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Feminism: chat

Married a male gaslighter

13 replies

Trytobetoo · 15/02/2022 17:44

DH on the surface is Mr Wonderful, he’s handsome, kind to people, helps people when in need, helps around the house, good with the kids, never put a finger on me, or cheated however he lies, gaslights me terribly about almost everything and I’ve not felt this insecure, awful or second guessed myself ever.

He just doesn’t see it (a true gaslighter).

We have 3 children, mortgage, car, holidays, good sex life.. but I’m so torn.. being a feminist has taught me a lot over the years, this is my second marriage (no DC from previous marriage) and I know I’m worth love from someone that is compassionate and has empathy, someone that when they hurt me- regrets it and apologises but I just don’t have that and it’s a constant battle especially with very small children too.

What would you do?

OP posts:

Gingembre · 15/02/2022 20:52

Also married to a gaslighter, although I've only recently understood how pervasive the gaslighting is.

Knowing now what I do about the long term impact of chronic gaslighting, I'd leave. He will never stop unless he sees a problem, admits it's him (only him, not "Yes, but you do X" or "Yes, but you're exaggerating" etc) decides to change it AND actively goes about doing that, including enlisting help/therapy if necessary. The chances of all that happening before you're destroyed?


The only thing I'd say is that as you're not in physical danger, you may have leeway in figuring out and working towards an exit plan, if you need time for that.

But you are in a psychologically dangerous situation. And I'd highly recommend getting out asap.

What people often don't grasp about gaslighting is that every incident of it is a double attack on your self-confidence and/or self-image. Firstly the obvious making you doubt what you think/feel/remember etc. but there is also aspect of how that is done, and often it involves a direct attack on your character too. And the combination from someone you love, live with and who is supposed to love you more than anybody else, is not doubled, but exponentially damaging, increasing as the number of incidents accumulates.

Whatever you decide to do, do not place your long term mental health below his need to be constantly right and in control, because if you do, that will be both of you doing that.


Trytobetoo · 15/02/2022 22:55

I can’t express how much this means to me. Its mainly validation. I have cried my eyes out to your reply.

I am incredibly sorry you’re in a similar position.

You’re absolutely right. I look back and see it all infront of me now and if it was my daughter I’d be devastated for her with what I’ve gone through. He has since (in some odd turn of events) completely held his hands up and is researching on how to change and prepared to go to therapy.

I’m still dubious so I’ll still make future plans for me and my children. Only trouble is I’m a SAHM and he knows I’m reliant on him, which is a ridiculous place to put myself in I know this but all I’ve ever wanted is to be a mother and good one and I couldn’t carry on doing the job I was (MH and LD support worker) doing because I regularly got assaulted and worked 15 hour days, so I will see how things go and try to get myself into a better position for the DC.
Thank you once again.

OP posts:

RoyKentsChestHair · 15/02/2022 23:20

Are you saying he’s decided this evening to do something about it? Is he reading your thread? If not it’s quite the coincidence that he’s suddenly had an epiphany that he’s a gaslighting twat since you posted on here Confused. I’d make sure you change your password/delete your browsing history just in case.


LaBellina · 15/02/2022 23:23

Gaslighted do not change. Someone who deliberately mentally abuses their partner don’t just suddenly see the lights and become emotionally healthy and stable partners. The only thing progress if you can call it that is that your mental health will further decline because of their behavior Sad. Leaving is the only option


Trytobetoo · 16/02/2022 04:32

@RoyKentsChestHair yes, but after we discussed not because he’s seen MN, we don’t look at each other’s phone, he genuinely has no idea I’ve posted this. I sent him a few links and articles explaining his behaviour, he said they were awful to read but actual helpful and made him hopeful that he might learn to change his behaviour in the moments he wants to control (usually if I’ve picked up on something I’m not happy with).

@LaBellina Really? That makes me incredibly sad that he simply cannot change. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore, he said he’s willing to put the effort in to stop but I’m so low now I’m probably willing to believe any glimmer of hope. We haven’t properly seen each other in days now due to his long shifts but he’s off now so now decisions are no doubt going to be made

Thank you again for your replies

OP posts:

Whatwouldscullydo · 16/02/2022 07:03

Its horrible when they do this. I used to make my ex quite mad at times when I could prove conversations never happened

He now does it to the kids though . Then wonders why the older one can't be arsed with him


BeckyMa · 16/02/2022 07:28

I was married to a gaslighter. After leaving him I had therapy for a couple of years. I recommend it... it really helped me know myself and to be able to set boundaries in the face of other people's craziness. His gaslighting wasn't my fault, but it did leave me struggling to trust my own judgment.


LaBellina · 16/02/2022 08:39

OP please pay attention to what he does…not to what he says. I can promise you now that I’ll buy you an expensive gift but my words mean nothing if I don’t follow up on them. Now you can say he’s my partner and I trust them but isn’t that the whole point?
They have proven that you can’t trust them.
Gaslighting is the ultimate abuse of trust and the ultimate form of manipulation.
I highly doubt that someone who does this will ever change. If you decide to stay keep looking out for his actions and not what he says.


wingscrow · 16/02/2022 09:06

You cannot have a decent relationship with someone you can't trust and who is manipulating you.

Gaslighting is truly awful and meant to control and confuse the victim. It is an attack on your sanity and sense of yourself. People who routinely do this never change.

If I were you I would start making plans to leave him and have some counselling to help you process everything.


Gingembre · 16/02/2022 09:49

It is so hard OP. Why don't you do two things here.

  1. Start organising your life so you have the option to leave if you want - because you can't choose to stay when leaving isn't an option.

2. Meanwhile, take him at his word: he says he wants to change, so, obviously he will, right? He'll get onto it straight away, with fervour, because he knows it's upsetting you (the least it does, but never mind). So you'll be expecting to see serious attempts at changing and stopping the behaviour pretty soon.

Do not tell him of either 1 or 2. Do not give him anything else to weave into gaslighting.

SamphiretheStickerist · 16/02/2022 10:23

I sent him a few links and articles explaining his behaviour, he said they were awful to read but actual helpful and made him hopeful that he might learn to change his behaviour in the moments he wants to control (usually if I’ve picked up on something I’m not happy with).

Sadly, no matter what his conscious intentions, all he may end up doing is teach himself how to gaslight you better.


Gingembre · 17/02/2022 08:32

Sadly, no matter what his conscious intentions, all he may end up doing is teach himself how to gaslight you better.
This absolutely. And very say.


Trytobetoo · 17/02/2022 15:11

The more I think about it.. In all honesty coparenting with a gaslighter would probably be even harder and on top of that having to share my children 50/50 would genuinely break my heart (especially as one is a newborn), I couldn’t do it, it would be be even more detrimental to my MH because my whole life is my DC and atleast I’d be here to make sure he isn’t doing it to the children then Sad

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