If someone uses these 11 “nice” phrases, they’re subtly trying to gaslight you

Someone who’s trying to gaslight you has a desire to control or manipulate you. They’ll do whatever it takes to make that possible and even act all nice and friendly while they’re doing it. 

It doesn’t help (you) that they’re real smooth talkers and have a way of packaging their words, so you don’t know what’s behind them until it’s too late.

So, in this article, let me show you some of their “nice” phrases that, although they may sound harmless, are actually meant to gaslight and manipulate you. 

1) “I know you better than you know yourself”

Frankly, I’ve heard this phrase many, many times to the point that it just goes in one ear and out the other. 

The person saying this thinks they know you inside out and knows what makes you tick. Now, while that may even be true in some cases, they’re mostly full of air.  

They’re not mind readers, and they don’t know what’s going on in your head better than you do. 

In fact, they’re trying to make you doubt your own thoughts and feelings. They’re waiting for you to fail so they can say, “I told you so.”

2) “I’m just being honest”

When someone says, “I’m just being honest,” after saying something hurtful, they’re essentially telling you your feelings aren’t important

They imply that your reaction is unjustified because they were simply speaking the truth.

Therefore, gaslighters use this phrase to undermine your self-confidence. By framing their criticism or judgment as honesty, they’re trying to erode your self-esteem over time.

And the worst part of it? By repeatedly using “I’m just being honest” to justify hurtful comments, gaslighters normalize their behavior. 

They make you believe that criticism and judgment are synonymous with honesty, conditioning you to accept mistreatment as normal.

3) “You’re too sensitive for your own good”

This is one way of saying you’re way too emotional, like crying over spilled milk. They’re basically telling you to toughen up and not take things so seriously.

They always say it after they say something hurtful or dismissive, and when you react, they hit you with “you’re too sensitive,” making it seem like your emotional response is out of proportion.

And so you start questioning your ability to handle situations or relationships, which has a negative impact on your overall self-esteem.

It’s their trump card or their ace in the sleeve that they can pull out whenever you rightfully get rilled up over their mean comments. 

And here’s a similar one:

4) “You’re always playing the victim”

When someone wants to discredit you, shift the blame, or dismiss your concerns or feelings, they’ll tell you you’re playing the victim again. 

With this phrase, they’re accusing you of making a big fuss about stuff and acting like everything’s against you, even when it’s not. They’re brushing off your concerns like they don’t matter.

For example, at work, you complain to your boss, “I’m feeling really overwhelmed with my workload lately.”

But they tell you this: “Stop playing the victim. Everyone has to deal with stress at work. You need to toughen up.”

That sucks, doesn’t it? Not only are they a lousy boss, but they also gaslight you. 

5) “Why are you so defensive?”

With this one, they’re calling you out for getting defensive when you’re just standing up for yourself or disagreeing with them. They’re trying to make you feel guilty for having your own opinion.

By labeling you as defensive, they’re dismissing your side of the story or your point of view. 

It can also be a way for them to deflect responsibility by focusing on your reaction instead of addressing the issue. 

They’re trying to shift the focus away from their behavior or words that have caused your defensive response.

6) “You’re imagining things again”

They’re basically saying you’re making stuff up or seeing things that aren’t there. It’s an excellent way to mess with your head and make you doubt what you know is real.

Over time, hearing this phrase repeatedly can make you doubt your own perceptions and experiences.

Ultimately, it’s a form of gaslighting that undermines your perceptions and experiences. You need to recognize these dynamics and trust your own feelings and observations, even if someone else tries to make you doubt them.

Trust yourself, your gut, and your own eyes. 

7) “You’re just being dramatic”

phrases theyre being rude without realizing it If someone uses these 11 “nice” phrases, they're subtly trying to gaslight you

Ah, my “favorite” phrase. Gaslighters and manipulators alike are using it to label you as being too theatrical or making a big scene out of nothing. 

But again, it’s just a way to downplay your feelings, make you feel ashamed, dismiss your perspective, or shift the blame onto you. 

It’s also great for deflecting from what they said right before it and again focusing on you and your answer and not on their harmful comment that came before it.

8) “You’re not making any sense”

Gaslighters simply love undermining what you’re saying to make you feel dumb, which is really dismissive and frustrating. 

They’re always muddying the water, so you have to keep fishing for real facts, thoughts, and actions. 

Ultimately, they’re looking to make you dependable on them by manipulating reality. They want to make it so that their version of the truth is the only one that’s “real.”

But in many cases, they’re just so insecure or threatened by your independence, confidence, or success that they must assert their dominance and maintain a sense of superiority.

9) “You’re just trying to pick a fight”

One way of getting out of trouble is to accuse you of starting trouble when, in reality, you’re just trying to express yourself or stand up for what you believe in. 

Alas, they’re trying to make you feel like you’re the bad guy.

For example, you tell your partner, “I feel like we haven’t been spending enough quality time together lately.”

And they respond: “You’re just trying to pick a fight. I’ve been busy with work, and now you’re making it seem like I’m neglecting you.”

Or, “I feel like we need to address household chores because I’ve been doing most of the work lately.”

Response: “You’re just trying to pick a fight. I do my fair share around the house, and now you’re making it seem like I don’t contribute.”

10) “I’m just trying to help you see the truth”

Gaslighters love acting all high and mighty like they’ve got all the answers, and you’re clueless. 

They’re suggesting they have noble intentions and want what’s best for you. But, of course, reality is something else:

They’re not just undermining you and your authority but inverting your reality and what you know is true. 

And here’s another banger. 

11) “Can’t you take a joke?”

When someone says, “Can’t you take a joke?” they’re basically trying to brush off any hurtful or offensive behavior as if it’s all in good fun, making you feel like you’re the one being too serious. 

You know, like it’s all fun and games, and now you’re spoiling the fun with your pesky comments and calling-outs. 

Let them know what kinds of jokes aren’t acceptable to you. You can say something like, “I don’t find jokes about [topic] funny.”

And if the situation becomes too uncomfortable or if they continue to dismiss your feelings, it’s okay to remove yourself from the conversation or situation.

Final thoughts

Gaslighting is a serious form of manipulation that can deeply affect your sense of self-worth, confidence, and reality.

Your feelings, perceptions, and experiences are accurate and important. Don’t let anyone undermine your sense of reality or make you doubt yourself.

Talk to a trusted friend, family member, therapist, or counselor about your experiences. 

Having a support system helps affirm your feelings and provide advice on how to address the situation.

In the end, if the gaslighting behavior persists and the relationship becomes toxic or harmful to your well-being, it may be necessary to distance yourself or end the relationship altogether.

Adrian Volenik

Adrian Volenik

Adrian has years of experience in the field of personal development and building wealth. Both physical and spiritual. He has a deep understanding of the human mind and a passion for helping people enhance their lives. Adrian loves to share practical tips and insights that can help readers achieve their personal and professional goals. He has lived in several European countries and has now settled in Portugal with his family. When he’s not writing, he enjoys going to the beach, hiking, drinking sangria, and spending time with his wife and son.

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