Gaslighters Tell You Other People Think You're Crazy, Too

A common tactic of gaslighters is to claim others back them up.

Posted Jun 30, 2019

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Gaslighters will tell you that others back up their criticisms of you.
Source: Rawpixel/Pexels

A common tactic of gaslighters/narcissists is to falsely claim that they have others who can verify their criticisms of you. Several clients have reported to me that their gaslighting/narcissistic partners would make comments like:

  • "Everyone knows you're crazy."  
  • "My entire family thinks you're crazy." 
  • "Everyone is disappointed in you." 
  • "Your family knows what you're like. Who are they going to believe, you or me?" 
  • "Your sister doesn't even believe you. She's told me how crazy you are." 

Note the gaslighter's use of absolutes like "everyone," "all," "none," "always," and "never." Very rarely do absolutes apply to a given situation. It's just another way for a gaslighter to try to stack the deck against you.  

Why Do Gaslighters Claim Others Back Them Up? 

Why do gaslighters adopt this strategy? First, to them, the worst thing that could happen is that people don't think that they are wonderful. The worst thing for a gaslighter is having their public image tarnished. So they project those feelings onto you. A prime example is when gaslighters accuse someone of being selfish.

The second purpose of claiming others back up their criticism is that it gives the gaslighter power. They are telling you (falsely) that they have an army of critics behind them. They may also use the names of people who have an influence in your life, like your employer or clergy. Keep in mind that what the gaslighter is telling you is most likely a lie. Logically, "everyone" cannot believe just one thing. And what did the gaslighter do—go door-to-door with a poll? The gaslighter wants to instill fear in you by telling you everyone backs them up. That's it. 

The third purpose is to isolate you from others. If the gaslighter tells you that people you care about, or "everyone" is thinking badly of you, it makes you less likely to reach out to those people for help. And that is exactly what the gaslighter wants. If you focus solely on them, you are more prone to accepting their version of reality. You are also more likely to focus your attention solely on them (but no amount of attention will fill their narcissistic needs).

What to Do About It 

The best thing you can do is to get out of this type of relationship. That is easier said than done.  Gaslighters can manipulate you to the point where you feel you can't survive on your own.  Remember, most of what they told you is a lie. You are a smart, competent, courageous person. You may be concerned about your safety. If so, contact a local domestic violence shelter, or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at thehotline.org or 1-800-799-7233.

If you have children with a gaslighter, you may not be able to separate yourself from them completely. Consider reading about co-parenting with a gaslighter/narcissist, and learn more in Mindful Coparenting: A Child-Friendly Path Through Divorce.  

Copyright 2019 Sarkis Media. stephaniesarkis.com