top of page

Do People with BPD Know when They are Gaslighting?

It is incorrect to assume that gaslighting is common among those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), as paranoid ideation is frequently mistaken for gaslighting. Gaslighting is done with the intention of making the victim doubt their reality and memory. People with BPD truly believe in their psychotic ideation and therefore don't immediately have manipulative intentions.

Since no one wants to be accused of gaslighting, this article may be offensive to some of you. However, it should be noted that this article is focused on the false narrative that individuals with BPD are reportedly accused of gaslighting. The truth is that anyone and everyone, whether or not they have a mental illness, is capable of gaslighting.


I wanted to learn more and write an article about gaslighting because I recently realized that I tend to engage in gaslighting behavior. I try to make every effort to be conscious of who I am and how my actions affect others. I discovered that I showed gaslighting behavior when trying to find out if I was being gaslit by someone else. I tried to google how I could identify gaslighting behavior. And when I was reading about it, while simultaneously thinking back to the arguments, I noticed that the other individual might have been slightly gaslighting me. However, I realized that I was also subconsciously gaslighting the other person. But is it truly gaslighting when there is no malicious intention?


What is gaslighting exactly?

Gaslighting is a psychological manipulation technique used to make a person or group of people question their memory and reality. The phrase is derived from the title of a British drama from 1938 called Gas Light, in which a husband frequently changes and modifies the home environment and claims that nothing has happened. While simultaneously making sounds around the house, he dims the gaslights. When confronted by his wife about the changes, he denies doing so. He intentionally changes their environment while insisting that she is misremembering things and rejects her reality.


Gaslighting intends to cause the receiver to question their perspective. It may be the intent of the gaslighter to avoid taking responsibility. Gaslighting leads to internal confusion, which decreases confidence in memory and self. A person who is gaslighting will lie shamelessly, change the story, and downplay how you feel. Additionally, the gaslighter may adopt strategies like minimization and deflection. The individual will find a way to deflect, minimize, or deny even if you come prepared with a ton of proof, including photos, recordings, etc.


Do people with BPD gaslight?

Yes, but gaslighting is not a symptom of BPD. You could gaslight your parents or son/daughter right now, which doesn't automatically mean that you have BPD. People lie all the time, and if you can paint or fabricate a story around the lie, it is gaslighting, which distorts a person's perception of reality.


When someone gaslights you, they deliberately upset you by changing the subject so that you are being accused of "blowing things out of proportion" when all you are doing is expressing your feelings. This is meant to make you doubt your perception of events and memory. However, paranoid ideation is common among individuals with BPD, and because these people really believe in their paranoia, it is not gaslighting.


People with BPD frequently experience different paranoia than schizophrenics who hear voices or experience hallucinations. Due to their hypersensitivity to emotional triggers, whether real or perceived, people with BPD create narratives with their paranoia. These narratives, which they truly believe in, are the foundation of their potential gaslighting behavior.


Paranoid ideation mostly comes from trauma and can cause a person to live in different states of fear. Paranoia is one of the most severe types of fear when it cannot be controlled. We are a naturally fearful species, and the majority of people feel anxiety even when there isn't a good reason for it. However, most people can control their anxiety so that it doesn't become too overwhelming.


Do people with BPD know they're gaslighting?

The severity of gaslighting varies. Many gaslighters are completely unaware of what they are doing or how their behavior affects other people. However, some gaslighters are fully aware of what they are doing, even do it on purpose, and do so without remorse. People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), as opposed to BPD, are more likely to intentionally gaslight others.


The distinction would be that the untreated BPD individual truly believes in their made-up narrative because of their mental illness. They try to make sense of what is happening with their distorted perceptions while thinking that the deception is the truth. No amount of information or proof will convince them otherwise, and they will act out on their partner based on their deceptive construction.


The intentions of a gaslighter are frequently questioned by victims. The victim may feel hopeful when the gaslighter is unaware of their behavior. The victim might think: "Perhaps I can show the gaslighter what they are doing to make the discussion more effective''.


What to do against gaslighting by someone with BPD?


• When you can correctly identify when gaslighting is taking place, you can start to end the pattern.


• Keep your truth strong to fight the gaslighting. That requires having faith in yourself, your emotions, and your beliefs. Controlling your perspective involves knowing what you saw, heard, and felt.


• It might be a good idea to write things down as they happen to help you anchor yourself in your own truth. Write in a journal about your experiences, and make it a practice to go back over your entries. This will boost your self-assurance in what you already know to be true.


• Knowing your objective before you start the conversation will help you avoid becoming sidetracked in any of the several places that a gaslighting individual could lead you. Recognize when the dialogue feels unfair and repetitive, and practice self-validation. When you begin to see indications that your reality is being downplayed and rejected, give yourself permission to exit the conversation.


• Last but not least, the more we keep silent and minimize our reality, the more probable it is that we will be deceived by gaslighting. Our support network can provide the external validation we occasionally need to boost our internal confidence. By speaking your truths to trusted others, you can lessen the psychological and emotional grip that a gaslighter has over you.


Read more on Do People With BPD Love Bomb in a Manipulative Way?