Not all relationships feel like a cozy warm blanket; some are like entering a boiling pot. Unfortunately, I was once with someone that made me feel that uncomfortable. I always felt on edge; every time I did something, my boyfriend would try to convince me that I was in the wrong and I needed to change to become a better person. Everything I did was incorrect.
At the time I didn’t understand his “perspective” on why he didn’t like the things. When the relationship ended, I had time to reflect, and realized this was all gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a tactic used to manipulate someone into second-guessing their feelings, sanity, memories, and judgment. It is a type of psychological bullying; the person who is gaslighting, the gaslighter, is breaking the other person’s identity to control them.
Sit back, and read my journey of being gaslit.
Before my boyfriend became my boyfriend, he and I were great friends. After eight months of friendship, we started dating. He was sweet, sensitive, and empathetic when I first met him…so I thought. After the honeymoon stage, I noticed he was getting upset with me a lot over what I would consider small things.
One Friday, my boyfriend wanted me to sleepover at his place, but I wanted to get ahead on my homework at home since we were going to spend Saturday at the pool. When Saturday hit, he picked me up at my place, and he seemed upset. I asked him multiple times why he was troubled. His first response was saying he was fine, and the last replies were just silence. At the pool, he was giving me the cold shoulder. I tried to strike up a conversation with him, but he wouldn’t answer. After swimming, I had enough of his attitude and confronted him about it. He wouldn’t tell me his problem in person for some reason. When I got home, he texted me that he was disappointed in me that I didn’t understand him. He postulated that I should have predicted what he was upset about. On top of that, he compared me to his ex-girlfriends, saying his past girlfriends knew what he wanted, and I didn’t.
When I heard this, I thought he drank some chlorine water from the pool. I explain to him I’m not a mind reader, and he needs to communicate with me. After our conversation, he gave me the silent treatment for several days.
This wasn’t the last time my ex-boyfriend would try gaslighting me. Before COVID-19, I used to throw Halloween parties. Before the party started, I called him up, asking if he was coming. He told me he didn’t know, so I continued setting up. Two hours into the party, I decided to grab the hot food from the oven. After, I checked my text messages, and I notice my boyfriend called and send me a bunch of text messages. He was upset at me for not answering. He claimed he waited for 30 minutes for me and said I looked busy… he decided to go home since I couldn’t respond. His text said “I looked busy” so I assumed he entered the house. I asked my friends who were watching the door for me while I was cooking if anyone came inside, but they responded that no one had. I was baffled. I tried calling him, but no answer. He was ignoring my calls, meaning he was probably furious. I decided to deal with him later and continue hosting my party. The next day, I called him and he actually picked up. I apologized for not answering my phone. I explained to him didn’t want to burn the food. He didn’t respond to my apology. So, I asked him if he came inside the house, and he said no. After, I asked him if he rang the doorbell when he arrived. He said no. Then I asked him if he knocked at the door, and his answer was also no. Basically, he was waiting for me in the car. He has been to my parties before and rang the doorbell, but this time he didn’t. I got mad at him for pulling this stunt. I told him people ring the doorbell or knock on the door when they arrived at a party. I explained if he didn’t feel like attending, he should have told me the truth. He just said okay and didn’t talk to me for a couple of weeks. I figured out he gives me the silent treatment whenever I don’t fall for his gaslighting tricks.
I learned a lot from this toxic relationship, and I can easily recognize when I am being gaslit now. When someone is trying to gaslight me, I believe the gaslighters are trying to make me feel guilty and confused. They are trying to belittle me for something that’s not my fault or convincing me to do something I wouldn’t want to do.
Gaslighting signs are a lack of logic, attempts to shift guilt, and the creation of a constant feeling of unease. The gaslighter gets upset over small, often random things, which can easily be prevented or fixed.
From my experience, when confronting a gaslighter, it resulted in the silent treatment, and the gaslighting didn’t stop. Ignoring didn’t help either because the abuser will continue to manipulate. The best solution is to cut them out of your life. They can’t gaslight you if you’re not there.
If there is any emotional scarring from being gaslit, then I would recommend seeing a professional. A professional has the tools to give you the help you need to deal with this type of abuse.