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Gaslighting HURTS

(30 Posts)
FantaIsFine Tue 24-Nov-15 20:24:53


I've got some fabulous friends and I'm not really after advice, just a bit of handholding. I'm trying to extricate myself from the most excruciatingly unhappy "friendship". I would have walked away from it far sooner, but because of my kind heart and lack of boundaries and the cash that he required to rescue him which wasn't secured properly (it was supposed to be, but then it transpired that the security he'd agreed to didn't belong to him at all), I was stuck in a horrid purgatory. I was apparently asking too much, misremembering things, just a bit more needed to pay for school lunches/buses until xyz.

It now IS properly secured, with lawyer signatures and my name will be on land registry documents until the property is sold and I can be repaid. However, because I'm now secure enough to actually exhibit my opinion on things and talk about MY feelings, I'm "manipulative", "aggressive", "controlling" and "scary". Mainly because the bank that I've been is now closed for business, I think.

For someone who couldn't hurt a fly it's horrible to hear. I am so thankful that MumsNet talkers put me on to the phrase "gaslighting" as I'd never heard of it before and it is illuminating (pun intended). I'm finding it quite hard not to respond to the unfounded accusations and insults.

I don't really know what I hope to achieve from posting, as I know what my past mistakes have been. I hope that with continued therapy I'll be able to include "no" in my vocabulary.

Thanks for reading :-)

tribpot Tue 24-Nov-15 20:38:52

So this is a friend who has manipulated you into lending a large sum of money? Do you now need to have any further contact until the property is sold? Is the property up for sale now?

springydaffs Tue 24-Nov-15 20:42:20

Take a look at codependency op x

FantaIsFine Tue 24-Nov-15 20:53:09

Thanks both - I'm a treasurer of CoDA so I'm well aware of it being a problem of mine - awesome group if anyone suffers from similar to me.

I wasn't manipulated exactly, I can't deny responsibility, I should have said no at the outset. The last few weeks however it's a bit different. It was a bit of a jaw-dropping moment when I realised he'd made a withdrawal from my current account (loaned debit card which got pretty rinsed regardless) without my saying okay and when I'm broke. But apparently since he's so sorry and shameful about that, there's nothing more to talk about.

I need no further contact and his (second) property is on the market. But since now I'm being told all these horrid things because I am no longer dancing to his tune, I'm finding it quite hard to just take it as he's done the apparently (having read into it) stereotypical thing of now moving to fully accusing me of being the negatives I mention above and placing all blame fully on me.

cheapskatemum Tue 24-Nov-15 21:29:38

Remind yourself of all you've learnt from this experience and heap praise upon yourself that you have come through it with your physical and mental health intact. Pity him ... and move on. You won't make an error of judgement like this again and all it has cost you is money.

How do I know this helps? Because I was in this situation a few years ago.

tribpot Tue 24-Nov-15 21:46:03

You definitely need to put distance between you and this person. Change all PINs or even get new cards if you think he might have noted all the details down whilst he was in possession of it. But fundamentally stop having contact - it's harmful to you and he can't gaslight you if you ignore him.

Nothing he says is relevant. Focus on you, the one person you haven't been kind to in all this.

springydaffs Tue 24-Nov-15 22:23:37

because of my kind heart and lack of boundaries and the cash that he required to rescue him

Minimise much then op! You know as well as anyone that is codependent behaviour. It's not kindness, it's codependence. An addiction, as you know.

FantaIsFine Tue 24-Nov-15 22:41:02

Gosh um Springy if you mean I'm minimising my own input - absolutely not and I think my post makes clear I accept responsibility. Codependence I concur is an addiction which is very hard to put down AND harmfully enables a lot of others' addict behaviour. However that's why I'm posting because I'm doing my best to step out of it. And I'm fortunate to also have CoDA/similar groups to turn to. Perhaps I shouldn't have used kindness as a term although still that was where it came from at the outset.

Cheapskate unfortunately I have a recurring history but hopefully next time I will be able to tell someone to jog on. This instance is so similar to a previous it is almost embarrassing.

I haven't posted ALL details because it would be long reading but to all who have read/replied many thanks.

springydaffs Tue 24-Nov-15 22:47:53

Yes. It was along the lines of an alcoholic suggesting s/he had a little drink so as not to offend. Denial, basically.

Addiction, lifelong. Not a 'problem', an addiction. With all the hallmarks of all addictions.

Incidentally, what did your fellow CoDA members have to say about what you were doing when you were busy rescuing him to the hilt ? Did you tell them?

springydaffs Tue 24-Nov-15 22:52:40

You're making this all about him - but it isn't, is it.

Come on, op, you know it isn't. You were the one who splattered all your shit all over him, drowning him in your codependence.

I'm not excusing him - but wtf were you doing! This should be your focus, not him and his complete rubbish.

FantaIsFine Tue 24-Nov-15 23:18:39

Nope Springy I agree it is about me and like I say, I'm really doing my best to deal with the incoming anger at having started to assert boundaries which is why I posted. I fully recognise that in the past I've wedged myself fully in the victim corner - I'm working on myself.

My coda fellows hear me, but of course feedback can be harmful. I'm very happy with my friendships with them. Possibly my posting on MN wasn't wisest as I do have other resource, but I read a lot without posting and have always found it a helpful forum.

For the record, I wasn't drowning him in my codependence. My codependence was being ignited in this instance by someone heavily codependent (and recovering substance dependent) themself simultaneously gaslighting me while having met me in a psychiatric hospital also knowing the buttons to push.

Couldn't agree with you more! WTF was I doing? I'm just trying to extract myself now like I say and to learn brett behaviours. Your posts are massively insightful, have you had similar? Thanks so much for your input!

FantaIsFine Tue 24-Nov-15 23:19:10

Not Brett. Better

springydaffs Tue 24-Nov-15 23:45:40

Just know codependence when I see it. And minimising and all that stuff like denial and blaming. The usual.

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 00:02:12

Couldn't wish more that I'd known what codependence was as an issue until a year ago! And quite how terrible I was - which is truly AWFUL. I wish more people understood it. So yes in this scenario I know I'm heavily to blame but I thought that MN would be a good place to share not unlike the two (more?) threads for ladies who are on the wagon. You sound like you're actually pretty critical of addictions generally and weary of codependence as one. None are by choice.

springydaffs Wed 25-Nov-15 00:14:55

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 00:38:41

How dare you? I'm able to be open about my responsibilities, the issues I'm aware of, that I only wanted some support. You are aware of codependency? I sincerely hope none of your family or friends are seeking support from you. I have also deliberately not posted details that would de facto have caused outrage BUT IT WAS ULTIMATELY MY FAULT. Like I say I'm okay with that and I'm trying to get over a whole shit show

Gladysandtheflathamsandwich Wed 25-Nov-15 00:39:14


The OP is addressing that issue, and perhaps she posted on here because she gets tough love from her support groups and just wanted a bit of a virtual cuddle? The problem with dealing with your issues is that it hurts, you have to face up to stuff that you dont want to face up to, you have to look in a mirror and know that the author of your pain is yourself. And sometimes you just want to pretend it really is everyone else, just for a little while. Then tomorrow you take a deep breath and go back to beating your demons.

She knows that she is codependent and is dealing with that, another kicking about being what she already knows she is could be said to be not terribly helpful at this point.

OP. You did the right thing by extricating yourself from the situation and you have done the best thing financially for too. So this leaves you able to look at why it happened and what you can do to make sure that you dont do it again. Good luck

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 00:44:11

Thank you Gladys x

Gladysandtheflathamsandwich Wed 25-Nov-15 00:56:50

You're welcome smile

Take care

Garlick Wed 25-Nov-15 15:09:30

Because I'm now secure enough to actually exhibit my opinion on things and talk about MY feelings, I'm "manipulative", "aggressive", "controlling" and "scary". Mainly because the bank that I've been is now closed for business, I think.

OK, let's talk about this. Seeing that you're fully au fait with your contributions to the predicament, I'll be tougher than I'd normally be. But not as harsh as Springy.

Manipulative - You're co-dependent. Your motives are, in fact, manipulative. Far less so than they have been, I'm sure - whilst you two were dancing together, your mutual manipulations suited each other. Now you're playing a different tune (well done!) he will, of course, be pissed off and trying to get you back in the old rhythm.

Controlling - As above.

Aggressive and scary - There's no question that he sees your altered perspective as both threatening and frightening. He's telling his truth. Your big danger here, perhaps, will be fear of his fear. You must not rescue him: emotionally, financially, morally, verbally or in any other way. His rescue is his own mission, should he chose to accept it. Your mission is to rescue yourself in all these ways. Nobody else. You're not equipped to rescue anyone at all while you're rescuing yourself.

We can talk about projection, if you like, as there'll certainly be a lot of it going on in all quarters. But - for you, at this stage - I think it's unhelpful. Look to your own issues. Love yourself and build your shark cage. And cut this latest user out of your life flowers

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 18:08:32

Garlick that's an awesome post. And I agree with all of it. Thanks to everyone for input even Springy, which I think was coming from a good place even if possibly not delivered in a prize winning capacity x

springydaffs Wed 25-Nov-15 18:23:14

I do dare and wish more people in your life dared. Eg your coda group. An addiction support group is not the same as a general support group eg here. An addiction support will not tolerate denial or its bedfellow blame.

To that end I don't appreciate you attacking me personally bcs you didn't like what I had to say.

springydaffs Wed 25-Nov-15 18:36:13

I was not a consideration to deliver anything in a prize winning capacity op. You need more people like me in your life I think.

Having this guy in your life is too tempting bcs it takes your eye off your own stuff, so blinded are you by his stuff. (Addicts do that btw: find someone who is 'worse' than them they think so they can say 'i'm not as bad as that!' The next step to that is 'actually, i'm not so bad at all' - and, with an addiction in which a substance is not part of the addiction eg codependency, it is a short step to say 'codependent? Me? Nah!')

Get rid of him so you can focus on what is important - YOUR recovery.

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 19:00:50

I've GOT rid of him and I AM focusing on my recovery. If you do understand so much about codependence as you claim them you will understand the need to be encouraged to allow a codependent addict the ability to express themselves and be heard as opposed to on so many other occasions. Gladys had it right, I know what to do, I'm struggling to do it and putting these fucking boundaries in place is horrendous. I was posting for support.

Garlick also had it right and I'm not simply saying that because I "like" what they say. It isn't all cotton wool there. How are you being so wilfully convinced that your view is the truth? I'm allowed my own. And recognise my failings in the situation and have done in my posts. I'm not saying I'm faultless. I've even apologised to one (very bemused and he disagrees I had anything to do with it - I know I did) ex because I enabled his addiction to such a degree.

I think there is a vast amount of projection going on in what you are posting. Yes I dislike it but not because I necessarily disagree. I think you are attacking me because of something someone else or you had done or is doing.

FantaIsFine Wed 25-Nov-15 19:02:16

Also Garlick that article was great I'm sending to my therapist!

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