9 Things to Say When Someone Is Gaslighting You

Sophia Wesley
Sophia Wesley
10 Min Read

Few things in life make us feel worse than when we speak our truth and someone responds that we’re lying or misremembering. If you’ve ever been in a conflict where this occurred, you may have been gaslighted.

It’s an unfortunate tactic that some people use to manipulate others, and you don’t have to accept it. We’ll break down why this practice is so harmful and how you can respond to it, from specific sentences you can use to strategies for being a more firm and effective communicator.

How Gaslighting Works

Gaslighting is a manipulation technique that causes you to reconsider your own reality as potentially untrue. It occurs when someone gives you false information, tells you what you know is incorrect, and continues to do both things until you are no longer sure what’s real and what’s not.

As you might expect, gaslighting is deeply hurtful to those who are victims of it. “Gaslighting affects people by making them doubt themselves and their instincts,” says Dr. Patrice Le Goy. When someone else systematically breaks down our concept of reality, it can make us feel crazy.


Knowing that we can trust our own instincts provides us great comfort in life, so when someone takes that from you, it can leave you feeling anything from uncomfortable to downright terrified.

Importance of Responding to Gaslighting

Gaslighting is awful for our mental health, and it can negatively impact our wellbeing. It’s considered a form of abuse, and it can be experienced and perpetrated by people of all ages. It leads to consequences that cause the victim suffering and a deterioration of the health.

“Gaslighting is a very manipulative technique that can result in increased anxiety and depression in the person victimized by this behavior,” says Le Goy. Science supports this, and studies show that gaslighting can even lead to psychosis.

The good news about gaslighting is that you don’t have to accept it. It may take you some time to realize that it’s happening, but once you are aware, you can distance yourself from your gaslighter as needed after standing up for yourself.

Let’s look at what exactly you can say to someone who is gaslighting you.

What to Say When You’re Being Gaslighted

Whatever you say to the person gaslighting you, you will want to speak from a place of strength and knowledge. You know your reality to be true, and you won’t be convinced otherwise!


If you need to harness some of the anger you’re feeling—and it won’t cause you to become irrational—then feel free to do that. Whatever it takes to get you to a place of firmness in your boundaries and in your communication is ok as fuel for your courage.

The following statements can help you respond to gaslighting:

  1. That is not the truth and I refuse to accept it.
  2. I know that I deserve better treatment and that you are not able or willing to treat me right.
  3. I only want to be with someone who is honest and respectful to me, and that is not you.
  4. I realize you disagree with me; here is how I see it.
  5. I see that your perspective is different from mine, but my feelings and reality are valid.
  6. Don’t tell me how to feel; this is how I feel.
  7. I am confident in my own experiences and perceptions.
  8. I know how I feel, and I’m not changing my opinion.
  9. I understand my own experience better than you do.

“Responding to gaslighting can be empowering because you are refusing to accept the false narrative that the other person is trying to make you believe. Responding to it is a way of reclaiming your self-respect and confidence.”

Dr. Patrice Le Goy

Strategies for Responding to Gaslighting

It’s important to be be assertive in your communication with someone who is gaslighting you. Here are some assertive communication techniques:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Keep a confident posture
  • Speak clearly and factually—no flowery language is needed
  • Don’t exaggerate
  • Speak from the “I,” not the “you”
  • Discuss how actions make you feel, e.g. “when you do this I feel that

Maintaining your boundaries throughout communicating assertively may be a challenge, but it’s a needed element. “Knowing and expressing your boundaries is one of the best strategies for dealing with gaslighting,” explains Le Goy. She says to “be very clear that you do not need to take care of someone who is not taking care of you.”


Before you have a conversation with someone gaslighting you, you’ll want to think about what your boundaries are so that you enter the conversation with full clarity about what you will and will not tolerate from another person.

Throughout your communication, you’ll want to affirm your own reality repeatedly. You can do that both to yourself, acknowledging the trust you rightfully have in your instincts, and directly to your gaslighter.

Statements such as “I am in touch with reality and I won’t accept being told otherwise” and “I know what is true, and lies will not deter me from my truth” can be beneficial as a mantra and as a spoken sentence.

Taking Care of Yourself

Because it’s a form of abuse, gaslighting is very serious. If you are in a friendship, family, or relationship with someone who gaslights you, there are bound to be negative impacts on your wellbeing. You’ll need to actively take steps to maintain your own wellness and sense of self.

Throughout the gaslighting, you may have distanced yourself from those you are close to, and that isn’t your fault. “Often when someone is gaslighting or manipulating you, they may try to isolate you from people who really care about and want to help you,” says Le Goy. “This also allows them to avoid being accountable for their behavior,” she explains.

In addition to performing acts of relaxation and self-care, you will want to find the support of others. “Surrounding yourself with truly supportive and uplifting people is really helpful,” says Le Goy. “When you are with people who are honest and loving, it holds up a light to the abusive behavior of a gaslighter and helps to remind us what good relationships feel like.”


If the support of your loved ones isn’t enough to get you through this, therapy may help you significantly.

You also may need to let go of the idea that you can’t move on without closure. Unfortunately that just may not happen here, because a person who gaslights others won’t necessarily ever offer it.

“It is important that you do not become married to this idea—someone who gaslights other people is unlikely to take responsibility for their bad behavior. Learn to be ok with not receiving an apology or acknowledgment of their gaslighting,” suggests Le Goy.

Keep in Mind

Gaslighting is the act of one person manipulating another so that they doubt their own reality. It’s a form of abuse, and it should never be tolerated. You can respond to gaslighting by affirming your own understanding of reality and the truth of a situation.

In doing that, you’ll need to be firm and assertive, and even if it helps you walk away from the situation, you might not get the closure you naturally seek. People who gaslight are manipulative and you do not need to accept their behavior.

In order to become healthy again after being gaslighted, you’ll want to prioritize your mental health and wellbeing. Affirm your reality and your understanding of it, and find support from those you love. Therapy is an excellent choice to help you get through this difficult time. No one deserves to be gaslighted, but with the tools you know have, you are one step closer on your journey away from it.

Read the original article on Verywell Mind.

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