Gaslighting Abuse Means War for My Heart & Mind

Fight. I still fight to be heard and understood. My fighting, this war to save my heart and mind, is what sabotages my efforts to end his gaslighting abuse.

For gaslighting abuse to work, he must have access to my mind & heart. My boundaries extinguish his access and he cannot get what he wants. It is now a war.For whatever reasons, including my desires to be heard and understood, I react to his behavior in unhealthy ways. I still think that if I rephrase what I’m saying, if I talk-over or yell, if I interrupt the gaslighting abuse with words to correct him, … if I still think that I can end his gaslighting abuse and manipulation with logic or persistence, then I am misleading myself and encouraging him to keep trying to gaslight me.

For some reason, my husband will not respond to me as if I am capable of being different from him. For some reason, when I am different from what he thinks I should be, he is threatened. And when he is threatened, he tries to regain control and comfort by putting me in my place. The place I “should” live in his mind. The person I “should” be in his mind.

I have no problem with the fact that he is different from me. Some of his opinions and beliefs really baffle me, but they are his and I cannot change them. (I’ve tried and only made our marriage worse because I did to him what he’s done to me – make him feel unworthy and unloved.) Even though I’ve tried to change his mind about some things, I’ve always known that it may be impossible to do so. I’ve always known that at some point, it was time to live and let live. But I think that the “live and let live” idea is foreign to him.

Perhaps I am so important to him that he feels we should be as one mind. Unfortunately, this thought seems to translate into we should be of his mind … and my mind should disappear and stop causing so many problems.

Anyway, it’s my fighting his control and manipulation which allows the gaslighting abuse to continue. Sometimes even to flare up uncontrollably.

There are ways to defuse the behavior without fruitlessly fighting it. There are things I can do and say to control my reaction to manipulation, nastiness, intimidation, threats,…, the whole abusive bit. Notice I said I can control my reaction; I cannot control his behavior.

And the ability to control my reaction to him is what I will work on now. He may hear me say things or see me do things that he doesn’t like as I control my reactions. He will see me enforce personal boundaries that I never had before (after I tell him what those boundaries are). And he’s probably not going to like the fact that I am using boundaries to “lock him out” of my heart and mind – the two places he relies on having free access to to get what he wants from me.

Gaslighting Abuse Because I Won’t Skype

For example, Skype. I recently cut off that source of contact with my husband. He can still Skype our boys on their computers. He can still call me and our boys on our cell phones. But he cannot Skype me on my computer. He cannot interrupt me as I work via Skype; more importantly, I don’t have to worry that he will interrupt me in any way while I’m working (or relaxing) on the computer.

He reacted very angrily to my refusal to use Skype during the cell phone call I received from him today. He acted like there was no possible way to contact me or the boys (even though he can call our cell phones). He acted like I was taking away all communication with us, period. He seemed to forget that I was in fact speaking with him on the cell at that very minute, or that he can email me, or in a pinch, have his chain of command or the Family Readiness Group get in touch with me. He seemed to forget that he could write a letter and put it in the mail (for free!).

He was angry because I turned off Skype. How dare I?

Eventually, I hung up the phone on him. I felt out of control. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. I didn’t understand why he brought up the idea that me writing these blogs meant that I would be fucked in front of any judge. I was upset hearing that he would never reply to my emails (meaning verbal conversations, if you can call gaslighting and abuse conversations, were my only option when it came to communicating with him). I felt confused. Why did he think he had no way to contact me in an emergency?

I was tired of hearing that I was making it obvious that I didn’t want our marriage to work, that it was my way or the highway. I was tired of having the subject changed and tossed back and forth like a dinghy in an open water storm. But most of all, I was tired of reacting to him angrily and hearing myself decompose intellectually, emotionally, and mentally to the point of shrillness and inability to remain calm.

I was tired of the same old shit, so I hung up the phone. I didn’t do it to punish him, I did it to regain my sanity.

But “my sanity” sometimes seems a long way off.

More Posts and Pages Tagged With CrazyMaking and Gaslighting

From Psychology Today: Are You Being Gaslighted?

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About Kellie Jo Holly

Kellie Jo Holly passionately advocates against domestic violence through her writing and mentoring service. She loves helping women cope with abuse while in the relationship and supporting them as they leave the relationship and begin to heal. You can also find Kellie on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. You can buy her books from Amazon.

Comments

  1. You wrote:

    “Perhaps I am so important to him that he feels we should be as one mind. Unfortunately, this thought seems to translate into we should be of “his” mind”.

    That reminds me of “The Teddy Bear”.

    And good job on the Skype!

    About the judge… there are so many things to say here. Why does he ALWAYS jump to divorce? And he makes it so convincing – like when I read what he said, I thought, “Oh, yeah. That wouldn’t be good.” But, then when I realized what I was thinking – it would be nothing but GOOD for you. It is like he is trying to make you second guess yourself so when he “takes you to court”, you won’t have all of this documented.

    You are doing good, sister. Keep it up.

  2. ibikenyc says:

    Gaslighting in The Middle Ages: The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare, 1593

    Act IV, Scene 5 — A public road

    (Enter PETRUCHIO, KATHERINA, HORTENSIO, and SERVANTS)

    Petruchio. Come on, a God’s name; once more toward our father’s.
    Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!

    Katherina. The moon? The sun! It is not moonlight now.

    Petruchio. I say it is the moon that shines so bright.

    Katherina. I know it is the sun that shines so bright.

    Petruchio. Now by my mother’s son, and that’s myself,
    It shall be moon, or star, or what I list,
    Or ere I journey to your father’s house.
    Go on and fetch our horses back again.
    Evermore cross’d and cross’d; nothing but cross’d!

    Hortensio. Say as he says, or we shall never go.

    Katherina. Forward, I pray, since we have come so far,
    And be it moon, or sun, or what you please;
    And if you please to call it a rush-candle,
    Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me.

    Petruchio. I say it is the moon.

    Katherina. I know it is the moon.

    Petruchio. Nay, then you lie; it is the blessed sun.

    Katherina. Then, God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun;
    But sun it is not, when you say it is not;
    And the moon changes even as your mind.
    What you will have it nam’d, even that it is,
    And so it shall be so for Katherine.

    Hortensio. Petruchio, go thy ways, the field is won.

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