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Is this gaslighting?

(28 Posts)
MrsYoda Mon 05-Sep-11 10:08:13

Last relationship was emotionally abusive so I'm not sure if my radar is way out but I'm scared of getting into another bad relationship. A few examples from current DP:

He gets in my car (I've requested he drive as I don't know the roads where we're going and he likes driving anyway). We're driving along and he says "woah, petrol is really bad, never seen in so low!" I'm a little hmm as I checked before I got to his house and it was well above the red. I said this and he says "no it's well into the red, almost to the bottom!". This simply could not have been true.

A bit further along he starts faffing with the heating control and says "phew that's better, you had the heating on full". This again is simply not true, I know this for a fact because I was boiling when I first drove to his house and remember specifically checking that the heating was off. I say this and he says "weird, because the heating was on full, I've just turned it off."

I know it just sounds a bit weird and not neccessarily abusive but I'm so scared it's all going to happen again I'm on major alert for any signs.

Another example was we were sat in a chinese and both ordered a chow mein each. He ate most of his and then said he was full. I hadn't eaten all day and continued to eat, really enjoying my meal. He was watching me intently and then started with comments like "Piggy" and "wow can't believe you're going to eat all that" etc which started to make me feel greedy.

So am I just being overly sensitive??

pictish Mon 05-Sep-11 10:10:56

The first two examples are dubious.....but calling you Piggy?
I wouldn't be happy about that anyway.

brabbinsandfyffe Mon 05-Sep-11 10:13:12

I'd def be on standby for the first ones, that doesn't sound right. And as for the food ones, that would piss me off, yes.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 05-Sep-11 10:13:39

The first two sound just like off-the-cuff conversations - the sort you have when you don't really know someone and are just making small talk.

The last sounds quite judgemental hmm - as if you have to stop eating because he has? - was it said jokingly?

He may or may not have poor social skills but if it's quite early on in the relationship there are other things to look for which might give you more info about what he's actually like in relationship - how does he talk about his ex-partners? has he had successful relationships before? - does he get on well with his siblings/parents?

LaurieFairyCake Mon 05-Sep-11 10:14:59

I think the point I'm trying to make is that we all say idiotic stuff sometimes and when you put one or two remarks under a microscope anyone can come off badly.

thisishowifeel Mon 05-Sep-11 10:19:00

This is how it begins. Tiny little things that could be, might not be.

You KNOW abut the petrol and the heating. Don't let another human being EVER over ride your own reality, your eyes told you about the petrol, your skin told you about the heating. He can't tell you that your own senses are wrong. ever. If he does, then yes, he's gaslighting. As is telling you how hungry you are. I think that you very own stomach is a much better judge than him. Don't you?

He has projected his own reality into you and does not see you as a separate human being.

I expect the "piggy" comment was a "joke". Well it wouldn't have made me laugh.

I would be scared, I'd rather be oversensitive than be in another abusive relationship....personally. I think you already know this, which is why you're posting. That is your instinct, working perfectly beautifully.

Trust your own feelings.

MrsYoda Mon 05-Sep-11 10:22:12

He hates his ex wife and dislikes his mother. Gets on ok with his father though.

Xales Mon 05-Sep-11 10:29:17

In my little car the fuel gauge seems to drop in the car port. I would swear I had at least above the red when I parked up but next time I go to drive it has dropped. It is really weird. All I can think of is that it is just something to do with it going around the system and settling when the car is stationary for a while. You know what, it doesn't really matter though because that is what garages are for, to fill it back up.

I also look at the heating thinking bloody hell I am hot and realised I have knocked it or it was higher than I remember. Again you know what it doesn't really matter, perhaps I was a little chillier earlier.

It is his attitude. I actually don't think you are being over sensitive. He sounds accusatory and out to make a point that what you are doing is wrong even if it is your car and your food and you haven't eaten all day.

If you like him maybe give him another chance but pay attention. I wouldn't personally like it and would be very tempted not to continue a relationship.

thisishowifeel Mon 05-Sep-11 10:32:10

Hates ex wife and dislikes mother....?

RUN AWAY!!!!!!!!!!

pictish Mon 05-Sep-11 10:33:44

Mmmm.....I agree with thisishowIfeel - trust your own instincts. You already know, or you wouldn't be writing this.

Proceed with extreme caution. x

SheldonsBazinga Mon 05-Sep-11 10:37:57

The first two examples come across as being designed to make you think that you need him to sort things out for you. You - little woman. Him - big man making it better.

The final example is horrible. Calling you names because you were enjoying a meal.

Gaslighting or not, I don't like the sound of him at all.

clam Mon 05-Sep-11 11:10:34

So, call him on it. Stand your ground. You don't have to be confrontational, just lightly bat it back to him.
"yes, the fuel gauge can drop suddenly when it's low." That's "blaming" an inanimate object rather than yourself.
"I turned the heater off earlier. Perhaps you knocked it back on."
Re: the finishing your meal: "yes, probably. I haven't eaten all day." And maybe, if you really want to make a point, "do you have a problem with that?!
If you establish your position early on as someone not to be messed with, then his gaslighting (if that is what it is) won't work with you. He'll either up the ante, in which case you'll know for sure and can kick him into touch, or he'll back off.

MilkandWine Mon 05-Sep-11 11:16:36

Calling you a piggy and making comments about the amount you are eating are very, VERY bad signs. He sounds like the sort of man who doesn't think women should be allowed to enjoy their food. I can tell you from prior experience that men like that usually have lot's of other dubious ideas about what women should and shouldn't do.

The hating his wife and disliking his mother would have me running for the hills. He may as well just come out with it and say "I don't like women".

He doesn't sound like a good bet to me OP, you have already been through one emotionally abusive relationship, don't throw yourself into another one!

notsorted Mon 05-Sep-11 11:19:03

Someone who still 'hates' his ex hasn't moved on IMO. I don't know how old you both are, but hating and disliking without really good reason is immature. You should really have let go of that stuff in your 20s and come to some sort of resolution over your upbringing and let it go by your 30s.
Do be cautious and call him on things if you carry on with the relationship. Don't let him take over re car or anything else - go dutch on responsibility for doing things together IYSWIM

Bluebelle38 Mon 05-Sep-11 11:29:07

I don't like the sound of him either, I'm afraid.

He blatantly lied to you - and over something ridiculous.

As for the food comment - what the hell. Finishing a meal doesn't make you a pig. How ludicrous. I'd have told him to bog off to be honest.

I really wouldn't settle for this so early on.

solidgoldbrass Mon 05-Sep-11 11:39:46

Dump, swiftly, and move on. He doesn't consider women to be human beings. He thinks they exist to be controlled by men. This is not an attitude you can change, nor should you have to bother trying. The best thing to do with men like this is dump them, then maybe in a few more generations natural selection will have done its job and they will all have died out.

picnicbasketcase Mon 05-Sep-11 11:44:45

I've not heard of gaslighting, but he sounds rather controlling to me. Someone overriding my opinions and experiences, thinking they know better than me about everything would put me right off.

thisishowifeel Mon 05-Sep-11 11:59:16've defined gaslighting rather well there! Trouble is it can become very sinister as eventually victims do begin to question the validity of their own senses and can believe that they are going mad.

The interesting thing about that, from what I can gather from the squillions of books/websites I've read, and therapists I've spoken to on the subject, it is THE PEOPLE WHO GASLIGHT who are disconnected from their own senses, and project those disconnections onto the people with whom they try to have relationships. Now which is the "insane" one there. Hmmm

People who gaslight often have personality disorders. Stay away from them.

SGB: Brilliant!

Huffythetantrumslayer Mon 05-Sep-11 12:47:32

My abusive ex told me I washed my hair wrong and showed me how to shave my legs properly. He also had me questioning whether I was going mad cos if I said the sky's blue he'd say no it's pink. It was so innocent to start off with that by the time he got physically abusive it was too late.
Picnic did sum it up rather well.
Trust your instincts and get out now. How long have you been with him?

Huffythetantrumslayer Mon 05-Sep-11 12:49:13

Should have added a hmm after showing me how to shave my legs comment. Fucker.

picnicbasketcase Mon 05-Sep-11 12:52:36

Oh, okay - I just didn't know there was an actual name for it. Anyway, sounds horrible.

heleninahandcart Mon 05-Sep-11 20:27:06

OP it sounds like your radar is working just fine.

Its easy to dismiss these things in the early days. If in doubt, just remember these early incidents as IMO its these little things which set off alarm bells in the early days that come back to bite you.

The piggy comment, rude and controlling. Even if it was just bad social skills, why be with someone like that where you end up hearing this stuff and excusing it.

HerHissyness Mon 05-Sep-11 20:50:07

I don't like it. i don't like him. Not at all.

I'd say your instinct is bang on. I think you ought to give SERIOUS consideration to drawing things to a natural end as soon as possible.

Meantime, keep your guard up and call him out on everything you don't like.

Don't let him do this to you.

haveigotnewsforyou Mon 05-Sep-11 21:06:49

If a date called me 'Piggy' at dinner it would be the last time they saw me. It is disrespectful and rude. Don't expect this relationship to improve. Just move on.

Best of luck.


ImperialBlether Mon 05-Sep-11 21:24:30

I agree with haveigotnews. Anyone who said that would have eaten his last meal with me. I would have got up and driven away.

I eat quite slowly. I hate it when I'm eating with someone who eats quickly, because I'm eating for longer and it seems as though I'm being greedy - as though I'm eating more. It doesn't make any sense, does it? I think they forget their own meal the second they've shoved the last mouthful in and think "What's she doing eating all that!!!"

OP, you have to trust your instincts. He was putting you in the wrong when you weren't wrong, even if there wasn't an ounce of petrol and even if the heating was on high. So bloody what?

I think he sounds horrible and I think if you continue seeing him, it will get worse and worse.

Just out of interest, who paid for the meal?

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