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Have I just been gaslighted?(67 Posts)
We have a little boy who is something of a collector and has form for moving important things - keys, phones etc so that when someone is looking for them he can leap up and be the hero. He's only 5, and it's mostly cute. (Note mostly!)
DH and I have a rocky marriage. We stay together for the children, there's no sexual intimacy whatsoever and despite counselling and therapy I don't see that improving, and told him as much this week on hols. He didn't say much apart from that he didn't want us to break up but I could tell he's annoyed. He plays the role of the great and bountiful provider, and I have little say in the finances although I do have my own money.
Anyway we came back today and I was dashing around looking for my bank card as I needed to get out some cash to pay for DS's holiday club which I owed from last week. It had gone from where I thought I'd put it - in the front if the big beach bag, and instead in there was DH's sunglasses, so I knew he'd been in there. I really needed to find it but it had disappeared. I looked everywhere and then little DS said "daddy saw your card and said "hmm" and put it in his wallet." I asked DH had he seen it and he said no and then launched into a giant rant about how irresponsible I am, he wouldn't be giving me another penny as I'd already had the money for the holiday club, blah blah. So I ended up going down to the bank with ID and getting cash over the counter.
Then I came back and was tidying up and there was DHs wallet on the mantelpiece so I looked inside and there was my bank card!
I went to find DH and asked him could he explain and he laughed it off and said DS must have done it, why would he do that etc. But his wallet is quite stiff, you have to jiggle the cards to get them in and out, and now I'm suspicious. I'm going to have another chat with DS but I'm confused.
Am I being gaslighted?
You could be, yes. If your DS is correct in what he says happened, then yes, this is gaslighting.
But do speak to your DS first. Because it sounds like it could have been either them. A five year old could manage a stiff wallet I think.
That's exactly the intention. It's designed to wrong-foot you and make you doubt yourself.
I'm very sorry. Either way is not good.
If DS did it and lied to get Daddy into trouble with Mummy that's not good.
If your DH did it deliberately to piss you off that's also not good.
I'd have a serious conversation about touching other people's things being a very bad idea.
I'd put my bag somewhere DS can't access it.
I'd not tell DH where I was keeping it.
I'd consider a plan of action for the future.
TBH, I wouldn't mention it to DS any more. If your DH is gaslighting you it's not a good idea to get DS involved in the policing of it/determining what's real and what's not real, even if you manage to word it in a lighthearted or innocent way. Kids pick up on things.
You don't sound very happy in the relationship as a whole. Do you want to leave? Take away thinking about what your DH wants for a moment - what do you want?
Thankyou. I didn't expect any replies this late. I've only just allowed myself to ponder it and I feel a bit shakey. If it's DS then I can deal with that. He took his brother's goggles on holiday and I caught him stuffing them in my bag and he was told off in no uncertain terms. In that situation I think he was just being a pest.
If it was DH, that's a different thing altogether. And it would defo spell the start of the end.
What do I want Bertiebotts?
To not screw up the kids' lives by divorcing, if I can help it. To not have to face a future alone. That sort of thing.
It's not so much gaslighting, as outright lying.
Gaslighting would be if you KNEW what happened, but he was telling you what you know is wrong and you're crazy.
If you're insistant on staying with him, this is going to get worse day by day. Is that how you want to live?
Thing is, staying with someone you believe to be capable of this sort of behaviour isn't doing your kids any favours.
To not screw up the kids' lives by divorcing, if I can help it. To not have to face a future alone
Do you not think that divorcing your DH could actually improve yours and your kid's lives if it is as bad as you have described?
Do you not think that you are worth more than this?
You seem like a nice lady and TBH I don't understand why you would want to stay with someone who doesn't appear to have very much respect for you and where there is no sexual intimacy whatsoever.
I can see why you fear being alone but you could find that either you thrive when you don't have to be worrying about this kind of crap or you could (eventually) meet someone who treats you the way you deserve to be treated.
It's difficult to know for certain, which is the beauty of doing it for the gaslighter.
But from what you have said and experience, I would say 'yes, you are'. I speculate he's playing mind games to punish you for indicating you intend to break free from his control and leave the marriage.
As far as I understand, it would be unusual for a 5 year old to make up such a complex lie with 3 pieces of information. How many children his age say, "hmm" - it just doesn't sound very plausible to me. And from what I know, little children tend to be endearingly or sometimes embarrassingly candid.
Did DS lie about knowing the whereabouts of the goggles - you didn't mention that he did.
I'm assuming H heard about the goggles incident from you or DC, or that he was there when it happened. It's creepy but maybe he capitalised on that and knew you couldn't be sure your bank card's disappearance was definitely NOT attributable to your DS going through a phase of kleptomaniac tendencies. Some people's mindsets are hard to fathom.
I'm not entirely sure the best way to avoid screwing children's lives up is by raising them in a marriage which could best be described as a stand-off. They learn their relationship skills, understanding and expectations of love from you two, remember.
I do see why you'd be afraid of divorcing. Do you think being afraid is a strong reason to stay married? You husband sounds very ... patronising, and he's evidently a controlling sod. A misplaced card doesn't justify a big tirade like that, never mind the threat to reduce your income!
Whether he hid your bank card or not, he doesn't sound all that good for you. I'm sorry the counselling & therapy haven't worked (though unsurprised.) You've got some hard choices ahead.
I'm really sorry but I'm worried for you that the writing is on the wall. In addition to the possible gaslighting, I imagine you have wondered where he is getting his sexual needs met?
If the worst comes to the worst, be reassured you would get through it and there is life on the other side. It could even be a relief, for you and DC.
If it was him, he's been incredibly nasty and underhand, and manufactured a reason to shout at you. That's controlling and abusive.
So - if he thought it was DS, he still owes you an apology for the earlier rant. Because you did not lose it.
If it were genuinely DS, wouldn't he have apologized naturally when you spoke to him? Most people would, if they'd falsely accused someone and given them an unfair lecture.
It sounds like you are already facing the future alone if you are only together on paper. You don't have your H's 'back' for support. You suspect he is being psychologically abusive. And while you are still together on paper you are not free to find happiness with someone who cares about you. Do DC experience a content mum?
Where did DS learn this behaviour from, I wonder?
I totally get why you're worried about the effect of divorcing on your DC but I think most of us underestimate how much they pick up from what sort of relationship their parents have as they grow up. From what you've said I would be more worried about what your DC is likely to see (and more than likely emulate as an adult) if you stay together than the temporary upset of you splitting up. I do think it's possible to stay together 'for the children' if you are at least friends but what you're describing doesn't sound friendly, it sounds antagonistic and possibly abusive on his part and mistrustful and uncomfortable (at best) on yours. I think you have to fast forward the alternative outcomes in your mind, 5 years from now if you stay together how bad will things be between you and what will DS be witnessing by then and 5 years time having split and made new (hopefully happy) lives apart, with DS having got used to you parenting separately and with both his homes being peaceful and free from conflict and bad atmospheres. I know which I would choose for my DD if push came to shove and I was being ranted at for something my DH had potentially set up just so he could browbeat me. It sounds like you're heading in that direction anyway OP but I would most definitely be on my guard for more incidents like this and, if there are more, I completely agree it's the beginning of the end
H's iron grip on the family purse strings, refusing to give you another penny to pay for DS childcare FFS, indicates financial abuse too. Do you have knowledge of all the finances? Do you have access to statements whenever you want?
daddy saw your card and said "hmm" and put it in his wallet.
Agree that this sounds like the truth, for the reasons others have said.
I agree with kickass. If he genuinely thinks it was DS he owes you an apology. I suspect from the tone of your OP he has financially abusive tendencies. I have trouble getting cards in and out of my tightly packed purse. Does DS have the motor skills to pull off this particular heist?
Also the timing is suspicious. You recently told him something he didn't want to hear about his marriage. Now he's found a way of berating you about money. Keep 'em peeled for more excuses to berate/ belittle/ undermine you.
My parents divorced when i was young. They are both happily married to other people.
I'm much happier and have learnt more about happy relationships because they are happy. I'm not screwed up .
Your husband is controlling and lying/gas lighting. This is not going to get better.
The timing of your Hs actions are deliberate and you're being lied to by your H. He is really nasty to drag your son into it as well. If your DH had not seen your bank card then how is it that it is in his wallet?. Also you need a fair degree of manual dexterity to put a card into such a slot.
I would think your DH took your bank card for his own purposes (to stop you paying for this kids club) and your son saw what his dad did. Your son has no reason to lie to you, after all as his mother you are the apple of his eye and represent stability to him. He wants your approval. Your H put your bank card in your wallet, not your son.
Do not stay together for the sake of the children; all that teaches them is that a loveless marriage will be their norm too. Is that really what you want for your children?.
What do you get out of this relationship now?. If you are only there because of the children what does it teach them?
What do you think your children are currently learning about relationships here, that yes this is how people treat others in relationships?. Divorce does not necessarily mess children up, its parents staying for far too long in marriages and for their own reasons that should have ended years earlier that really does the emotional damage.
You state that you do not want to be alone, I argue that you are pretty much alone now in your marriage.
What did you learn about relationships when growing up, what sort of an example did your own parents set you?.
Joint counselling in particular is never recommended when there is abuse of any type within the relationship. It is of no surprise to me at all that counselling and therapy has had no effect; your DH does this to you because he can. Men like him hate women, all of them.
Better to be apart than to be so badly accompanied as you are now.
I would be talking to Womens Aid on 0808 2000 247 in your particular circumstances and start planning your exit from this marriage.
It doesn't matter who did it. You asked your DH where your card was and he ranted at you as though you're a naughty child. In a normal loving relationship your DH would have just helped you to look for it. He's a dickhead. Tell him to fuck off.
Thankyou all. I've just had a little chat with DS and now he says he made it up and he didn't see daddy move it.
He has very poor motor skills - to the point he's under an OT and there's no way he could have got that card into DHs wallet. And that means then that DH looked me in the eye and lied. God I'm confused.
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