
“I guess I’ll have to repeat myself since you can’t remember.”
“You need to learn to communicate better.”
“You’re being irrational.”
“Don’t you think you’re over-reacting?”
“You’re just over-sensitive.”
“Stop being so sensitive.”
“You’re too emotional.”
“You can’t take a joke.”
“You’re so thin-skinned.”
“You always jump to the wrong conclusion.”
“Stop taking everything I say so seriously.”
“Can you hear yourself?”
“I criticize you because I like you.”
“You’re the only person I have these problems with.”
“You’re reading too much into this.”
“I’m not arguing; I’m discussing.”
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“You should have known that this was not a good time to talk.”
“Why are you upset? I was only kidding.”
“Why would you think that? What does that say about you?
Examples of invalidating expressions. — Each is an attempt to talk you out of your feelings.
“Ordering” You to Feel Differently
Get over it.
Get a life
Don’t be sad.
Don’t get angry
Deal with it.
Give it a rest.
Forget about it.
Don’t be so dramatic.
Don’t be so sensitive.
Stop being so emotional.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself (Source)
Don’t take it personally / Stop taking everything so personally
Ordering You to “Look” Differently
Don’t look so sad.
Don’t look so smug.
Don’t look so down.
Don’t look like that.
Don’t make that face.
Don’t look so serious.
Don’t look so proud of yourself.
Don’t look so pleased with yourself.
Denying Your Perception, Defending
You’ve got it all wrong.
But of course I respect you.
But I do listen to you.
That is ridiculous (nonsense, totally absurd, etc.)
I was only kidding.
That’s not the way things are.
That’s not how things are.
I honestly don’t judge you as much as you think.
It’s not going to happen
Trying to Make You Feel Guilty While Invalidating You
I tried to help you..
At least I …..
At least you….
You are making everyone else miserable. (Source)
Trying to Isolate You
You are the only one who feels that way.
It doesn’t bother anyone else, why should it bother you?
Minimizing Your Feelings
You must be kidding.
You can’t be serious.
It can’t be that bad.
Your life can’t be that bad.
You are just … (being difficult; being dramatic, in a bad mood, tired, etc)
It’s nothing to get upset over.
It’s not worth getting that upset over.
There’s nothing wrong with you. (Source)
There is no reason to get upset.
You are not being rational.
But it doesn’t make any sense to feel that way.
Let’s look at the facts.
Let’s stick to the facts.
But if you really think about it….
Telling You How You “Should” Feel or Act
You should be excited.
You should be thrilled.
You should feel guilty.
You should feel thankful that…
You should be happy that ….
You should be glad that …
You should just drop it.
You shouldn’t worry so much.
You shouldn’t let it bother you.
You should just forget about it.
You should feel ashamed of yourself.
You shouldn’t wear your heart out on your sleeve.
You shouldn’t say that about your father.
Defending The Other Person
Maybe they were just having a bad day.
I am sure she didn’t mean it like that.
You just took it wrong.
I am sure she means well.
Negating, Denial & Confusion
Now you know that isn’t true.
You don’t mean that. You know you love your baby brother.
You don’t really mean that. You are just … (in a bad mood today, tired, cranky)
Sarcasm and Mocking
Oh, you poor thing. Did I hurt your little feelings?
What did you think? The world was created to serve you?
What happened to you? Did you get out of the wrong side of bed again?
Laying Guilt Trips
Don’t you ever think of anyone but yourself?
What about my feelings?!
Have you ever stopped to consider my feelings?
Philosophizing Or Clichés
That’s life and we just have to deal with it.
Time heals all wounds.
Every cloud has a silver lining.
Life is full of pain and pleasure.
In time you will understand this.
When you are older you will understand
You are just going through a phase.
Everything has its reasons.
There is a reason for everything
Everything is just the way it is supposed to be.
Talking about you when you can hear it
She is impossible to talk to.
You can’t say anything to her.
This is getting really old.
This is getting really pathetic.
I am sick of hearing about it.
Trying to Control How Long You Feel Something, or Judging You for How Long You Feel It
Are you still upset over that? It happened a long time ago.
You should be over that by now.