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The legacy of infidelity

Tripletrouble posted 3/24/2019 21:57 PM

I've given a lot of thought to this topic lately, and have arrived at the conclusion that the worst part of the lasting effects of what I went through was the gaslighting. My XH had me so spun out on what was real that I began to doubt my own sanity. I reached a point where I considered carrying a recording device.

It did not help that my first major relationship after divorce was with someone who further gaslighted me by telling me I was paranoid because of my baggage. He was stealing from me and lying to me about important things, and my spidey senses were tingling. He was able to convince me it was in my head. It wasn't. Thanks, Ass, for capitalizing on the damage done to me by the one before you.

To this day I have trouble trusting my own judgement. Is it real? Do I remember it right? Did I see it right? Am I imagining things?

Gaslighting is so cruel. To me it towers over the other check boxes of minimizing, blame shifting, rugsweeping. I think it is the one thing from which I have not healed.

I am curious as to how other BS survivors have overcome this.

gracelesslady posted 3/25/2019 09:39 AM

Tripletoruble

I am with you on the lasting effects of the gaslighting. That's the worst part and I know what you mean about trusting yourself and your intuition. With the benefit of hindsight I now look back over the 20 years that I was with XWH and I see all kinds of things that I didn't at the time, because I was drinking his Kool-Aid. I wanted to believe him, until finally when it came as a horrible shock that I couldn't believe him at all.

As far as getting over it: honestly, while I love and trust my wonderful SO, I don't think I ever want to trust again like I trusted XWH. I don't ever again want to give someone else the power to destroy me. I am invested in the relationship but am giving myself a priority that I didn't before. I wish I had something more helpful to say but I can relate to the damage of the gaslighting.

Queen posted 3/25/2019 10:19 AM

I agree. The gas lighting was the worst and one of the few things that I still struggle with in my healing. My whole life with my ex-wh was built on a wobbly foundation of lies.

Some of what has helped is reading....anything that catches my eye instinctively and it's worked out pretty well. I've read books on women's intuition and empowerment that really gave me strength.

On top of that, I've dated a lot. I keep a journal and I make a point of listing potential red flags after each date as well as what I liked about him. I would say that without fail, every red flag turned out to be exactly what I thought it was. This has helped reinforce my ability to trust my intuition.

If something someone says or does doesn't make sense then I journal about it for later review or I confront them about it until it does make sense.

I've also journaled the times that really stand out in my relationship with my ex where he was gas lighting me and misleading me. It helps me to know that I had a gut feeling at the time and I'm able to work out why I put up with it.

I'm much more likely now to hold people accountable for their actions or their words when they don't make sense to me. I'd prefer to be alone than with people who think that lying is acceptable.

Relationship rule: One lie and I'm out. No excuses.

Also, when I call someone out on an inconsistency or a lie, if they are telling the truth, there's usually a very easy way for them to prove it to me. If they don't offer that, then I assume they're lying.

Of course, I don't go around confronting casual relationships....I don't care that much. But the people that I'm letting into my small circle of friends or potential partners? I pay attention when they show me who they really are.

HappyTree posted 3/25/2019 10:27 AM

Gaslighting is a really difficult one to recover from. I have to recover from that as well as emotional abuse in my marriage. I still struggle with it. What is real and what is not? For instance, I'm not the best driver. I had trouble passing drivers ed. But, that does not make me a terrible driver. I've learned that I am really good at avoiding animals. My ex has hit so many deer. I mean, so many its insane. Yet, I have not hit a deer since high school even though this year they are in the roads full force (they are a real problem in this year and can cause serious damage to you or your car).

I struggle with understanding what is real about me and what is fake. What am I actually good at? One thing that has helped me is to confront all the bad things he said about me, then to make a list of why that is bull. My ex sent me a 6 page (single spaced) letter listing everything that made me a terrible wife. The crazy thing? I can prove some of that wrong. Like, he said I failed a college class 2X. I never did such a thing. I have the transcripts to prove it. If you can, start a list of things that were said to you. Start writing down why those things are not true. Remind yourself why they are not true. Get things straight in your head now to make things easier for you down the road.

ErinHa posted 3/25/2019 14:33 PM

You are right, the gaslighting is so cruel. It's like we're begging for information to a make a decision on our life and we can't get it.

They gaslight because they want total control. They don't want to give us any information that would make us leave. We're dying of heartbreak and they want to keep their options open.

It's just yet another betrayal we have to endure and one that is hard to shake.

Tripletrouble, be good to yourself today! You're still healing, this is a process.

[This message edited by ErinHa at 2:33 PM, March 25th (Monday)]

JanaGreen posted 3/25/2019 15:35 PM

I completely agree! I still get very upset at any hint of manipulation, dishonesty, or feeling like I'm being controlled. Gaslighting is so much about control. I held everyone at arms' length for a long time because I didn't want to twist myself into a pretzel or doubt my sanity ever again. Fortunately I do not feel that way in my new beginning. But I have gotten very angry and upset at dishonest and sneaky behavior from coworkers and I know my reaction was due to the gaslighting in my marriage.

Furious1 posted 3/25/2019 17:41 PM

For me, the gaslighting and failure to believe in my own perception of the world around me started way before STBXHole came into my life. For me, it started when I was a small child. It started with being severely abused by my parents and older siblings. They worked as a team to teach me early on that I was too stupid to remember things the way that they actually happened. This came in handy in light of their desire to rape and torture me freely without worrying about me speaking out about any of it.

The gaslighting is why I have chosen to end my marriage. STBXHole demanded that I acknowledge that I was too dumb to know when he was hushing me as opposed to having some sort of seizure where his fingers involuntarily fly to his mouth in a gesture that could have been mistaken for him hushing me. Additionally, STBXHole demanded that I realize that he was nodding off like I wildly accused him of, but instead had something in his eye that he was rubbing to remove. What was I thinking to believe that someone as simple minded as me could know the difference between being hushed or a seizure or between someone nodding off or rubbing their eye.

Gaslighting is also the reason why I have ended all contact with my mother and my siblings although I will spare you the details of that particular set of circumstances.

Carrying a recording device will not help with serious gaslighters, but it does help if you are using it in a court of law. A serious gaslighter will dismiss any recordings that you have by claiming that they got confused and used the wrong words and that you are just looking for something to jump all over and pick a fight about instead of realizing that they said something that they didn't mean and letting it slide. No matter what, a gaslighter will turn it back on you so that it is your fault somehow.

I've learned the hard way that the gaslighting has been the worst part of all of the lifetime of extreme abuse that I have been through. I am working hard to heal myself so that I never doubt my reality ever again and get myself as far away from anyone who even tries to make me doubt my reality.

F1

Tripletrouble posted 3/26/2019 14:54 PM

I want to thank each of you for sharing your experiences. All these years out it still helps me so much to know other people are experiencing the same difficulties.

StillLivin posted 3/27/2019 00:51 AM

I find it fascinating how people can react so differently to similar circumstances.
Because my X gaslit me so effectively, I now never doubt myself. To find out that after all that time completely doubting myself, that I was actually right every single time with my initial gut suspicions...well let's just say when you're batting 100% accurately, you should be able to come out of the experience knowing your gut's accuracy. That is why it is so fascinating when some come out even more unsure. The human psyche is really a diverse thing.

WornDown posted 3/27/2019 11:48 AM

Yeah, I think the gaslighting is probably the worst.

Once you learn that your spouse was cheating, that alone throws everything you thought you knew about them, your life, your family in to disarray. That alone is a major mind fuck.

Then toss in the gaslighting on top of it?

It took me a good long while to really sort out reality and not be constantly questioning myself. (I still do it, but at this point I think it's a good thing - doing self-analysis to make sure I'm not crazy, misinterpreting, and just being in reality.)

ZenMumWalking posted 3/31/2019 14:54 PM

I agree with StillLivin. The gaslighting was torture while it was happening, but now that I know I wasn't crazy or imagining things that didn't happen or forgetting things that did happen, I back myself and my gut all the way.

The1stWife posted 3/31/2019 20:02 PM

My ex sent me a 6 page (single spaced) letter listing everything that made me a terrible wife.

I wonder why you read it. Something like that can not be good for you. Sorry you were subjected to that.

Tripletrouble posted 4/1/2019 13:56 PM

I think this is the crux of my problem:

It took me a good long while to really sort out reality and not be constantly questioning myself. (I still do it, but at this point I think it's a good thing - doing self-analysis to make sure I'm not crazy, misinterpreting, and just being in reality.)

I hear what you're saying StillLivin because my intuition was screaming something was wrong and it was. The problem now is that my intuition is so far in overdrive that I jump at every shadow. There have since been a number of times when I've been wrong, after digging further on things that turned out to be nothing. I just can't turn off that perpetual anxiety. To use Worndown's words, I'm trying to be in reality. After D Day I had an extreme case of exaggerated startle response, and this is the ongoing psychological version.

CatsEye posted 4/3/2019 18:01 PM

What made my exhole's gaslighting particularly cruel was that his children - who I was raising with no help or support from him - helped him gaslight me throughout the entire thirty year marriage. In retrospect, I can now see that in many ways, the three of them banded together and treated me as an enemy outsider from the very first. I never had a chance.

It's amazing I survived at all, let alone that I have any sanity left.

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