Advanced search

Gaslighting or bad memory?

(16 Posts)
ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 14:06:00

How can you tell the difference?

I have a family member (early 30s) I’ve suspected of gaslighting me over the years which leaves me feeling a little crazy - always in petty arguments or when I’m trying to fix a disagreement, when they are so sure about points of fact that make them right and me wrong. Last week he even claimed I’d said something I hadn’t the previous day with such convinction I even checked the (WhatsApp) Chat we’d had only to find once again I was right.

But I’ve also noticed he has a bad memory generally whereas I have quite a good one (I think). There are other times where I’ve mentioned things when we’re not fighting and he doesn’t quite remember or gets details wrong, and often gets details wrong when telling stories (wrong month, wrong sequence of events etc)

Could bad memory be to blame?

It still makes me feel bad when it happens regardless but I’m interested in views

ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 14:07:53

NB: I’m also trying to distance myself from him as he’s quite random and constantly blowing hot and cold with attention as well but that’s a whole other story.

TwistinMyMelon Wed 12-Jun-19 14:09:00

Gaslighting. People with bad memories don't invent things that didn't happen

FurlongFurl Wed 12-Jun-19 14:12:00

aspergers? some kind of low level autism? narcissistic?

I think many of these conditions sometimes create a kind of skewed reality, or strange sense of time.

I would say (though I am not an expert by any means) that aspergers type outlook can also lead to "defensive" lying as they often have to be right, so their memory is selective.

OneTownsVeryLikeAnother Wed 12-Jun-19 14:12:54

I have a similar situation with a relative, they would actually swear on their life that something happened that didn't happen or vice versa. Even if you showed them evidence ie a photograph they'd then say you'd doctored it or whatever. I think they genuinely have a shit memory, but they think they have an amazing memory!
For me gaslighting is a deliberate tactic to make you feel as if you've gone crazy. With the bad memory people I don't think it's deliberate as such, more that they cannot bear to be wrong and their bad memory is part of that.
I've given up arguing with my relative now, I just agree with them.

ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 14:20:38

I have my suspicions about bpd but that’s just my theory

ravenmum Wed 12-Jun-19 14:47:52

My ex would do this, and like someone else said I'm pretty sure he believed he was right. He was always right. We once did a dance course, and some time later we danced at an event. He was annoyed with me for getting it wrong and starting on the wrong foot. When I reminded him of the rule the dance teacher had told us for starting on the right foot, he was totally confused, as it clashed with what he thought was right. He could not get his head around the fact that he might be remembering it wrong, at all. He also found it very easy to convince me that he was right, unfortunately.

ravenmum Wed 12-Jun-19 14:50:10

There were other times he would tell people stories that were wrong, about what we had done - and afterwards when I pointed out it was wrong he would honestly not remember it. He wasn't using the stories to manipulate anyone, they were totally inconsequential, so it clearly wasn't gaslighting but simply thinking he was right.

FurlongFurl Wed 12-Jun-19 14:59:27

do you mean Borderline or Bipolar, OP?

OneTownsVeryLikeAnother Wed 12-Jun-19 16:00:53

I think gaslighting is something more sinister rather than someone who just has to be right at all costs.
An example I read in a novel was re-arranging a cutlery drawer so the forks and knives swapped places, then insisting they'd always been that way round, a day or so later swapping them back again.

ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 20:51:41


I suspect borderline personality disorder.

Yeah it’s not things like swapping the knives and forks just making up stuff to criticise me or ‘win’ an argument.

ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 20:56:04

Or misremembering cause and effect. For example he once said something horrid to me so I didn’t attend something with him. He later said that he only said the horrid thing BECAUSE I’d not attended the thing

ClementineSalad Wed 12-Jun-19 20:57:20

raven your ex sounds like a real pain

Mummoomoocow Wed 12-Jun-19 21:11:05

I am the bad memory/event mis-rememberer you guys are describing.

FWIW memory is really fickle and you don’t remember the event but you remember memory from the last time you remembered it. It’s chinese whispers with your brain. For people like myself, remembering something can have holes that unnoticeably get filled with information. This causes a clash of events sometimes and can cause offence to someone. However, with my partner mostly, he understands my terrible memory and there are times I’m desperately sure that he’s gaslighting me as he’s the one that always needs to be right. But how can you defend yourself when your memory is usually poor and theirs isn’t?

Everyone has a different POV and everyone’s brain works so differently. Always assume ignorance before malice. You cannot view through their mind with their own systems and pathways (and insecurities)

I’m pretty sure anyone you know would be defensive over what’s essentially their sanity. What are we if not the memories that make us?

rosabug Wed 12-Jun-19 21:56:22

Some people have a profoundly different relationship to the truth than others. It can be a marker between extrorevtism and introversion.

Mt ex partner was an extrovert and a real performer, often meaning he would embellish anecdotes to be funnier etc. I hated the way he would bend the truth - but people liked the laffs. Thing is, because of years of attention the truth was not that important to him in itself. So things would be remembered and recalled in a way that was more dependent on the (his) preferred outcome. He was also an extreme dissembler. It used to drive me crazy, Crazy.

I don't know what to say - it's very difficult to win with these types. Personality disorder?? I hate these easy labels - he just sounds an utter pain. The next time you are in an altercation - take him down if you can prove it, and scare him shitless. So he knows what the truth actually is, and that you will accept no less. But don't squabble - be the righteous queen of truth!

ClementineSalad Thu 13-Jun-19 00:37:40

mum that’s a great perspective thanks

rosa I know people like this also. It’s amazing how memories morph over time isn’t it

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »