Gaslighting

Woman covering face with hands, looking downGaslighting is a colloquial term that describes a type of psychological abuse in which the abuser denies the victim’s reality, causing him/her to question him/herself, his/her memory, or his/her perceptions. The term gaslighting is also sometimes used to apply to the use of inflammatory behavior or language that provokes someone to behave in an uncharacteristic way.

What Is Gaslighting?

The term originates with a 1938 play called “Gas Light.” In the play, a woman’s husband tries to convince her that she is mentally unstable by making small changes in her environment—for example, by insisting that the gas lights he dimmed do not look dim to him and by hiding her belongings.

Gaslighting is often used an abusive tactic by those with narcissistic and psychopathic personalities, and it can happen without actual environmental manipulation. The aim of the abuse is to make the victim doubt his/her perception of reality, and gaslighting tactics can be entirely verbal or emotional.

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Often, victims of this abuse may start out by challenging the perpetrator, who then turns the situation around by gaslighting them. In doing so, he or she causes the victim to question themselves and in doing so, draws attention away from the abuse. For example, someone might claim that his or her partner engaged in name-calling, yelling, or breaking of that person’s possessions. The partner might avoid taking the blame with gaslighting techniques such as denying that the events ever took place, or pointing out that other person’s transgressions were at fault.

An individual may gaslight another by:

  • Refusing to listen to any concerns or pretending not to understand them.
  • Questioning his or her memory, denying that events occurred in the way the victim (accurately) remembers.
  • Changing the subject to divert the victim’s attention from a topic, trivializing their concerns.
  • Pretending to forget things that have happened to further discredit the victim.
  • Denying events have taken place, claiming that the victim is making them up

Gaslighting may also be subtler or even unintentional. Dismissals such as “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” and “Come on, it was just a joke!” are less obvious forms of emotional manipulation that, when offered in response to a valid reaction, have the effect of conditioning others into believing their emotions, reactions, and feelings are not valid and are, in fact, excessive.

Effects of Gaslighting

Gaslighting can have catastrophic effects for a victim’s psychological health, particularly when gaslighting occurs over a long period in a close relationship. The process is often gradual and can seem harmless at first, but eventually, victims may begin to believe they are the cause of the perpetrator’s aggression. They may also question their own perceptions, stop seeking help, withdraw from friends and family, and become more dependent on an abuser, both because he or she now defines the victim’s reality, but also because the victim may come to fear that others will believe in the abuser’s version of reality and consider the victim to be mentally unstable.

DC1-02-gaslightingBecause this form of abuse often leads to increased dependence on the perpetrator, those who are being abused may blame themselves and experiencing difficulty in leaving their abuser. People who are victims of gaslighting may behave in ways that cause them to appear unstable because they have learned that they cannot trust their perceptions and cannot count on the validation of their thoughts or feelings. They are also less likely to continue to voice their emotions and feelings, knowing that they are likely to be invalidated.

Recognizing Gaslighting

Often, once an individual recognizes that someone is using gaslighting techniques, he or she may be able to regain faith in their own reality and perceptions. A person who has been a victim of gaslighting may benefit from reforming any relationships he or she pulled back from as a result of being abused. Having the trust and support of others can help reinforce trust in oneself and may also help provide the courage needed to break unhealthy bonds. Those who have experienced gaslighting may also wish to seek therapy in order to reinforce their sense of reality.

References:

  1. Firth, S. (n.d.). What is gaslighting? The Week. Retrieved from http://theweek.com/article/index/239659/what-is-gaslighting.
  2. Gaslighting. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Gaslighting.html.
  3. Tracy, N. (n.d.). Gaslighting definition, techniques and being gaslighted. Healthy Place. Retrieved from http://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted.
  4. What Is Gaslighting? (2014, May 29). Retrieved from http://www.thehotline.org/2014/05/what-is-gaslighting.

Last Updated: 08-7-2015

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  • mary

    August 13th, 2014 at 9:19 AM

    a great article

  • Ellen

    April 2nd, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    I would like to know if “gas lighting” is intentional or such an integrated part of this mental condition that is just how a narcissist behaves. Do they have malice of forethought?

  • Thomas D

    April 4th, 2015 at 4:27 PM

    Yes. People who Gas Light others are doing it intentionally. They do it in order to control the individual or disrupt the person’s mental state to the point where they are no longer regarded as being of sound mind.

  • Thomas D

    April 4th, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Watch this movie…

    imdb.com/title/tt0036855/

  • JULIE S

    April 9th, 2015 at 3:39 AM

    Errie to read this when you have been a target.

  • Nicole

    April 14th, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    I broke free from my sons father a huge overt narcissist who was using all of these techniques. As soon as I got away from him, another narcissist found me when I was at my weakest and now I’ve been caught up in his secrets, lies and manipulations, false realities, false truths(even worse than before). The second time around has been worse, back to back abusers have taken a toll on me, but I am taking my power back. The second “Narc” is a covert, sneaky one and full of secrets and lies…much worse than the grandiose, overt one I encountered prior (my son’s father). These people will ruin your life and take your soul. Only option is to run very far away. I am so glad I have started to educate myself. Articles like these help lots.

  • Shary

    May 6th, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Good article. When a person recognizes gaslighting, it becomes the harmless load of horse manure that it really is. This makes the task of getting rid of the gaslighter a lot easier. Such people are not and never will be candidates for a healthy relationship.

  • Ron

    May 19th, 2015 at 12:02 PM

    I have been gas lit. I woke up one day to realize that everything I believed in was false. I didn’t know the answers to anything. I didn’t even know what questions to ask. I was lost. I walked around for a month in my grief trying to understand anything or everything. I had wasted my last 9 years of my life working and building something in a relationship that just didn’t exist. Wow am I crazy??? I had a thought about three weeks ago that confirms everything that I have read about gaslighting. It was what a man I was when I first traveled this road to her place. I wish I was that man again. I feel very uneasy when I go there now because that is where the abuse took place. I was gaslit by my wife, her three children, her sister, brother and father. I have only found this term of gaslighting 2 days ago but everything that I read answers questions that I felt but couldn’t ask

  • Ron

    June 23rd, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    It’s been a little over a month now since I wrote the article and realized what gas lighting is. I feel anger at myself for letting this happen. The knowledge of being gas light has helped tremendously. I found that it doesn’t do any good to try to communicate with the person that was gas lighting you – about gas lighting. They’ll try to gas light you about being gas light! Denial seems to be her defense. I also watch other defenses of being the perpetrator to depressed and down trodden to the victim. What a mess this is. Gas lighting isn’t working for her on me any longer

  • Gary

    June 22nd, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    Well, well…..

    My wife lies to me, every day, and with almost everything she says. She has no idea of the damage this causes, or if she knows, doesn’t care.

    A couple of months ago, she shoved our dog away from leaping on our daughter, but when I said it was up to our daughter to look after herself, my wife told me flat out that she had NOT touched the dog. Nothing major – just an example of my total unreliability on reality.

    Because she is my wife, I believe what she says, and I seriously have been slowly going crazy. My reality is tempered by her lying, and she cannot stop. I try to reconcile her statements with what I see, and the two are incompatible.

    Issue is – I love her when she is not lying. It is periodic, and I suppose when she is feeling good about herself it stops. I do not want to lose her – naturally the courts will believe her bullshit and I then lose my kids as well.

    What do I do?

  • Ron

    June 23rd, 2015 at 11:22 AM

    Thanks

  • James

    June 25th, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    Thank you so much for this article. I just discovered this term today. I ended a relationship with an emotional terrorist just three days ago. I am thinking so much clearer already. The pretending not to understand tactic was the one he used the most on me. Basically playing dumb and making me explain every detail of every decision I made. Then questioning me further. I was so tired of explaining the same things over and over. It made me feel like I was being mean because I would tell my friends what a dumb ass he was because he couldn’t keep up with my logic and reasoning. But now I see how that person was using gaslighting as a tactic to tire me out mentally and emotionally to the point that I would submit. I had told my mom two years ago I thought I was in emotionally abusive relationship and ended it then. But I went back for more. Then ended it again in February. So I went back twice to the gaslighter. Never again. Onward and upward!

  • Jennifer

    June 29th, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Wow!! A friend recently told me about gaslighting. I looked it up on the internet. How scary! This happened to me years ago, and has happened to me for the last five years. I dated this guy who, when I looked at his dating history, dates newly separated women. Little did I know, but he was carrying on relationships with a few women at the same time he was engaged to me. The most horrifying thing was that these women all knew he was with me. I suppose they were all being galighted, as well. He would deny doing things or saying things that I actually witnesses. I would have temper tantrums, practically stomping my feet, saying the things DID occur. He would just sit there calmy, smiling, saying they didn’t. It took me a long time to get over him. I continued to date narcissists, even one who could not say “I love you”. Instead, he said that when he kissed me on the forehead, that meant that he was saying “I love you”. Hilarious, looking back. I just recently ended a five year relationship with yet another one. He just played dumb all the time. In the end, he would just say things that he knew were pushing my buttons. He would sit there with a smile on his face, knowing what he was doing. He seemed to say, with his smile, “Mission accomplished”. It’s frightening what people are capable of doing. Good luck, everybody. I have a long road of recovery… again.

  • Teresa

    June 30th, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    I was in a 22 year relationship with a np.The things he had done and was continuing to do to me were unfathomable. I lived with a man I never really knew. The truth was devastating. I’m still in a state of total disbelief. I have children with him so I can’t do the no contact rule.He is pure evil. People don’t believe you because it just seems impossible than anyone could be living the life they do.

  • jkm

    July 1st, 2015 at 9:42 PM

    well the thorn and resistance grows bigger doesn’t it? That’s what they don’t understand… It’s sick what some people do to others…. In the USA people are shallow it seems and treat other people as used furniture to use and when they are done throw away unless the person recognizes it and dumps them. People will drive you into debt and work evil and attempt to plunder you and profit and hurt you in every way and follow you where you go for no other reason or befriend you for no other reason…And there’s a lot of Gas lighters who can only think what’s in it for me? If there wasn’t anything to gain they’d bypass you and go to someone else to do it to. If you seem like someone who will put up with everything it makes you a target of abusive men.. If you resist and stand up for yourself and values and refuse to tolerate abuse it makes you less attractable to abuser men and sociopaths.. Have you read Dr. O’Hare sociopath next door… A lot of the abuser type charismatic abuser types are indeed dangerous sociopaths… If he’s abusive to you then apparently he is a danger to not only you but your kids too and shouldn’t be near them or you…

  • jkm

    July 1st, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    It’s love, care, consideration, manners, respect, dignity, ethics, good actions, deep meaningful relations not shallow users, good behavior and treatment not provocation not coerceration, not gas lighting not abusive treatment that shrinks the thorn people wear to protect themselves from being trampled and abused… Its people who are hurt that generate thorns to protect themselves and who hurt others even sometimes…. I cant believe how shallow and back stabbing two-faced liars, and users of people and gas lighters and ever abuse there is is practiced by people in the general population, spouses, even the so called professionals in the USA practice such actions to others…. Well I can make my own medicine and don’t need the lousy so called professional doctors for anything… The truth of the matter is people are better off without the trashy users, shallow abusers, gas lighters and every negative behaved abuser person there is , leave them for other abusers and people just like themselves…

  • Ron

    July 2nd, 2015 at 9:30 AM

    Question: do we try to fix our relationships or do we move on to create another? It seems so hard to end this relationship! Why? I know it’s not healthy for me. She can’t be honest with me. Just found that she’s carrying 2 personal phones and has been for months. She’s living a double life?? What happened to honesty? How can I have trust?

  • Ron

    August 29th, 2015 at 12:53 PM

    Update to the gas lighting:
    I am still in the relationship. I have gained confidence back in myself and my beliefs. I have figured out that I don’t have trust issues because I willfully admit I have no trust. The only thing I trust is what comes from the little voice inside. It is my lie detector and my drama separator. I feel that I now look at things and situations from a position outside of what is going on. My beliefs and involvement come from a decision I make and not from a situation I was coursed into by duress of the outcome. Life isn’t great but I feel like I’m studying and learning from the situation as time goes on. She still lies, attempts to deceive, and manipulate. I don’t think she knows that these flaws are being intentionally disregarded and ignored. I have been working on fixing me now for about eleven months

  • Christina

    December 12th, 2015 at 3:14 PM

    Ron,I am in a similiar situation. I am just now learning about narcissist behavior and gaslighting. All the techniques used, I can relate to. I am understanding my wife more. My heart wants me to work through it. My head tells me I deserve better. Thank you for your share.

  • caro

    August 28th, 2015 at 8:39 PM

    I had never heard of the term before. Even though i am reading this in an emotional state, just knowing there is a term for it makes me feel less crazy.

    The man I have been dating for 4 years has lied so often it feels like it was my fault for letting it happen. Yes i love his personality when we are on good terms. But after the first lies, every time i suspected something and called him out, he would make me feel crazy for even thinking it. He would tell me i was reading into little things too much and basically made me doubt all my instincts and feelings. Ive always been emotional but with him i would overreact, have outbursts, yell and break down constantly and felt like i was going insane.

    Reading this article i realize gaslighting has left me with no sense of self and a distorted view or our reality. Im hoping to cut ties for good. I will no longer try to fix him and our relationship. Hopefully i can regain some confidence and self-worth.

  • Maria

    October 20th, 2015 at 9:17 PM

    I was in an abusive relationship for years with gaslighting. There was physical abuse as well but the emotional manipulation attached to it was devastating. At times I actually felt like it was my fault. He would leave bruises on me and ask me “how did that happen?” He would constantly play the victim, and ask me how could I force him to treat me that way. So evil. I’m just grateful I survived.

  • Darcy

    December 4th, 2015 at 2:58 AM

    Oh wow! wow. I am only wondering why haven’t I heard of this term before. My first love, or so to say, did that. but I had no idea. not until now. that there was a term for it. And he left. Leaving me behind, thinking that it was all my fault. He has control issues, his way or the highway. And it kinda seemed harmless at first, but Im not sure if I am feeding it by going with it. But 2 years after leaving, 2 years that took everything in me to move on, he comes back. Stronger than what I was for sure, but I am not sure what to do. He is on to those techniques again, and I have moved on. But I don’t know what to do.

  • Diane L

    December 13th, 2015 at 8:53 AM

    I have to know how to not react to the husband and son that do this to me. I didn’t know that they were I just know I have been going so deep inside myself that I do not even feel anymore. I am numb and my eyes do not shine. What’s the anecdote against loved ones that GASLIGHT

  • Beverly

    January 9th, 2016 at 2:11 PM

    I am a current victim of Gaslighting
    And now that we are getting divorced he continues even though he’s the one to move on
    He still controls time, by manipulating and having me arrange conference call this morning and he won’t take the calls
    So fed up !!

  • Ron

    February 27th, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    Update:
    I’ve gotten my wife in a twelve step program. It’s been very interesting! Honesty was non existant. Open mindedness her version. Willingness when it suited her. I sat back patiently waiting and watching. She was involved for about 13 months when a new comer approached her for help and she realized that she really didn’t have anything to give. That was the beginning of her working the program. Up to this point she walked around with her self richeous omniputant attitude. Feb 16 I separated from her and moved out. The rest is yet to come. I don’t know what the outcome will be. She’s sounding different now but that may be another con.

  • toi

    April 2nd, 2016 at 10:06 AM

    This site is such an eye opener. I have been with a gaslight for 5 years now. We have known each other for 25 years as friends. He was there for me thru my first gas light relationship with my kids father of 15 years. I began to confide in him as a friend 3 years after after my breakup only to be told he had been attracted to me during our friendship of 25 years which I believe was a con now that I am familiar with gas lighting. We seemed to be so in love the first 2 years. I often thanked him for being the special man he was to me. Then gradually things began to take place such as him putting me down after I expressed to him my insecurity of my weight gain from a preexisting hormonal condition I developed along with depression from my prior relationship. He started out making passive jokes that he claimed not to see the insult in them. Following that was jabs at me being emotionally unstable and insecure from things that had nothing to do with him to the point he began to criticize me for not being woman enough when I know in my heart I have ALWAYS been good to the men I have been with until I began to be not good enough for him. He even started to tell me that other women looked better than me and that I needed to be a better woman because after dealing with so many he was able to recognize that I was not of much value.he wold then come back later and say I took his words the wrong way and called me petty.we started arguing all the time to the point I developed so much hate in my heart for him for making me feel so low and insecure.yet I still loved him and wanted to work it out somehow. How is that even possible to want? 3 days ago we had our last argument that was so HUGE to the point that I told him he should die instead of his mother almost coming close to dying in an accident that she had. He then called me a fat as b**** after accusing me of saying his mother should hve died when nothing like that was ever stated at all. I happen to love his mother dearly. I feel as though he used that argument to say what he has been feeling for years. Im not an extremely overweight lady.i am just a lot bigger than what i used to be and it has caused me to be insecure for so long behind it. I told him there was no coming back from what he said and i would nvr speak to him again but i love him so much which I know is sick and twisted. Even though I love him I don’t want to continue being told I am causing him to mistreat me because I know I can do better.i just need advice on how to overcome the damage I have developed from being gaslight for so long in two relationships back to back. I hve started to believe a lot of things they told me when I know it’s not right to believe that I’m less of a woman,petty,emotionally unstable,a nagger,evil, dumb,stupid, and slow. Please help if anyone understands what I am going through.i hve always been so happy, strong, and in control but now it seems I have really lost myself. I don’t know what to do or how to feel. Today was the first time I learned at gaslight in and I am so grateful I found this blog.

  • Lovelymom

    April 3rd, 2016 at 9:49 AM

    Reading this article and the comments afterward have left me feeling so many things, the most powerful is the desire to be able to reach through the computer and give each of u a hug. Since I can’t do that, I will instead briefly share my story/background, and then share what I hope will be some good advice that may help some of you. (just to avoid any misconseptions, I am not a therapist or any type of counselor, just a fellow human who has lived through this and come out on the other end a happier and mentally healthier individual). I was raised by my mom and adoptive step father (or dad as I will refer to him to save caracters). My parents were both physically and mentally abusive, dad preferred the physical and mom was extremely gifted at the mental abuse. She used the gaslighting technique so skillfully that I grew up thinking I was crazy. Just as example of how good she was, between me, teachers at school and others, there were 42 times that children’s services investigated my dad for abuse, and every time my mother worked her magic to make me and my younger sister convince the case workers that I was the problem, that I had mental health issues, and the only thing that came out of those investigations was that I was sent to therapy. Once I turned 18 and got away from them I immediately moved in with boyfriend, got married and had kids. For the u years I was with him, he did the same thing. He was also extremely gifted at it, and even convinced me at one point that I was bi curious, all in an effort to try to have a 3some! My divorce was messy and long, but was finally ended after a 4 year battle over the kids. It has been almost 15 years since then, and I am happily married, my kids are all adults and very happy, stable, and have their heads screwed on straight. So, here is my advice…. RUN! Get away from them as fast as you can. The only exception is if you are married with kids. If so, you need to pretend that they are still controling you, but only for as long as you need to gather you evidence. Hide video carmeras and catch it on film. Do whatever you can to document their treatment of you, and then RUN! Once you are away from them, the only way to heal fully and learn how to avoid these types of people in the future is to get into therapy with a good counselor. And the last piece of advice I can give is to allow yourself, or even require yourself to be relationship free for a good chunk of time while you are doing your healing. Trust me, this will be the best thing you can do for yourself. And you deserve to put yourself first, learn to trust yourself again, and learn that you are just right, you are not too much and you are enough, and don’t ever let anyone ever make you feel like you are too much or not enough ever again!

  • Flea

    April 22nd, 2016 at 1:49 PM

    Ive never felt compelled to pour my heart out online before… I dont even do facebook.
    I am five days out of a relationship with what I strongly suspect to be a NPD’er, who gaslighted me… He dumped me… in the street, literally.. that’s where he did it, (minutes after he dumped me in the street, he emailed my sister who he has never met (living 9000 miles away) to advise her that she should reach out to me to support me through it) Not normal, right? we live together, and in the last days has “informed” me of where I will be living, with who and that we will be friends eventually… he has notified me that the break-up is “all my fault as my insecurities have exhausted him” and that I “will never be happy” as I require “so much therapy”. I have disputed these things, told him that I have no desire to see him ever again after he leaves (the date of which he has determined – and stretches out over a month away) – but it doesnt matter, he wont hear it because I am just so “reactionary” right now, “I will see that hes right” .
    so… right then – we will see wont we, this man has underestimated me. I will look him in the face, I will be respectful and kind and I will dance (to Beyonce) the day he is gone. Six days ago I truly believed I wanted to marry him, in the last five days this man has been dismissive, cruel and unrecognizable, while (he believes this is secret) scheduling/prepping his next Narcisstic Supply.
    Advice? I wrote myself a list, just to settle things in my head… was he right? were the things I brought to his attention so very innocuous, that for him to have to “deal” with them was so ridiculous… I wrote this list, and made it as objective as I could, sighted facts not feelings. I re-read the list. I did not bring these things to his attention because of my broken-ness, these things… would have been a problem for anyone. Also, all these things were real – and all had plagued us for 90% of our relationship, there were no efforts to resolve them (they included lacking intimacy, time together, honesty) for over a year and a half (so very grateful not longer) he made me feel that my baggage was his burden, and that to discuss these “issues” at all, was to indulge me – because he loved me.
    no.
    and no more, I stopped talking to my friends out of a perverse sense of loyalty to him, reconnecting with them on this has helped, the details have horrified them, even HIS friends are disturbed & confused by his behavior and treatment of me.
    My sister responded to him, to ask of motivations for the dumping – he responded, my sister advised him “the person you describe, is not my sister, My sister is loving and patient and strong and would not create drama in this way, I appreciate that this is your truth, but this is not the truth”.
    friends and family are important, do not be afraid to be honest and use them as your compass, when you arent sure who you are anymore, they will remind you. this is going to hurt, but I am loving and patient and strong. I will get me back, and I will be awesome.
    also… Gloria Gaynor is a goddess.

  • Flea

    April 29th, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    Hey, Just an update (see entry above) here… he still is in the house – and will be for another month “argh!”
    I have more advice. Write down notes to yourself, ask yourself questions… peel out facts from feelings. Ive been very unproductive at work, but have been busy writing notes and emails (to me). It has helped in two ways. 1. Reduces bewilderment, at the past – “was it ever real?, at the break-up – “where did that come from what did I do?” , at the actions since – “why is he so angry?, how can someone turn so 180 like that?”.
    Turns out all the answers to those questions suck, but writing the questions, and admitting the answers… means I get to move on to the next thing… which brings me to 2. Demonstrating progress! A week ago, the entry above was where I was, and although I have had my moments bawling my eyes out in the dark asking myself why Im not good enough… I have moved through it… A LOT more and quicker than I could have ever predicted. The truth is ugly. Super ugly. But the veil has been lifted. This man did not treat me well, and is textbook narcissist. It wasn’t real, I didn’t do anything wrong, and he didn’t suddenly get angry… and the suckiest answer of all was… No, I was not enough for him – but its not because Im deficient in some way… Its because he needs so much, and had I actually had a spine, I would have asked myself the following question: Am I ok with not being enough in his eyes? Answer being… no, which is when I should have left… but no… I asked myself that question, then got busy trying to be more.
    Shame on me.
    But, that’s ok… I know now.
    I have been grieving my illusion, and the grief is lessening each day, My illusion is the love-bombing guy, that wonderful intoxicating guy that could sweep me up in a moment, and hold me so tight… was a mask. That wasn’t the relationship, that was the bait. I got stuck on the hook… which was a never-ending series of mind-screwing, disappointing, degrading moments where I quite literally could plot point my self-esteem disintegrating.
    I didn’t “ruin” nights with my neediness, … I “ruined” nights when he acted inappropriately and I didn’t just go along with it.
    I wasn’t jealous and insecure,… I suspected he was talking to other women inappropriately… because, we was talking to other women inappropriately!
    His current actions are also helping, I also strongly recommend snooping in their stuff, it really helped, I found out my suspicions held during the relationship, were warranted, that he is begun his smear campaign and that he has well and truly moved on. So this makes his feeble attempts at engaging me, almost entertaining due to their solely manipulative agenda (texts “I miss cuddling”, texts “at least you have people to distract you from the sadness” “it appears you can now totally exist without me now” “I can’t believe how much of a **** you are… etc etc etc”) these are not his feelings. These are his tactics to see whether I still give a… poop.
    Short answer: Nope. I fell for the other guy, I have no idea who this guy is.
    I am determined that this man will not get to describe me as anything but respectful and kind (he will trash me anyway) but I am calm, I see him now and he knows it. His “anger” (his words) has escalate to rage and venom. So my responses have escalated too… I am now the mother of a toddler in the supermarket, the hippie type mother that is letting her toddler express himself with a sweet and patient look on my face.
    12 days ago he dumped me, 5 days ago he quit his job (had it just over a month) his other narc supply is traveling and unavailable to provide her daily pep talk about how he can do better than me, he is running out of money (that was my function) with moving out of the house pending… and the previous narc supply (me) with what he believed to be an inexhaustible provision of empathy has turned some sort of magical corner and has stopped apologizing and appears to be fine… (could it be “happy?, no surely not!) without him.
    I mean, it is kinda amusing.
    Last night I got home after drinks with friends, was alone… and put on the stereo and danced.
    Knowing all of this, it was potentially a bad idea to ask him for my $400 that he’d “set aside” for a shared purchase (why thank you, but it was fine there in my drawer… you didn’t need to go out of your way to set up a savings account and deposit it for me… one day, without asking or telling me – you are SO KIND {read as: you are a thief, and thought you would never get found out cause your target was either stupid or too in love with you to ask or wouldn’t want to embarrass you by asking for it back… which were all true.. up until 12 days ago) .
    Sad part is, at the time I thought. “He just took my money.. without asking, ahh, its ok – we are a team.”
    [Snort.]

    Anyway, as you can see I find writing therapeutic. I advise all to give it a go. But My real message is… Once you really see your Narc, – not the mask…but you see them, and feel all that betrayal, its ok – you’re not dumb or stupid… you are trusting – which is why the Narc chose you. and once you really see him, you know that this wasn’t a good relationship… so then you figure out you are probably going to be ok, and it happens a lot faster than you’d think.

    I’ve read a lot of stupid quote pages recently. The best revenge is success (…at being a kind respectful person that he is so mad at but he can’t deal with or complain about because his reasoning is non-existent / doesnt make sense)

  • Flea

    April 29th, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    You know what the super stupid part is? Ive just finished re-reading his text this morning, which was a five-part series of ALL CAPs tirade about how asking for the money is causing him problems and if I fill the house with “clutter’ (I bought furniture to replace what he will be taking at the end of May) in the common places, and I know that he hates that, and its just selfish… then the next text was… ahem – let me write this verbatim “whatever happens later. [my cats name] will need to stay at the house until August”.
    I respond with “ok” …because its not like that was phrased as a question.
    Any way.. back to the stupid part. – i think he needs a hug, I actually feel sorry for him.

  • Flea

    May 11th, 2016 at 11:46 AM

    Ok, so full disclosure… (I think that others may be in the same boat here) I looked up Narcissism once… about six months ago, I cant remember what led me to do it (he was being horrible in some way – pretty sure it was over a alternative supply getting a ridiculous amount of attention – while he simultaneously told me he that
    1. I was being jealous and juvenile for no reason and
    2. we hadn’t had “chemistry for nine months because of my continuous poor attitude… this was all said as he walked out the door to have dinner with said alternative supply and I was strictly not invited – because Id “ruin it” ) ,
    ANYWAY… I don’t remember what I typed into ‘the google’ to get a “Narcissist” type result to pop up, but I remember reading it… and identifying with it, BUT I didn’t go beyond the initial site – not because it wasn’t relevant or validating in some way… it was… I stopped reading because I was searching for validation of my feelings… but I didn’t want the reality check – I wanted to be wrong, and I wanted to continue, unimpeded in my subscription to his “love” and our “future”. I was SO not ready to give up on that yet.
    So, Sometimes… when I suspect that I am guilty of being that bitter, recently dumped, bewildered ex girlfriend that is looking for reasons for the break-up… and have blindly, frantically reached around in the dark, found “Narcisstic Personality Disorder” and have contorted my memories and experiences so that they fit, all to aide my own convincing that I am not as at fault in the break-up as he has been so willing to assign to me…. But then I remember… nope, you knew… you silly cow. You knew and you didn’t want to believe it. See, that’s the thing – I bet there’s a lot of us out there like that, I have a favorite Movie, its Amelie (french subtitled, but hilarious – well worth the effort) anyway – at one point our beautiful Amelie – imagines why ‘he’ hasn’t noticed her, and the voice-over tells us “the last thing Amelie was interested in was a Reality Check”.
    Its true – us Romantics, we get so deep in our ideals, we craft our lives for what we WANT, we busy ourselves creating the connections with others that we WANT, we trick ourselves, avoid harsh realities, ignore red flags and believe in the dream.
    Which makes us perfect target for a Narcissist.
    I plan not to be so silly again, to be more cautious, and to value my needs higher, and be honest (with myself mostly) about when they aren’t being met…. But I refuse to stop being a Romantic. one day, maybe that’s the thing that a guy is going to love most about me… and not because it makes me foolish and easily manipulated… but because he believes in the “us” that we created as much as I do.
    Wouldn’t that be great?

  • Flea

    May 11th, 2016 at 12:19 PM

    I’ve also adopted the process of taking screenshots of his texts and sending them to a friend. In case I go “missing” one day :) … my favorite recent one was where I said…(he “threatened to leave the house we are sharing earlier than scheduled… which didn’t garner the results he was anticipating)
    “I’m sorry about that, but I respect your decision – living together through/after the break-up is super hard”
    his response was
    “F#^% you”.
    yup, sure… I’m the cra-aa-aaazy one.
    (he reevaluated the next day to advise that “not only would he continue to stay till the end of the month.. but that he also intended to make my life a misery, and that if I thought he’d been a #$%^ before, then to just wait and see what he was capable of” … then three days later he texted to tell me about his work day and how he made a big sale and it was going really well)
    he’s like a magic 8 ball – except instead of answers to questions or fortune telling that aren’t helpful to anyone, he is a sporadic, revolving series of unpredictable moods and emotions that aren’t helpful to anyone.
    I bought him a $60 bottle of champagne for his big sale, which he didnt thank me for… and Im pretty sure will make a point to drink it with someone else – in a way that is very visible / hurtful to me… essentially its my warped version of that ‘every time a bell rings… an angel gets their wings’… mine is – ‘every time you are an absolute #$%^, I get over you just a little bit more :)’ so… I shall continue with these “set ups”… its really working, also has the added bonus that he can kid himself that I am still a viable supply in the future (I’m not… (this little piggy is all used up) but while he is still in the house I am pretending that that is going to happen so the threats and general tantrums stop)

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    May 11th, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    Dear Flea,

    Thank you for your comment. The GoodTherapy.org Team is not qualified to offer professional advice, but if you would like to talk to someone about this situation, we encourage you to reach out.

    You can locate a counselor in your area by entering your ZIP code here:
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    if you ever feel your safety is being threatened, please call your local law enforcement or go to an emergency room immediately.

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    Please know help is available, should you wish to seek it, and we wish you the best of luck.

    Kind regards,
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

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