Gaslighting examples are the best way to show you one of the most covert and preferred ways a narcissistic mother abuses her child after she makes a mistake. It’s invisible and almost impossible for anyone on the outside looking in to detect.
I have to admit, as a child, I was a total space case. I was always confused about how to respond to people, and more than half the time, I was in a fog.
I would respond to people the way my mother responded to me. I didn’t know any better, she was my role model, and it wasn’t until I was much older. I realized she was a perfect example of how not to be.
If you have a narcissistic mother, the best advice I can give is to do the opposite of what they would do, and you’ll always be right. Works like a charm.
What is gaslighting?
Gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of psychological abuse.
The narcissistic parent uses this form of manipulation to purposely confuse the child and make them doubt their own memory, perception, and judgment. It causes cognitive dissonance and low self-esteem in children raised by narcissists because we were taught not to trust ourselves.
We were told the little voice inside of us was wrong, shouldn’t be listened to, and couldn’t be trusted. That’s a pretty messed up thing to do to your own child and then have no remorse.
Gaslighting examples of a narcissistic mother.
It’s incredible how all narcissists are very much the same, and these examples are eerily similar across the board. Some are much more sinister than others, but it’s the same technique, and somehow narcissists use gaslighting instinctively to get the supply they need to make themselves feel powerful.
The narcissist does this intentionally to make you question yourself because they don’t care about what’s right. They only care about being right no matter what the cost is to you or your mental well being.
Different forms of gaslighting examples:
- Denying it ever happened- You must be imagining things to stir up drama and get attention.
- Misdirection- That’s not what really happened; let me help you understand what I want you to believe happened.
- Contradiction- No, you did it, I didn’t have anything to do with it; stop blaming me for your mistakes.
- Altering reality after the fact- Everything was fine until you got upset with me for no reason, and now you’re mad because you know you’re wrong.
Gaslighting is carried out in a very covert way by someone you thought you could trust. You should be able to trust your parents, and it isn’t until years later when you realize they’ve been gaslighting you your whole life.
Examples of gaslighting behaviors from a narcissist.
First, she convinces you what you’re thinking isn’t right. Then she convinces you how you think is wrong.
The only time I remember my narcissistic mother agreeing with me or aligning with me in any way was when my needs or wants could be used to further her agenda.
I liked the feeling of pleasing my mother, and I tried so hard to say and do whatever I could to make her happy.
She would always move the goalpost or change the rules, so I would always end up in the wrong somehow. She’s playing games with my head, and I had no idea what was going on.
What happens when you’re gaslighted by someone you trust?
You think they’re doing it out of love for you. You believe their intentions are pure, so you try to do everything you can to be better and to not be such a burden with your weird, strange, and wrong ways of thinking.
You don’t understand what’s wrong with you or why you’re like this, and then it’s easy for them to brand you as mentally ill or challenged in some way. My narcissistic mother used to tell me I was a “bit touched.”
When she was diagnosed with depression, eventually, so was I. I was fourteen years old when I was put on medication I didn’t need for a mental illness I didn’t have. All the while, my mother is reeling from being diagnosed with a mental illness.
This went on for years.
Usually, a person with a mental illness will step up and start dealing with it. A narcissist doesn’t have the ability to grow, and she couldn’t accept she was the problem. The next thing I knew, she was trying to get everyone in the family on anti-depressants.
Somehow she convinced the doctor I was depressed too.
I remember the appointment, but I don’t remember saying anything to defend myself. As usual, the doctor cowered under the intense pressure of my narcissistic mother. I resent the hell out of him for that. He broke his oath to do no harm and allowed a mentally ill woman to diagnose her own child.
I had no chance of being heard, and it wasn’t long after that I found out certain kinds of anti-depressants automatically disqualify you from getting into the military. She didn’t care about how the misdiagnosis would affect my future.
She was upset because the doctor’s told her she was the problem, and it was a major blow to her ego. There absolutely had to be someone else to blame, and she picked me.
A narcissist can’t take responsibility or admit fault.
The only goal of a narcissist is to always be right. To do this, they need someone else to take the blame and take the focus off of them when they do something wrong.
Psychological gaslighting makes the victim or target think they’re going insane; you question your memory and perception of reality.
When the narcissist gets caught, they have to turn the tables quickly, and it goes something like this:
- You’re acting crazy again; that’s not what happened.
- Don’t be so sensitive, I was only joking.
- Now you’re just being paranoid.
- Are you sure you’re okay? You’re starting to worry me.
Having a conversation with a narcissistic mother is like going in circles.
Round and round we go. There’s no end, no closure, and they will never admit to any wrongdoing.
We call this “word salad.”
Instead of giving a simple apology and ending things so we can move on, the narcissist will go all day long until you eventually apologize for their behavior. These circular conversations of word salad are the cause of cognitive dissonance.
What is cognitive dissonance?
Cognitive dissonance is when you have conflicting beliefs, thoughts, or attitudes.
For example, you’re in an unhealthy working environment, but you minimize it and don’t make a change even though every morning you dread going to work. This job is wearing you down emotionally, physically, and mentally but you stay and continue to hope things will get better instead of putting yourself first.
When you’re young, you try different jobs to find something you can do for the next forty years. Anytime I decided to move on, I was crucified for making a change to improve my life and putting my own happiness first.
Even as an adult, you don’t get emotional support from a narcissistic parent; you get confusion and doubt at every turn.
How a narcissistic parent causes cognitive dissonance in a child.
- Withholding vital information.
- Countering information by saying the opposite of everything you say and think.
- Not allowing you to make an informed decision on your own.
- When you make a good decision, they twist it around, so you feel wrong even when you’re not.
- Every time you make the right decision, it’s questioned, dissected, and lowered to make you feel like it wasn’t worth discussing and to make you feel stupid for bringing it up.
- Dismissing the event as if it never happened, they conveniently don’t recall or don’t remember it that way.
- Saying something verbally abusive, insisting it was a joke, and then ridicule you more for being too sensitive.
- After they hurt you, they make it smaller and act like you should be able to just brush it off and stop making such a big deal out of nothing.
- Isolating you from friends and family that would contradict their behavior, blocking you from any source of comfort or voice of reason.
- Belittling and continuously trying to change something about you and figure out what’s wrong with you.
You’re raised to believe this kind of interaction with your parent is normal. You don’t realize healthy parents don’t act this way towards their children.
You begin to understand your childhood was worse than you thought.
The emotional and psychological abuse of a narcissistic parent is undeniable.
It’s like starting over from scratch as an adult because nothing was true or real or made any damn sense.
This means you get a clean slate.
Nothing that happened can be held against you, and the only responsibility you have is to start over, reparent yourself, and give yourself the love, guidance, and care your narcissistic parent never could.
You can’t be held responsible for what was done to you. You are absolved of all guilt, blame, and shame inflicted on you by the abusive parent.
Their opinion doesn’t matter, and their words don’t count.
How to recover from the psychological abuse of gaslighting.
The first step is educating yourself and understanding the different forms of narcissistic abuse. One of the best ways to do this is to observe the narcissist in your life for three to six months.
Take a good look from a different angle.
Once you understand how gaslighting works, you won’t be susceptible to it. When you get trapped in a conversation with them, don’t believe anything that comes out of their mouth unless you’ve triple-checked it with a reliable source.
A narcissistic parent is not a reliable source. If you go to them for emotional support, you won’t get it. You’ll get more lies and manipulation because they enjoy confusing you and making you question yourself.
They want you to rely on them for everything, and they feel threatened by your independence. They don’t want you to think for yourself because when that happens, they lose control, and they know it.
For a very informative in-depth explanation about gaslighting watch this video with Teal Swan. She explains how this happens to children in narcissistic families and the psychological damage it can cause.
Going no contact with the narcissist in your life is a personal choice. There are some alternatives to no contact and a few things you can do so the abuse doesn’t cause any further damage.
Once you understand how a narcissist operates, things become much clearer, and the cognitive dissonance fades and loses power. Since going no contact with my narcissistic mother, my mind has never been more clear, level, and calm.
My nerves were shot, my mind was a confused ball of madness, and the further away I get from her, the better I am.
It goes against everything you know to turn your back on your own mother, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made for myself. There is happiness, peace, and most of all, joy on the other side of narcissistic abuse.
It’s tough trying to recover from this and straighten it out on your own. That’s the hard way. If you’d like to know more about the RTT sessions to help you recover from narcissistic abuse, you can read more here or visit my homepage.
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Post like this and narcissistic support groups are no substitute for therapy.