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Is this gaslighting?

(47 Posts)
avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 13:13:49

Over the years I've had many disagreements with my dh. Overall I'd love to leave but I'm very much trapped financially.
Disagreements include him being very controlling with money and general things like him telling me that I am this that and the other.
When I speak to him he's often silent. I ask him to talk back and tbh it's been pretty unbearable during lockdown as we live remotely and it's just me him and our one dc.
I have questioned his silence and he tells me he does speak back. He doesn't.
Yesterday a new neighbour moved in, he introduced himself and my dh just stood there awkwardly. To be fair the silence does extend to other people. I said hello to the neighbour but the meeting was so awkward by now the neighbour had turned to walk off.
I said to my dh how come you didn't say hello my dh said he did say hello. I said it wasn't very social to just stand there and dh said he was sociable he spoke back he said hello. I said he didn't say anything.
He then told me my hearing isn't quite what it used to be and when lockdown ends I should get it checked.
Is that gaslighting? There's nothing wrong with my hearing. He'd now walked off annoyed.
I don't think there's much I can actually change. Just want to know I'm not simply mad I supposed.

OP’s posts: |
TooOldForThis67 Wed 17-Jun-20 13:21:05

Sounds a bit sinister or there is some thing seriously wrong with him. Sounds pretty grim anyway. Could you talk to someone you both know to find out if they have noticed anything odd?

MaeDanvers Wed 17-Jun-20 13:21:44

Yes that’s gaslighting. Blatant bad behaviour and then denying it. Which is very maddening and unsettling - and any reaction is then used to imply you are in fact mentally unwell. It’s very cruel.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 13:28:57

It is all a bit weird. Before lockdown I suppose it was the same but I was so busy with life I've just brushed it off.
He is working and on the phone all day so it's only me in silence apart from our young primary aged dc. There is no one to ask. We have no friends and hardly any contact with anyone else since lockdown. He has family but they just laugh anything I say off if I say anything and say oh well I'm sure he's not that bad.

The silence is hard. Really hard. I walk around our house once dc is in bed and have tried to keep myself occupied, before all of this I was working and that helped but I'm on furlough now.
I like to talk. I talk and sometimes he stays in the room but at the end of me talking he often just gets up and walks out without saying anything. There's no reason to it as far as I can see. Today made me angry though. Telling me something is wrong with my hearing. This to me says he knows what he's doing.

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HollowTalk Wed 17-Jun-20 13:33:26

Oh god, please, please get yourself and your dc out of that place and into your own home. It sounds incredibly depressing and it's bound to have an impact on your child.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 13:47:01

Oh I'd like to. I don't know how to. There's nowhere for me to go. CV19 made sure I am stuck here for much longer too. I don't earn much and now on 80% pay on even less. I have been applying for jobs but with dc at home I'm not sure how to go about making changes. The school haven't even confirmed if they're reopening in September yet.

My dc seems ok. They have online school and it keeps us fairly occupied and they're able to chat with their friends with it.
Dh isn't really around in the day. He works in the spare room and occasionally comes out for food. In the evening he puts the tv on and I'm in silence, well then go to bed and I'll start to talk and he says things like he doesn't understand why I start talking so late at night he needs to sleep. I'm just so tired and worn down with it all I end up just plodding along, but today I feel angry about the comment on my hearing. I don't know why that's made me so mad but it has.

OP’s posts: |
Opentooffers Wed 17-Jun-20 13:48:25

He's hiding his failing by transfering them to you by the sound of it. Has he always been so desperately introverted? Sounds like he just wants it to be him and you in life - not much joy for you being stuck with a silent man. Probably best to make steps to change and leave for your DC's sake as well as your own sanity, he will just drag you down.

MollyButton Wed 17-Jun-20 13:54:40

Get legal advice. Phone friends, even if you haven't spoken for a while. Can you contact work colleagues? They might value a chat too.

Lowlandsea Wed 17-Jun-20 14:17:18

I told an ex that he was gas lighting me and he was in shock that I was that smart to realise it. It was such a weight off my shoulders when I realised. You've definitely made the first step by speaking about it here and I would advise to start an exit plan, sort finances out, your dc, seek legal help.

AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 17-Jun-20 14:30:40

What are you getting out of this relationship now?. It sounds thoroughly miserable for you and any children also unfortunate enough to be caught up in this.

You are not mad and he is absolutely abusive towards you (and in turn your son). What you describe in your initial post is all kinds of abusive behaviour towards you. There is financial abuse and emotional abuse (the sulking/silent treatment is an example of that) and now there is gaslighting which is an insidious form of psychological abuse. Your child will pick up on all the vibes here within their home and this not the sanctuary it should be.

You are married to this man and thus have rights in law. Exercise those fully and seek legal advice asap with a view to divorce. You can do this and there is always a way out. No obstacle is insurmountable and no man is above the law here. He will make the whole process of separation and divorce as long and drawn out as possible but being free of him will be worth it. He will also continue to remain abusive after separation as well.

You cannot rely on his family to help; the rotten apple that is your H did not fall far from the rotten tree that are his own family of origin.

Womens Aid are also worth contacting here, please enlist their help to escape your abuser.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 14:43:52

He's always been an introvert but not like this. Not silent or ignoring me. The worst bit is when he's finished work in the evenings if I'm in the bedroom he'll turn the tv on and sit next to me but as if I'm not there. If I then move to the other room to watch tv he follows me and sits there. I can't make out if he wants company or is just being annoying.

Im in a new job now so don't know many people and have been furloughed. My old job was all men so didn't really stay in contact with them.
I regret not putting more effort into forming friendships now lockdown has happened but can't change that too much now. Right now my dc is doing their work and you could hear a pin drop. Doesn't help we live out the way I suppose.

I'm not sure how to speak to a solicitor without dh finding out. We have online food deliveries that he arranges, we live in the middle of nowhere and if I go for a walk it's with dc as he's working. I will try go for a walk alone in the next few days. It's raining today. My dc follows me around most of the day so no chance of a private phone call within the house.
My dh knows every penny we have as well. Not sure how much it would be to speak to a solicitor but it would also get noticed if any money left the account. I will of course try to make an attempt to sort this out though. Feels like my soul has been sapped out of me. I didn't think life would end up like this for me.

OP’s posts: |
AttilaTheMeerkat Wed 17-Jun-20 14:52:04

You really do need to get away from this man, he sounds chilling.

I would also have thought it was his idea in the main to live where you do and that was deliberate as well. Abusers like to cut off their target's outside means of support from friends and family.

Can you drive?. Boots pharmacy consultation rooms have become safe spaces for victims of domestic abuse. Can you take your phone and go there?. Abuse like you describe thrives on secrecy and you need help and support for you and the DC here to get away from him.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 15:08:40

That's helpful to know @AttilaTheMeerkat re boots.
I will take a look into that. boots is actually perfect because if he insisted on coming with me I can say I need to get some products in there and he should keep dc outside. Of course we only have one car (!)

OP’s posts: |
Agirlcalled Wed 17-Jun-20 15:57:11

The fact you say that he would come with you to boots is a flag. Or perhaps you don't drive? However if it's the norm that he would make sure he is with you when you shop and not stay home with children that's concerning. It's the little things that add up to the one huge controlling one. Note it all down. You will feel relief when you know it's not you. The following you from room to room also resonates with me...it's hard to explain how soul destroying these things are isn't it?

Eckhart Wed 17-Jun-20 16:07:01

I didn't think life would end up like this for me

It hasn't ended up like anything yet. You must get out somehow.

He ignores you when you speak, but now he's telling you your hearing is failing? He waits for you to finish speaking and then walks out without acknowledging you? That's utterly soul destroying.

And yes, it IS gaslightling.

Can you investigate to see if there's any groups doing classes/bookgroups/any-bloody-thing-at-all online currently, so that you could be having a chat with nice, normal people, rather than just being stuck in a remote place with him? You can still make new friends and contacts at the moment, so don't worry that you haven't done it before.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 16:16:38

Thanks. Yes I drive. Yes he always has to be with me. Says he'll be lonely if he doesn't come along. I haven't actually been out since lockdown began other than with dc for walks where we are but it's just fields by us.

At least the shops are open now. I will say I just want to get out to town for a bit as it's been so long, might just get dressed and spring it on him Saturday then do a runner out the house and escape for a few hours.

OP’s posts: |
avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 16:26:00

@Eckhart that's a good idea, dh stands behind me if I'm on my phone or computer. I feel like I can't talk to anyone online. In hindsight I should have made more effort on my days off when he was in the office to establish friends. His office have told him he will be wfh until January. It's not great for me,
I could try during the day when he's working my dc sits next to me and follows me around as well all day. I will try to see if I can reach out to anything.

I've told dh to stop standing behind me, I've even pushed chairs up to the wall to stop him being able to do it. It is tiring living like this. I've sat down and tried to figure out if it's possible to leave, I can't see how right now. But I think maybe planning to leave would at least set me on the right mental track.

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StrawberryJam200 Wed 17-Jun-20 16:35:40

You could use the chat facility which women's aid website has, whilst DH is working? You definitely need specialist advice. Look up Freedom Programme, especially The Jailer.

Eckhart Wed 17-Jun-20 16:54:38

The more you say, the more it sounds like coercive control:

'This controlling behaviour is designed to make a person dependent by isolating them from support, exploiting them, depriving them of independence and regulating their everyday behaviour'

a quote from:

www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/what-is-domestic-abuse/coercive-control/

It must be exhausting, OP. It doesn't sound like your life's your own at all, especially now he's home all the time.

willowmelangell Wed 17-Jun-20 17:31:55

Does he check your phone or your computer searches? Can you delete your browsing history safely?
It sounds suffocating. Does he call you if you go out in the car by yourself? If(say) you went to a shop for tampons, paracetamol, Calpol?
Can you suddenly remember, when dc are in the bath, that you need Calpol right now? Or milk or whatever. To give yourself a few minutes away?

billy1966 Wed 17-Jun-20 17:47:09

You poor woman.

Your posts are chilling.

Get the keys of the car and have them ready to go on Saturday and be gone.

Definitely go into Boots and use their service.

Your life sounds hellish.

Have you any family that you can call?

If you can get your hands on passports, pay slips and financials, please do.

flowers

RandomMess Wed 17-Jun-20 17:58:48

Could you leave and go to your family?

FilledSoda Wed 17-Jun-20 18:37:08

Dear god , he's awful.
Yes he's absolutely gaslighting you.
Get advice from woman's aid and get away safely.
Don't think you owe him an explanation or need to say anything at all.
You are not dealing with a reasonable person so dont attempt to reason with him.
I'd worry if you told him your plans he might be unpredictable and dangerous.

avacadotoastee Wed 17-Jun-20 18:50:52

Thanks I didn't know womensaid had a chat facility. That's really helpful. Because we're remote, when he has a work video call it cuts me off the internet because our internet is so bad. I have to work around when I have a moment online without him hovering about.

Coronavirus has taken away the opportunity to speak to anyone as I normally would. I don't have family. I come from a crap background.
This relationship was actually a relief to start with. But I didn't realise quite how bad everything had got until now. I've been with dh for 13 years. Now that there's no school drop offs, no activities at the weekends, no work for me. It's exposed what's left.

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StrawberryJam200 Wed 17-Jun-20 18:51:00

Remember if you want to ring women's aid (or a similar DV organisation) it may take ages to get through, so not doable in a few minutes.

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