Gaslighting

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destablise and delegitimize a target. Its intent is to sow seeds of doubt in the target, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity.

The term originates in the systematic psychological manipulation by the main character of a victim in the 1938 stage play Gas Light known as Angel Street in the United States. In the story, a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment and insisting that she is mistaken, remembering things incorrectly, or delusional when she points out these changes. The original title stems from the dimming of the gas lights in the house (by the husband) that  when he was in the attic searching for hidden treasure. The wife correctly notices the dimming lights and discusses the phenomenon, but the husband insists she just imagined a change in the level of illumination.

A rather disturbing thought has taken root in my conscious mind, fleetingly at first around Christmas time, and increasingly strongly since then.

I recognize that ExP did this to me.

Not very often, but in order to block me from discussing thing, he would simply deny that he had said things/ or that I had said things / or that certain things had happened. I KNEW that they had, but he would completely deny it.

I did indeed, at times, think I was going mad. For example, some years ago he was invited to a weekend party on the Isle of Wight. I was not able to go, and said that I had no problem with him going, but I wasn’t happy to buy his ticket for the ferry. I am absolutely 100% sure that I said this, to him. He bought a ferry ticket on my card anyway. When I challenged this he flatly denied that I had said any such thing. There are other examples.

I can’t explain why I’m finding it hard to accept this. FWIW I don’t think he was deliberately trying to make me think I was mad, rather that he did exactly what he wanted to, and lied to me to change the ‘facts’ afterwards so that he didn’t look ‘bad’. This further example of lack of openness. honesty and true partnership  shouldn’t be a surprise to me, but somehow it still is. ExP is a master of obfuscation, very talented at not revealing too much. Understanding this has helped me NOT blame myself so much for becoming involved with him… It actually took many months for it to become clear that he had NO income at all….because he did not disclose this, but rather had excuses and reasons for all the things I had noticed about his lack of cash …

This lack of integrity, which has huge and wide ranging manifestations, is something I simply can’t accept. Its completely alien to me. I expect that, underneath, one of the reasons ExP had SUCH an issue with Son#1’s history of dishonesty, is because deep down he seems himself in this behaviour. We often have extreme reactions of revulsion to traits in others that we dislike in ourselves …the more I reflect on ExP’s actions (not his words but his ACTIONS) the more I realise that he is very much less than the paragon of honesty and truthfulness he pretends to be.

Confusing times.

He will be collecting all his possessions from my house on January 21st. THEN it will be truly over.


11 comments

  1. Glad to hear that he’s collecting his stuff. My thoughts will be with you that day and leading up to it, Lily. Hopefully it will be done peacefully and without incident on his part. If he’s coming into the house to look around and pack up his stuff, I would recommend (from experience) packing away any special or sentimental things to you that you have for that day.
    My boyfriend does the “I never said that! You’re imagining that!” denial about things quite often. It makes me feel like I am seriously going out of my mind, or imagining things, or even having vivid dreams that I’m confusing with reality. It also makes me wonder if he’s going senile and truly just forgetting things 😉

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  2. That behaviour is often associated with someone who had what is referred to as shame based parenting. I read about it in Craig Nakken’s book on the addictive personality.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Just remember Lily he owns these problems. Let him pack them all up and take them away with his stuff. You should feel no guilt or shame for his actions. Just be proud of yourself for taking a stand and not putting up with it anymore. Onwards and upwards for 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he does. I don’t suppose it matters what it’s called, the subtle altering of what I know /knew to be reality was very disconcerting. It’s only now that I see a pattern, and can relate it to the blocking behaviour he exhibits whenever he doesn’t want to talk about something. It’s just another defence,but it hugely gets in the way of real intimacy and trust. Lily🌷

      Like

  4. Some beings on this planet get there kicks from some real messed up shit, and u need to trust your inner source to fight the force here. Because sociopaths with twisted motives are not even worth giving the time of day to try and figure out . Legal advice for an injunction may be a step to consider ! My thoughts are with you , I hope you are safe and have people around you too . Sending light energy .Bless

    Liked by 1 person


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