16 Boss Gaslighting Signs To Look Out For

Written By Aleena

Boss gaslighting signs are not always easy to spot. Gaslighting is a very subtle manipulation that can be hard to detect.

But, gaslighting is a genuine phenomenon, and it can have a devastating impact on your life if you’re not aware of the signs.

16 Signs Your Boss Gaslights You

If you suspect that your boss is gaslighting you, here are some signs to look out for:

1. They Make You Doubt Yourself:

One of the most common signs of gaslighting is when someone makes you doubt yourself.

Your boss regularly tells you that you’re wrong, even when you know you’re right.

Second-guess yourself - Boss Gaslighting Signs

“You’re overreacting,” or “You’re being too sensitive.” 

They might also tell you that you’re forgetful or that you’ve misunderstood something. “I never said that,” or “You’re misremembering what happened.” 

Or, they may tell you that you’re overreacting to a situation when you’re not. Like, “Calm down, it’s not a big deal.” 

These comments can make you doubt your memory and perception. And this constant doubting can make you feel like you’re losing your grip on reality.

No matter how confident you are, gaslighting can make you second-guess yourself.

2. They Make You Feel Like You’re Going Crazy:

Another common sign of gaslighting is when someone makes you feel like you’re going crazy.

Your boss might say something and then deny ever saying it. They might do something and then pretend it never happened.

“I never said that,” or “I didn’t do that.” This can make you feel like you’re losing your mind. You know what they said or did, but they deny it.

They might make a promise and then break it without explanation. These inconsistencies can make you feel like you’re losing your mind.

You might find yourself constantly questioning what’s real and what’s not. And this can be highly confusing and frustrating.

3. They Use Your Own Words Against You:

Another gaslighting tactic is when someone uses your own words against you.

Your boss might say something like, “I know you’re not happy here,” when you’ve never said anything.

They might try to put words in your mouth. Or twist your words around to mean something else entirely.

For instance, they might say, “You’re always so negative,” when you’ve made a constructive criticism.

These comments can make you question your own words and thoughts.

4. They Make You Feel Guilty:

Your boss might try to make you feel guilty by manipulating you.

They might make comments like, “I’m only doing this because I care about you.” Or“You should be grateful for what I’m doing for you.” 

When you try to stand up for yourself, they might say things like:

“I’m only trying to help you,” or “I’m just trying to do what’s best for you.” 

These comments can make you feel guilty and indebted to them. And this can be extremely difficult to break free from.

5. They Play the Victim:

Another common gaslighting tactic is playing the victim. Your boss might try to make you feel sorry for them.

They might say, “I can’t believe how unappreciated I am,” or “No one understands how hard I work.” 

They might also try to make you feel guilty by talking about all their sacrifices for you or the company.

Play victim - Boss Gaslighting Signs

These comments can make you feel like you owe them something. And this can be a tough mindset to break free from.

6. They Isolate You:

Your boss might try to isolate you from other people. They might discourage you from talking to your co-workers or friends.

“Don’t tell them what I said,” or “Don’t tell them what happened.” Or “They won’t understand.” 

They might also try to control who you spend your time with. Or, they might try to keep you from talking to certain people altogether.

They might tell you that they’re the only one who understands you. Or, they might try to keep you away from people who could support you.

“They don’t care about you,” or “They’re just trying to take advantage of you.” 

All of this can make you feel isolated and alone. And this can be extremely difficult to break free from.

7. They Threaten You:

Your boss might threaten you to control you. They might say, “If you don’t do what I say, I’ll fire you,” or “I’ll make your life a living hell.” 

“I’ll make sure you get fired,” or “I’ll make sure you never work in this industry again.” 

They might also try to blackmail you. Or, they might threaten to expose your secrets.

They might also threaten to hurt you or someone you care. All of these threats can be extremely scary.

And they can make you feel like you have no choice but to do what they say.

8. They Play Mind Games:

Another common sign of gaslighting is when someone plays mind games with you.

Your boss might avoid answering your questions directly or giving you vague responses. 

They might make comments designed to make you feel bad about yourself. Or they might question your competence. 

They might also make promises that they never keep. Or they can threaten to withhold information from you.

These mind games can make you feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells.

9. They Discredit You:

Your boss might try to discredit you to undermine your authority. They might say, “You’re just being paranoid,” or “You’re overreacting.” 

They might also try to make you look bad in front of other people. Or, they might try to sabotage your work.

“I don’t know why you bother,” or “This is never going to work.” 

This can make you feel like your boss doesn’t respect you. And this can be extremely difficult to deal with.

10. They Use Your Weaknesses Against You:

Another sign that your boss is gaslighting you is if they use your weaknesses against you.

For example, if you’re insecure about your weight, they might comment on how you look.

Incompetent

Or, if you’re insecure about your intelligence, they might tell you that you’re not as bright as they are.

They might also try to take advantage of your fears or insecurities. “I’m the only one who understands you,” or “No one else would ever hire you.”  

This can make you feel like you’re not good enough and incompetent.

11. They Use “Socratic” Methods:

One of the most common signs of gaslighting is when someone uses “Socratic” methods.

This is when someone asks you many questions, but they don’t give you any answers.

For example, they might say, “Why do you think that?” or “What makes you say that?” 

They might also say, “Are you sure?” or “Are you sure that’s what you want?” 

But when you try to answer their questions, they don’t give you any feedback.

This is the worst form of gaslighting because it can be disrespectful.

12. They Make You Apologize:

When you’re being gaslighted, you might find yourself apologizing a lot.

Your boss might make you feel like you’re always in the wrong. For instance, they might say things like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you.” 

Or, “I’m sorry, I know you’re just trying to help.” 

They might also make you feel guilty for things that aren’t your fault. “I’m sorry I’m such a burden,” or “I’m sorry I’m not good enough.” 

All of this can be emotionally draining. You find yourself constantly apologizing for things you shouldn’t have to apologize for.

13. They Withhold Affection:

Bosses who gaslight their employees often withhold affection. They might refuse to give you praise or positive feedback, even when you deserve it.

They might also give you the silent treatment or make you feel like you’re not worth their time.

Or, they might give you mixed signals. For instance, they might say they care about you, but their actions show that they don’t.

All of this can be hurtful. And it can make you feel like you’re not valued or appreciated.

14. They Invalidate Your Feelings:

When you’re gaslighted, your boss tells you that you’re “overreacting” or “being too sensitive.”

They might say that you’re “imagining things” or “making a big deal out of nothing.” 

Feelings are invalid.

They might also tell you that your feelings are “irrational” . Or that you’re “being ridiculous.” 

All of this can make you feel like your feelings are invalid. And this can be hard to deal with.

15. They Blame You for Their Own Mistakes:

Another sign that your boss is gaslighting you is if they blame you for their own mistakes.

For example, they might say things like, “It’s your fault I’m in a bad mood.” Or “If you would’ve done your job right, I wouldn’t be so stressed out.” 

They might also try to make you feel guilty for their own mistakes. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, but you made me so mad.” 

All of this is unfair. And it can make you feel like you’re always to blame, even when you’re not.

16. They Dangle the Carrot:

Bosses who gaslight their employees often use “the carrot method.”

This is when they promise you something if you do what they want. For example, they might say, “If you work hard, I’ll give you a raise,” or “If you do what I say, I’ll promote you.” 

They might also threaten to take something away from you if you don’t do what they want. “If you don’t shape up, I’ll have to let you go.” 

All of this can be manipulative. And it can make you feel like you have to do what they say, even if you don’t want to.

Final Word:

Boss gaslighting signs, while often subtle, can significantly impact your life.

If your boss is gaslighting you, it’s important to remember that it’s not your fault.

You are not responsible for their bad behavior. And you don’t have to put up with it.

Last Updated on 5 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Aleena

Leave a Comment