Through the most subtle ways, they can make you second-guess everything you do and feel, forcing you to believe you're always wrong.
Being in the presence of a narcissist and not realizing it, can be one of the most dangerous things to go through. They suffocate you emotionally to the point that you lose all control over your feelings, your memories, and your opinions. And one day, you might wake up and actually think that you're going crazy. You lose all control over your life and start believing in the manipulative words of the narcissist, all because they gaslight you into doing so. Here's how they do it.
Under a mask of assertiveness and an "always right" attitude, a narcissist has a way of making you believe every word they say. They can even fake compassion, which makes things even more dangerous. When you see that they are so sure of what they say, and they say it with so much conviction and fake compassion, you start believing that their version of the situation is right and stop thinking for yourself.
When you confront them, you see them give excuses. When you catch them red-handed, you see them change the topic. They will never take the fall for anything in the relationship. When you give them facts, they might say things like "you're imagining things", "there's no way I said that", "your friends are lying to you", or "your ideas are getting crazier; what really happened is..."
A narcissist understands all your emotional triggers because they put them there. They discredit you, call you "irrational", "needy", "unstable", and even "crazy". And hearing these words over and over again can actually make you think that you are those things. The more time you spend with them, the more they senselessly sabotage you and damage your self-esteem.
Narcissists force their power onto you by making you feel like your opinions are worthless. They trivialize and reduce your feelings, making you think that it's wrong for you to feel what you feel. That's why you often hear them saying things like, "you're so sensitive. I was just joking", or "you don't have a sense of humor", or "you're just being jealous and possessive."
It may seem very subtle or extremely blatant, but somehow a narcissist will make you feel like you're the reason for everything wrong in the relationship. They can twist the truth and manipulate the words you said in the past, and before you know it, you find yourself apologizing for something you never even did. Over time, you start second-guessing every move you make and by now, you've lost your peace of mind.
Even when your feelings are being hurt, they will continue to deny that they ever did anything wrong. For so long, they manage to convince you of their lives that you no longer trust your own instincts. You don't make decisions for yourself because you've lost your confidence. And the narcissist will play on this and force you into doing things you would have never done before.
If you feel like you're losing it or you're doubting everything that you once believed, try to pay attention to the tactics that the narcissist might use. They might seem subtle and harmless, but with time, those can be the very things that gaslight you and distort your sense of reality. Talk to your loved ones about what you're going through and they can give you that much-needed outsider's perspective and let you know when something is not normal.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.