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    • #169306

      Hi all,

      I keep thinking of questions (born from worries and regrets) having left my ex and he since blocked me.

      I read somewhere that certain forms of gaslighting can be accidental or unconscious, and I wondered whether it would still count as abuse if so?

      For context, my ex might tell me e.g. that I couldn’t possibly have a certain personality trait, because I’d proved the opposite by behaving or doing something that didn’t match what I’d said. He wouldn’t back down on it and this infuriated me, as it didn’t feel like a debate (and I felt it wasn’t up for discussion anyway as I know myself).

      When I flipped this on him (not proud of myself for that but needed a way to show him how it felt) he was just as defensive and said ‘it was ‘different’ and that I was talking out of context.

      He did this later in the relationship during arguments by telling me I was just upset because he’d called me out and that used to wind me up even more.

      Should I have felt upset that he was calling what I’d said into question?

      Did he just not understand or see what he was doing and how horrible it felt?

      Thanks all xxxxx

    • #169330

      Hi, just read your post and I understand that this is something that worries you, as it does me too. My ex Husband and I have been split up (detail removed by Moderator) years (divorced too) and I am still, everyday re-running the whole relationship through and through my head, was it just me overthinking, did I over react, to even questioning whether if I was the abuser. It gets so bad sometimes that I think I’m going insane.
      What I would say to you though is even if your ex didn’t realise he was being that way, would you really want to spend your life with someone like that regardless.

      Stay strong xxxx

    • #169332

      CoffeeAndBooks thank you for replying- you have described my thought processes when speaking about yours! I’ve wondered was I childish or emotionally disregulated to get dragged into these battles (or did I even turn them into battles) and why couldn’t I just say, nah we obviously disagree and change the subject. I’ve heard so much professional advice saying pick your battles as you don’t always have to be ‘right’ but doesn’t that store up resentment for later? Even if you’re able to disarm them by not engaging, it kind of still sat with me that they never acknowledged my perspective/feelings as valid or believable.

      And that’s a good succinct point you make about the behaviour still not being nice regardless whether they meant to gaslight, especially since it would never have been acceptable to try that on him! So very hard work to be around. But like you I replay it all and remember the few times I did vocalise what I observed him doing and he would take notice and stop, so I kick myself for not doing that more often. But it obviously hadn’t slowed down the incidents anyway so I would’ve felt ruined by staying any longer- insanity making it really is and exhausting.

      Thank you, it’s one foot in front of the other right now, best I can do to keep going slowly in a better direction. I hope you manage to banish the intrusive thoughts too.


    • #169429

      Hi, It’s an interesting point you raise and one that I pondered over many times as I began the separation from my now ex-husband. What I would say is that there is “intention” and there is “impact”. Let’s be generous for a moment and say he didn’t know he was being abusive – firstly that doesn’t diminish the impact of the behaviour on you. Crucially, and this is vital when beginning to understand cycle of abuse, is when you did call it out and explain how you felt what was the response? Did the behaviour stop? Or did it happen again? If you find yourself continually gaslit, dismissed, diminished etc then the excuse of “I didn’t know” clearly doesn’t stack up. He did know because you told him. He’s choosing not to listen to you or change his behaviour. Start to take notes of these patterns of behaviour and you’ll begin to see that you’re trying to communicate your needs and they are being suppressed. It took me a long time to see all this so don’t be hard on yourself if you feel like you’ve been fooled. Being manipulated is often a very insidious process and you don’t even know it’s happening until you’re in deep. Take care of yourself x*x

    • #169539

      Thanks Pookie1,

      It’s interesting to hear you wondered the same, I just can’t stop! Especially since I suffered no serious abuse and it was just his manner towards me at times, and his authoritarian attitude.

      It felt like it was just disrespectful or maybe more insensitive at times and that it was his word over mine. There was definitely impact, however I’ve learnt that I’m very sensitive to criticism and false accusations etc. (awaiting an assessment & diagnosis) so this adds to my rumination over how u contributed to the dynamic.

      Sometimes he would listen and stop in the moment if I put the spotlight back onto his behaviour when speaking to me, or if I raised it a few days later, but yes something else would usually crop up a while later, and I might be spoken to a bit like a child again. I was never lying to him, I was too scared to for some reason, ridiculous!

      So the pattern was there with subtle control too, like occasional suggestions/alternatives to what I’d wanted to do, and I would be left wondering what would be appropriate for me to do (could just be popping outside with or without him), without a proper conversation (consultation)… first.

      How long before you got to your point of final realisation?

      Thank you


    • #169540

      *how I contributed

    • #169548
      Sad and alone

      This is something I have been wondering recently too. How much intent is there. Does he think to himself right, I’m going to do xyz now? I don’t know. Is it a conscious decision or is it like a mental illness where they don’t realise that what they do is not right? That they’re convinced they’re doing nothing wrong despite our reactions obviously showing otherwise?
      I have told him how he makes me feel. I have said to him do you think it’s acceptable to speak to me this way. He says he wouldn’t have to if I was a better person/changed/didn’t push him to do it. I have even tried to give an analogy like if he had a friend who acted this way towards him would be still want to be friends with them. But he is so fixated on me being the issue. He can’t see it as he thinks he would not do anything to cause anyone to speak to him that way in the first place. The only thing he may say sorry for is getting physical. After seeing bruises. But it’s like, sorry I did it, it’s not who I am, but you pushed me to/got in my face etc. So not really an apology!
      Sometimes I think if I could know that it’s like an illness, something he can’t consciously control, it may be easier to deal with or manage. But if he knows he’s doing it and has a plan in his head about things, sees how upset I get and doesn’t care, then it just makes me so sad as it’s not who I married.

    • #169555

      Sad and alone I completely understand you, and you make such a good point about whether he’d accept similar behaviour from a friend, because someone said to me would I let anyone else in my life stay after speaking to me so rudely? I had to wake up and admit no I would not!

      And why do they believe they do nothing wrong? My ex’s apologies for not addressing me correctly or getting something wrong, were I realise now, very offhand and didn’t feel sincere, more like he was trying to suggest I’d made a big deal over nothing (that he’d started) and he was having to pander to my sensitivity.

      And the key thing that leapt out in your reply was that he didn’t used to get physical with you but does now- which shows some kind of thought process maybe? And if I was him and genuinely thought I couldn’t control that aspect of my behaviour around you, I’d leave to keep you safe and myself out of trouble, not stay and keep doing it/blaming you.

      I so wish I’d stayed calm every time and said, are you alright today?? He seemed to hate the idea that it was him that was unhinged and it would stop his behaviour instantly. Now I feel he’s feeling justified in his belief that it was all me being insecure and oversensitive.


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