Gaslighting at Work: 9 Phrases Gaslighters Love to Use

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Work + Life Balance

Gaslighting is when someone uses psychological manipulation in order to bring someone else's sanity into question. It's bad—and it should not happen at work. Here's how to identify a gaslighter.

By Kathleen McAuliffe November 13, 2023

apologizing

on Bustle

Table of Contents

What Is Gaslighting?

Signs You're Being Gaslighted

9 Common Gaslighter Phrases (+ How to Respond)

How to Face Gaslighting at Work (+ Win!)

What Is Gaslighting?

makes a victim question their reality

Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People—and Break Free

a really toxic co-worker

bad behavior

Signs You're Dealing With Gaslighter Behavior

Psychology Today shares some common gaslighting red flags

1. Gaslighters Tell Obvious Lies

2. Gaslighters Deny Making a Promise, Even When You Have Proof

3. Gaslighters Make Sexist and Racist Comments and Then Deny It

4. If You Challenge Gaslighters, They Lash Out at You

4. Gaslighters Throw in Just Enough Positive Reinforcement to Confuse You

9 Common Gaslighter Phrases + How to Respond

workplace gaslighting situation

Gaslighter Phrase 1: “You’re acting insane” or “What are you talking about?”

keeping their victims off balance

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

Gaslighter Phrase 2: “I didn’t say that.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

Gaslighter Phrase 3: “Don’t be so sensitive.”

dealing with mansplaining

beneficial to have “sensitive” people in the workplace

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

messed up on a work assignment

Gaslighter Phrase 4: “You’re remembering wrong” or “It didn’t happen that way.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

Gaslighter Phrase 5: “Everyone thinks you’re crazy.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

positive rapport with your colleagues

Gaslighter Phrase 6: “You seem unstable.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

emotionally unsteady and quick to anger

staying calm is your mantra

Gaslighter Phrase 7: “Don’t take it so personally.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

Gaslighter Phrase 8: “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

sincere apology

Gaslighter Phrase 9: “I was just joking around.”

How to Respond to the Gaslighter

How to Face Gaslighting at Work—And Win

1. Educate Yourself on Gaslighting

regain control of their own lives

2. Get Some Outside Advice

Read up on the signs of gaslighting

3. Reconnect With Your Intuition

Try journaling or meditating

4. Don't Confront Them Directly

accuse you of gaslighting them

5. Write It Down

6. Consciously Affirm Yourself

personal affirmation

7. Prepare for a Struggle—And Leave if You Have To

Amanda Holstein

Tags:

office life

coworkers

office culture

gaslighting

conflict

Kathleen McAuliffe From blogging my entire study abroad experience to working in social media, I’ve always been driven by storytelling. That passion led me to Northwestern University, where I earned a master's in journalism. When I’m not writing, I’m usually running, doing yoga or planning the tropical vacations I can’t afford.

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Back to Articles. Work + Life Balance. Gaslighting is when someone uses psychological manipulation in order to bring someone else's sanity into question. It's bad—and it should not happen at work. Here's how to identify a gaslighter. By Kathleen McAuliffe November 13, 2023. apologizing. on Bustle. Table of Contents. What Is Gaslighting? Signs You're Being Gaslighted. 9 Common Gaslighter Phrases (+ How to Respond) How to Face Gaslighting at Work (+ Win!) What Is Gaslighting? makes a victim question their reality. Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People—and Break Free. a really toxic co-worker. bad behavior. Signs You're Dealing With Gaslighter Behavior. Psychology Today shares some common gaslighting red flags. 1. Gaslighters Tell Obvious Lies. 2. Gaslighters Deny Making a Promise, Even When You Have Proof. 3. Gaslighters Make Sexist and Racist Comments and Then Deny It. 4. If You Challenge Gaslighters, They Lash Out at You. 4. Gaslighters Throw in Just Enough Positive Reinforcement to Confuse You. 9 Common Gaslighter Phrases + How to Respond. workplace gaslighting situation. Gaslighter Phrase 1: “You’re acting insane” or “What are you talking about?” keeping their victims off balance. How to Respond to the Gaslighter. Gaslighter Phrase 2: “I didn’t say that.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. Gaslighter Phrase 3: “Don’t be so sensitive.” dealing with mansplaining. beneficial to have “sensitive” people in the workplace. How to Respond to the Gaslighter. messed up on a work assignment. Gaslighter Phrase 4: “You’re remembering wrong” or “It didn’t happen that way.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. Gaslighter Phrase 5: “Everyone thinks you’re crazy.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. positive rapport with your colleagues. Gaslighter Phrase 6: “You seem unstable.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. emotionally unsteady and quick to anger. staying calm is your mantra. Gaslighter Phrase 7: “Don’t take it so personally.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. Gaslighter Phrase 8: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. sincere apology. Gaslighter Phrase 9: “I was just joking around.” How to Respond to the Gaslighter. How to Face Gaslighting at Work—And Win. 1. Educate Yourself on Gaslighting. regain control of their own lives. 2. Get Some Outside Advice. Read up on the signs of gaslighting. 3. Reconnect With Your Intuition. Try journaling or meditating. 4. Don't Confront Them Directly. accuse you of gaslighting them. 5. Write It Down. 6. Consciously Affirm Yourself. personal affirmation. 7. Prepare for a Struggle—And Leave if You Have To. Amanda Holstein. Tags: office life. coworkers. office culture. gaslighting. conflict. Kathleen McAuliffe From blogging my entire study abroad experience to working in social media, I’ve always been driven by storytelling. That passion led me to Northwestern University, where I earned a master's in journalism. When I’m not writing, I’m usually running, doing yoga or planning the tropical vacations I can’t afford. You May Also Like. Work + Life Balance. Why You Should Start a Women’s Club at Your Company (+ How to Do It) Is there an inclusive women's club or organization at your company? If not, maybe you're the one who should start a women's committee at work. Here's how to do it. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. 6 Email Mistakes You're Probably Making. Think you're the Gmail queen? Make sure you're not getting too casual with your email correspondence. Here's how to professionally communicate via email while still being you. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. 20 Questions to Ask Your New Boss (That Will Help You to Succeed) When a person takes on a new boss, that person should look for clues about the boss’ management style and what the boss expects. Go here to read more. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. How to Ask for Time Off From Work (Plus Examples + Templates) Learn the right way to request time off from work so you feel confident, prepared, and armed with the sample email requests you need! Read More >. Work + Life Balance. How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work—Our 7-Step Process. Difficult conversations are just that—really difficult. Here's how to navigate difficult conversations at work—whether it's confronting a problematic coworker or finally asking for that raise. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. Why Single-Tasking Might Be the Key to Success. We've all heard about the virtues of multitasking, but perhaps single-tasking is the real key to productivity. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. TED Talks to Make You Think Differently. These TED Talks will make you smarter and make you think differently. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. 25 Things to Do When You Can't Sleep. Can't sleep and you have work in a matter of hours? Here's what to do when you can't sleep to reduce stress, calm anxiety, and hopefully sleep. Read More >. Work + Life Balance. 5 TED Talks on How to Better Manage Your Time at Work. Time management is a hot topic because it's a hard topic. Here are our favorite TED Talks on managing your time with ease. Read More >. Related Advice. Work + Life Balance. Work Culture. Diversity, Belonging + Inclusion. Working From Home. Workplace Toxicity. Working Parents. Routines + Productivity. Have you signed up for our newsletter? I'M SO IN. By clicking "submit," you agree to receive emails from Career Contessa and accept our web terms of use and privacy policy . Get the Best Career Advice Delivered To Your Inbox. Join our newsletter to stay in the loop. I'm So In. By clicking "submit," you agree to receive emails from Career Contessa and accept our web terms of use and privacy policy .