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Too many doctors in the house

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 movingonward (original poster new member #78412) posted at 3:48 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

I’m new here but I am troubled by the overuse of the words "narcissistic", "gaslighting" and "toxic". All words that have gained popularity in the last 3-5 years. This site is full of them. Non medical personal making medical diagnosis. Seems strange to me. Yes, cheaters are flawed. I’ve ended two marriages due to cheating. However, it seems abundant and rampant here. Oh, I can’t leave out "abuse" either. Very cliché. Seems like one big meme. Maybe I’m wrong??

posts: 17   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8741160

OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 5:14 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Well, we're anonymous strangers using screen names who have no real idea of anyone else's situation, so I'm fairly sure nobody is going to sue us for our "medical diagnoses." laugh And is "toxic" an official diagnosis? I find it fantastically apropos for describing some of my relationships, especially the one with my mom.

Also, many of us have partners who have been clinically diagnosed.

Seems strange to me.

It seems strange that cheaters are often toxically abusive and narcissistic types who gaslight us? Then you must have been married to very lovely cheaters, but I am not familiar with that type.

I take it you have never done any IC? My IC fully approves of these types of descriptions. In fact, I think she sees me as wise for understanding their prevalence in the world. She recommends books that use lots of this type of language.

Taken from online right now: The current population of the United States of America is 334,808,183 as of Monday, June 20, 2022, based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data.

Also taken from online:
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggest that around 9.1% of people in the United States meet the criteria for a personality disorder

That means 30,132,736 people in the United States right now have a personality disorder like antisocial, narcissism, borderline, or histrionic. All of them have narcissistic components, and there is overlap. 30 million! Just in the US! How do we have only 100,000 members on SI??? Because all of those people are doing some serious damage. And much of it involves cheating.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 5:26 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5856   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8741168

devotedman ( member #45441) posted at 5:36 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

This set self-selects for those who have had particularly bad, cheating, partners. 100%? No. Bu ft many.

Just as there is a particular type of personality that is about 10% in the general population but much higher in the set of CEO's, cheaters are very self-absorbed and selfish while actually engaged in an affair. They display many of the traits of a narcissist, although some only temporarily.

Although I do agree to an extent, this site is geared to helping folks recover from infidelity, so I give folks some leeway. And I do not challenge them. Instead, I hor that they will get better.

I did.

Me: 2xBS b 1962 xWW after 2 decades, xWGF after almost 1.
Amelia Pond: Who are you?
The Doctor: I don't know yet. I'm still cooking.
ENFP-A. Huh.

posts: 5155   ·   registered: Oct. 30th, 2014   ·   location: Central USA
id 8741169

Unhinged ( member #47977) posted at 6:59 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

movingonward, I'm a little confused here. According to your profile, you registered well over a year ago. While you haven't posted much in that time span, I'd imagine you've at least done some reading (and I'd suggest you do a lot more).

You post is exceptionally dismissive. Most of the people on this site are serious people, in a world of hurt, strugglingly to find their way forward, to make sense of their shattered worlds, to recover and heal. This is all real life, brother, not the subject of fucking memes.

So, yeah. I think you're wrong.


Married 2005
D-Day April, 2015
Divorced May, 2022

"The Universe is not short on wake-up calls. We're just quick to hit the snooze button." -Brene Brown

posts: 6704   ·   registered: May. 21st, 2015   ·   location: Colorado
id 8741174

Seeking2Forgive ( member #78819) posted at 8:35 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Sorry, I had to laugh at this. I've read a lot of posts from this site, going back nearly 20 years. These terms may have gained popularity in common parlance in recent years, but they've been common experience among those dealing with infidelity going back decades.

Sometimes people refer specifically to an NPD diagnosis, but more commonly narcissistic, gas-lighting, and toxic are just layman's observations that anyone can make if they aren't in thrall of their narcissistic, gas-lighting, and toxic WS.

Me: 62, BS -- Her: 61, FWS -- Dday: 11/15/03 -- Married 37 yrs -- Reconciled

posts: 538   ·   registered: May. 18th, 2021
id 8741176

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 8:55 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

I’m pretty sure you don’t need a trained doctor to recognise and label a deceiving, crazy making event as gaslighting, nor for recognising a toxic situation or person, these two are not diagnoses.

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1826   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8741177

Luna10 ( member #60888) posted at 8:59 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

It seems strange that cheaters are often toxically abusive and narcissistic types who gaslight us? Then you must have been married to very lovely cheaters, but I am not familiar with that type.

laugh laugh laugh

Can I please have a description of this type of cheater? My imagination is letting me down today.

[This message edited by Luna10 at 9:00 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]

Dday - 27th September 2017

posts: 1826   ·   registered: Oct. 2nd, 2017   ·   location: UK
id 8741178

The1stWife ( Guide #58832) posted at 9:14 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Did my cheating H gaslight me by allowing me to think we were reconciling, meanwhile he’s still cheating? Absolutely.

Was my cheating H selfish and disrespectful during his affair? Absolutely.

Did he create a toxic environment in our marriage? Absolutely.

Did I refer to him as a narc? No. Definitely not. Because he wasn’t one.

However after reading some very horrific pictures about what some betrayed spouses are forced to endure, IMO it appears as though the Cheater is a narcissist. Whether it’s true NPD or not, as the saying goes, if the shoe fits wear it.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 2:58 PM, Tuesday, June 21st]

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled. 10 years out from Dday. Reconciliation takes two committed people to be successful.

posts: 13858   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8741179

morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 9:54 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Maybe I’m wrong??

Yes, OP, you're wrong. The first two terms you mentioned, gaslighting and toxic, aren't even scientific, so doctors have nothing to do with those.

Gaslighting: Trying to make someone else doubt their own mental state so they won't suspect your behavior.

Yes, when a BS confronts a WS with their suspicions and the WS tells them it's all in their head, that they're jealous, and a poor partner for even suggesting it, absolutely, that is gaslighting.

Toxic: A term used to describe a person whose behavior is consistently harmful to you.

Yes, a lot of us here have had toxic WSs and/or FOOs. That's why we're here.

Narcissistic: Someone who lacks empathy, is hypersensitive to criticism and requires the attention and admiration of others on a regular basis.

Yes, some WSs are narcissists. Read SI posts' descriptions of what some of the WSs behave like and that becomes easy to identify in those cases.

Abusive: Yes, exposing a trusting spouse to STDs, having them raise and support children that were secretly conceived with someone else, and/or encouraging them to make sacrifices to stay for many years in a marriage to a person who, unbeknownst to them, is unfaithful and uncommitted, is abusive.

Many people on SI have been burned by professional therapists who have no understanding about infidelity. As a result we don't tend to put those professionals on a pedestal here.

We've learned to trust our own minds, after years of being encouraged not to.

[This message edited by morningglory at 10:12 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8741180

OwningItNow ( member #52288) posted at 10:08 AM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

My H is not a narcissist, but he cheated. My former boyfriend was and is a narcissistic psychopath (he is on permanent disability for his mental illness), and he cheated.

I don't think we overlabel here. I think we have just become more aware and knowledgeable. Knowledge is power.

me: BS/WSh: WS/BS

Reject the rejector. Do not reject yourself.

posts: 5856   ·   registered: Mar. 16th, 2016   ·   location: Midwest
id 8741181

HFSSC ( member #33338) posted at 12:10 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Gonna jump on the bandwagon here and say, “Yep! You are wrong.”

I’m not sure what the point of your post was. But as someone who has experienced a metric shit ton of trauma in my 55 years, I will say that you don’t get to tell me my reality. You don’t get to tell me how I should feel, or how I should describe the people who have abused me in my life.

That last part is really kind of funny. Because I resisted the idea of infidelity as abuse for quite some time. Why? Because it didn’t seem as bad as my earlier traumas and abuse. That’s pretty sad, I think. At 55 years old I am finally learning how to speak and defend my truth and my boundaries.

I will not tolerate gaslighting in my life anymore. Not from anyone, least of all an electronic stranger.

Me, 56
Him, 48 (JMSSC)
Married 26 years. Reconciled.

posts: 4942   ·   registered: Sep. 12th, 2011   ·   location: South Carolina
id 8741190

leafields ( Guide #63517) posted at 12:14 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

My NPD XWH was diagnosed as one by a psychologist.

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 3314   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8741191

Cooley2here ( member #62939) posted at 12:28 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

The reason narcissistic is used is because selfish does not begin to describe the actions of some of the WS.

My husband cheated out of town. We were young, I rug swept, and he grew up. I never said he was narcissistic. There was no gaslighting, and our family was not toxic. But he still cheated so do I get to call him selfish because he was something. If you can think of the right label be sure and let me know.

When things go wrong, don’t go with them. Elvis

posts: 4209   ·   registered: Mar. 5th, 2018   ·   location: US
id 8741195

landclark ( member #70659) posted at 1:34 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

How are toxic and gaslighting a medical diagnosis? Or abuse for that matter?

Did you join just to tell everybody how very wrong they are? Cause that seems a bit toxic.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildrenTogether 13.5 years, married 12.5

First EA 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19. *ETA, contd an ea after dday for 2 yrs.

posts: 2053   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8741200

MIgander ( member #71285) posted at 1:49 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

WW here.

I was trained at an early age in the ways of narc manipulation by my parents. Yah, it's real and factored HUGE into the mental shenanigans I allowed before and during and after my A. I was blessed to have 2 good therapists- a CBT to triage and now a trauma specialist to heal.

This shit is real and for a long time I was grappling with the possibility I was a full narc. Except narcs don't own their shit and don't seek therapy and don't stick with it if forced into it.

I think movingonward does have a legitimate question though. Society in general is so polarized and so quick to dehumanize these days. Often that's done by throwing the terms narcissist and abuse around so much they lose their meaning. Outside this site, I really do think it can be a problem calling people names and not calling out their behavior. Abuse is abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, selfishness and toxic behavior is real. I personally don't think it's productive to slap a label on a person who we don't deeply and intimately know (like the WS's). But yeah, as 1stwife said... if the shoe fits... definitely us WS's who behave like this need to wear it.

So yeah, people on this site definitely have reason to use these terms. The amount of research and learning I've personally done on psychology in the past 3 years would probably astound most people not experiencing this kind of pain. I can only imagine what kinds of research and deep searching those on the other end of the A do. I think most people here have done the research and earned their stripes. It sucks, but A's are often a psychological boot camp and can escalate into all out war. Just read some of the crazy shit from the D forum.

OP, you've got a point with the terms being overused in society in general. However, here, we are a "special" subset of people who have experienced or perpetrated these behaviors in the most intimate way possible. Not sure if you were posting this to provoke, but I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I am hoping this was posted as a clumsy attempt at generating a general discussion of the issue and not to troll the members here.

WW/BW Dday July 2019. BH/WH- multiple EA's. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Aug. 15th, 2019   ·   location: Michigan
id 8741204

HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 1:56 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Well, infidelity IS abuse,so there's that.

One doesn't need a medical diagnosis to know they've been gaslighted.

Obviously you have never lived with a narcissist. I've been married for 21 years to one. I've only recently come to realize that's what he is,if I had to label it.

Everything is about him. I'm sick..he's been sicker. I had a bad day,he interrupts and tells me how his day was worse. After dday,and he had given me what he considered enough time to get over it(3 months), anytime I needed to talk about it,he would interrupt and tell me how he had been just as hurt by me(I didn't support him enough in his hobbies). Speaking of which, he can spend lots of money on his hobbies,but if I bought school clothes for the kids,he would get upset..because all money should be spent on him. I only,in the last few years, got full access to our bank accounts. When my mother died, rather than comfort me,it was all about when his dad died years earlier. He chose his career, specifically so that it kept me home,raising the kids, which was ok,because I am fine with being a SAHM,now. My previous job was emotionally draining,and that was a bother to him. He loves the kids, but he doesn't parent them. They are almost adults,and I have done 100% of the day to day parenting. He was gone,working all the time. Don't get me wrong. I appreciate his hard work,and the ability to be home with my kids,something I have often told him. But,kids need a dad. Someone to help guide them. They have no relationship with him,and that makes him angry. When he was off for a few months,he made zero effort. He was angry they didn't come to him,and facilitate that relationship. They had to do it. Not him. He has chosen everything in our lives,to be what he wants. Our vehicles,even our breed of dog. It's ALL about what he wants. It's all about him. Every family vacation, we go fishing. Because that's what he wants. The kids hate it. I'm not fond of it. He doesn't care,then gets angry that we aren't jumping for joy. He runs a big group on Facebook. He's the admin. It feeds his ego. He likes the power of controlling the content,and who gets banned. He enjoys the ego kibbles. (Note that I think its all ridiculous..I's Facebook. But this is how he sees it.) He's very political. We do not share the same beliefs on many things. If I try to talk about a current issue, he tells me I'm wrong, by talking over me,loudly.

So..yeah. This is a small snippet of his behaviour. I can diagnose him as a narcissist, because I've lived it for 24 years. Besides, do you think HE would go to a therapist? Whatever for?? There's nothing wrong with him. shocked rolleyes duh

[This message edited by HellFire at 1:59 PM, Tuesday, June 21st]

I will be everywhere you look,but nowhere to be found. And that will be my revenge.

posts: 6628   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8741205

Hannah47 ( member #80116) posted at 2:30 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

This site is full of them
However, it seems abundant and rampant here.

You are clearly suffering from confirmation bias and have a tendency to make hasty generalizations tongue

Fate whispers to her, "You cannot withstand the storm."
She whispers back, "I am the storm."

posts: 369   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022
id 8741213

Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 3:35 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Would love to hear your suggestion on how this should be curbed.

This is a free site. That is - you can contribute, read and even post here for free as long as you follow the guidelines. The guidelines themselves are relatively basic and could be summed up into "Be respectful and helpful".

It's not "free" in the sense that it doesn't cost our host any money to keep it up and running. That cost is kept to a minimum and is (partially) paid by those that generously donate directly or upgrade their membership. The rest is out-of-pocket from our host. The staff donate their time. We even pay for our own coffee moderating and monitoring this site. I don't see how this site would become better if we also had to question the capability of posters to make statements and to reach conclusions that - probably correctly pointed out by you - could better be made by a trained professional.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 12305   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8741223

sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:08 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Also, there's a big difference between 'narcissist' and 'narcissistic'. A person can act narcissistically in one area of life without being a narc, a person who is NPD. I agree some people are too quick to label others as narcs, IMO, but I doubt much harm is done.

'Gaslighting' is a term used to describe human behavior; it came from a movie title. The term is very useful, and gaslighting is ubiquitous - just look at any advertisement.

I'm uncomfortable with the use of 'abuse' as much as it's used here, too, but I'm not violating guidelines in sharing that opinion, and others are not violating guidelines in saying cheating is abuse.

SI is inclusive. We have people from all walks of life. Many of the world's religions are represented here. My bet is that many shades of political opinion are here. We're all doing our best to survive infidelity and thrive, and we're all here hoping that sharing our trials helps others. Reading about others' trials certainly helped me.

I'm sorry you've gotten beaten up in the responses to your rant. I hope that doesn't keep you from posting - if you post with counsel, or a request for support, my bet is that your counsel will be valued and you'll get the support.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 29800   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8741228

twicefooled ( member #42976) posted at 4:51 PM on Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

Considering we are already a subset of the population here (ie people that have been cheated on, or have cheated) then I feel like our group would have a higher-than-average amount of personality disordered people in it.

Was my ex formally diagnosed? Well, you have to be open to meeting mental health professionals in order to be officially diagnosed so nope I don't have a medical dx on him. However, the shit he's pulled over the years (and continues to pull, 9yrs after we left) simply cannot be the work of a mentally healthy person. I stand by my non-official opinion.

I truly hope this was a rant and not some backhanded dig at an anonymous chat board for people already dealing with real life bullshit.

May 29 2021 ***reclaimed myself and decided to delete my story with my ex because I'm now 7 years free from him and mentally healthier than I've been in years.

*********When you know better, you can do better*************

posts: 492   ·   registered: Apr. 2nd, 2014
id 8741234
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