4 Less Obvious Signs Of Gaslighting Most People Miss

Don’t expect the wolf to change into a sheep.

Woman confused by being gaslit Işıl, ismagilov | Canva, christian ferrer | Unsplash

One of an emotional manipulator's favorite weapons of abuse is gaslighting, which is a form of psychological manipulation that sows seeds of doubt in an individual causing them to question their memory, perception, and sanity.

What a gas lighter says may be completely different from what they are thinking, or what the facts of the situation are, so it can be hard to know for sure when gas lighting happens.


RELATED: 6 Life-Saving Strategies For Surviving An Abusive Gaslighter

Here are 4 less obvious signs of gaslighting that most people miss:

1. They devalue your worth.

Why? Because they need to feel powerful.

What they say: "You don’t know how to manage money. If it wasn't for me, you would be broke."

What they mean: "I feel powerful and significant when I can blame you and hurt your self-esteem. I resent you and think you deserve to be treated like garbage, and I think I am entitled to make you feel like garbage. I feel better when I hurt you and I get what I want, which is to make you spin because I need to see the power I exert over you and your emotional wellbeing."


2. They accuse you.

Why? So you'll try harder to please them.

What they say: "You don’t care about me and never have. You don’t support me and only think about yourself."

What they mean: "My goal is to make you feel guilty and worry that I have a poor opinion of you. I know that you are going to do everything you can to convince me of how much you care and this makes me feel powerful. I know I’ve got you hooked, and I can keep treating you like dirt, because the more I do, the harder you try to convince me otherwise."

couple upset and arguing


Photo: Standret via Shutterstock

RELATED: 7 Ways You're Being Gaslighted — And You Don't Even Realize It

3. They assassinate your character.

Why? To make themselves feel superior.

What they say: "You’re lazy, selfish, and self-absorbed."

What they mean: "I have no evidence or facts to back up my point but that’s inconsequential. The goal is not to prove my point. The goal is to get you spinning. If you’re frustrated, tormented, and hysterical with my false allegations and misinformation the better I feel. I need to feel omnipotent, all-powerful, like a smiting god taking his wrath out on you, the meaningless human. I experience a superior, cruel enjoyment when I create illusions and witness your pain."


4. They play the victim.

Why? To keep you hooked.

What they say: "If you would’ve shown me any love at all, I would’ve given you my heart."

What they mean: "I’ll never give you a darn thing. You don’t deserve it. All you deserve is to be toyed with and have your head messed with. I dangle a carrot in front of your nose and you believe I was going to give it to you! Not a chance. You are only here to serve my need for significance. I will take what I want whether you like it or not. I will dangle that carrot to keep your mind foggy with pain and hope that I’ll give you what you want, which I absolutely will not."

RELATED: If Your Partner Does These 9 Sneaky Things, They're Gaslighting You


It’s incomprehensible to a compassionate individual to think that anyone could think like this.

Our minds scream, "No! It can’t be true!"

Sadly, deep in our hearts, we know it is entirely plausible and scarily accurate.

If you ever spoken to a narcissist when their true self flashed through the veneer of their false outer mask, you know.

You will see the ugly internal motivations bubble to the surface. You will see the true face of the contemptuous, cruel person within. You will see the seething rage that edges every word and you will know at that moment, deep within your bones, that this person does not care about you one bit.

Sadly, even then, your compassionate character might keep you hanging on to a thin thread of hope that it can’t be possible. Over time, that tiny thread shreds apart with every razor-tipped, sneering word that they utter.




In those moments, you will realize you are not seen as a fellow human being in their eyes.

You are seen as a thing that they are using to extract a narcissistic supply. Maybe you have even realized that you are just another thing they will use along the path of their addictive need for absolute supremacy.


It’s pathetic really, that an abuser will lay waste to everything that comes across their path to preserve their survival against total self-destruction.

To them, their behavior is not an option. It’s a matter of self-preservation.

Don’t be the wretched sheep to cross the wolf’s path. Don’t allow yourself to continue to be victimized to supply this unwholesome need for narcissistic supply. Don’t expect the wolf to change into a sheep.

They don’t want to change. You must accept this.

RELATED: 21 Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Joanne Brothwell, BSW, MSW, RSW, ACC, is a licensed therapist and social worker with more than 20 years of clinical experience providing counseling to individuals, couples, and families.