Signs You Could Be Gaslighting Yourself

"Gaslighting" has been a term increasingly thrown around on the internet lately. According to Britannica, it has its origins in the British play "Gas Light," in which a manipulative character displays all the tell-tale signs of the tactic. Designed to diminish self-confidence and make someone question their own judgment, gaslighting is a common weapon deployed by narcissistic abusers.


Unfortunately, gaslighting has moved off the British stage — straight into pop culture and real-life relationships. As Vanity Fair recaps, Katie Thurston accused one of her suitors on "The Bachelorette" of gaslighting her ... rocketing the term back into the spotlight and sparking many conversations about abuse.

Perhaps you've learned how to spot gaslighting in potential partners (and have resolved to stay off of reality television dating shows). Still, gaslighting's harmful effects can be shockingly pervasive, weaseling its destructive vocabulary into your own mind. Do you know the signs that you could be gaslighting yourself?

You question your own memory and judgment

According to Psychology Today, those who have consistently faced gaslighting and self-doubt can internalize those emotions and coping mechanisms. If, historically, those around you have invalidated your feelings and pushed back and questioned your recollections, you may start to partake in those activities yourself.


It's only natural that, as an act of self-preservation, you could start to tear yourself down before others can do it for you. As Healthline reports, this dismissive attitude toward yourself can manifest in many different ways. You may feel as though you're misremembering or over-exaggerating a hurtful event. You could convince yourself that you're not qualified to make important decisions for yourself.

For as much as gaslighting will tell you that "it's all in your head," it certainly doesn't allow you to trust what you're thinking. Unfortunately, it's often much harder to tune out your own thoughts than it is to remove toxic external thoughts and dynamics from your life.

You accept blame but not success

Self-gaslighters love to hold themselves accountable ... but will never take credit for the things going right in their life. If you're struggling with self-gaslighting, you may find yourself always being the first to apologize and making excuses for others' hurtful actions. 


A therapist speaking to HuffPost shared that self-doubt can create an increased focus on who is "at fault." For self-gaslighters, the answer is too often: "me." Situations can easily be flipped on oneself, as a self-gaslighter thinks, "I could have done more to fix this. I must have done something to deserve this." Needless to say, this can result in you taking on a lot of emotional labor. 

At the same time, and somewhat paradoxically, those struggling with self-gaslighting have a hard time accepting responsibility for good things. Your accomplishments will easily be attributed to luck or the actions of others around you, without stopping to think about your own hard work that went into your accomplishments.


You don't trust your gut or feelings

If you're experiencing self-gaslighting, you may find yourself talking yourself down from feelings like anger or sadness. While it's good to not act impulsively on anger, these feelings also deserve to be felt. If you convince yourself that you're not justified in your emotions, they get suppressed. Psychology Today notes that a self-gaslighter will often replace normal emotions with "anxiety, depression, confusion, and shame."


When you do recognize your feelings, you may have the instinct to take actions that would make the situation worse. If you find yourself getting excited about a relationship, Forbes shares that a self-gaslighter might self-sabotage, putting an end to the development before things could potentially get serious and cause more hurt. Dismissing your feelings could also appear as convincing yourself that you're not sick enough to see a doctor or not actually facing enough stress to ask for help.

In these examples, self-gaslighting can be a way to diminish yourself and protect yourself in an unhealthy way.

You delight in others but not yourself

While typically, gaslighting behavior is a sign of an abuser, falling into the trap of gaslighting yourself doesn't mean that you're a bad person. Indeed, you might find yourself being incredibly happy for your friends and their successes while you struggle to celebrate yourself. In speaking to the HuffPost, a lifestyle content creator shared, "I often feel like a greedy imposter wanting things I'm unworthy of."


In this way, self-gaslighting can look very similar to imposter syndrome — defined by Psychology Today as a belief that you are undeserving of any high esteem people hold them in and see your own achievements as not being as grand as they actually are.

If you've historically been torn down or disrespected by others, it's understandable that you may fall into a pattern of gaslighting. Rebuilding your confidence through affirmations, self-care, and therapy is a worthwhile journey to get you back on track.