CrippledLamb
I haven't seen the term "gaslighting" come up much here and I can imagine there are a lot of members who are still experiencing their fair share of this.
For those who aren't familiar with it: “Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality. This is done by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person.-The Gaslight Effect: Don’t Be Afraid To Speak Your Truth by Robin Stern.
This link was very helpful for me.
http://www.shiftjournal.com/2012/01/06/the-sad-art-of-gaslighting/

My strategies have basically been: in a situation where a lie is spoken and the attempt is made to convince me that the truth is not so-
1. Don't argue the facts (the offender will not recognize them as facts, just as emotions)
2. Set a boundary as to how far you will allow the lie to be defended (ex: "You probably don't believe me anyway, but I wasn't at his house last night").  To me, if I hear a statement that suggests that I think, believe, or feel a certain way before a fact is stated, I immediately stop the conversation.
So far this has been helpful to just reducing the damage done by the lies, but it can take a toll on me when there is no information shared.

I'm wondering if anyone has any successful strategies for combating the constant gaslighting by their WS.
Thanks
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Intuition77
Didn't really handle it after dday except by pointing out I knew it was a lie and as you pointed out facts aren't logic for a CS. but I have to say this to me is one of the most damaging affects of an affair. This is the part that undermines the BS sense of self and reality and to me is abusive. Pre dday was the worst year of my life personally. And I couldn't figure out why. By a month Pre-day I was considering seeing a dr for antidepressants because I couldn't figure out why I felt so horrible about myself. Everything I did or said was "crazy". I was paranoid jealous out of my
mind etc.

Due to gaslighting and my husbands behaviors toward me My self esteem hit an all time low, I truly started to feel like I was crazy, I was constantly doubting myself and it took me prob 3-4 months after dday to see the damage to my self and how it had happened so gradually little by little picking away at me. Because i consider myself a fairly intelligent person and wouldn't think I could be manipulated against myself like that. But it happens so slowly and so deceitfully you don't realize it's happening. After dday things suddenly starting falling on me-oh the day I questioned this & he told me I was crazy, oh how he kept making offhand remarks that we're put downs and then saying he was only joking oh he got caught in a lie then turned it on me and on and on.

It's abuse & the most disgusting part of an affair. To alter another persons sense of reality and make them doubt themselves is despicable.
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Courage
Thx for bringing up this topic Cripled Lamb, and how you deal with it. I find it exaspurating when my WS does this. I can't force the truth, but I go out of my mind knowing I'm not getting it. He has turned so much back on me, both during and after the affair. During the affair when I would beg him to tell me what was wrong with him, he would say that when I lash out at him he becomes withdrawn. I tried to say that I'm lashing out bc I'm so frustrated and I don't know what to do. In the end I felt like I was the one doing something wrong and I felt like I had huge issues bc I couldn't get a handle on my hurt and anger. When I would ask him if He was having an affair he would laugh, he would say all kinds of things that meant I was going crazy- so I kind of thought I was.

Then of course the affair was discovered and when questions he answered about the affair just didn't add up, he'd get exasperated with me and basically tell me that I had to get over it. He would put the ball in my court to end the marriage then if I didn't believe him. Everything felt turned around on me. So I resigned that I just had to trust his truth and suppress my inner voice that said there was more. Of course, my suspicions would surface and I would dig and find the answers I was looking for. Only to get, I lied to protect you, but there are no more lies.
I resent the lengths he went to to turn things around on me- when I think about it, it really is a form of emotional abuse. He knew all along what he was doing, despite my desperation and anguish. Now I have to decide if I can ever forgive and trust this man again.
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Intuition77
My husband did the same thing courage. When what I needed (many things but mostly his personal responsibility) to even consider working at it never waivered he continuously said well then I guess it's over because YOU don't want to let things go.
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Courage
When did you say, 'I've had enough?' What was your breaking point? I'm wondering if I have one- a breaking point
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
When did you say, 'I've had enough?' What was your breaking point? I'm wondering if I have one- a breaking point


I think we all have a breaking points or perhaps in my case several "mini breaking points" & then a "bigger breaking point". There were many times along the way that I thought "this is it...I'm done" but then something would pull me back in & I would reconsider what I was thinking & I'd end up trying again to save our marriage. 

In my case I had 2 bigger breaking points...most people probably just have one. The first was at the two and a half year mark when my ex said as he was boarding a flight..."things might end with her sooner than you think". You see his mother had been very ill prior to this trip & he seemed to be coming back around to our marriage. It was as though he realized how much our life together meant to him. Obviously this gave me hope once again. However upon his return (he met up with her for a few hours I would later find out) he informed me that they decided to continue their relationship (how special I thought!). That was the breaking point for me & I told him we are done & I will get a lawyer & proceed with a divorce. I followed through on what I told him.

Six months later he asked me if I would consider not going through with the divorce & staying separated but trying again to work on our marriage. He sounded so sincere with the things he said to me at that time. I will never forget it. However, "she" was coming over for a visit in about 3 weeks from when he first talked with me about holding off on the divorce. I made it very clear to him that he would have to END things once & for all & prove to me that he did that & show me that he was willing to work really hard on our marriage. Of course there were no guarantees & probably very little chance of things working out but I was willing to try once more. Well, he didn't follow through with everything he told me he was going to do. He suggested that she cancel her trip but never told her not to come until the day of her flight (he sent a text message). Of course she arrived & he picked her up & they went off for 2 weeks together (a trip that he had planned for them during my birthday). He would later tell me that he just couldn't leave her waiting on the curb & couldn't send her back. So, that was my second breaking point & that was the END for me. 

I've given you a condensed version of my breaking points but hopefully it will give you an idea of what I went through. I hope your marriage will be able to re-build & maybe you won't ever get to that final breaking point.
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Courage
Wow, thank you for sharing that. You are one tough cookie- firstly for enduring such pain inyoir marriage and secondly for your strength in making the move to end a marriage you so badly wanted to try and save. As painful as divorce is you must feel some relief I would think. I'm sorry for what you endured. I am struggling with the lies during the affair and the lies told to me about the affair. Since DDAY, he has had no contact with her. He is trying for sure- and has been an open book about his wherabouts. He shut down his old email account and I have full access to his phone- emails texts etc.. Last weekend he was invited to a mini highschool reunion at a pub in his hometown and he wanted to go. He told me that if I didn't want him to go he wouldn't. I told him to go and have fun. I said you need a night out as he pretty much has been in the house since day- besides work and the gym. He also told me to call him or text at anytime. He texted me frequently through the night. Asked me if I was okay. I appreciated his efforts to make me feel secure and I was genuinely happy he got to spend time with old friends. Thank you again for being sharing your story. I can't help but feel you're better off and when you're ready, love will find you again.
TimeToFly wrote:
Courage wrote:
When did you say, 'I've had enough?' What was your breaking point? I'm wondering if I have one- a breaking point
 I think we all have a breaking points or perhaps in my case several "mini breaking points" & then a "bigger breaking point". There were many times along the way that I thought "this is it...I'm done" but then something would pull me back in & I would reconsider what I was thinking & I'd end up trying again to save our marriage...
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
Wow, thank you for sharing that. You are one tough cookie- firstly for enduring such pain inyoir marriage and secondly for your strength in making the move to end a marriage you so badly wanted to try and save. As painful as divorce is you must feel some relief I would think. I'm sorry for what you endured. I am struggling with the lies during the affair and the lies told to me about the affair. Since DDAY, he has had no contact with her. He is trying for sure- and has been an open book about his wherabouts. He shut down his old email account and I have full access to his phone- emails texts etc.. Last weekend he was invited to a mini highschool reunion at a pub in his hometown and he wanted to go. He told me that if I didn't want him to go he wouldn't. I told him to go and have fun. I said you need a night out as he pretty much has been in the house since day- besides work and the gym. He also told me to call him or text at anytime. He texted me frequently through the night. Asked me if I was okay. I appreciated his efforts to make me feel secure and I was genuinely happy he got to spend time with old friends. Thank you again for being sharing your story. I can't help but feel you're better off and when you're ready, love will find you again.


Happy to share in the hopes that it will help. It really sounds like your spouse is trying very hard. Having no contact with her is such an important & necessary step (again one which my ex could never seem to grasp), being open about what he's doing, giving you access to everything, making you feel secure when he went out for the evening, etc. In my opinion these are all very positive signs.

In looking back on my situation I should have been much firmer than I was since my ex never ended the contact with her. Granted it faded for awhile...probably a once a week email but even that shouldn't have been occurring. He could never close & lock that door with her. Sometimes I think that I was the fool to put up with everything for as long as I did. In many ways it just made things so much harder. 

It's interesting because you & a few other close friends have all said the same thing..."you must feel some relief"...the strange thing is I really don't & I'm not sure why. Maybe because I was in this awful situation for so long, or maybe because parts of me are still numb to the reality of what has really happened. 

Thank you for all your kind words & support....I really appreciate it.
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Intuition77
Courage wrote:
When did you say, 'I've had enough?' What was your breaking point? I'm wondering if I have one- a breaking point



Like time2fly I had many breaking points and I now realize they we're more like letting go points. First my marriage had/has issues I don't see much here. He is an alcoholic & still very much in denial. I was loyal to a fault. I lost myself in my marriage & allowed my spouse to not meet my own needs which has a lot to do with his own intimacy issues ego etc. It took his affair to make me see all that. So most of his issues after the affair are much deeper for us then maybe others. The patterns became ingrained & hard to break.

I could name prob a dozen breaking points on HIS behaviors. I kept trying but each would detach me more and more. It was a gradual change inside me. On dday I was lost devastated and had zero self esteem. My reaction (which oh how I wish me today could go back to dday!) was basically I NEEDED him to behave and react and feel a certain way in response to my pain to even exist is how it felt. I would just cease to exist if this marriage failed. That took about 2 months to slowly care more about myself and my own needs and by months 3-4 it became more of I WANT my marriage and him to feel and react and care etc but I know I won't die if this marriage doesn't survive. By months 5-6 and since it eventually became I would have liked my marriage to have been different him to have cared or responded in a better way etc but I have a life and purpose beyond this marriage and I need to honor me and my needs and they are not being met here and there's no action to show that will ever occur.

Honestly I sometimes look back and see the patterns in our marriage & think if he had responded appropriately and done everything "right" while I was not as strong as today and devastated maybe the patterns would have remained and id have never learned what I needed to about myself. In my husbands case the problems go deep to the point I would need a completely changed man to even reconsider the marriage. My top two requirements we're a drinking treatment program he actually dedicated himself to and individual counseling which I would need to see consistent effort and action for prob at least a year now to even consider allowing him back Into our home. And my kids & my own comfort level with it would come first. Neither of which he has ever taken action towards. He went to one counseling session I insisted on and I stopped Insisting & he never returned. Which was what I needed to know.

I do not think massive change occurs overnight. Your husband seems to take some actions and some back steps. I think that's common and doesn't mean it's a lost cause. In my case there has been no action towards personal growth change responsibility. Just empty words. And even his words go back and forth. My husbands affair shined a light on major issues in him that always affected our marriage. Basically he's a middle aged child. His affair was a turning point for he could completely change his life and finally grow up or stay the same lose everything and maybe find another woman in an unhealthy place to just take care of him & enable his issues but it wasn't ever going to be me again because I'm not that person anymore & do not want to be.

The very needs of an affair recovery are basically every single thing my husband ever had issues with personally. He created his own worse case scenario.

So if you see actions that show change and they consistently improve id say that's a good sign. I know the lies hurt. And it's a problem. But it seems to be a problem
He's working on at least?

I had a hard time with boundaries. To set a boundary you have to want to keep your own consequences. So for example if your saying no more lies or that's it I'm done and then more lies come out & your not done then your not making him feel the consequences and your disrespecting yourself. I'm not saying that SHOULD be your boundary or consequence just that YOU need to figure out what they are and what your willing to make a consequence you will follow through on. If you don't follow through it's just an empty threat. The hard thing about boundaries is the boundary isn't for them. Saying ok from today, not one more lie-isn't going to make him tell the truth if he doesn't want to. Which is usually what we want it to do. The boundary is for you. The consequence is to protect you and your heart and to not enable him to avoid facing natural consequences for his own actions. I don't know if you struggle with that, it was a huge struggle for me. I read many websites about boundary setting and "boundaries in marriage" is a good book (not affair based). But I learned through pain & error that if I was feeling disrespected, resentful, if his actions we're causing me more hurt etc it was usually because I wasn't protecting my own boundaries. And just a warning if you've had trouble creating personal Boundaries they have a huge issue with respecting them! Mine kept saying they we're control. I explained more then once he was free to do whatever he pleases. Just if his choices didn't respect me and our marriage then I didn't want to be his wife. Really that simple. And he still insisted it was control.

A huge one for me was his calls & texts we're very dismissive of my feelings. His world view is if his actions hurt me the problem Is my feeling hurt not his actions. So I blocked him. There was a huge shift in me when I did so. It took away some of the victim. It gave me back some personal power over my life. And it was different. I had no desire to change him. Just to protect myself. His behavior was the problem but out of my control, my feelings we're valid, so I controlled
What I could-how I allowed him to Affect me. Again I think your in a different place as your husband seems willing to understand your feelings.
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Intuition77
That was really rambling! Sorry! My true breaking point?
When I realized his idea of the marriage was rug sweeping and no changes. When I sat & envisioned that future he was offering- and knew id wake every morning filled with resentment and hate and go to bed every night regretting my marriage, when the future he offered was MUCH scarier then a future without him. That was my true breaking point.
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Intuition77
TimeToFly wrote:
Sometimes I think that I was the fool to put up with everything for as long as I did. In many ways it just made things so much harder.


This struck me because it was something I berated myself with and I felt that way too. I don't anymore. Usually. Though the bad days make it creep back up.

I think we are loving and kind and we wished to offer grace even when it was most Undeserved. I think we are strong and stand for things that matter like family, that we are not easily bent in a storm. That we are not made of shallow things or run from problems. That when dealt immense hurt & pain we still felt Empathy & Compassion for those that hurt us.

And I think rather then foolish those qualities make us far more likely to be able to enjoy life to the fullest. [smile]
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Courage
That was some pretty powerful insights and thoughts. I liked how you said it was more like letting go points. I can totally understand that. It's like each new hurt or betrayal chips away at you until eventually you sadly just know-that there is nothing else you can do. I loved what you said about setting boundaries and about keeping the consequences you set. I've failed at that- I've said, if I discovered more lies I was done- and I did and went back on it. The one boundary That I believe I absolutely will hold the consequences i have made is if he has had any contact with her since DDAY. I will know then that I did everything and I won't subject myself to anymore pain. Thank you again!
Intuition77 wrote:
Courage wrote:
When did you say, 'I've had enough?' What was your breaking point? I'm wondering if I have one- a breaking point
Like time2fly I had many breaking points and I now realize they we're more like letting go points...
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TimeToFly
Courage wrote:
That was some pretty powerful insights and thoughts. I liked how you said it was more like letting go points. I can totally understand that. It's like each new hurt or betrayal chips away at you until eventually you sadly just know-that there is nothing else you can do. I loved what you said about setting boundaries and about keeping the consequences you set. I've failed at that- I've said, if I discovered more lies I was done- and I did and went back on it. The one boundary That I believe I absolutely will hold the consequences i have made is if he has had any contact with her since DDAY. I will know then that I did everything and I won't subject myself to anymore pain. Thank you again!


Yes, I would agree with Intuition that the breaking points can be like "letting go points". Perhaps it's a combination of both. I know I totally failed to set the boundaries that needed to be in place. My classic line was "if I find out about one more thing then I'm done" but something else would show up & I'd find a way to excuse it which certainly wasn't the right thing to do. I think because I didn't stick to the boundaries my ex knew he could keep doing things with her & still come back to me. In many ways I made life way too easy for him. If I could go back in time I'd change the ways in which I handled many things. I would still offer forgiveness but I wouldn't keep giving my heart & my love to someone who wasn't deserving of it based upon his words & actions towards me.
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TimeToFly
Anna26 wrote:
TTF:

"I know I totally failed to set the boundaries that needed to be in place"

Well, thats me down to tee, that sentence.  For long enough I'd put up with all his shenanigans, carrying on as normal,cooking, cleaning,washing, ironing.  He went off walking on his days off work, while I was at work, and took his 'friend' along but I couldn't prove it at the time.  Then he'd be at home at night, in my bed,(no spare room) until I finally got sick of it and gave him an ultimatum, end it or move out.  Should have done it earlier but kept making excuses for him, thinking that it would be over soon, he'd come to his senses eventually.  Talk about a cake and eat it scenario.
If and when he decides to come home, and it will have to be for the right reasons, he will get all the support he needs to help us work things out and eventually forgiveness too, but he has a lot to prove first!


Yes, I was continually making excuses for my ex. Always finding a way to excuse his behavior...now I wonder what was I thinking! I really feel though that when you are caught in this "affair storm" it's so hard to navigate your way. I kept getting "lost" in a sense.

We also were still sharing the same bed & again I wonder why I didn't tell him to sleep on the couch. He really deserved the floor but the couch would have been the next best place. Instead he slept soundly while I cried myself to sleep or walked the floors so many nights.

I applaud you for giving him that ultimatum. Well done!!! Again, something I wish I would have done. I can now look back & see that fear was a driving factor in a lot of my decisions but that's easier to see now than it was at the time.

I can only hope by posting some of these things that others will not only be able to relate, but to benefit in some way from what is shared.


 
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Intuition77
Oh I failed at boundaries for quite some time and still struggle and slip into old habits sometimes. It was so foreign a concept for me I thought my therapist was going to explode trying to explain it to me over & over. Lol

But I haven't read a single BS story where they set perfect boundaries and didn't struggle. In fact I find it interesting almost all BS are the more giving spouse, open & honest emotionally, invested spouse who put everyone else first yet struggle to put ourselves first. yet we usually have firm Boundaries in place to protect our spouses and marriages-the exact place the CS is missing boundaries.

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