Gaslighting Examples: In Parents, BPD, Narcissist & Unconscious

Do you feel that you are being manipulated? Are there people at the home, workplace, or in your social circle who convince you that you are crazy? Do they boast of their accomplishments and consider themselves as ones who know everything? Are there people who often challenge your sense of reality? Well, you have probably been the target of a Gaslighting Personality if you have witnessed such situations. Yes, these are typical gaslighting examples. 

Patrick Hamilton was the one who coined the term Gaslight in his 1938 play titled ‘Gaslight’.

However, the 1944 movie Gaslight popularized the term ‘Gaslight’. This movie is about Paula whose husband Gregory tries to convince her that she is going crazy.

For instance, Gregory makes Paula believe that she is hearing and seeing things that do not exist. Furthermore, he makes her believe that the lights are not flickering when actually they are.

Thus, Gaslighters manipulate so that they can gain control over others. In this article, we will discuss, what is a gaslighting personality and examples of gaslighting. For instance, gaslighting in friendship, gaslighting at work, gaslighting in a relationship, gaslighting parents, BPD gaslighting, etc.

Advanced Psychology

What is a Gaslighting Personality?

Gaslighter Meaning

Gaslighters are witty, charming, and confident personalities who are out there to gain control over others. They are master manipulators and controllers who often question your sense of reality.

Furthermore, gaslighters are the ones who convince you that you are a bag of problems and that no one would want to be with you. Besides this, they believe that they are the ones who know everything. They see themselves as the ones who have no problems.

Additionally, for gaslighters, you might be a horrible employee who should have been fired way back. Or, you might be a terrible parent who doesn’t know how to bring children. Besides, you may be an individual who doesn’t know how to manage his life and is a burden to others.

Thus, Gaslighters live by manipulation. However, they use manipulation to gain control over you. The very goal of gaslighters is to keep you confused so that you are bound to question your reality.

Therefore, power and control are something that Gaslighters crave. Not only this, they put you in double minds so that you depend on them for understanding what is the correct form of reality.

The more you depend on them, the more control they exercise on you. Further, Gas Lighters can be anywhere. That is, they can be in your family in the form of your parent, sibling, spouse, or an acquaintance. 

Also, gaslighters can be at your workplace or at a social place. This means he or she can be your friend, neighbor, political figure, or celebrity.

So, it is important for you to know the characteristics of a Gaslighter. This will help you to get a better understanding of who a gaslighting personality is?

Characteristics of a Gaslighting Personality

1. Masters of Conditional Apology

The first thing you would often observe about a Gaslighting Personality is that he or she always comes up with conditional apologies.

For example, “I’m sorry to hurt you. But, I wouldn’t have harassed you if you would have been a nice friend’.” 

Thus, Gas Lighters only apologize when they want something out of you. Furthermore, even if they give you an apology it is actually not one.

They apologize either because you asked for it or you were compelled by someone such as legal authority.

2. Use Tactics Like Splitting and Triangulation

There are many gaslighting tactics that gaslighters use to manipulate others. They use these tactics to pit people against each other, to make others agree with them, avoid responsibility for their actions, create chaotic situations, etc.

Two of the common gaslighting tactics include triangulation and splitting.

  • Triangulation

Triangulation means communicating with someone via other people. In other words, gas lighters avoid direct confrontation with the one they want to manipulate.

  • Splitting

Splitting, on the other hand, is making people pit against each other to gain power and control.

3. Demand Special Treatment

Gas Lighters expect others to be polite, respectful, and patient towards them. However, they themselves do not practice such rules towards others.

4. Try Hard To Get Favors

As mentioned above, Gas Lighters use false flattery to get what they want out of you. Further, they are no more nice to you the moment you meet their needs.

a. Mistreat Less Powerful People

The way people deal with less powerful individuals says a lot about their personalities. Thus, you witness a gas lighter mistreating a person with less power if you see a manager or a supervisor bullying a newcomer.

b. Comparison With Others

Gas Lighters will draw comparisons between people. This is because doing so helps them to pit people against each other and gain control.

A gaslighter parent always compares his children in unreasonable and aggressive ways. There is always a child who can do no wrong and a child who is always at fault in the family.

Thus, such a comparison makes the siblings pit against each other. Furthermore, the sense of competition so created extends into adulthood as well.

c. Obsessed With Their Own Accomplishments

Gas Lighters show off their achievements. For example, receiving a trophy, a heavy incentive, etc.  

Further, they harass you when you do not respond enthusiastically. Thus, they give too much importance to their achievements even if they are merely a mirage.

d. Associate With People Who Praise Them

You have no place in a gas lighter’s life if you are the one who challenges his or her behavior. Gas Lighters prefer to associate with people who praise them and give them special treatment.

This is because gas lighters feel that they must be treated in such away. Thus, the gaslighters will leave you if at any moment they feel that you do not like them. 

e. Put Others In A Double Bind

Double Binds are nothing but the circumstances in which you are compelled to choose between two unacceptable options. Or the ones in which you are given contradictory messages.

For instance, your spouse asks you to go for therapy for anxiety. But at the same time, argues with you when you are triggered.

Gas Lighters love to put you in dilemmas. This is because your confusion and uncertainty give them power.

f. Obsessed About The They Look

Gas Lighters are obsessed with the way they appear to others. Therefore, gas lighters will come back and make you compensate if you try to make them look bad.

Perfection is one thing that they seek which is certainly unreasonable and not possible to achieve. Needless to say, they spend huge sums of money on grooming

g. Obsessed About The Way You Look

Gas Lighters are just not obsessed about the way they appear to others. But, they are also obsessed with the way you appear to others.

You must know that people with bodyweight issues are specifically soft targets for gas lighters. They condemn their partners for their weight and choice of clothing.

In fact, gas lighters buy clothing for their partners that they deem fit for them. Indirectly, they tell their partners that they do not have a good dressing sense.

h. Conning People

As mentioned earlier, Gas Lighters are all about manipulation. Therefore, they plot against others and everything is a game for them.

They want to see how much they can trick you both financially as well as emotionally. Further, they also openly boast about their acts of conning. Hence, this becomes the very reason for their demise.

i. Cause Fear In Others

The loved ones of a gaslighter try either protect the gaslighter against the people who challenge his or her behavior. Or, they themselves avoid coming face to face with the gaslighter.

This is because either the gaslighter’s family members have become used to his or her behavior. So, they consider this as something that happens in routine. 

Or, they are preventing themselves to appear disloyal to the gaslighter. This is because they know that they will have to face retaliation from the gaslighter.

Therefore, they fear such a situation and prevent coming face to face with him or her.

j. Possess Bad Temper

Gaslighters have an ego that gets hit easily and feel that they deserve all the respect plus loyalty. That’s why they take everything personally. 

This leads to terrible outcomes for persons who are victims of the gaslighters. Initially, gaslighters might softy display this anger as they do not want to be seen as imperfect.

However, they cannot keep such a pretense for long. And it is extremely shocking for people when they first see the gaslighter show his real temper.

k. Punishment is Of No Use

People who showcase extreme gaslighting behaviors experience a different neuron fighting pattern when they are punished. 

Likewise, rewards do not hold any value for such people. Therefore, both rewards and punishment have less impact on gaslighters.

That is why they do what they want to do irrespective of people’s reaction towards them.

l. Exercising Cognitive Empathy

You may feel that gaslighters understand your feelings. But you will understand that their reactions are robotic in nature once you observe them closely. That is, there is no real feeling behind what they say or do.

In other words, gaslighters are masters in practicing cognitive empathy. That is, pretending as if they empathize but without any emotion attached. 

m. Budge Personal Responsibility

Other people are always at fault with gaslighters. In other words, gaslighters are ego-syntonic. They feel that they are without problems and perfect, whereas, others are crazy.

According to them, their behavior is acceptable and the one that satisfies their ego. You must note here that people with personality disorders are very difficult to deal with.

This is because they think that they are perfect and can never do wrong. While others are the ones who have all the problems.

n. Exhaust You With Time

Gaslighters understand that eventually, they can put you down if they get sufficient time. 

Further, they also anticipate that you can be their soft target if they increase their manipulative behavior.

Therefore, they will increase such behavior slowly. This is because they want to make it is difficult for you to understand that you are being psychologically hit.

In the initial phase of your relationship with a gaslighter, everything would be rosy. However, slowly criticisms would start coming in.

In fact, gaslight would switch between praise and criticism. This is because they know that your confusion will weaken your spirits.

When you are uncertain, you are more vulnerable.

o. Habituated To Lie

A gaslighter would outrightly deny that they did a wrongful act if you catch hold of them red-handed. In fact, he or she will start challenging your understanding and say that maybe you misunderstood him or her.

This is exactly what he or she wants from you. A gaslighter wants to increase your dependence on them for your sense of reality.

Further, he or she may force you to understand that what you are thinking is not correct and that you are losing your mind.

q. Horrible Teasers

Gaslighters are horrible teasers. Initially, when you are alone with a gaslighter, petty things like your looks, way of working, etc bother him or her.

Slowly, this takes the shape of teasing you in front of friends and family. Thus, gaslighters tell you that you are too sensitive when you tell them that their comments bother you.

This is unlike the teasing that takes place between friends and siblings. Teasing takes a permanent form and has meanness attached to it.

Further, Gaslighters do not pay heed when you request them to stop teasing you.

s. Compliments Are Insults

Gaslighters do not believe in giving genuine compliments. They are rather insults disguised in compliments.

For example, “you made a perfect marketing pitch. All thanks to me for giving you marketing tips.”

t. Projecting Emotions

Gaslighters are clueless about their own emotions or actions. That is why they do not realize that they are projecting their behavior onto others.

For example, gaslighters may ask you to be fit when they are themselves are extremely casual about their fitness.

u. Distance You From Your Loved Ones

Gaslighters typically tell you that you are not happy when you are around your loved ones. In fact, they even say no to going with you to your family events.

This is because they say that they feel uncomfortable with your family or give some other baseless reason.

Further, the gaslighters count on the ideology that you will not have to reason out with your family as to why you are attending family functions without your gaslighting partner.

Instead, you get an opportunity to spend alone time with your gaslighting partner.

v. Using Flying Monkeys

This is nothing but triangulation. Gaslighters usually send messages to you via other people. This is especially the case when you are brave enough to cut off contact with them.

w. Spread Wrong Word About You

Gaslighters try their level best to create space between you and other people in a number of ways. They tell people that you are crazy and try to smear your character.

In this way, other people see you as weak and unbalanced.  

x. Never Keep Promises

Gaslighters believe that promises are meant to be broken. Even if they promise, always remember that they are empty promises.

y. One Way Loyalty

Gaslighters expect full and unreasonable loyalty out of you. However, they do not believe in giving loyalty back to you.

In fact, gaslighters are known for their infidelity. They do what they want to do. Further, you certainly get in a difficult situation if they get to know that you are cheating on them.

z. Hit You Hard When You Are Already Suffering

Gaslighters do not get satisfied by simply causing harm to you. They will continue to hit you even if you are down on the ground already. In other words, gaslighters get pleasure in seeing you suffering.

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How Do You Tell If Someone is Gaslighting You?

Gaslighters manipulate you to gain power and fill their never-ending hole of neediness. There is a difference between manipulating for a particular benefit and gaslighting. So, how do you tell if someone is gaslighting you? Or its simple manipulation for benefit. 

Well, you have to look out for a pattern of behavior with gaslighters. In other words, gaslighters manipulate because they are habituated to exercise control over others. This is because it gives them a sense of power. It is their way of life to con, gain control of, and confuse people. This means manipulation in and of itself is not a bad thing. May people use manipulation to influence others in a positive manner. You may call this persuasion. 

Gaslighters, however, use manipulation to gain control over you. Therefore, there is no good to this kind of influence. 

Accordingly, how do you tell if someone is gaslighting you? The following section describes in detail signs of gaslighting.

Signs of Gaslighting Parents

Our parents can also be gaslighters. Healthy parents are supportive and nurturing. Further, they provide guidance to their children so that children become happy and productive with time. 

On the other hand, gaslighting parents compete, manipulate, and undermine their children. They try to prevent their children from becoming independent. 

Accordingly, the following are the signs of gaslighting parents. 

Gaslighting parents: 

  • Do not want their children to become independent from them
  • Abuse their children physically, emotionally, or sexually. They may also neglect their children. 
  • Put their children into double minds by giving conflicting messages
  • Compete with their children so that children don’t have better things than they do
  • Try to to compel children to do certain things, can yell at their children, and do not support them
  • Have high expectations from their children which are often difficult to reach
  • Have inappropriate boundaries with their children’s partner or friends. This is because they cannot stand not having as much attention as their children.
  • See a child as either all good or all bad. This means that there is always a golden child and a scapegoat in the family
  • Threaten their children if they try to distance themselves.
  • Gaslighting parents’ children may adopt some of the coping and manipulative techniques from them. 

What Are Gaslighting Tactics?

As specified earlier, Gaslighting is all about control. In other words, Gaslighters use manipulation as they desire control over others.

Gaslighting may be difficult to spot and understand. Therefore, it is important that we learn about the gaslighting tactics of gaslighting techniques that gaslighters typically use to manipulate others.

People with vulnerabilities like ADHD, anxiety, and chronic pain are typically the most obvious targets of gaslighters. This is because gaslighters can easily use persuasion tactics to hamper the self-esteem of such individuals.

They increase their manipulative behavior slowly. Further, gaslighters get to know that you can be their potential target. This happens when gaslighters understand that you agree to or accept their manipulative behaviors.

Therefore, simply knowing the characteristics as well as the signs of gaslighting is not sufficient. You must also be aware of the common gaslighting tactics of gaslighting techniques that gaslighters adopt for manipulation.

Let’s have a look at each of them.


Gaslighters use many gaslighting tactics to trick you into manipulation. However, one of the commonly used tactics that Gaslighters use is Triangulation.

Triangulation is nothing but communicating with someone via other people. In other words, gaslighters would approach a sibling, common friend, coworker, or parent to convey the message instead of directly talking to someone.

Thus, a gaslighter may not approach you directly. Instead, he or she would try to convey you something via someone else in common.

For example, “Sam is not bothered about her weight. I so wish that she understands that I feel ashamed going out with her”, said Tom, Sam’s husband to Sam’s cousin Maria.

This is a classic example of Triangulation. Here Tom is trying to tell Maria in an implied way that he feels ashamed to go out with Sam because of her weight issues.

Indirectly, Tow wants Maria to communicate this to Sam. Likewise, Gaslighters can use strong and direct statements to convey the message to others.

The above statement can be sailed directly in the following manner:

Tom to Maria: “Please tell Sam to lose her weight.”

So, to achieve this tactic, gaslighters make use of other people called the Flying Monkeys.

2. Splitting

The second most favorite of all the gaslighting tactics is splitting. 

Splitting is nothing but making people pit against each other. Such a tactic makes gaslighters feel empowered and control others.

For example, “Sarah told me that Susie, my best friend, told her that she hates my company as I am an introvert. I called Susie and asked her what problems did she have with me. She said she had no issues and we talked to each other regarding random things for a while. I understood then that it would have been a total confusion if I had talked via Sarah.”

You must remember that gaslighters are master instigators and agitators. They get immense power when people fight with each other. 

Further, they get pleasure when they see people fighting. And they watch from the side the fight that they were the cause of.

Here is a pro-tip. Till the time, the person does not talk to you directly, consider that the things told to you being said about you by this person are not true.

3. Projection of Emotions

It is typical for gaslighters to blame you for things that they do. For instance, they will blame you for cheating on them when they themselves have been cheating.

Tom said to Sara: “I know whom are you getting dressed for and where are you going.” Gaslighters are masters when it comes to turning your sense of reality. They will try to confuse you, put you in double minds and convince you of alternative reality.

As a result, you will find yourself blaming yourself for your partner’s treatment. When you come across such a situation, make sure you think of other perspectives.

You need not blame yourself. Further, you should not say that “my partner behaved towards me in such a way if I would have been good.” 

4. The Rule Setter

This is one of the other gaslighting tactics used particularly in context to intimate relationships. Gaslighters are outstanding in pretending romantic behavior. You feel as if you have never had such a connection with anyone before.

But as said earlier, gaslighters cannot wear this mask for a very long period of time. Furthermore, it’s all about the pleasure and excitement of the gaslighter when it comes to physical intercourse.

In other words, it’s about them and not you always. You are simply there to give them pleasure. Eventually, you will not feel that connection but a mere object who is there to meet your gaslighting partner’s needs.

Thus, your gaslighting partner sets the rules for sex. Remember, the gaslighter may either be vocal about these rules or may set them implicitly.

For instance:

  • You should always be there for sex when they want it.
  • They may say a no when you want to have sex.
  • Also, they may hold back sex so as to penalize you.
  • They will play you down if you don’t give them what they want sexually.
  • Gaslighters are the least bothered whether you are having pleasure during physical intercourse.
  • Likewise, they don’t care if you are feeling the pain.
  • They tell you that they would be more sexually attracted to you if you changed your outlook.

5. Love Bombing

Love Bombing is one of the significant gaslighting tactics. It is a tactic in which gaslighters first put you on a pedestal. 

That is, they are all praises about you and sweep you off your feet. And then eventually, they drop you off the cliff. 

This is called love bombing. The initial attraction is so strong that it is difficult for you to not blame yourself for your gaslighting partner’s bad behavior when things go bad.

You will always make effort and think of ways to get back to your gaslighting partner. But you must remember that things do not work that way with a gaslighter.

For him or her, the initial wit or charm is all a game. Further, you cannot get back to the gaslighting person to the initial witty, charming person that he or she is.

This is because he or she doe not exist in the first place. Further, they will never showcase their pathological side until you get in a relationship with them.

That’s why you end up blaming yourself the first time your gaslighting partner lies brutally. This is because it is hard for you to believe that a person who loved you so much initially would do that to you.

As mentioned earlier, it is very difficult for you to move away from your gaslighting partner when he uses the love-bombing tactic. This is because you receive so much attention which acts like a drug.

You will feel as if no one treated you in such a way before. Also, you get an amazing feeling for the person who puts you on cloud nine. But with time you are doomed to fall so badly that it is quite painful for you.  

6. Hoovering

The gaslighters would try to suck you back at the moment they feel you are moving away from them. This is one of the gaslighting tactics called Hoovering.

Thus, you will find gaslighters switching between coming closer to you, cutting off, and then coming back again. 

Further, gaslighters make all possible efforts to suck you back in if they get the slightest of a hint of possible abandonment. Remember, gaslighters fear getting abandoned.

This abandonment is called narcissistic injury. In addition to this, gaslighters have a never-ending need for attention and newness. 

No matter how much you try, you will never be able to meet a gaslighter’s needs. They will always go to someone else or something else to satisfy those needs.

Thus, they will drop you off a cliff the moment they find someone or something else to get attention from. This is very confusing and painful. In other words, you get amazed at the other side of your gaslighting partner when he or she unmasks himself or herself.

As a result, it is typical for you to blame yourself for not being able to recognize the gaslighter in your relationship. But, you must not forget, that gaslighters are master pretenders. This means they are good at pretending normally. 

In addition to this, gaslighters use objects to suck you back into the relationship. This means you may receive messages from your gaslighting partner for your things that are in his or her possession.


For instance, “Do you want the clothes you left with me”. Thus, you must understand the gaslighter’s intention is not to give you back the things and move on. But it is a way to get in touch with you again.

Similarly, gaslighters also seek physical contact. You should not wonder if your gaslighting partner surprises you by having physical intercourse better than ever.

Thus, you would feel that your partner is trying to connect with you emotionally. Further, you may also feel that he or she is trying to give you an experience that you always wanted to have.

But remember, such a thing would not last long as it’s just a way to get you back in.  

7. Stonewalling

Stonewalling is one of the other gaslighting tactics that gaslighting partners use. It is nothing but the act of remaining dead silent or an act of disappearing. Your gaslighting partner makes you experience this when he or she is caught.

Or they would not simply want to talk about it because that is the way they find it easy. Furthermore, you would not see or hear from them if you do not live with them.

Likewise, gaslighting partners would not answer your messages or phone calls. During all this while, you get all the more worried for the time you do not hear from them. They will simply stop communicating with you and disappear for long periods of time. Then, they may eventually appear as and when they like.

In addition to this, gaslighters love to see you upset from their behavior. Further, staying with a gaslighter practicing stonewalling becomes all the more difficult. 

This is because they make you feel as if you do not exist even though you are right beside them.

So, what should you do with a gaslighting partner who practices stonewalling? The best thing that you can do in such a case is to start practicing stonewalling yourself.

You too practice dead silence and do not worry yourself with stonewaller’s behavior. Remember, your stonewalling partner is seeking a reaction. So don’t give them one.

Instead, make them feel it doesn’t impact you for in reality it really doesn’t.

8. Fraud and Conning

Apart from gaining control, gaslighters have many other objectives. The main purpose of some of the gaslighters is to con you. That is, to trick you off your money, property, and other valuable possessions like cars, jewelry, etc.

Such gaslighters typically target people on online dating sites. This is because it is easy to spot vulnerable people there.

Also, its easy for Gaslighters to be whomsoever they want to be in their online profiles on dating sites. They write things that vulnerable people want to hear.

Further, its very easy for them to spot soft targets simply by going through people’s profiles.

For instance, you are probably the most eligible target for online gaslighters if you showcase any one of the following things on your profile.

  • Hints that you are rich, 
  • Have had a terrible past, 
  • See positive things in everyone, or have been single for quite sometime

Gaslighters understand that you will easily hook with them and accept their manipulative behavior. Provided your profile says anything from the above-mentioned things.

Also, gaslighters want anonymity to be successful in their controlling game. Thus, online dating apps are the perfect place to exist for gaslighters. This is because there are so many options available on the net for the gaslighters. Further, they can maintain their anonymity quite easily. 

9. Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse is one of the other commonly used gaslighting tactics. This tactic gives the gaslighters power and control over victims.

Thus, there are different types of domestic abuse. These include verbal, economic, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.

All of these are basically tactics that a gaslighter makes use of to gain control.

a. Verbal Abuse

The Verbal Abuse includes:

  • Yelling
  • Unreasonable Criticism
  • Name-Calling
  • Body Shaming
  • Mimicking a Partner
  • Repeating a Partner
  • Giving threats to your safety
  • You being told that you are unintelligent and worthless

Remember, Verbal Abuse does not always involve shouting. Gaslighters may say all poisonous things while having a smile on their faces. This is because they do not want others to know about their abusive behavior.

b. Economic Abuse

Economic Abuse involves:

  • Asking you to take permission for money
  • Not disclosing financial information
  • Not giving you the freedom to manage finances
  • Your partner taking all the property and valuables in his or her name
  • Not allowing you to do a job, etc.

Since you do not have financial independence, the gaslighters are aware that they can abuse you economically. 

Further, they have the confidence that a lack of financial independence will make you stick around them.

c. Physical Abuse

Physical Abuse involves:

  • Spitting
  • Tearing clothes
  • Pulling hair
  • Blocking your way to prevent you from leaving
  • Throwing items on you
  • Pushing, biting, punching, or slapping, etc.

d. Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse involves:

  • Rape
  • Threatening you if you do not engage in sexual activity
  • Questioning your sexual abilities 
  • Giving you threats of cheating if you do not perform well secually
  • Forcing your for sex, etc.

e. Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse involves:

  • Embarrassing your partner in front of others
  • Comparing your partner to others
  • Blaming your partner for cheating without proof
  • Stonewalling
  • Tracking your partner’s car via tracker, etc.

Emotional Abuse is one of the typical ways in which gaslighters manipulate. This is because emotional abuse does not do visible damage like bruises, scars, etc. as in physical abuse. That’s why it is the most referred tactic that gaslighters adopt.

What Kind of Person Uses Gaslighting?

A person who controls manipulates and challenges your sense of reality is a gaslighter. He can convince you that you are crazy, abusive, and the one having innumerable problems. Further, a gaslighter may compel you to think that you are the one whom others don’t want to be around. 

They may challenge your abilities and make you feel as if you are a burden to others. In short, gaslighters are toxic people. The American Psychiatric Association does not have a definition for gaslighting in its manual. However, gaslighters can look like people having disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

Therefore, some people who gaslight meet the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM criteria for the following disorders. Note that these disorders come under Cluster B Personality Disorders. These include:

Remember, people having any of the cluster B personality disorders are highly impulsive. Further, it is quite challenging to treat such people. This is because personality disorders seem to be deeply ingrained in a person’s behavior. In addition to this, people with personality disorders are highly egoistic. They believe that everyone else is crazy or has a challenge. But not them. 

Thus, people with Cluster B personality disorders seem similar to the gaslighters. Refer to the section ‘Characteristics of a Gaslighting Personality’ above to understand the kind of people who sue to gaslight.   

Examples of Gaslighting Parents

Gaslighting parents are the most challenging individuals to deal with in your family. Furthermore, your emotional bonding with them makes it challenging for you to stay away from them. 

Gaslighting parents have peculiar characteristics that make it difficult for you to deal with them. Healthy parents are supportive and nurturing. They guide their children so that they become happy and productive as they grow older. And the happiest moment for healthy parents is when their child succeeds at becoming a healthy individual.

On the other hand, gaslighting parents are manipulative, competitive, and undermine their children’s capabilities. Furthermore, they prevent their children from becoming independent individuals.  The following are the examples of gaslighting parents that will help understand gaslighting in parents.  

1. Dislike Children Becoming Independent

Becoming independent from your parents is an important part of human development. This is because it makes you learn to deal with the world outside on your own. Healthy parents often get frustrated when their children become independent. However, they are aware that individuating is good for their children. 

On the other hand, gaslighters feel that they are loosening their grip on children. This is when their children start individuating from their gaslighting parents. 

You must have experienced that until puberty, your parents behaved nicely. Further, they were often around you. However, when your puberty started, your parents either ignored, stonewalled, or passed demeaning comments. So, what do you think must have happened at that point of time? The gaslighting parents realized that you were no longer dependent on them. Further, they got a sense of abandonment from you. 


Sara is 14 years old. One day she asked her mom that she would stay over at her friend’s place during the coming weekend. Sara’s mother outrightly said a No. And asked Sara to stay back. But Sara kept on trying to convince her mother but all her efforts were in vain. 

So, Sara decided to stay at her friend’s place without telling her mother. When Sara came back she found that her mother was quite angry. Not only this, she didn’t talk to Sara for a month.  

2. Abuse Children 

Gaslighting parents may abuse their children either physically, emotionally, or sexually. Sometimes, they even neglect their children. Remember, gaslighting behavior is a normal part of gaslighting parents’ life. 

In case you had a gaslighting parent, the full responsibility of any type of abuse lies on your parent.

You need not feel guilty and think about what wrong did you do that compelled your gaslighting parent to abuse you. Remember, is such a case, the abuse is not your fault. 


Jordan is 17 years old. His father Jack has a printing business of his own. Jordan decides to join his father’s business and bring changes in his business. The firm’s accountant carries out accounting and bookkeeping in a traditional manner. That is, writing books manually. 

One day Jack, Jordan, and the accountant were sitting together and working on the financial statements. Jordan suggested that they should use accounting software instead to reduce their workload. On hearing this, Jack got frustrated and could not tolerate his son trying to implement new things in their business. Hence, Jack humiliated Jordan in front of the accountant and abused him verbally. 

3. Putting Children in a Double Mind

A double bind is a situation when your gaslighting parents give you conflicting messages. It is a situation when things would turn bad whether you do or you don’t. Such a double mind situation gives emotional stress to children. As a result,  they fail badly in life. 

However, gaslighting parents feel happy to see you in such distress. This is because it reinforces them to gain control over you. 


Mary is a postgraduate in financial management. After working for a while in the corporate world, she wanted to start a blog of her own. She could not do so as the entire family was going through a financial crunch. And Mary had no choice but to work and bring money into the house. Mary’s father was a businessman. However, his business was not doing well. Mary often used to tell her father that she hates working under someone. And that she wants to start a blog of her own. 

Her father used to encourage Mary to start her blog. However, at the same time used to ask her about her job status. This was because Mary’s father knew deep inside that he alone would be unable to manage finances. 

4. Competing With Children

Gaslighting parents often compete with their children in unreasonable ways. The very motive of a gaslighting parent to indulge in such behaviors is not to possess better things than you do. Rather, such parents have trouble accepting your success. 

In other words, they cant’ see you outdoing them. Whereas, healthy parents feel happy seeing their children successful. 


Amanda bought a diamond necklace and went to her mother’s place to show her the same. Two weeks later, Amanda went to her mother’s place to spend time with her. She saw her mother wearing a similar bracelet on her hand.  On that very day, they went for shopping and Amanda purchased silver cutlery set for herself. 

Amanda’s mother also purchased the same cutlery set telling Amanda “even I don’t have one. So thought of buying one for myself.” Such imitation made Amanda feel creepy about the entire situation.  

5. Live Through Their Children

Gaslighting parents often want their children to live their life the way they wanted to live, Thus, such parents may compel their children to undertake activities and do things they always wanted to do when they were young. 


Maria wanted to learn ballet dance. So, she told her mother to find a personal trainer who could teach her ballet professionally. On hearing this, Maria’s mother Jenny told Maria she can join an art class instead.

“Ballet is the most difficult form of dance and I know you won’t be able to pull it off. Art would give you a break from your daily schedule and will enhance your drawing skills.” Jenny convinced Maria to take up art in place of ballet dance. This is because, as a young girl, Jenny wanted to become a good painter. And now she wants to live her dream through Maria. 

6. Golden Children and Scapegoats

For gaslighting parents, one child is the golden child and the other is the scapegoat. The golden child gets away with every wrong indulgence. Whereas, the scapegoat gets punished even for the pettiest of things. 

Such patterns in gaslighting parents continue through adulthood as well. And this behavior leads to a clash between both siblings. 

There begins a pathological competition between the siblings. Remember, gaslighting parents do not understand that each person is unique in his own way. They cannot understand that people can have various aspects to their personality. Hence, they either see a child as all good or all bad. 


Anna and Amanda were twin siblings. At times, Anna would go aggressive whereas Amanda would keep her calm. But at certain times both of them switched places.  However, their parents saw Amanda in good light. While they considered Anna to be the notorious one.  Whenever Anna and Amanda fought with each other, their parents would get convinced with what Amanda said. They would ask Anna to listen to Amanda and hence worked things out. 

Such behavior leads to animosity between Anna and Amanda. This was because both the siblings were pitted against each other during childhood innumerable times. 

7. Threaten Their Children

Gaslighting parents often threatened their children to disown them. Or exclude them from the will. This happens because the gaslighting parents feel that their children are distancing themselves from them. Hence, threatening is the most common tactic that gaslighting parents use. But remember, all the threatening statements are false in nature. 

They would never leave you as deep inside they know that they are dependent on you. You need to understand that gaslighting parents use you as an object to satisfy their own needs. If you understand this, it will be easier for you to deal with them. 


Larry is a chit fund manager. Whereas, his father James is a bank manager. Throughout his life, James served a single bank and saved boatloads of money. While Larry’s chit-fund business was not that good. Despite making his best efforts, he could not reach the stature where his dad was. As a result, James criticized Larry for being a failure his entire life.

James could not tolerate his son’s failure. Further, he used to consider his son a deadbeat. On the other hand, Larry made every effort to make his father happy. However, his father would always threaten to disown him. Eventually, when James died, Larry came to know that he didn’t leave anything for him in the will. This was despite Larry working so hard his entire life. 

BPD Gaslighting Examples

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder. In this, an individual suffers from self-image issues, unstable emotions, and relationships, and changing preferences.

People who suffer from BPD are very sensitive. For them, even the smallest of things are capable to trigger intense responses. Further, they find it very difficult to calm themselves down once they are upset.

Thus, they witness unstable emotions and are not able to calm themselves down once upset. When BPD patients are in the grip of emotion, they are unable to reason. They may say painful things or act in risky ways for which they feel embarrassed later on.

Some of the common symptoms of BPD include:

  • Shifting or Unstable self-image
  • Unstable relationships
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Self-destruction
  • Intense anger, etc.

Further, it is quite common for individuals with BPD to use gaslighting. Such a tactic is specifically used to win over people in fights, especially if they are adopting all-fair means to fight. 

There are a number of ways in which BPD patients gaslight other people. The following are the BPD Gaslighting Examples.

1. Challenging Victim’s Sense of Reality

David and Alexandra are siblings who run a business together. Alexandra had the duty of taking requisite books from home to prepare a presentation1. for the client. She forgot to carry a notebook David had asked her to bring it along for preparing the notes.

On reaching the office, as David and Alexandra sat preparing the presentation, David questions her “How could you forget the notebook at home? I have seen that you have been a bit more forgetful in the past few days.”

On this, Alexandra gets triggered and tries to impose her reality on David as she is suffering from BPD. 

She said, “I have been always very careful about things that I need to. You are lost in your own world. That’s why you are not able to see how particular I am. How would you know? I am the one who takes the responsibility of packing things before coming to the office.”

Now, you must understand that BPD individuals only see their own viewpoint. Further, for BPD patients, the opinion of other people doesn’t matter at all.

2.Considering Victim’s Knowledge as Insignificant

Daisy and Samantha are asked to prepare a project together on SEO Tips and Tactics. Both Daisy and Samantha have good years of experience in the field. However, they come from different companies and bring together their unique learnings and experiences. 

Daisy is finding an issue working with Samantha. Samantha outrightly dismissed the suggestions that Daisy puts forward for the project. Further, Samantha considers Daisy’s knowledge as insignificant.

“Guest posting is extremely important to get quality backlinks for the blog”, says Daisy. Samantha counters her and says, “This is a strategy that everyone knows. There is nothing extraordinary about your suggestion. I don’t think so that we should cover strategies that are commonplace.”

Thus, Samantha is unconsciously being the gaslighter as she questions and puts down Daisy’s suggestions outrightly. 

3. Challenging Victim’s Self-Esteem

David is a software developer having a team of 10 people working under him. One of his employees Mike is new to the industry but is a very intelligent asset to the company.

However, David is the least empathetic towards him. He always challenges Mike’s self-esteem instead of teaching him politely and giving him an opportunity to improve upon his mistakes.

“You are a complete failure, Mike. This is such an easy task that you were not able to do. I don’t think so that you have a future with our firm.”

Narcissist Gaslighting Examples

As mentioned above, gaslighters are master controllers, manipulators, and the ones who often challenge your sense of reality. They are the ones who plot against you, lie to your face, deny your needs and showcase excessive power. Further, gaslighters use their own words against you and turn you against your family and friends. 

Thus, the entire goal of engaging in all of this is to watch you suffer, showcase power, and increase your dependence on the gaslighter. This means manipulation is a way of life for gaslighters. 

Such manipulation is so slow in nature that you may not even realize it until you suffer immense damage. The following are the various narcissist gaslighting examples for you to understand a gaslighting personality. 

1. Gaining Control Over Others Via Manipulation

Daniel was the managing partner of a management consulting firm. He was assisted by senior partners, junior partners, and associates to offer consulting services to clients. Lewis, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the firm came across certain transactions carried out in the name of a shell company. Lewis raised this issue to daniel when he came to know about it. Daniel in return threatened Lewis by saying “Yes, I am the one who embezzled funds in the name of a shell company for my personal needs. If you fail to hide this secret, I will make sure that your life is ruined. 

2. Speaking Lies and Exaggerating to Move Ahead

Michael is a software developer who runs a small web development agency of his own. In the wake of earning more money, he often picks up projects that give huge returns but are quite complex in nature.

At times, the underlying project is so complex that it is beyond Michael’s skillsets to finish and deliver the project. He practices a policy of taking 60% of the project amount in advance. Whereas, the remaining 40% is taken on project completion.

One of his clients James wanted to start an NGO for which he needed a website. Michael came to know somehow that James was cash-rich. Accordingly, Michael advised James to get his website built on a platform that was triple the price of technology that would have served him best.

He exaggerated the benefits James would receive by building the website on such a platform. All Michael was bothered about was earning a good amount of money out of the deal. Even if it meant hurting his client’s pocket as well as business interest. 

3. Not Accepting Flaws and Becoming Aggressive Unreasonably

Mike is the CEO of a digital marketing agency. He undertakes the task of promoting his clients’ products and services digitally. One of his clients Kevin runs a manufacturing unit of packaging.

Kevin assigns Mike the task of selling packaging products like wrapping papers, Disney design glasses, and chocolate boxes on the web. He also instructs Mike to sell the products on various eCommerce platforms. So, to sell products online, Mike needs funds to advertise for sales.

Accordingly, Kevin sanctions the amount to Mike. However, Mike keeps 40% of the amount in his own pocket for his personal expenses. And utilizes the remaining 60%  for promoting Kevin’s products.

Kevin does not know how the promotion works online. So, Kevin blindfolded trusts Mike for delivering online sales. However, after a few months Kevin gets to know about Mike’s fraud.

So, he decides to talk with Mike about the issue. Being a narcissist, Mike denies the fraud and behaves aggressively with Kevin. He tells Kevin, “If you know how to sell products online, then it’s better you do it yourself. Let me see who will generate sales for you in the market on such a low budget. You should be thankful that you have me and are making sales worth $7,000 per month.”

4. Portraying False Image

It’s been 12 years that Ethan and Emma are married and have three children. Ethan is head of marketing at an analytics software company. Everyone in his team knows that Ethan is quite attached to his family.

They believe so because he always shares instances of good times he had with his wife as well as kids. In fact, he often appreciates his wife in front of his colleagues and friends whenever they go out dining with them.

As a marketer, Ethan has to travel a lot for client meetings. Most of the time, outside his country for meetings. Everyone believes that Ethan is quite dedicated to his work and family.

However, Victoria, Ethan’s colleague accompanies him on one of the trips. There she gets to know the real side of Ethan. Ethan is a womanizer who has slept around with multiple women for his personal pleasure.

As he is too conscious of his image, Ethan compels Victoria to hide the secret, else she will have to bear the consequences. 

5. Breaking Rules and Violating Boundaries

Logan is a legal attorney who is habituated to win the cases that come may. One of his clients Luke is the CEO of a motor company. The firm is under the allegation of manufacturing cars against environmental standards. 

Logan is the defendant’s attorney for Luke’s company. He knows that Luke’s motor company has been manufacturing cars that violate environmental standards. Further, Logan knows that if the case gets to trial, Luke’s company will not only have to pay a huge penalty. But they may also have to shut down their manufacturing company. So to settle the case Logan demands an attorney fee that is five times more than the typical fees under the table. This was in addition to the settlement amount that Logan will have to pay the plaintiff to settle the case. 

6. Putting Pressure and Getting Pleasure to See Others Suffer

Leo is the elder brother of Chloe and Zoe. Chloe and Zoe left the corporate world to start a blog of their own. Leo was into the digital marketing business for the past 8 years.

So, both the sisters thought of seeking help from their brother. But Chloe and Zoe were facing a dilemma. Leo was of the view that both the sisters should start a fashion blog based on statistics and research.

However, Chloe and Zoe had experience of 6 years in the field of financial investment. Both the sisters told Leo that they should start a financial investment blog instead of a fashion blog.

They said so because they had a good background as well as experience in the industry. However, Leo compelled both the sisters to start working on a fashion blog. He told them, “Both of you do not have an understanding of how digital marketing works. I have experience of 8 years of in this industry. Hence, I know better which segment will work on the web. You just need to do what I say. Otherwise, this project is in danger. 

Unconscious Gaslighting Examples

As we have understood, the Gaslighter has a conscious intent to harm the person who is gaslit. We typically associate such gaslighting with individuals who are histrionics, narcissists, BPD, or antisocial.

However, there is another type of Gaslighting in which the Gaslighter does not have the intent to cause pain to the person being gaslit.

That is, such an attempt is unconscious or unintentional. Unconscious gaslighting is different from conscious gaslighting. In this, the gaslighter unintentionally harms the person who is gaslit.

Thus, the underlying motives power Unconscious Gaslighting. You must understand that the gaslighter is not aware of the damage or the harm he or she is causing to other individuals.

In fact, the gaslighters are themselves not aware if they are indulging in gaslighting. Still, they are harming others through the underlying motive.

The underlying motive can be a bigger agenda, intentional deception, bias, intent to gain power, etc. Now, the typical arenas where unconscious gaslighting is used include cult groups, extremists, governments, media, organizations, etc.

Although it may not happen aggressively. But it certainly prevails, though only to a certain degree, in the areas mentioned above. 

You will find people in power concealing important information, tweaking the facts, or deliberately excluding or presenting false information.

Typically, this is done via denying the facts, events, or statements that one did or did not say. Likewise, gaslighters may also either directly or impliedly say that a particular individual is crazy.

Gaslighters challenge the sense of the reality of victims and make them believe that their memory and perception are not real.

Victims start doubting their feelings, emotions, and sanity. As a result, they become dependent on the gaslighter for the correct version of reality.

Further, the gaslighting victims are emotionally challenged to the extent that they are unable to recognize the gaslighter’s manipulative behavior.

Therefore, we deceive people, are in denial of something, seek control over others, and are biased in some way or the other.

So, there are various reasons why unconscious gaslighting is stimulated? Some of them include the happening of certain events, the coming of certain people, or when certain topics are brought into question. 

Let’s have a look at the Unconscious Gaslighting examples to understand how unconscious gaslighting gets triggered. 

1. Challenging Intellectuals

This is a classic attribute of unconscious gaslighting. People in power have nothing against intellectual people as such. But, they gaslight intellectuals because the gaslighters in power hate educated people.

This is because educated people are the ones who can challenge the gaslighter’s behavior. Intellectuals can do this as they can back their arguments with facts.

Now, this is what gaslighters hate, that is, getting challenged by facts. 


Martin Luther was the German Professor of theology, composer, monk, priest, and an important figure in the Protestant Reformation. 

Luther argued and strongly condemned one of the church’s claims that if one needs to free himself from punishment from God, he can do so by purchasing the same via money. Thus, purchasing freedom from God’s punishment through money was called an indulgence.

Thus, Luther condemned the practice of Indulgences in his 95 Thesis written in 1517. As a result, the church came face to face with Luther and asked him to abandon his writings. But, Luther refused to do so.

Thus, the Pope excommunicated Luther and the emperor declared him an outlaw. Luther was not believed in his facts. Thus, the Church made every possible attempt to suppress the truth.

In other words, the religious authority wanted to defend its state of denial. And this triggered unconscious gaslighting against Luther from the population at large.

2. Allegiance To Money and Not the Countrymen

Gaslighters in politics have a primary allegiance, that is, to money. And to have boatloads of money, the politicians can go to any extent.

They never vote for Bills or People that their constituency needs. However, it is the people and the institutions who fund them that drive them away.

Although, all politicians might do this to a certain degree. However, gaslighters go way beyond. They may take bribes outrightly, have no understanding of their people’s needs.


US Gun Laws are an ideal example showcasing that money can do anything. As per a 2017 report by the Centre for Responsive Politics, the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave more than US$ 1 million to politicians in 2016.

Likewise, the NRA has provided US$ 4.23 Million to the members of the US Congress since 1998.

As per a report by National Public Radio published in 2018, you will see how Congress is voting on loosening Gun Law restrictions.

3. Gaslighting For Higher Agenda

This is where unconscious gaslighting is most commonly used. Dictators, extremists, and politicians in power gaslight masses for bigger agendas.

They turn masses against a particular group such as race or culture and hence play mind games. They incite fear in people so that they align with these gaslighters. 

Further, gaslighting politicians blame other people and turn a large group of people against them. The motive behind all of this is not to hurt the individuals directly via manipulation. Rather, the motive is to achieve political and economic power over them.


Germany under Adolf Hitler worked as per this ideology. He instilled fear inside the minds of people so as to manipulate them against the Jews. 

Hitler would drive the crowds crazy with his yelling and his hate towards Jews. Further, he undertook the holocaust thereby reducing millions of people into gas chambers. He did this to gain control over Germany and the rest of the world.

4. Making People Dependent

Gaslighters make people dependent on themselves. Further, the victims will never question the gaslighters for their manipulative behaviors. This is because they know that the gaslighters would isolate them.

Thus, gaslighters partner with a weak ally initially to make you dependent on them. In other words, gaslighters take advantage of the weak allies initially and eventually become powerful. 

Once the gaslighters become powerful, the weak allies then become dependent on them. They even reduce the weak allies to death as they do not need them anymore.


Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna was wife of Czar Nicholas II. She believed that Grigory Rasputin was the one who helped her son recover from Hemophilia. 

Alexandra became dependent on Rasputin and eventually, Rasputin gained control over her. This led to polarization between the family as well as Russia’s citizens and governments.

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Advanced Psychology