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
A common tactic of gaslighters/narcissists is to falsely claim that they have others that verify their criticisms of you. Several clients have reported to me that their gaslighting/narcissistic partners would make comments like the following:
- "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 go for this strategy? First, to them, the worst thing that could happen is that people don't think that they are wonderful. The worst thing to a gaslighter is having their public image tarnished. So they project those feelings on to you. A prime example is when gaslighters accuse someone of being selfish. Gaslighters will accuse someone of a behavior or action that is actually a description of themselves.
The second purpose of claiming others back them up on 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 that 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 as you read here, no amount of attention is enough to 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 www.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. You can read about co-parenting with a gaslighter in Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive Behavior and Break Free, and also learn more in Mindful Coparenting: A Child-Friendly Path Through Divorce.
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