Author Topic: article on gaslighting.  (Read 389 times)

AppleJack

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raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 04:18:49 PM »
Very interesting!

Quote
You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!

Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does.

Do you ever hear any of these comments from your spouse, partner, boss, friends, colleagues, or relatives after you have expressed frustration, sadness, or anger about something they have done or said?

This I what I get from my family and from my partner's family.  Fortunately, someone here on the forum (Emerald Blue?) shared the 13 trauma's article and gas lighting was featured. My partner read that and it really got his attention. He says often he doesn't want to gaslight me.  It helps so much.  I really don't think he realized that by lying to me about his porn use, he was gas lighting me.  He grew up with this behavior. I don't blame him for that. I was raised similarly.  I'm glad that this type of language resonates with my partner.  I'm glad he is open to learning and growing and changing these misogynistic behaviors. 

I'm not going to accept this anymore from my family. If something hurts and I calmly ask it to stop - that's all that matters. I don't have to justify it or anything else.  It just is.   If they don't like it, end of conversation, I walk out the door. I used to just smile and put up with it and sip wine to cope....but no more sister!

Thanks for sharing this Applejack...wow! this whole process has a been an amazing learning experience!


aquarius25

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 08:03:04 AM »
This is so well worded. Thank you Applejack! As I was reading this I was reflecting on how many times I have heard these things. One thing occurred to me that I thought was strange. Not only have I heard these statements from men but I hear them a lot from other women. My mother would be at the top of the list! I hear women all the time tearing each other down and for what?! Life is hard enough, why do we need to put someone else down just to make ourselves feel better? Can't we support each other and we can all be built up? So frustrating!

malando

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 10:15:10 AM »
This is so well worded. Thank you Applejack! As I was reading this I was reflecting on how many times I have heard these things. One thing occurred to me that I thought was strange. Not only have I heard these statements from men but I hear them a lot from other women. My mother would be at the top of the list! I hear women all the time tearing each other down and for what?! Life is hard enough, why do we need to put someone else down just to make ourselves feel better? Can't we support each other and we can all be built up? So frustrating!
It is a very important thing for all people to be aware of. I've been introducing a lot of people to the idea of gaslighting ever since I heard this term a few years ago. It's rife in the world. I've had men and women try it on me. I've probably done it to people in the past - although I'm sure I haven't since I learned about it. I've seen men and women do it to each other. I do not doubt that it's more prevalent among men for the reasons outlined in the link, but it's something that everybody should be aware of because it's very insidious and can drive people around the bend.

Emerald Blue

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 11:17:18 AM »
Gaslighting drove me mad, although what I believe my husband was actually doing was just pulling out any excuse to alleviate his own anxieties in the moment. The problem with people who lie their way out of trouble is that lies are often inconsistent. Meaning, someone can't recall whether they've lied about something and what they actually said. You believe one "truth" and then you hear another version that contradicts it in some way, so your perception shifts and you feel disorientated. My husband hadn't pre-planned any of it, I believe that like many addicts he acts according to his emotions and his primary motivation is to escape uncomfortable feelings rather than uphold the value of honesty. That would require taking a step back and seeing the situation as something other than his own emotional discomfort.

I actually realised today that I'm having a lot of difficulty relating to my husband because I never really know who he is. Until d day I thought I knew him inside and out. Now I'm not sure who he is. I don't mean in the "OMG he has a secret life" way, but it's as if he has created an outer facade or a persona. He was always one of those people who are very different in private compared with his public face. Now I'm actually wondering if he has a facade he puts on when he is with me. I'm not sure I'm actually interacting with HIM. It's freaking me out. I think this also ties in with the gaslighting. Image-management, defensiveness, worrying about how one is perceived, etc. I think it all overlaps with gaslighting.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

AppleJack

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 02:17:47 PM »
My ex was really bad for doing this, though I never realised it at the time I internalised it as it being something wrong with me, I was too emotional, too immature etc. My husband has done it too, though with him it seems to not be done on purpose. He read the article and it agrees it's very much a cultural and societal problem. I'm good at pulling him up on it now if I feel he's doing it but hopefully he'll get more conscious of watching himself from doing it.
I don't think I do it to other people, I hope not anyway.

Kimba

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 01:03:18 AM »
I read the article and felt saddened as I do when I feel a kinship to something that has influenced my life to a degree... I think gas lighting is becoming more prevalent for sure... I got the just joking comment many times over the last year and once when I said I feel out of control with all that I was discovering, he pounced on that one and said See you said it, you have to be in control, Im like...der... Not, I just discovered that the man I thought you were is lying and having a relationship with his computer screen... I agree EB my partner never planned it but he bloody  worked hard to cover his tracks and tell me I was imagining everything ...
Three things that cannot be long hidden
The Sun
The Moon
The Truth

Emerald Blue

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 06:40:57 AM »
"I don't know what you're talking about" was one I heard a few times even when it was something he'd admitted to the previous week. Talk about crazy-making. His immediate concern was to get me off his case because he couldn't handle the feelings that go with being found out. The irony is that it he had just admitted it or was more willing to disclose or answer my questions honestly he wouldn't have experienced his emotions running at fever pitch. So he'd just make up nonsense on the spot. I needed a clear idea of his addiction, a realistic narrative in the context of our relationship over the years, and he was reluctant to let me know very much at all. He pulled out all the stops trying to avoid accountability. I heard it all, that I was the loony, that he had no idea what I was talking about, and even justified his porn addiction because I was never available (sorry but I was the one being turned down because you had wanked yourself dry) and that he thought I didn't mind (so why go to all the trouble of hiding and deleting the evidence, besides I never had any say in it).
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

HumbleRich

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 01:44:43 AM »
Yes, but what is and what is not gaslighting?

When my wife is mad at me or at anything else sometimes she does really need to calm down, because my brain just does not do hyperemotional.  I literally cannot help her at that state.  These days we often just take a break because I can't help her when she is upset.  I am simply not wired that way.

And sometimes she does make a mountain out of a molehill. 

In my experience living on emotion gets you next to nowjere.

Yes, emotions are important for empathy and understanding people.  But excessive emotion does more barm than good.

Sometimes you just habe to say "life sucks" and get on with your day.

We are not saying it to hurt you or because you or your feelings don't matter.

We are saying it because they literally do not help the situation at all.

If we are lost, getting mad doesn't help.

You get on google maps, you take out your map.  You take a deep breath and keep going.

The anger, the lashing out, the blaming, just makes everyone pissed off at eachother and does not help the situation at all.

You are still lost.

There is a d8fference between actual emotional and mental abuse and a guy just saying, "I need to think right now, calm down."

AppleJack

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 02:50:59 AM »
I think you misread the article, perhaps give it another read
 Gaslighting is very much a form of emotional and mental abuse.
Also I find it a bit rich for an addict who has used an addiction because they couldn't cope with their own emotions to basically say we're all being too emotional about being gaslight by addicts, who are basically doing so to off load emotions they can't cope with themselves.
re your wife, maybe just offer empathy, it's not rocket science. Telling someone who is angry to calm down is like pouring petrol on a fire, and the thing with gaslighting is the person winds you up then tells you to calm down etc. like I say, read it again, or Google gaslighting, cos you've got the wrong end of the stick.

Emerald Blue

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2017, 03:59:57 AM »
Gaslighting is an attempt to manipulate someone else’s perception of reality to the point where the person has no concrete sense of what’s true and what’s false. That’s a pretty good way of deciding what is of isn’t gaslighting.

Lying is a form of gaslighting because it’s used to control another’s perception of reality. Most gaslighting is a longer term manipulation to keep the recipient in a state of confusion and ignorance.

My partner’s gaslighting was not only outright lying, but denying all knowledge of what he admitted to previously. Another thing was him getting mad at me because I didn’t believe him when he lied to me, and another was to deny all knowledge when presented with his own evidence. Saying he’d told me “everything” but then saying he had no memory of his acting out.

Some of this behaviour was a deliberate long term strategy in the sense that he worked out what his storyline was and intended to stick with it. At other times he’d just be trying to lie his way out of a situation on the fly. The trouble was he didn’t know what he’d admitted to or what I knew/didn’t know, so there were many inconsistencies. Sometimes his lies were so convincing that had I not had any evidence to the contrary, I would have believed him. When you have been gaslit you can’t tell fact from fiction because the lies resemble the truth. You can’t trust your own judgment any more. That’s the crazy-making part.

When someone is gaslit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that their emotions are running high all the time. Sometimes yes, but it pales into insignificance compared to how off-the-scale the addict’s emotional reaction. Another technique of gaslighting, not mentioned specifically in the article, is the temper tantrum, the purpose of which is to avoid being truthful or accountable by creating such a disruption that it’s impossible to communicate — to the person doing the gaslighting, that’s a positive outcome. To the person on the receiving end, they conclude that they daren’t ask that question again because “look what happened the last time when I did”. And if they do, it’s “I don’t know what you’re talking about”.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 04:07:59 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

stillme

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2017, 04:36:36 PM »
Gaslighting drove me mad, although what I believe my husband was actually doing was just pulling out any excuse to alleviate his own anxieties in the moment. The problem with people who lie their way out of trouble is that lies are often inconsistent. Meaning, someone can't recall whether they've lied about something and what they actually said. You believe one "truth" and then you hear another version that contradicts it in some way, so your perception shifts and you feel disorientated. My husband hadn't pre-planned any of it, I believe that like many addicts he acts according to his emotions and his primary motivation is to escape uncomfortable feelings rather than uphold the value of honesty. That would require taking a step back and seeing the situation as something other than his own emotional discomfort.

I actually realised today that I'm having a lot of difficulty relating to my husband because I never really know who he is. Until d day I thought I knew him inside and out. Now I'm not sure who he is. I don't mean in the "OMG he has a secret life" way, but it's as if he has created an outer facade or a persona. He was always one of those people who are very different in private compared with his public face. Now I'm actually wondering if he has a facade he puts on when he is with me. I'm not sure I'm actually interacting with HIM. It's freaking me out. I think this also ties in with the gaslighting. Image-management, defensiveness, worrying about how one is perceived, etc. I think it all overlaps with gaslighting.

This resonated with me so much when reading it - the entire thing. I think a lot of my husband's gaslighting came from being caught up in his lies. He also says what he thinks I want to hear, whether or not he has any intentions of following through.

Then, there is the not really knowing him. I sometimes really sit there and think that there is almost nothing I wouldn't believe about my husband. If someone said he joined a cult, I would have to give pause and think "that might be possible". If someone said he stripped naked and ran through Walmart - I would not dismiss them outright. If someone said they saw him walking down the middle of the street, babbling to himself incoherently - I couldn't dismiss them instantly. It is really quite scary living with someone and you really and truly don't know who they are as a person.

Emerald Blue

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 06:06:51 PM »
Stillme, a few months after d day after having gone round the omission/denial/minimising/reluctant partial truth circuit several times too often I realise that he was answering my questions in a manner akin to a chess game combined with advertising copy. If I asked him anything his first reaction was to establish what I knew already so he could create an answer (and I use the word ‘create’ deliberately) that was meant to appease and control my perception of him rather than say what the truth is. He would often backtrack by narrowly interpreting my question so as to give out a palatable answer. For example, if I asked him if the went to ‘this’ bar he’d deny it, but he wouldn’t say he’d been to ‘that’ bar in the same locality that also offered similar “entertainment”. So what did I have to do? Go online and find out all the bars of that kind and then ask him one by one? Well, that’s just too fucking crazy.  I knew that if the the truth is ‘yes’ he’d still say ‘no’ anyway. In the end, my sanity was a far bigger priority than his farcical play-acting.

At this point, the only thing I am concerned about is his honesty and transparency in the here and now. I wanted as accurate a picture of his acting out history as possible but I don’t believe that I know “everything”. Maybe 80-90%. His attitude became ‘if you can’t prove it, it didn’t happen” and I know from experience that even where there is evidence he will either feign memory loss, or even insist that it ‘proves nothing’. I grew tired of the whole routine.

Having been through the gaslighting experience, I now know to listen to my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably a reason. I might not know the details or the facts, but when something feels “off”, it’s because something IS off. I know that I will never trust in the way I used to. These days it’s “Does this FEEL right?” Or “what’s the probability of this being true?”  I now know to leave a margin for error with EVERYTHING I’m told.

But just for the sake of the newer partners here, I now know that my healing isn’t dependent on my partner’s being willing to fully disclose his acting out history, it’s not dependent on vigorous honesty, or whether or not he ogles at women on TV, or eyeball-stalks a woman in the supermarket. I’m at the stage where I’m developing a healthy sense of detachment, in that HIS behaviour belongs to HIM, and it’s his responsibility to conduct himself as he deems fit and proper. I’m not the controlling parent. I’m not his babysitter. I’m not his internet cop. To quote Paula Hall’s book on the 5 pillars — I am responsible for me. I’m still 100% committed to the relationship, but there comes a point when I have to detach and take care of my own needs.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 03:17:27 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

stillme

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 08:36:48 AM »
It is a very delicate dance, because I personally feel that gaslighting is a form of abuse. My husband is slightly coming to terms with gaslighting being a form of abuse. I always said I would not be in an abusive relationship. He doesn't gaslight now, but I don't honestly know if he doesn't do it because it doesn't work, or because he honestly knows it is wrong.

The same with affairs. During his time with porn, he really didn't consider having emotional attachments to webcam girls affairs, now he says he realizes it was - but I am not quite sure. He didn't consider going to a massage parlor for a blow job an affair, now he 'says' he realizes it was an affair. Again, I consider affairs a form of abuse.

So, I am constantly trying to figure out how you 'fix' an abusive relationship. I have tried not to turn into a woman who accepts abuse, who needed to be rescued from an abusive relationship. It is so hard looking at a person you loved with all your heart, and seeing that he actively did abusive things to you, so that he could engage in his own pleasure.

Kids have sincerely complicated things. I was so shocked this man I loved would do something that was literally psychologically abusive. It is actually one of the reasons I will not divorce him. If I divorce him, he would be granted unsupervised visitation with the children, and I just don't trust that he understands psychological abuse enough not to start doing it to the children. So, I am staying 'for the kids', but not because I am trying to pretend we have a good marriage. But, because I just don't trust that he fully gets how harmful lying and gaslighting are and I am not sure he has grown enough as a person to not play mind tricks on the kids if it would allow him to get what he wants. I still tell myself he isn't a 'bad' person, just a broken person that hasn't done deep enough work to be trusted. My kids have actually gone to him letting him know they are worried about him mentally - something I never, ever would discuss with the children. They see him struggle with making good decisions. Nothing big, but little things that should be easy for an adult. They have caught him in lies themselves. It has been very hard for them to reconcile their parent is a liar. But, even seeing the disappointment from his children when they catch him in a lie hasn't been enough to keep lying from being his default. He is trying, very hard - but when you lie each and every day for five or more years, it is a terrible habit to break.

It is a conversation he and I even had this morning. We were talking about the goal of instilling good moral character in the children. He can finally admit that yes, he lied every single day before and after d-day until about a few months ago. Not even big stuff, but small things, things that I knew already. His biggest issues lately have been micro-gaslighting. An example is he will say, "I am going to cook all weekend." He will then cook one day and say, "Yes, I promised to cook, so I cooked." With zero acknowledgement that he promised to cook the entire weekend, but only cooked one day. Instead of phrasing it as, "I know I committed to cooking the entire weekend and only did it one day", he would say it as if he did this big favor and fulfilled everything he committed to. Even the kids, who would hear him say he was going to cook the entire weekend, would look at him like he had three heads.

I will definitely say I have healed significantly more since I separated myself from the relationship. Although, there have been some physical repercussions from the stress. But, I am vying to get my physical health back as well. But mentally, I finally feel like I am complete and enjoying my life. I do still miss the idea of a happy, healthy marriage. But, I embrace being a happy, healthy individual.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 08:38:57 AM by stillme »

raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2017, 12:38:44 PM »
Emerald Blue, I like how you say
Quote
Having been through the gas lighting experience, I now know to listen to my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, there’s probably a reason. I might not know the details or the facts, but when something feels “off”, it’s because something IS off. I know that I will never trust in the way I used to.

This, too,  is the major lesson for me - to trust my gut. I'm so impressed with my gut. She KNOWS things!  And she is always there for me, very loyal and I can trust her all the time.  The hard part is that she cant tell me exactly what is going on - just that something is going on.  And that I need to then slow things down and check things out for myself to see what she is alerting me about. 

This has been a major growth area for me - and it has been an invaluable lesson.   I am always there for myself and I need to trust MYSELF and my intuition. 

This is exactly why I need my partner to be 100% honest with me. If my gut keeps giving me alarms that something is off in our relationship and if my partner is not being proactive about his recovery and if he is not being caring about my feelings and how his mix messages affect me - then I'm out of here.  I am here as a partner who is happy to be supportive of his recovery - as long as he is being truthful and is supportive of my feelings too. 


 

raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 01:35:41 PM »
Stillme, I feel for you and your inability to trust what your husband says. It is sad that the kids see it too. 

I'm sorry you are in such a predicament because you are worried that if you divorced, then your kids are less safe with him.  It seems to tie your hands.   
Quote
But, I am vying to get my physical health back as well. But mentally, I finally feel like I am complete and enjoying my life. I do still miss the idea of a happy, healthy marriage. But, I embrace being a happy, healthy individual
It sounds like you are doing a good job of self care!  that is wonderful! 

I'm really hoping your husband turns this around and gets clear and honest with himself. You and your children would benefit immensely.  Its not fair to you or your children. I agree with you, it is abusive.  It's so harmful to all of you - to him as well. 

I'm like you, "I always said I would not be in an abusive relationship."  I NEVER EVER thought I would be in an abusive relationship.  Calling things abusive is not an easy thing for me to say - I try to consider the pain a person is in when they do things like lie  But then when the lying is ongoing and chronic and when the person is not doing the work to get responsible and accountable - to face how the lying hurts loved ones - then it feels abusive to me.  I guess when I look at things objectively - cause and effect - then the term "abuse" makes sense.  Husband lies. Wife feels pain. Wife tells husband "I feel pain when you do this, please stop". He continues to lie. She continues to feel the pain. She tells him again.  At some point, if he still continues - it is definitely abusive.  I can understand him not getting it the first few times because it can be a learning process to understand what the other person is saying. But it should be an ongoing loop - at some point - he needs to GET IT.   

Your situation brings up for me some things my partner has been discovering about himself and lying.  Maybe this is helpful? If not, just ignore.  :) Right now, it's helpful for me to read about your experience, to reflect upon my own, and share my experience.  Sometimes it's hard to know what would be helpful to say or not.   But please know...I hear you and your predicament.     There are NO EASY answers here.  Not for any of us.  We each have our own unique circumstances and we each have the wisdom to figure out what the best choices are for us uniquely.

My partner and I have been talking deeply about lying and he's come to realize that he saw his parents do this in different ways. So for him, he couldn't really see how he was doing this himself - he was raised this way.  He doesn't use this as an excuse - but we talk about it as a way to understand the root causes of his hiding and lying. 

His mom lied to him by not ever telling him anything. When she divorced his dad, he didn't get information as a child about why or anything. He thought it was his fault. She did say "of course it isn't your fault" but didn't share anything more.  (In all fairness to his mom, this was the 70s, they didn't have the information we have now about how to help kids with divorce.)  But this left him to figure out on his own how to handle the divorce and the pain it caused his mom and to answer questions for himself about why his dad didn't reach out to him afterwards.  His job was to pretend that the family was perfectly fine. His job was to be quiet about his needs and feelings and to put on this show for the family that everything is fine.  He's particular talent is making jokes and talking about things that stay on the surface.  ( a talent I can find annoying when I want to talk about the elephant in the room).  The lessons were - Don't make waves. Don't speak your truth.  Don't have needs, don't have feelings, make everyone else happy. 

And then his dad, actually, literally lies. We visited him and his wife many years ago, and I witnessed him lie to his wife - right in front of me. I freaked out and was incredibly disturbed by this.  Who knows how much lying he did when my husband was a little boy?  How much did my husband watch this happen?  Did this somehow give him the message when he was little that lying was perfectly ok because he watched his dad do it?  It's a question we both have talked about - and he isn't sure - he has trouble accessing childhood memories.

So now fast forward to our relationship where it has been 20+ years of lying in many forms. Lying like his mom: not speaking his truth, not sharing his feelings or needs, keeping it all bottled up until it comes out in a non-straight way (acting out and using porn to self-medicate).  Lying like his dad: outright lies about little things that I have no problem with and there is no need to lie about.  I don't know exactly where the lying about porn comes from. His step-dad uses porn and this was talked about in front of me like it was no big deal - that certainly isn't a lie, just shocking for me.

Right now he's been doing some powerful work with his therapist to heal his wounded 10 year old (the age of his parents divorce).  And right now he is working hard at being congruent and not lying. I can feel the difference! My mind isn't so confused - I'm getting straight information from him. What he says and what I perceive through his actions match up.  This has been a huge relief. I hope it continues.  I'm celebrating this and I'm cautiously optimistic.  I'm grateful for this change now so I can get back to the business of healing from my own chronic health condition. 

I am certain that his lying has been one of the causes of my health issues.  My limbic system kept telling me something was wrong and when I would check it out with my partner - he would say everything was okay. But then my limbic system kept talking to me - "something's wrong, something's wrong, something's wrong...." incessantly!  It was like a constant alarm going off and I couldn't figure out what the alarm was about.  Unfortunately, I would believe my partner over my gut.  No wonder I developed food sensitivities and chemical sensitivities.  My immune system has been confusedabout whether certain foods are safe or not.  That mirrors my relationship with my partner.  Is he safe?  Things don't add up, things don't feel right.  Is he really safe?  What is he hiding? Why is he lying?  It must be really bad else he wouldn't lie.  I've been confused about whether my partner is safe or not.  Just like food and chemical sensitivities. 

I tell him this not to blame him, shame him, or guilt him - but to be very clear that I will not live like this anymore.  It isn't healthy for me.  When I review what I've written about cause and effect - if he keeps lying to me when I tell him it hurts me - its abusive - and I have got to get out for my own health and happiness.

I just heard Geoff Stuerer say that not knowing who your husband is - is VERY STRESSFUL. He said it's like soldiers in Vietnam who didn't know who the enemy was.  It's an incredibly confusing, traumatic, and disorienting experience. It helps me to hear him compare this to soldiers in the Vietnam war.  It makes it more clear to me that THIS IS SERIOUS and should not be minimized at all.  Sometimes I think I have been indoctrinated as a woman in our society - and I'm used to putting up with stuff because that is all I have seen done and that is all I know to do.  But this is so incredibly ridiculous that I allowed the gas-lighting to continue for so long.  And I consider myself to be an incredibly strong and independent woman, but somehow this has played out in my relationship.  I guess because I didn't know any better. I'm so grateful that there is an increase understanding and awareness of how damaging porn and lying is to partners.   

 

stillme

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2017, 05:47:06 AM »
Excellent points raven song. My husband's lying definitely started from a dysfunctional home. In his home growing up, and still to this day, they never discuss anything important. It doesn't matter how important or insignificant, nothing is every discussed. This includes the molestation of both him and his sister when they were quite young by two different cousins (never discussed, never acknowledged, never reported even though his mother knew - his father still doesn't know). His father mentioned being diagnosed with cancer as a passing item one day over dinner. I was shocked and wanted to provide support. Everyone else just said, "Oh, that is too bad" and that was it - no more conversation. It was over and it has never been discussed with any of them again. His mother clearly has signs of dementia showing, they just simply don't say anything. It is like they have convinced themselves if you ignore something, it will eventually just go away.

Then, along comes someone like me, that likes to go ahead at the first sign of trouble and tackle it head on. My husband acknowledges that he really liked that aspect about me and that is what draw him to me. He enjoyed my talking openly with him about anything and he loved that for the first time in his life, he could truly talk about things. However, that was for talking about good things - hopes, dreams, desires, recounting fun childhood memories, etc. But, he just cannot truly and authentically break past his childhood barriers in discussing the not so fun things. Those hard and uncomfortable conversations, he just runs to his 'safe space'. For a long time, that was porn. Instead of talking, even now after porn is long gone (he has been free of porn for 17 months now), he still can't have full, authentic conversations. It is easier and safer 'for him' to lie.

What is shows is that he values his own comfort over what everyone else in the house needs. My kids are very much like me - open, honest, authentic. They have been tremendously hurt by him because they trusted him just like I did. They know I am honest. Even if I have to talk to them about hard things and things that are uncomfortable - I will be honest. They gave those same attributes to my husband. The first time they caught my husband in a lie for themselves, they were devastated. Your parent isn't supposed to lie. The problem intensifies because they are talkers. My kids know they can come and ask me anything, that is how it has always been. So, they have tried to do the same with my husband. However, since telling the truth makes my husband uncomfortable, and he can't just not answer them, he will simply lie. Sometimes it isn't an outright lie, he will lie by omission or lie by not answering the actual question they are asking. They are at a critical age and I notice whenever they have an important question, they will come to me. It was heartbreaking to see that they just completely lost respect for him.

It has been hard for me to wrap my head around, because I was raised to believe that lying was wrong and that it is better to be authentic and hurt, then lie and pretend like you are happy. In fact, I had told my husband from day one that lying was a deal breaker for me in terms of relationships, because it is so disorienting and can drive the honest person crazy. Even in the face of losing everything - his wife, his kids' respect, his marriage and intact family, he just can't break the habit. He will tell the truth if I ask just the right question, in just the right way, so that is he backed into a corner. However, that is completely draining.

We have settled into a new normal that is for me a horrible existence, but one he finds familiar and comfortable. We talk only about things that can be verified. Did he pay the light bill. Do the kids have sports practice tomorrow. Anything beyond that leaves me frustrated and drained because I will hear a lie and I just cannot let a lie stand without confrontation, especially now. It won't even be something big. You can ask him, "what color is the sky?". He will answer, "the sky is green." When you say, "Oh, to me the sky looks mostly blue." His response will be, "that is what I said." When you say, "No, you said green." He will reply, "You must have heard me wrong, I believe I said the sky was aquamarine, which is a shade of blue." To avoid this type of frustration, the kids and I pretty much just barely talk to him about anything of meaning.

I do try to have some sort of real discussion with him once or twice a week, but if feels like a counseling session in which I am walking him through the steps of how to tell the truth the first time. It is draining. Especially when I spent months supporting through is porn addiction recovery. Part of my search through things prior and after d-day showed that he wasn't just lying about porn, he had lied about bad financial decisions he had made and had even lied about parts of his past. The lies about his past weren't 'major' things, but - why lie at all? Why say you were never into porn when you had a subscription to playboy in your twenties?

I have come to the really sad conclusion that had I recognized he had this issue, I never would have married him. He hid it well, but that is because he was raised in a family that is amazingly good at hiding skeletons and even their own pain. I mean, who announces they have cancer - then never even mentions it again? We know he went through chemo and apparently it was successful, we don't know - his dad just never talks about it. His sister told me she was molested at a young age in the most random and nonchalant way and I sat there with my mouth open. I asked if her mother knew and she said, "Yeah, she said just forget about it." But, it only repressed it. She is now in her 40s, single - never been married, never had a real relationship, and she recently had a hysterectomy - so she has no chance of ever having kids. Not one person in the family connected her inability to function in adult relationships and all of her female anatomy problems to being the victim of molestation by a family member. It is like they truly have told themselves it didn't happen and she is just 'unlucky in love and health'. My husband understands that I cannot allow that type of life for my kids, but he just cannot join us on the island of truth, honesty, and authenticity. His ties to his family are just too strong. It took him forever to even come to terms with the fact that his mother was a horrible parent. You do not allow your kids to be molested by random cousins and just tell them to not say anything. She was still bringing them around the people. I had creepy feelings about one of the cousin's as soon as I met him and stopped letting my kids go to family reunions. His mother to this day is upset that I won't go and take the kids, even though I know she is still welcoming this molester. My husband's sister still goes to the family reunions, knowing her abuser will likely show up. But, she says she just doesn't think about it, so it is no big deal. That abuse and the reaction to it has completely ruined her life, and she doesn't even feel it is okay to be angry and she still worships the ground her mother walks on and thinks she is the best mother in the world.

So, I don't have a lot of hope for my husband's transformation. He is trying, I will say that. He has made some improvement. But, I am unwilling to allow my children to be harmed by his lying 'in the meantime'. So, we will stay in our status quo until I know my children are at an age when they can fully defend themselves from his lies and gaslighting on their own. Until then, I am the shield of defense. I am showing them that the first job of the parent is to protect the children from harm, no matter where that harm might come from. In the USA - lying, gaslighting, none of those things would impact visitation rights. I can't even say it is unsafe because the kids might be taken around child molesters - because no one in the family will admit to the molestation. My husband actually tried to get me to let the kids attend the family reunion last year. With a known child molester - are you crazy? So, I know he is just not able to make the right decisions if had unsupervised visitation.

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2017, 10:46:15 AM »
Wow! My husband’s family were the same. There were family secrets even in his grandparents generation, psychiatric illness on both sides of the family, both parents were addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs, he was sexually assaulted by a male relative and didn’t or tell anyone, and interesting what you say about the dad with cancer, my husband’s father would rather have had his family believe he was in remission when he wasn’t. Nobody spoke to each other. Nothing in that family was straightforward. Yet they were all expected to put on a respectable facade. So you see, deception and image management, the perfect training ground for a porn addict or sex addict. I sometimes wonder what his mother had to endure. She is the idealised woman who died young, but she was deeply unhappy and I believe there was something not right in that marriage. She’d down a bottle of Scotch in a day and then go crazy smashing up the house. Hardly the behaviour of a happy woman. So this was the relationship that served as the blueprint for what a marriage should look like. Fortunately for me, my parents were straightforward working people, raising their kids and putting food on the table. If they had something to say they’d say it. I was raised to be honest and tell the truth. Lying was not tolerated in my family but in my husband’s family it was normal not just to make false statements but live a lie.
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

Emerald Blue

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2017, 10:48:59 AM »
Where I am now with gaslighting:

One of the most important aspects of my own healing has probably come out of my experience of being on the receiving end of gaslighting. I came to the realisation that he wasn’t capable of honesty after my final discovery which was met yet again with the usual denial routine but this time I was told that my evidence “proved nothing”. My sense of reality had been upended too many times. I also realised that ‘full disclosure’ wasn’t going to happen if he couldn’t disclose anything voluntarily. Meanwhile I was trying to do all the right things. I tried to see life from his perspective and I believe I demonstrated empathy and forgiveness. I committed to rebuilding our sexual relationship. I initiated the difficult but necessary conversations. It was all very one-sided.

Even now, two years on, he still sticks to his story (and once again I’m using the word ‘story’ deliberately because I think it’s fiction). He still lies when I ask him questions and he still omits to tell me things. As for our sexual recovery, he masturbates secretly and this has interfered with our lovemaking. I don’t care if he does or he doesn’t, but if he’s wanked himself dry I’m wasting my time and energy by making a space for lovemaking to take place. It’s not a very good thing to say but just as I realised he can’t be honest, I also realised that he can’t or won’t communicate authentically. My only option is to draw a line under it.

This was the borderline where the gaslighting stops and healthy detachment begins. I know that he isn’t managing his life as well as he could but there’s not much I can do. Even this past week he chose not to tell me something that I found out about. It wasn’t all that important in itself but I raised the matter calmly and asked why he didn’t want me to know. I explained that this was the very thing that had created problems for us in the past. So.... he either understands that, or he doesn’t. But what he chooses to do remains firmly on his territory.

My most significant breakthrough in making a healthy detachment was the realisation that the recovery of my sexuality was not going to be an outcome of the sexual relationship I have with my husband. Throughout my husband’s porn addiction, I had unknowingly given him the power to decide whether or not I am allowed be sexual. I didn’t ‘own’ my sexuality at all. It ‘belonged’ to my relationship, and he was the one with the power to veto it. And that’s effectively what he did. The result was the complete shutting down of my sexuality. After d day, it came back to life rather quickly, but after I was once again able to be multiply orgasmic during sex, he lost interest and retreated into masturbation. (And not telling me.) This was at the very point I regained considerable confidence and enthusiasm for sex. He just withdrew into himself. If that isn’t fucked up, I don’t know what is. From that point on, he had low libido and erectile dysfunction. I thought he’d wise up and realise that his jerking off was sabotaging our lovemaking, and sort of expected him to learn something, but you know.... rinse and repeat. I was ‘saving myself’ rather naively until one day I realised that I was once again sacrificing my sexuality so that he could play with his dick. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There was no fucking way I was going through all that again. He may not be using porn but for me the situation was identical.

Anyway... I found myself on my own journey of exploration and self acceptance. I treated myself the way I’d like to be treated by a lover. My sexuality, I realised, belongs to me. It’s part of who I am. My body isn’t a consumer product to be chosen or not chosen. My body contains my entire physical existence. My body commands respect. My sexuality commands respect and I will never allow him to veto my sexuality again.

This is all part of building immunity from gaslighting. Gaslighting is so enmeshed with our expectations of honesty and fidelity. It’s intertwined with the addict’s need to protect and maintain a place for addiction to hide. These are two sets of expectations that cannot co-exist in a healthy relationship.

My best option was to detach myself from the relationship — to some extent — and forge a new identity. You can’t gaslight someone so easily if they are not so dependent on the relationship with their ‘gaslighter’.

Stillme, I’ve just bought Esther Perel’s book on, The State of Affairs, about modern relationships and fidelity. It’s all part of this healing journey. Too often, as I have seen here and from my own experience, we are expected to forgive our partner’s transgressions without knowing all the facts, with all the lies and omissions, all the gaslighting and after years of deception. The definition of fidelity is not so straightforward when it’s done via technology, and how our partners define ‘fidelity’ seems to be very different from how we understand it. My husband said he didn’t really know what the word meant, and that was how he killed that particular conversation. Again, we’re back to gaslighting....
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 10:58:44 AM by Emerald Blue »
His porn addiction: you didn't cause it - you can't control it - you can't cure it

raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 10:56:59 AM »
Stillme,

I am moved by your personal story. You display an incredible amount of strength and love for your children. It is very clear that you are thinking carefully about what is best for you and your children.  Your children have a strong role model in you of what it means to be authentic, genuine, honest, loving, caring, and safe.  You are showing them how to check in with their intuition and avoid dangerous situations involving predators.  These are really significant life lessons. They are truly blessed to have a mom like you.  You are incredibly savvy as to how molesters work, how families can harbor them. It is clear that you want no part of it and you will do whatever it takes to protect your children.  Again, I am so incredibly moved by your wisdom and love. You are an amazing mama bear.  I admire you.

For 2 years, I worked in Child Protective Services, and I investigated allegations of sexual abuse.  I was fortunate in that I had very good training and knew how to interview children. I interview one little girl in the police station. There was enough evidence to court order the dad out of the house.  But then when it came to trial, the police misplaced the audio tape and so the case had to be thrown out by the judge.. It broke my heart because then I would go back to the girls home and check on her and it was obvious that mom still let the father around the kids. But I had no actual proof - just intuition and observation and putting 2+2 together.  She had a little brother - and it was obvious that he was molested, too. He acted out horribly towards me.  Wanting me out of the house - defending his mom.  I was the enemy. It truly broke my heart.  The system does not work well enough for these kids at all. 

So I truly applaud you.  You are right, you have to be smart and wise and know what laws protect your kids and which ones don't. In the end, the only protection you can rely on is yourself.  And you are obviously a smart, wise, and loving mother. 

I'm very sorry you are in this situation with your husband. It is obvious that you have thought through all of your options and you crafting a strategy to keep your children safe as well as love them and parent them in a way that aligns with your own values.  Wow, they have a powerful role model in you. I have a strong feeling that your husband's family cycle or betrayal and trauma stops with you.  It stops with your children.  It wont happen again, because you are there to protect your children and you are there to show them there is a different way to live.

It's also clear that you would have never chosen this situation at all and that if you had known - you would have been out the door.  Your story makes in clear that is can be very difficult to have a choice when his family system has perfected the art of sweeping things under the rug and putting on a show like nothing is wrong whatsoever. 

I so much appreciate reading how you are protecting your kids.  My parents had their faults, my mom drank for a period of time, and my dad is not emotional, very neglectful. But one thing they did very well that I appreciate very much was to listen to me when I was 13 and my uncle came to my bedroom and started touching me inappropriately.  I went straight to my parents and they believed me.  My dad kicked him out. He didn't hesitate one bit.  I have been working to forgive my parents for all of the ways that they neglected me - I've done so much work in therapy around the effects of the neglect upon me. But one thing I truly love and value and respect about them is that they believed me and kicked my mom's brother out of the house. 

I really appreciate you sharing your story because it helps me to see that I am not alone with a bad family dynamic with my in-laws.  I don't have the problem of known child molesters in the family - thank god. But I do have the same problem as you in that my husband's family does not speak the truth.  Sigh....I have spent 20+ years trying to get his parents to accept me.  In the past five years - I've had a slowly developing realization that they do not like me because I see the truth and I speak the truth.   I'm not at all confrontational or combative, but I encourage my husband to get in touch with his needs and feelings and to express them. I encourage him to have boundaries concerning his older brother - who is a bully and a socio-path (as diagnosed by my husband's step-father.) 

I have asked my husband to create a boundary with his older brother - who is abusive. He has been an asshole to me when we let him live with us. Very disrespectful - throwing his cigarettes in our yard - cussing up a storm in front of my step-son. (as a step-mom, I have found that although my step-son is not my biological child, I have a huge reservoir of mama bear energy that takes over when needed to protect him)  My brother-in-law took advantage of our generosity. My husband sold him an old car and he never paid us. So I asked my husband to get it back from him and his brother got really angry - calling me a bitch, etc.  I was disappointed that my husband did not defend me and my honor.  But they is par for the course when he is suppose to conform to what the family wants - which is shut-up and get along. It doesn't matter that your brother beats up on you, pawns your saxophone while you are stationed in Germany in the US Army - oh, and wrecks your mustang.  My husband is used to not saying anything and acquiescing to his mom's need for the family to look great and smile and make jokes and be happy - all the while making digs at me - I'm a feminazi, etc.   I DO NOT FEEL SAFE in that family. 

In the early years, I would go to their house for dinner and watch his step-dad drink, yell at my husband's younger brother (11years old), yell at my husband's mom, etc.  I was only 20 and was too naïve and inexperienced to know that I could just get up and walk out - I didn't have sit through that.  But what I did instead was sit on the couch - frozen in fear of saying or doing anything because then I would be targeted with a well aimed barb from my soon to be step-father-in-law.  He is a psychologist with a PhD and a very sad and angry man who drinks way too much alcohol (oh and has the locked room filled with porn that the whole family knows about). My experience is that, in his presence, he reads me and then he knows exactly what insults to hurl at me and hurt me badly.  I'm sure he does this to everyone.  Sigh...instead of getting up and walking out, I would just sit there and drink my rum and coke.  Self-medicate with alcohol. I don't do that any more though. This was one of my profound insights as I stopped drinking alcohol. I used alcohol to stay in bad situations because I needed to be perceived as a good wife, daughter-in-law, etc.  Now I avoid those family functions as much as possible.  But it has been a very isolating and lonely experience.  It has bothered me so much to not be embraced and accepted by his family.  But now, today, as I write this, I realize - why would I want to be accepted?  I don't want to live like them. Probably to be accepted, I would have to completely conform to their world view - and I don't want any of that.  In fact, a year ago - in a fit of anger - I declared out loud to my husband that I am divorcing myself from his parents and his family.  And I mean it still. 

His mom is angry with me because I encourage my husband to stand up to his bully brother. Fortunately, his parents live in another state. Unfortunately his bully brother lives just 25 miles away.  But we avoid him and my husband doesn't talk to him.  His mom visited last year and it is an awkward process of her spending a few days with us, then going to his brothers for a few days. It's like they are a divorced couple sharing time with their kids - except it is their mom.  This last visit was so bizarre and weird - but it really helped me to see the dynamics that have led my husband's behavior.  At one point - as we were having a conversation about a science fiction book and movie - she looked at me and said "I am a forgiving person but there are some things I will never ever forget..." and then she went on saying something I think about family or something - Honestly I have no idea. It was just really strange because we were conversing about something else entirely and then here came this really passionate declaration about what she cannot forgive."  Good for me - I didn't even let it stick on bit because of all of the emotional work I have done to not let people judge and shame me or slime me with their emotional stuff.  So I'm still not sure what she was saying - but it was clear to me that I was witnessing how non-straight this emotional stuff comes out when a person stuffs their feelings and doesn't say anything - but then it comes out somehow - very sideways - very passive aggressive. 

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Then, along comes someone like me, that likes to go ahead at the first sign of trouble and tackle it head on. My husband acknowledges that he really liked that aspect about me and that is what draw him to me. He enjoyed my talking openly with him about anything and he loved that for the first time in his life, he could truly talk about things. However, that was for talking about good things - hopes, dreams, desires, recounting fun childhood memories, etc.
Wow, I can relate to this exactly. When I feel in love with my husband, he admired how much I spoke my truth and "rocked the boat".  He was open and expressed himself to me deeply.  I was studying abroad and we wrote letters and letters and letters. Volumes of letters where he expressed his authentic self - his needs and feelings.  But then that all dried up after about 5 years into our relationship. This was the time that high speed internet porn was readily accessible to him too. 

Thank you for sharing your story. It has been cathartic for me to share my own story as I reflect on yours. It has helped me to revisit and look at my husband's family dynamics and to let go of some of their baggage that I took on. I feel inspired by your strength and your commitment to yourself and your children.  Thank you.


 

raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2017, 11:25:48 AM »
Emerald Blue,
We were writing and posting at the same time. Must be on the same page cosmically today!  :D

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Nobody spoke to each other. Nothing in that family was straightforward. Yet they were all expected to put on a respectable facade. .

Wow, wow, wow! How interesting - I was just writing about the same thing. This is exactly my husband's family dynamic too.  And it feels crazy when I am in the middle of it. 

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So you see, deception and image management, the perfect training ground for a porn addict or sex addict.
  I think you are onto something here.  The similarities with our experiences are just too uncanny to write off as just a coincidence.

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Anyway... I found myself on my own journey of exploration and self acceptance. I treated myself the way I’d like to be treated by a lover. My sexuality, I realised, belongs to me. It’s part of who I am. My body isn’t a consumer product to be chosen or not chosen. My body contains my entire physical existence. My body commands respect. My sexuality commands respect and I will never allow him to veto my sexuality again.
YES!!  Heck Yes!  You Go Girl!!

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This is all part of building immunity from gaslighting. Gaslighting is so enmeshed with our expectations of honesty and fidelity. It’s intertwined with the addict’s need to protect and maintain a place for addiction to hide. These are two sets of expectations that cannot co-exist in a healthy relationship.

My best option was to detach myself from the relationship — to some extent — and forge a new identity. You can’t gaslight someone so easily if they are not so dependent on the relationship with their ‘gaslighter’.

I'm taking to heart your comment that "You can’t gaslight someone so easily if they are not so dependent on the relationship with their ‘gaslighter’."  I think this is true. I know that for me that when I decided for myself that I cannot continue with this relationship if my husband continues to lie - that was me detaching for the relationship - refusing to be dependent on him and instead relying on myself.    Then the whole dynamic changed between us. He knew I was serious.  This was a hard decision for me to make because I am still recovering from a chronic illness and I have been depended upon my partner financially and physically.  He's been my primary source of support for my recovery.  But then I realized he has also been a huge source of pain and stress and so either he stops this behavior and get honest with me or I need to leave.  I know that if separation is the path I must take - then I will do so. I'll build a support system around me, I'll figure it out.  I quit drinking alcohol - I mastered that addiction. So I know I can take this step too, if need be.

I'm trying to figure out my relationship with my brother which has been difficult especially now that my parents are aging.  I'm dependent on my brother to fly down there and check on my parents - but he is not trustworthy or reliable and he plays games with me. I'm not sure if there is gaslighting going on - but there is certainly some passive-aggressive BS games going on.  I'm trusting my gut (a valuable lesson learned from this porn addiction journey with my husband) and I'm pulling back from my brother. It seems that my dependence on him leads to manipulation and game playing on his part.  I'm determined to keep brain retraining and get healthy so I can fly and visit my parents for myself.  It occurred to me, too, that there are many really nice helpful people in my parents home town - their friends, etc. I am seeking out other people who can be truly helpful and caring and can help me help my parents. I don't have time for anymore male ego foolishness and game playing. 

This is one area in which I am deeply appreciative of my husband. He doesn't blink twice if I ask him to help me fly down to my parents home and help me handle their situation.  He says that even if we separate - he will be there for me to help me as I recover my health and if I need help to see my parents.  It's weird, in many ways my husband and I becoming even better friends. I so much value our friendship. I 'think' the friendship would survive a separation and potential divorce. I don't know exactly but right now my gut tells me that is the case. And all the that matters right now is that I believe it to be the case and this helps me to relax today - in the hear and now - and continue my brain retraining and my health recovery. 

Emerald Green,  Thanks for your insight - I think it is true that if I am not dependent on someone who gaslights me - then I'm no longer a participant and a victim of it.  I HAVE TO TRUST MY GUT!  And there are so many other people out there who are truly caring and who don't play games. I just need to be open to seeking them out and then developing relationships with them.  Two way street relationships only. No one-way, manipulative ones.

I love what you say too about forging a new identity. Yes, I feel that I have been in the same process. I've been forging a new identity of independence and wisdom. A new identity of believing in my gut.  A new identity of seeking out truly healthy and affirming relationships.  It's kind of like choosing to eat healthy fruits and vegetables instead of junk food.  I am choosing and discriminating in the foods I buy for health reasons.  Why wouldn't I make the same choices in relationships?

« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 11:29:45 AM by raven song »

raven song

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2017, 11:51:09 AM »
Still me and Emerald Blue and anyone else who's partner has suffered from childhood abuse and neglect,

I want to share that I have benefitted greatly from a therapeutic technique called Life Span Integration.  More information about this therapy and therapists who are trained in this method can be found here https://lifespanintegration.com/ 
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Lifespan Integration is a gentle, body-based therapeutic method which heals without re-traumatizing. In 2003, Peggy Pace published the first edition of her book, Lifespan Integration: Connecting Ego States through Time. In her book Pace describes the new therapeutic method which she developed through her work with her clients. Pace originally designed Lifespan Integration therapy for adult survivors of childhood abuse or neglect. She soon found that LI therapy facilitates rapid healing in people of all ages, and is effective with a wide range of therapeutic issues.

It is based on EMDR, but it is so much more gentler.  It has helped me to heal from trauma and neglect from my childhood (neglect, domestic violence, alcoholism, attempted molestation, etc.) The process involves checking in with a feeling in my body (for me anxiety in my gut) and then relaxing and floating back to a memory in time. For example: when my uncle was in the grooming stage of molestation (this is as far as he got, fortunately - but nonetheless it has traumatized me because of the emotionally boundary violations).  So, with the help of the therapist, I went back to that memory and I'm in the role of my present day adult self.  I go to my 13 year old and I talk to her, I tell her that I am here to take care of her. As my adult self I tell my uncle to back off and I call the police to remove him from my house. Then I take my 13 year old to a peaceful place and I tell her that I'm sorry this happened but everything is safe now, it is in the past.  And now she gets to live with me, and I am here to protect her, love her, value her. She no longer needs to feel anxious and worried, she can go back to being a normal 13 year old and do teenager things.  And then I show her a timeline of pictures of my life until now. And then we arrive to the present day, and I show her my house and tell her see, you live with me now. And then we play and do 13 year old things.

This process has helped me to understand overwhelming emotions of anxiety and depression.  It has freed that younger state so that she doesn't run the show anymore. The idea is that trauma gets frozen into ego-states. Its like a walled off wound. Like with trees, if there is a wound, they seal it off so the tree can still survive. 

From the website
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It is well known by therapists that adults who experienced abuse or neglect during childhood often spend years in therapy emoting and talking about their past traumas, yet they still have trouble moving beyond these past traumas. This is because people who were traumatized while their neural systems were developing are often “hard-wired” to interpret events in a negative way. Adults who were abused in childhood often have poor self-images, an ongoing internal dialogue of negative self-talk, and chronic anxiety and/or depression. This often remains the case no matter how successful these people have become in their present lives, and no matter how much “talking” therapy they have done.

Adults who were abused in childhood often react in patterned, dysfunctional, and sometimes self-destructive ways.

Adults who experienced childhood trauma often continue to be “triggered” in their present lives. When people are “triggered”, they often react in old patterned ways which are not helpful to the current situation and sometimes are harmful. Continuing in these repetitive and self-destructive patterns only makes the person feel worse and more hopeless.


After a WHOLE LOT of encouragement, my husband has finally started Lifespan Integration for himself. It has produced some very remarkable changes in him.

He's been going back in time to memories of his parents divorce when he is 10 and 11.  He's been going back to the shame he felt when he first discovered porn at the age of 11/12 and the trauma associated with that.  It seems to be really helping him.

Still me,
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What is shows is that he values his own comfort over what everyone else in the house needs. My kids are very much like me - open, honest, authentic. They have been tremendously hurt by him because they trusted him just like I did. They know I am honest. Even if I have to talk to them about hard things and things that are uncomfortable - I will be honest. They gave those same attributes to my husband. The first time they caught my husband in a lie for themselves, they were devastated. Your parent isn't supposed to lie.
  My husband has been very similar.  We talk about him "going into his bunker."  As I reflect upon it, it was like he would be overwhelmed by my emotions, my needs, and any sort of bit of conflict and he would shut down (freeze instead of flight or fight). Then he would disappear into his own emotional bunker. It was like he was there physically, but emotionally he would hide out in this invisible bunker inside his head. He has had so many emotional walls up between us. He has been terrified to show his true self and his emotions and needs.  It seems that LifeSpan Integration is helping him immensely with this. In the last 3 weeks - I have experienced his presence like in the early days of our relationship again.  He's not going into his bunker.  He is very emotional now, lots of crying and grief.  He NEVER showed emotions like that before - except when we put our pets to sleep at the vet. 

When we met, my partner told me how much Pink Floyd's The Final Cut resonated with him. Looking back, this was a foreshadowing for me about him and his pain and anguish. It was a foreshadowing of all of the defenses he would put up out of fear that I would actually see who he really is --- and then I would reject him. It's all so tragic. But I have hope because of the progress he has made thus far.   

So I thought I would share LifeSpan Integration as a  possible option for anyone who wants to heal childhood trauma from abuse and neglect, or anything related to traumatic situations - like parents' divorce, etc.  I'm hoping my partner continues to use this therapy.  I've really pushed him to do this and I'm grateful that I did (even if someone call it co-dependent - who the frig cares!)

If anyone is interested in learning more about it - let me know. I am happy to share.

Whew! I have been long-winded today!  All of you ladies inspire me deeply. I am so touched to read your stories. They help me immensely.  So real and authentic. Thank you. Wishing you all a heart felt day.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 12:21:34 PM by raven song »

malando

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2017, 02:48:26 PM »
Very interesting accounts in here, people - thank you for sharing.

Since i found out about the term gaslighting, it's been very helpful for me in terms of understanding the mechanism people use to abuse others. Previously, I always tried to break everything down into past trauma, experiences, motivations, tactics and behaviours when trying to understand why people were behaving the way they were. But I think it's very helpful to understand the broader concept of gaslighting as an overall strategy that many people use to get people right where they want them. Sure, there are many and varied reasons for how they ended up this way, but in the end, being a gaslighter becomes a modus operandi for a lot of people. It's how a lot of people go through life avoiding responsibility for themselves and transferring it onto others.

I've come to see that I have had a lot of this from my family - they have always liked to define me in ways that make it easy to shoot down what I'm feeling or saying. I'm a real justice seeker who likes to pull things out of the shadows and expose the lies, so it's made for some fiery confrontations over the years. They probably think it's ok to do what they do because I'm so vocal in my opposition and I stand my ground. It looks like I'm willing to take it, but actually it still hurts to be gaslit. It's knowing that somebody is toying with how you feel, with your vulnerabilities, and not giving a crap because they want to win the argument or defend themselves from criticism. Gaslighting is intensely cowardly. The more people who know about this, the better off society will be.

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2017, 04:17:41 PM »
Malando,
Thank you for sharing your experience with gas lighting in your family and for yourself. 

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I'm a real justice seeker who likes to pull things out of the shadows and expose the lies, so it's made for some fiery confrontations over the years.
yay!  good for you! and good for all who need allies to speak up!  Men can do a lot to fight for equality for women, all genders.  White men (don't know if you are one or not) can be really powerful allies for people of color as well.   White women, too!  I'm all about embracing allies and working together to make positive change in our society. 

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They probably think it's ok to do what they do because I'm so vocal in my opposition and I stand my ground. It looks like I'm willing to take it, but actually it still hurts to be gaslit.
Unfortunately, I have received all sorts of push back and put downs, etc when I speak up in my family and my husband's family. I really feel that there is a double-standard. It feels to me that when a man in my family speaks up, it's accepted, but when a woman does, she is put in her place real quick.  Its very frustrating. My mom's and my mother-in-law defer to their husbands.  I don't I speak up for what I need and want. When we married, I didn't take his last name. When asked, our joke is that I didn't force my husband to take my last name.   

Do you find that in your family there is a double standard? They obviously give you a hard time, but is it different for the women in your family?  Just curious. 

By any chance, are you a highly sensitive person?  I am and my feelings can get hurt very easily.  I wonder because you speak of justice and you say it hurts when your family "shoots you down." I think my husband is a closeted highly sensitive person who had to put on extra armor to survive the taunts of his step-dad and the bullying of his brother. Also, extra armor to just survive being a teenager in the 80s.  I think this has contributed to his disconnect from himself which then contributed to him self-medicating with porn.  Just a theory.

Personally, I have never gaslit my husband except when I hid alcohol. So for me, it was a very isolated event - one that I feel bad about over and over again.  It's curious to me that my husband gaslit me many times about many different things - including porn.   So, it seems to have been a more widespread problem for him.  Maybe the pressure of putting on this show and having to assert his masculinity contributed to porn use?

Sometimes I wonder how much porn use and  male-privilege go together.  In many ways, I deferred to my husband and his porn use because I bought into the thinking that "this is just male sexuality, they are visually stimulate and different from women sexually."  I'm angry that how it affects their female partners has been undervalued and understudied. I feel that porn was a tool that taught me to be a subservient wife to my husband sexually. I felt I had to compete.  I felt like I was a second or third wife. I felt like he had a harem of women available to him whenever he wanted. 

I'm do have to say that I'm very grateful that a lot of research is coming out now about how this affects partners. 

In the books I read and the videos I watch about porn recovery, they say talk to a trusted person.  However, in my family, if I mention anything about my discomfort about porn - I will be ridiculed and teased for being a prude.  That hurts. So I keep my mouth shut.  And continue with my "politics" which they hate.   ;D 

malando

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Re: article on gaslighting.
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 04:59:46 PM »
Malando,
Thank you for sharing your experience with gas lighting in your family and for yourself. 

Quote
I'm a real justice seeker who likes to pull things out of the shadows and expose the lies, so it's made for some fiery confrontations over the years.
yay!  good for you! and good for all who need allies to speak up!  Men can do a lot to fight for equality for women, all genders.  White men (don't know if you are one or not) can be really powerful allies for people of color as well.   White women, too!  I'm all about embracing allies and working together to make positive change in our society.
I definitely try to speak up when I think something is harmful or hurting people - whether that's racial, social or gender based. There are just so many examples of unfair treatment in the world! I really laugh when we praise ourselves as a modern world. We are still very much in the dark ages in so many respects.

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Do you find that in your family there is a double standard? They obviously give you a hard time, but is it different for the women in your family?  Just curious. 
There is a double standard actually! In our family, traditionally, the women were very powerful. My grandmother, my mother, my Aunts. My father is a meek follower. Although part of the reason why I get gaslit is because I make the noise when things are unfair. But in my generation, my older sister doesn't speak up about much, and my younger sister doesn't seem to care about much because life has been very easy for her and she's had incredible luck all her life with minimal effort to get it.

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By any chance, are you a highly sensitive person?  I am and my feelings can get hurt very easily.  I wonder because you speak of justice and you say it hurts when your family "shoots you down." I think my husband is a closeted highly sensitive person who had to put on extra armor to survive the taunts of his step-dad and the bullying of his brother. Also, extra armor to just survive being a teenager in the 80s.  I think this has contributed to his disconnect from himself which then contributed to him self-medicating with porn.  Just a theory.
I think your theory is very much on point! I am sensitive and easily hurt. A bunch of stuff that happened to me when I was young no doubt led to me developing a porn habit. It just seemed safer at a time when I felt very unsure of myself. I wasn't a constant user though. Mostly when I've been in relationships, I haven't used it much at all. But when I've been single, I definitely used it for comfort without risk and vulnerability. The stupid thing is that it takes you further and further from what you want - connection with people.


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Sometimes I wonder how much porn use and  male-privilege go together.  In many ways, I deferred to my husband and his porn use because I bought into the thinking that "this is just male sexuality, they are visually stimulate and different from women sexually."  I'm angry that how it affects their female partners has been undervalued and understudied. I feel that porn was a tool that taught me to be a subservient wife to my husband sexually. I felt I had to compete.  I felt like I was a second or third wife. I felt like he had a harem of women available to him whenever he wanted. 

It's interesting to hear this perspective. I never thought about it as a male-privilege, but I guess it is. I never felt like a proud and empowered consumer of porn. It always felt intensely solitary and shameful to admit to. I was always aware that it wasn't a great life-affirming thing. More like a coping mechanism and escapism - so I was aware of its inherently unhealthy quality. It was more that I was in a state of low self-regard so I didn't value myself enough to look after myself better. I was willing to pollute my mind and body with this stuff, just for the sake of momentary escape and arousal. As I said, the vast majority of my porn use prior to my current partner was when I was single, so I wasn't directly affecting anybody in a relationship sense - although I accept that any support of the porn industry is hurting women and society in a broader sense. But I wasn't aware of the sociopolitical side of the porn industry until much more recently. My current partner was the first relationship I've been in where she knew about my porn use and she wasn't bothered by it - in fact, she was a porn user herself. It was actually my own awareness that something wasn't right about what porn made me think and feel that caused me to change it. When I told her I didn't like what porn was doing to me, she actually protested it! She didn't like that I was critical of porn and that I think it harms sexuality and relationships. In time, she has come around to what I was saying. Now neither of us use porn (we never did together).

So maybe my case is not really very representative of how porn abuse plays out in relationships, but it's one expression of it. None of them are good, in my opinion.

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I'm do have to say that I'm very grateful that a lot of research is coming out now about how this affects partners. 

As am I. It's vital that this information is out there so people can take heed of it and not fall into the devastating pitfalls that can arise out of porn addiction - as users and as partners. It's toxic to human relationships.

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In the books I read and the videos I watch about porn recovery, they say talk to a trusted person.  However, in my family, if I mention anything about my discomfort about porn - I will be ridiculed and teased for being a prude.  That hurts. So I keep my mouth shut.  And continue with my "politics" which they hate.   ;D
In my family we can't even raise the subject of porn or sexuality!
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 03:07:53 AM by malando »