ABCOneTwoThree
Does anyone else still struggle with questioning their own sanity, even years after routine gaslighting has ended? 
I have very obvious PTSD from the abuse I survived from my exWS, that fight or flight response is still pretty strong even after being separated for over a year and a half. The PTSD symptoms are obvious though, to me and also the man I am currently seeing. It’s easy to tell when I’ve shut down and gone into protection mode, and these days I can pull myself out of it pretty quick. The nightmares are coming few and far between, and I’m honestly really lucky to be spending so much time with someone who is so patient with me, and does all the right things, he doesn’t raise his voice or his hands, and he doesn’t touch me if I don’t give him the clear okay to do so. 
The thing that I still struggle with sometimes is feeling like I can’t trust my gut, my recollection of events or my interpretation of situations. My exWS spent years making me think I was literally clinically crazy for not trusting him, or not feeling safe with him. The abuse was always followed up “you’re exaggerating”, or “that’s not what really happened”. His affairs were always covered up with “you’re just insecure”, “if you believe the worst of me, that’s all you’ll see”, etc... 
Even the attached man I was seeing last year pulled similar crap in the end, he insisted I told nothing but lies about our relationship and called me a psychopath, and I believed it for a while. I questioned everything I remembered and seriously questioned my sanity. After years of this in my marriage, it was just a default reaction to go there again with him. 
I’m at a place where this is one of the last things weighing on my mind about everything, both my marriage and my role as the OW. I’m happy, I’ve moved on and I’m doing really well. But there is still this underlying feeling of “can I trust that this is all real?”  I’m not sure how long I’ll have to deal with that feeling, but right now it’s really my only roadblock when it comes to creating or rebuilding interpersonal relationships. 
I’ve spent some time rebuilding friendships and relationships with family members, and in doing so reconnected with someone I went to high school with, and we’ve been unofficially seeing each other for a while now. It’s great, he’s great, but I’m stuck between feeling like this is going well, and questioning whether or not my mental perception of it is accurate or not. He told me he was falling in love with me, and I stopped and had to seriously consider whether I actually heard that or not. I’m just so frustrated with myself for not being able to believe something that was so clearly said directly to my face. 
So I guess my question is this: am I alone in feeling like I can’t trust myself? Does it get better with more time? To give you and idea on timelines: April 2018 was my last DDay, and I’ve been separated from my WS since May 2018. I was the OW for someone else from July 2018 until May/June ish 2019. 
Formerly EasyAsABC 
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anthro
I don't know. I am approaching three years since d-day, 4.5 years since the gaslighting and psychological abuse really started, and 4 years since the gaslighting became a serious joint conspiracy with the AP posing as my friend and both our families became close. 

For about 6 months after d-day my wife was still extremely unstable (as she now puts it, "not herself") and I now tend to view that period as effectively being a continuation of the affair. But since then, while she has not done everything I think we need her to do, she has at least stuck to a genuine version of attempted reconciliation, honesty, etc. 

Despite all this and what is really a fairly lengthy period of relative stability, "it" is still on my mind every minute of every day. I say "it" not because I am scared to say "the affair" but because I think "it" is something a bit different to just the affair. It is not so often now that I vividly picture the AP, or my WS and the AP together, or flash back to a very specific memory from that period (although a few have really stuck around). It is more an ill-defined unease, a sense that reality is not reality, that my life is inauthentic, that we are going through the motions, that there is no connection or prospect of any connection. I think maybe the "it" that is always on my mind is just a burned-in conviction that nothing is really reliable or true any more. 

I am not sure if this is the same thing you are talking about. For me, it isn't exactly a feeling that I don't trust myself. It is more a feeling that I am just dislocated from the reality around me, that I think is driven by an inability to regard anything as "real" any more. 

Specifically to this though - if your timeline makes sense you have a very patient and nice guy who you've been seeing since mid-this year who has told you he is falling in love with you. I do think that, objectively, the "falling in love with you" thing is, you know, nice, and better than some of the alternatives, but not to be taken too seriously unless you are both still aged under 20. I can't see you with someone who hasn't had some pretty hefty life experience, and I can't see anyone with pretty hefty life experience genuinely going with the "i'm falling in love with you" concept after just a few months. So it's either a line and you should be wary, or it's genuine and he's a fairly innocent type. If he's the fairly innocent type then you should make allowances for the fact that he is going to romanticise stuff a bit, and not take the romantic declarations tooooooo seriously. 
Formerly known as Anthropoidape... male bs, long affair, d-day Feb 2017.
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ABCOneTwoThree
anthro wrote:


Specifically to this though - if your timeline makes sense you have a very patient and nice guy who you've been seeing since mid-this year who has told you he is falling in love with you. I do think that, objectively, the "falling in love with you" thing is, you know, nice, and better than some of the alternatives, but not to be taken too seriously unless you are both still aged under 20. I can't see you with someone who hasn't had some pretty hefty life experience, and I can't see anyone with pretty hefty life experience genuinely going with the "i'm falling in love with you" concept after just a few months. So it's either a line and you should be wary, or it's genuine and he's a fairly innocent type. If he's the fairly innocent type then you should make allowances for the fact that he is going to romanticise stuff a bit, and not take the romantic declarations tooooooo seriously. 



Thank you, as usual your response holds a lot of value here. I think we may be experiencing similar, yet slightly different things. It might just be the difference between divorce and reconciliation that separates the experiences. 

Regarding your last point, we’ve only been seeing each other since end of September ish. I really wanted to spend some time alone, and I’m extremely hesitant to commit to a relationship. I’ve essentially been “alone” since well before the affair I participated in ended though. The “I’m falling in love with you” was a kind way of letting me know how he feels, without pressuring me for more at this point, which we’ve discussed since then. He’s definitely got a bit of his own baggage as well, and he’s also divorced. I’m obviously wary about things moving too fast, so I don’t feel too bad that at this point I can’t return his feeling in full, but he does seem patient, so there’s that. 
Formerly EasyAsABC 
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triplehooks
Easy I don’t pretend to know what you need but reading your post and familiar with lots of your posts here the question that came to mind was whether you have had enough time alone.  I would surmise the questions you’re asking yourself are evidence of all that gaslighting you endured and their reappearance with any frequency a sign that its poison has not been emptied from your system. 

You’ve been through a LOT and without suggesting anything in particular I’d just encourage you to examine whether the noise of anyone else’s heart banging around near yours is going to help you neutralize all that old trauma or whether it will complicate things for yourself.  Not to suggest a) there’s an exact chronology to it or b) that you can’t handle it but if you’re still questioning whether what you see/hear etc is really real or subject to someone’s shifting narrative then you may be well served guarding yourself until you can be at peace and confident with your perception of things.  

Take good care
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ABCOneTwoThree
triplehooks wrote:
Easy I don’t pretend to know what you need but reading your post and familiar with lots of your posts here the question that came to mind was whether you have had enough time alone.  I would surmise the questions you’re asking yourself are evidence of all that gaslighting you endured and their reappearance with any frequency a sign that its poison has not been emptied from your system. 

You’ve been through a LOT and without suggesting anything in particular I’d just encourage you to examine whether the noise of anyone else’s heart banging around near yours is going to help you neutralize all that old trauma or whether it will complicate things for yourself.  Not to suggest a) there’s an exact chronology to it or b) that you can’t handle it but if you’re still questioning whether what you see/hear etc is really real or subject to someone’s shifting narrative then you may be well served guarding yourself until you can be at peace and confident with your perception of things.  

Take good care


Thanks, triplehooks. 
Largely, I agree with you. However, when getting into this particular situation I had a bit of an internal debate. I am no longer pining for the man I was previously involved with, I don’t miss him, I don’t want him back, I hope to never see or talk to him again. I’m so past over him and that particularly bad judgement call. For months after the affair officially ended (December 2018) I was heartbroken and devastated, and kept going back for more, that’s not me anymore. 
So then came my dilemma: why turn down a date on account of my past relationship with him? Isn’t that just lending more power to a person/situation that I’ve confidently moved past? Or do I turn down this date because of my horrid marriage/divorce? In that case, wouldn’t I be giving power back to my ex husband by intentionally secluding myself from other men? 
So, I went on the date, and I had a great time.
A date does not a relationship make, though we’ve been on quite a few dates at this point. I agree that a relationship may be ill advised considering my post here, and that’s definitely where I agree with you. 
Formerly EasyAsABC 
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ThrivenotSurvive
I had a very different experience than you so take this for what it is worth.  My husband did very little gaslighting (or even direct lies) because we were having to live apart for a LONG period that more than encompassed his affair.  His lies were of omission - it never occurred of me to ask - and he certainly wasn't offering. 

And yet, for a solid 12-18 months I constantly questioned my own judgement - and whether I could trust that anything good was real.  So I think part of it is just trauma and the body and minds way of dealing with it.  Brene Brown's description of "Foreboding Joy" really rang true for me.  However, with time and a concerted effort to build new neural pathways by reminding myself regularly of how often I HAD made good judgement calls and life HAD been good, I have found almost all of this leave my system in year three post DD.  The feeling occasionally still comes to visit, but it is rare and passes quickly when i put it through a "reality test".  

So glad that you are feeling so much stronger!
BS - Female
Married 27 years, one adult child
DD May 2016

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - V Frankl
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