“Gaslighting” is Merriam-Webster’s 2022 word of the year. Here’s how to be sure it’s never used to describe you.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that makes someone cast doubt on the validity of their thoughts, memories, and reality. Used intentionally, it’s a means of slowly eroding the trust someone has in their feelings or point of view. Used accidentally, it can aggravate and end conversations. Here are six phrases to recognize.
1. “You take things too personally”/ “You’re so sensitive.”
Such statements can diminish and invalidate a partner’s feelings, while also making them question their motivations. These can stem from the realization that you may have pushed the argument too far and want to stop your partner from being upset.
3. “I don’t even know what I did wrong.”
Even if you know full well what they did wrong, you may use this phrase as a means of either shifting the blame or trying to minimize your actions, as if to say, “Was it really that bad?” But it’s a classic gaslighting statement because it makes the recipient doubt their reaction.