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How to stop Gaslighting

(15 Posts)
PanickyBrum1 Wed 11-Sep-19 14:30:51

My partner is great, I love her very much and most of our relationship is fantastic.

However, regularly - not constantly but maybe once every month she will 'gaslight' me.

To give an example, this morning she called me an 'idiot'. I know she did. I heard it. But I called her at lunchtime and we ended up rowing because she said I was making that up.

This happens at least once a month and I normally convince myself that I must have misunderstood or heard. But this time when it happened, I made a mental note, that it had just happened and that I'm not crazy.

I don't want to break up with my partner but I want the gaslighting to stop. How do I stop it? When I confront her she just says I'm crazy or misheard!

Shoxfordian Wed 11-Sep-19 14:32:01

Your relationship is not fantastic if she's gaslighting you

You can't change her behaviour, just your reactions to her. If you want to tolerate this then carry on

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Sep-19 14:36:08

She is not going to stop, all you can do going forward is to leave. I am sorry if that is not what you want to read but she is doing this because she can and it works for her. Gaslighting behaviour is the only way gaslighters know to manage their world. For that reason, they are not likely to respond to rational appeals to change.

Why do you not want to break up with her?. Fear of the abuser often keeps people within such relationships amongst many other reasons.
Rethink whether the relationship is worth putting up with the constant attempts to chip away at your self-esteem.

ellzebellze Wed 11-Sep-19 14:53:52

You know you aren't crazy or making it up.

I think that if you look long and hard at this relationship there will be other untoward things that your dp does or says that you haven't really noticed so far.

PanickyBrum1 Wed 11-Sep-19 14:54:35

Thanks for your answers.

I'm not going to leave her or tolerate it...

Is there a third option? ;)

Amibeingamug Wed 11-Sep-19 15:49:43

Hi OP, my partner also likes to gaslight me, well she says she doesn't like to but I'm not sure how else to explain it being a regular occurrence?

A third option is to call her out on it but to do so in a more firm manner and not to let it drop. When she gets home tonight let her know that things are not straight and you'd like an apology for her denying calling you an idiot (Not for calling you an idiot, one step at a time!)

Personally I have decided to keep the peace the best I can so do not follow the advice above. I tolerate it and just let her abuse me if I'm honest.
Unfortunately it breaks down the trust in the relationship as you can never be sure if what she is saying is the truth or something she is using to manipulate.

I'm not sure what else you could do really. Perhaps she doesn't realise how damaging it is, it may be more self preservation than malicious, it is with my partner. Point her to an article about gaslighting and explain how harmful it is.

Knowing it is happening is a big help though so you may find it easier to deal with now you are sure. I was not aware for some time and had thoughts of losing my mind and even considered suicide due to it. At least now that I know it's best to trust my instincts over her voice, so I feel a lot happier in myself.

PanickyBrum1 Wed 11-Sep-19 15:59:18

@Amibeingamug Thanks! I like your answer. I'm going to give it a go.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Sep-19 16:04:01

"I'm not going to leave her or tolerate it...
Is there a third option? ;)"

There is no third option. You either leave or stay and in turn put up with her gaslighting you. Why are you that determined not to leave her, you think she can change or something?. You're going to succeed in changing her where all others have failed?. No, it does not work like that. Such behaviours too are deeply rooted and likely learnt in childhood.

What are you getting out of this relationship?. I would ask the same question to Amibeingamug.

You, like Amibeingamug, have every right not to be abused in a relationship. You are not lesser beings even though such people like your abusers make you feel that way. Tolerating this at all and letting such people abuse you is not okay. The only acceptable level of abuse in a relationship is NONE.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Sep-19 16:08:56

Abuse like this as well is NOT about communication or a lack of; its about power and control. These people want absolute over you and amIbeingamug and their actions are in no way loving ones.

historysock Wed 11-Sep-19 16:09:54

I call it out. Every single time.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 11-Sep-19 16:13:22

Do you have children?.

What do you want to teach them about relationships and what are they learning here from you two?. They will be impacted by seeing and hearing all this as well.

Gemma1971 Wed 11-Sep-19 16:54:47

I agree with Attila about the power and control. You are being gaslit and it is abuse. Very insidious stuff.

It was done to me. He would mutter something under his breath as he walked past the dining room door... the last time I was ever with him,it was "I'm really sick of you.....". Just loud enough for me to hear it, but kind of mumbled enough - or so he thought - for him to deny it.
I stood up and followed him into the kitchen and said, "What did you just say?" He denied that he had even SPOKE. I insisted that I had indeed heard him and although I may need glasses for everything, that my hearing is perfect. He replied "WHY on EARTH would I say something like THAT???? Stop being SO RIDICULOUS!!"

So I waited for the dust to settle and a few hours later, sat him down was like casually, hey, you know. I think earlier were you trying to be sarcastic, like make a joke about being sick of having me around? He blew up, said he couldn't even believe I was making stuff up about him STILL.

And a couple of weeks before that he had sarcastically shouted at me that my cleaning skills were pathetic.... I mean you could not make this stuff up that they come out with to try and provoke you. I again had sat him down and said, hey, is this your humour these days... you know, sarcasm. He actually had the audacity to deny saying it and to ask me to explain what sarcasm was and why was I throwing all this confusing stuff at him and coming out with new labels for him.

You can never win. BUT... the big but is.... sit her down, try to discuss it when both of you are not under time pressure or work pressure etc. and just see if she is open to talking about her bad behaviour. I bet she will deny she even does it, but you can only try if you love her.

If she is willing to admit she has issues and needs counselling etc., great. If not, then there is no third option. You put up with horrible verbal and mental abuse, that in my experience got worse and "cleverer", or you free yourself from it.

Gemma1971 Wed 11-Sep-19 16:58:26

ps He used to get up before me when we were on holiday and I could hear him talking to himself, muttering away. No idea half the time what was being said, but it sounded like a mad man. Probably some of it was complaining.

It was not a sign of a mentally healthy person. Nor of a kind one. I struggled with my self-esteem because of this person trying to change my perception of reality. It is only now I am completely no contact with him that I can see so very clearly what he was doing to me.

Closetbeanmuncher Wed 11-Sep-19 23:11:53

Why would you even want to be with someone who disrespects you then denies it ever happened?

Doesn't exactly sound like a recipe for marital bliss does it??? 😶

PickingUpLicks Wed 11-Sep-19 23:15:26

Third option - gaslight them.

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