Wednesday, May 9, 2012

When you're blinded by a gaslighter ....

Dear STBX, a.k.a., the biggest douche canoe I have ever known:  It has finally hit me! I can see so clearly now, as I am no longer blinded by your gaslighting. Months of living free from your crazy-making has been enlightening, to say the very least.  I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am not crazy or deranged; you are just a manipulative douche canoe and that's all there is to it ... 


Photo Credit:  eak-easycomeeasygo.blogspot.com

Throughout my relationship with the STBX, he masterfully crafted a slow, insidious, break down of my self-esteem that was a subtle, yet meticulous.  Calm manipulation.  Gaslighting at its finest.  The best description I've read as to what exactly gaslighting is can be found over at the "Easy Come, Easy Go" blog:  when a douche canoe, like the STBX, "dismisses what you're feeling or thinking as a dysfunction of your personality ... in order to control the situation and, ultimately, you", that's gaslighting. Crazy-making at its finest.

Ironic that the STBX, being the douche canoe that he is, paints me as the controlling one.  I may be a type-A personality, but I am no douche canoe dear. 

It took me years to recognize what exactly it was that he was doing to me.  In short, he was trying to make me think that I was a crazy, miserable person.  A "miserable bitch", I do believe was the phrase spat at me whenever I caught him red-handed in one lie or another ... that, and a few other choice phrases ...

"You are so full of anger", he'd say and I would think, "It must be true", because his behaviors and choices anger me, yet he's able to stay so calm.

"You are paranoid", he'd say and I would think, "It must be true", because my gut instincts were constantly telling me that something was wrong, yet it was often hard for me to discern why things didn't make sense or didn't match up logically.

"You are messed up and broken", he'd say and I would think, "It must be true", because I couldn't see my true self anymore. What I mean is, I had lost sight of what I wanted from life, from love and from sharing my life with another person because it got to the point where I didn't trust my own feelings anymore. I didn't trust my own emotions as being valid, justified or even "right" half the time.

Having someone completely void of empathy constantly invalidate your feelings day in and day out can do that.  By the time we were married, he had turned my world upside-down and inside-out, to where I could hardly remember or recognize the woman that I used to be, before he came along.


I was never an innately paranoid person, nor was I ever really angry for any significant length of time before him. I knew this, but time and time again he would harp on my faults of being overly analytic and often quick-to-vent my frustrations when feeling slighted, and I slowly began to believe that I was inherently "messed up".  After all, I did get upset and I did confront him quite often about his lies and his bad behavior and he would listen, stone-faced, saying, "What's wrong with you? I don't understand why you are so upset."  His "calmness" was his greatest tool over me. Every time I stood up for myself, he would make me feel unstable and crazy. [See, "Gaslighting By Omission: When You're In Love with a Robot"]

Ultimately, it wasn't until we were already married and I was pregnant with our son, that I would learn of the vast depth of his complex deceptions and disturbed personality.  Within months of tying the knot and knocking me up, all of his seductive behaviors, his care-giving and affection and his understanding about me and my needs that he had displayed previously, well it all came to a screeching halt very abruptly.  I exhausted myself for awhile, thinking that if I loved him enough I could change him back into who I thought he was when we had gotten engaged, but it never happened.  By then, so much damage had been done that I felt as if I had been dropped on my head into the shallow end of a pool.  I found myself drowning in so much pain and shame, I often found it hard to even breathe.

This, all while blessed to be pregnant after having had an unfortunate miscarriage just a month into our marriage.

He would tell me he loved me and I would cringe inside since his actions never backed it up.  "I love you" sounded hollow and even if he said it a thousand times a day, he could never make a dent in my loneliness.  My progressing pregnancy fueled our lack of intimacy, as he became less and less discreet about hiding his pornography addiction from me as the months dragged on, and then when he told me my baby bump turned him off and creeped him out, I just about died from heartbreak that he either didn't notice, or that he just couldn't identify with.

I felt as if we were bringing our son into a marriage that was nothing but a sham.  The only thing to do for a long while was continue to carry on the charade that we were happy, expecting newlyweds.  I was so lost at that point, "playing along" was the only path I could seemingly navigate.                

Eventually though, I began to turn my back on him because the pretending began to take its toll on me.  I began to see him for who he really was after our son was born and I suddenly became desperate to escape the hell that I was in.  It was only after our son was born that I began to hear my own inner voice telling me my worth.  It was through listening to my motherly instincts in caring for our son that I found myself able to hear things in my head like, "I have worth.",  "I deserve better than this and so does our son." and, most importantly, "I am not crazy."

These days, I make it a point to remind myself that I am worth starting over wonderful almost daily.  Seven months into the legal separation phase of this divorce and I now know down to my very soul what I am worth because I am finally in a place where I trust myself and my emotions again.  I'm no longer blinded from reality by a gaslighting douche canoe.  I'm not living my day-to-day existence with someone that invalidates my feelings and perceptions and, in being free from that manipulation, I've begun to see things more clearly for what they really are.

I see me clearly for the first time in a long time. And, I can confidently declare that I am neither crazy, nor am I miserable!

Instead, I am a generally happy person who's actively working to recognize that experiencing many other human dimensions like anger, envy, sadness etc., is often healthy and natural, despite what the STBX had led me to believe all those years.  As part of my recovery from the gas-lighting and emotional manipulation the STBX put me through, I now truly believe that I am lovable because I have worth.

I hope that by sharing some of my story here on this blog, the release of my own miserable past and shame felt because of it as I work to find myself in a much happier and wonderful place ... well, if I've helped others out there that are going through a similar demented existence in some sort of assholery eff'ed up relationship ... well, if just one person is comforted, enlighted or helped in any way by what I've shared here on this blog, then that is what I call wonderful.

Because we all have worth. Every single one of us.  Despite what a douche canoe might try and tell you.

13 comments:

  1. OMG!!! This is exactly what was going on in my relationship! But sadly, it took 20 years and for him to leave me for another woman to figure that out. I could really never figure out why I couldn't make our relationship work but your message about"gaslighting" makes me see the "light",ha! Thankyou for sharing. :-)

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    1. Your welcome. And thank you for reading and commenting. I'm glad that through sharing my story, you've been able to see the "light" and gain some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Being manipulated by someone who is supposed to love, honor and cherish you is the loneliest experience!

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  2. Reading this I felt like you were describing my relationship. So true is the "calm manipulation." How dare I get upset about his behavior, can't I see he has done nothing wrong? It was maddening, which I guess was the point. It didn't click with me until our daughter was born.

    I'm so glad you made it to the other side. Such a crazy web of lies they weave. It is really great to see other similar stories & know that you can unravel the web & break free.

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    1. Yup, it is just a sly and sick way for someone to skirt responsibility for their own despicable and disrespectful behaviors.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

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  3. Really good article. The Gaslighting Effect involves an insidious set of psychological manipulations that are carried out gradually in stages, and repeated time after time, in order to undermine the mental stability of its victim. It is truly a convoluted dance, where finally the unsuspecting gaslightee believes that they are going crazy.
    If you want to know more about it, hit on the link below:-
    http://narcissisticbehavior.net/category/the-effects-of-gaslighting-in-narcissistic-victim-syndrome

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    1. Thank you for the link! Great information :)

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  4. I'm just saying, if you're so incredibly happy with this new James Dean guy, why are you still blogging about your ex? If you're starting over wonderful shouldnt you do a little more blogging about the "wonderful" things in your life instead of dwelling on your ex? If a marriage falls apart, it's both people's faults. Not just one of them. Does he have a blog where he bashes you and openly talks about your marriage falling apart? If not, I feel like its a one sided argument you're having with yourself, tryin to make yourself feel better about everything that's happened. And granted, that is what a blog is for, but I feel like considering he is the father of your son, you should go about the situation a little more maturely and not get everyone else involved on the Internet taking your side.

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    1. I am incredibly happy and in love with James Dean and it is because of the second chance at REAL love and the "happily ever after" I wanted all along that I have been so blessed to have come into my life ... well, it is because of all of it that I am that much more determined to thoroughly deconstruct, process and divulge into just why I got married to the wrong person in the first place and what eventually led to the failure of that marriage.

      If you don't understand your history it is bound to repeat itself, is it not?

      According to many experts (see, for example, this article found at http://psychcentral.com -- http://psychcentral.com/lib/2012/improving-the-odds-for-successful-second-marriages/all/1/) it is actually encouraged for a divorcee to try and understand as much as they possibly can about why their first marriage ended in divorce in order to increase the likelihood that a second marriage won't end in divorce too.

      Blogging my way through this experience has been empowering, to say the least. When you've fallen prey to the manipulation and deceptions of a suspected narcissistic personality and/or sociopath you are stripped of your worth, your power and your strength. This is my way of taking all of that back. I feel that I have made a wise decision in remaining anonymous and using a pseudonym and if my STBX wanted to write a blog about me and how he feels through his own journey and experiences, all the power to him and all his douchery.

      Writing is cathartic. Therapeutic. Sharing my story with other like-minded individuals and building a community of support here on my blog makes it even more worthwhile. If you haven't noticed, many people have found support and comfort here through me sharing my journey. If you can't see how wonderful that is, then why are you here?

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    2. I'm here because I was expecting to see something wonderful, about someone starting anew. But I can see that our views of what wonderful really is differs immensely. I see wonderful as not dwelling on the past but moving on to a wonderful future and focusing on that. I wish you the best, and hope that one day you can see past the flaws of your ex and focus on the positives of your James Dean, and really truly bring some wonderful things to this blog. Maybe even point out some things in your marriage that were right rather than constantly focusing on what was wrong with it. Bring the good from your past to the good in your future, and leave the rest behind. While you shouldn't forget it, so it doesn't repeat itself, don't dwell on it and keep revisiting the "he did this, he was this, he effed this up". You two need to focus on one thing, raising your child in a loving comfortable environment and leaving the baggage at the door.

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    3. Please stay tuned because I have about 8 blog posts in the works at the moment that have not been completely edited and and brought up to par for publishing. This is a slow process. I am a working mother with about a million hobbies and extracurricular activities.

      And, contrary to your allegations that there is nothing positive here already, may I invite you to check out more of the past posts available here? Like the post about my views on love? Or my experience as a single mom going stag? Or my photography? I have already put up some positive and wonderful posts about starting anew, life as a single mom etc., how I have positively applied lessons of the past to live more wonderfully in the the present (maybe you should read through the archives?) ... and I will continue to do so. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your positive encouragement!

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  5. Oh wow, this is te first time I've read this one, and it feels like you were writing about me!

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  6. Being yourself is truly wonderful, thank you!!! When you share the truth there is always someone that can't handle the truth (the movie A Few Good Men)!!! I had the exact same baby daddy except for the calmness part because he coldn't control his temper, hence being a single mom. He HATED that I was actually was honest and made him accountable and not enabled him.

    I love reading your blog. I know this is a year later (just found it tonight) and your boy is 2.5 I think? But my daughter is 17 months and I am suing for full custody!

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