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Gaslighting - is it intentional?(131 Posts)
Just discovered (via MN) the term gaslighting, my DH has been messing with my head for years, I had just put it down to his age + low IQ, but now starting to wonder if it's all a bit more sinister and manipulative. This is an example of what happened tonight (one of two incidents actually). Background: I was in a park carpark today, a young lady came into the carpark to find her car damaged by fire and what looked to be the charred remains of a vehicle next to her car.
Me: So that car that was damaged by fire in the car park today, I saw on Twitter that there was a massive car fire and the fire brigade came to put it out. I would have expected that the fire brigade would have taken the registration number of the lady’s car, passed it on to police so that they could inform her of what happened so she could inform her insurance company.
DH: Not necessarily, the reg plate was probably burned out.
Me: No it wasn’t, I saw it.
DH: But you said it was completely burned out.
Me: No, that was the other car, the car I’m talking about was next to it and damaged by the fire.
DH: But you were talking about the burned out car.
Me: No I wasn’t, I was talking about the damaged car.
DH: But you didn’t make that clear.
Me: I told you that there was nothing left of the burned out car, it’s the car that was damaged that I’m concerned about.
DH: You were talking about the burned out car.
Me: (increasingly frustrated but not raising my voice) No I wasn’t, my concern was with the woman who returned to her car to find it damaged by fire, if that happened to me I would expect that the fire brigade would have passed on details to the police so that they could contact me with all the information I need to inform my insurance company.
DH: Was there a crime committed?
Me: Well I don’t know what happened.
DH: But you said there was a crime committed.
Me: No I didn’t.
DH: You said the police should be involved therefore a crime was committed.
Me: No I didn’t, I said that the fire brigade could have informed the police so that the owner of the damaged vehicle was made aware and she could call her insurers with full details. That is what I would expect if I was the owner of the vehicle.
DH: If it was a shed that set on fire and damaged the vehicle, would you seek to sue the owner of the shed?
Me: Well, I would expect someone to inform me about the damage to my vehicle caused by a fire that wasn’t anything to do with me and if the fire brigade attended then I would expect them to inform the relevant authorities.
DH: You’re saying a crime has been committed, but what crime has been committed? You’re supposed to be a lawyer!
Me: I never said that. (Walks out of room calmly - no voice raised at any point)
DH: (Follows me out) You’re having a go at me, I’m agreeing with you, what’s your problem?
Me: No problem.
DH: Look, sorry if I’ve upset you, you’re overreacting, I was agreeing with you, I don’t see what your problem is.
Me: I’m fine. I was just trying to have a conversation with you.
DH: Well what are you having a go at me for then? I was trying to have a conversation with you too. I was agreeing with you and then you get all aggressive with me.
•NB AT NO POINT DID I GET AGGRESSIVE
Is he intentionally messing with my head or what?
Wow. I couldn't live with that type of shit twice a year even. How often does he go on like that?
It's ok if you want to leave this man. I couldn't even have a cup of tea with him.
How have you stayed, he is really argumentative. Gosh. How is your blood pressure. How many times a day/week does he do this?
I wouldn't tolerate this. I’d tell him ‘I’m not prepared to discuss this with you because you want an argument’. Then leave. Don’t interact. End the discussion.
That's crazy making. I feel slightly deranged just reading that. No way I'd be putting up with that shite! And yes it sounds intentional. Ugh.
That sounds exhausting to live with
I don't think that's gaslighting, it's not like he's trying to manipulate you into thinking things that aren't true, he's just trying to create an argument where none exists. Bloody exhausting, nonetheless
My DP used to do this sometimes and I would point out to him what he was doing; worked out after a while it was just when his mood was turning black and he was going into a depressive state, almost as if he wanted a reason to feel the way he was feeling.
However, I noticed that you commented on your DH's low IQ - have you lost respect for him or have you always felt like he's beneath you? Is this what's making his nit-picking and deliberate argumentative moods more irritating? Not saying that what he's doing isn't wrong or annoying, but that you seem to be looking for a reason for it that paints him in a rather horrible way instead of wondering if he's okay.
Whew, how exhausting. That particular conversation looked less like gaslighting and more like he started out by not listening, then when you caught him out he tried to backtrack by trying to argue about three different things at once, rather than just admit he'd been a plonker in the first place. Some people just can't bear to be wrong.
However, it doesn't make it ok and if he is arguing with you like this a lot I definitely think it's time for a chat about how that kind of behaviour makes you feel. If he is gaslighting you at other times (ie. saying you did something that you didn't do, or pretending you are mad when you saw something) then that's abuse. FWIW I think that the vast majority of abusive behaviour is intentional, but the abuser would never think of it as "abuse". IMO they justify it to themselves as rational behaviour. Just my opinion, however.
What a brilliant memory you have -annoyingly I can only remember the first line or so these arguments never happen with me.
I would say he is bullying more than gaslighting as gaslighting is more about you than another event. But he is trying to get one over you even if it involves lying and twisting what you said. Is he jealous of your superior memory?
Anyway it is nasty and he needs to stop.
It is slightly an attempt at gaslighting as he is trying to make out you said or meant things that you did not or have not.
My original opinion still stands. How can you have this in your life? My BP went up and I felt anxious a third of the way down the diatribe. No way could I live with someone that bangs on like that. He is bullying and attempting to diminish you as much as gaslighting.
How much effort you go to to try and find out why he does this to you is up to you. How much effort you go to to try and fix this part of his basic nature is up to you. I think my concern for my own health would have me trying to get away from him as far and as fast as possible.
Having those conversations must be exhausting!
He's purposely being obstinate to cover up the fact that he wasn't listening, or maybe he enjoys trying to get a rise out of you. Even someone with a low IQ would know this is not the way to have a normal conversation with someone. In any case, he's being a prick. Don't think I could put up with that.
God...I'd kill him! I would be completely exasperated by that type of conversation.,
You mention being a lawyer and that he has low iq. Is he trying to prove a point to you? Does he think that he is trying to show he's as clever as you because he can argue?
Is he threatened by you and trying to belittle you - put you in your place a bit
Whatever the reasons it sounds entirely exhausting
He sounds like he doesn't want to admit to being wrong about anything. I wonder if it's because he's got low self esteem and doesn't feel intellectually equal to you. Exhausting and annoying nonetheless.
Why would you want this level of cuntiness in your life?
Cut the fucker free and give yourself a break.
My DH had a similar style. He'll misunderstand what I'm saying, which causes an arguement because he won't accept that I meant something else and will say I'm changing my story to make myself look better! He probably thinks I'm gaslighting him ! I get so angry though. He always thinks he knows what I'm going to say next and jumps in with his version. Aaaagh!!!
I don't know about gas lighting (in that instance) but he's certainly an argumentative twat. i had similar conversations with my ex, he could escalate the most minor discussion into an argument and he'd go on and on till I gave up. Which was probably the point.
I don't think it's a low IQ thing either, it's about 'winning'
And yes I think it's deliberate, funny how a slam the door, storm off row would always coincide with football/cricket/whatever is happening at the pub.
I used to have similar conversations with my EX husband. LTB.
I’m never hit anyone in my life. Half way through that conversation I would have taken his head clean off his shoulders.
How can you live like that? He sounds like s total cunt
Sounds like my ex. Causing arguments unnecessarily. Its exhausting. Dump him.
Had an ex like this, was exhausting, he had to go!
I found that painful to even read OP, god that must be frustrating as he seems to be arguing for the sake of it.
I wouldn’t bother opening discussion/chat with this man.
Sounds like a right dickhead!!! I've had similar in the past with not just partners but friends too. I wouldn't say it's gaslighting I'd say more like a personality disorder of sorts.
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