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“Gaslighting” cost me my family

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BeKind2MyMind

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Hello everyone

Is anybody familiar with the term “gaslighting”?

My understanding of it is being subconsciously manipulative and dominating in arguments. I am guilty of this…

My wife and I have been together for 18 years, married for 11 of those years, and we have 3 children together aged 9, 4, and 2. We’ve had our ups and downs like any couple, but within the pandemic things got worse.

Our most recent argument got heated and I walked out to get away for a while. Later she texted me “Things haven’t been right for a while now. I’ve been waiting for the right time to end things and today it has come to a natural decision. I want a divorce”

I had no clue she was so unhappy, and she has since informed me of being a victim of “gaslighting” in the relationship. I’m hoping somebody on this forum has had experience with this and can give me advice

This personality disorder of mine has cost me my wife, my kids, my home, my entire life as I knew it. It’s led me to a very dark place and I’m scared. Can anybody help?
 
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hairybanana

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I don’t know how helpful i can be here, but I’ll try. You’ve joined the forums so I’m guessing you’re wanting to work things out with your wife? Yeah?

My ex wife went through this with her family and it did push her away. They haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years. She’s said many times she would never go back to them. But that’s a lie. If things changed, if her parents took responsibility for their behaviour and genuinely apologised to her, she’d listen.

So I guess my advice is if you want a chance, you’ve gotta swallow whatever it is that’s making you resort to this gaslighting business. I don’t know why people do it, perhaps worth exploring in therapy.

If you can empathise with your wife and really see how things have been playing out you might be able to come back together. Maybe not straight away, it’ll take time, for both of you. Try to talk with her, listen, discuss boundaries and what she will and won’t tolerate anymore. Stick to those boundaries

No idea if any of that helps, but I’m wishing you well on your journey
 
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BeKind2MyMind

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I don’t know how helpful i can be here, but I’ll try. You’ve joined the forums so I’m guessing you’re wanting to work things out with your wife? Yeah?

My ex wife went through this with her family and it did push her away. They haven’t seen or spoken to each other in years. She’s said many times she would never go back to them. But that’s a lie. If things changed, if her parents took responsibility for their behaviour and genuinely apologised to her, she’d listen.

So I guess my advice is if you want a chance, you’ve gotta swallow whatever it is that’s making you resort to this gaslighting business. I don’t know why people do it, perhaps worth exploring in therapy.

If you can empathise with your wife and really see how things have been playing out you might be able to come back together. Maybe not straight away, it’ll take time, for both of you. Try to talk with her, listen, discuss boundaries and what she will and won’t tolerate anymore. Stick to those boundaries

No idea if any of that helps, but I’m wishing you well on your journey

100% want to work things out with my wife and win back her love (if I can)

Now that she has made me aware of what went wrong, and how my behaviour/personality disorder led to our breakdown, I want to learn about it so I can make things right. Whatever happens between me and her, this is something I need to understand about myself.
 
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hairybanana

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100% want to work things out with my wife and win back her love (if I can)

Now that she has made me aware of what went wrong, and how my behaviour/personality disorder led to our breakdown, I want to learn about it so I can make things right. Whatever happens between me and her, this is something I need to understand about myself.
Absolutely, and one can’t be done without the other. I hope you find a way to work this 👍
 
T E_90

T E_90

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It's sad you are going through this.
But from what you're saying ,the way you are writing.. it looks like you are not the type of person that would use gaslighting.
It's very strange , as a person that does this type of thing is well aware of this and would use this again in order to not get a divorce . Actually the wife would be the one blaming herself for everything.
Gaslighting is basically emotional manipulation.
Are you sure isnt your wife that is gaslighting you to avoid any responsibility?
You could search on what gaslighting is, and if you recognize yourself in that profile then she might be right. But I doubt.
Gaslighting is not an opinion, its a very big thing, a bit like chess, every move you do , it's to obtain a goal.
Wish you well
 
jajingna

jajingna

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I'm not sure what gaslighting is, sounds confusing. Is it a passive-aggressive sort of behavior? Sounds toxic. Like, somebody treats you poorly then denies it and acts like you're just being upset for no good reason?
 
T E_90

T E_90

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I'm not sure what gaslighting is, sounds confusing. Is it a passive-aggressive sort of behavior? Sounds toxic. Like, somebody treats you poorly then denies it and acts like you're just being upset for no good reason?
What you are saying is partially right. No itsn't
Passive aggressive behaviour, but the bit of denying the act is true. That's just one simple thing.
I used gaslighting (not proud to say) and is about playing on the person's doubts, guilt, etc...
You could do something bad , making the other person think she/he did it, in order to obtain what you want.
Example , you could leave a big decision to the other person, so if this decision turn out bad, you can avoid any responsibility, and can always say " see? Told you so, I knew you couldn't take any good decision" ..and the other person will feel inadequate, not good enough and will be much more willing to follow your lead next time.
Or being angry for something and blaming the other for it, like " your behaviour made me do it, you shouldn't have said this or did this..." etc... it's much more complex than this though.
Gaslighting is not an illness it's a pattern of behaviour to obtain something, typically in sociopathy or aspd(with which I'm partially diagnosed).
That's why in this case, I'm not sure it's gaslighting, as when you do it , it's almost impossible to feel guilty about it.
Hope this help.
 
fragrant_violet

fragrant_violet

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Youtube gotta lotta clips on gaslighting
 
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BeKind2MyMind

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Thank you to all those that have replied ❤️
The way my wife has described it to me is we would argue so much, and I would be so overbearing with my side of things. I wouldn’t accept responsibility or let things go. It got to the point where me being acknowledged as being right was a priority over everything else - even her feelings. I was selfish and stubborn, but I never ever wanted to hurt her or make her feel like she didn’t matter

When she told me she wanted a divorce, it came as a complete shock to me. Had I known that my marriage, my family, my home was in jeopardy due to my behaviour, I’d have done something about it a long time ago. I didn’t know. But I should have known. I hate myself for what has happened, and all I want to do now is try and fix things and prove that I can change

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that she is now gaslighting me - but these events have certainly forced me to take a long hard look at myself and my destructive mindset. I just want to make things right. I want to heal the damage I’ve caused. I want my family back
 
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BeKind2MyMind

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I can feel severe depression sinking in. I have had feelings of total despair and hopelessness. I’ve had suicidal thoughts more than once, and it is still something that comes and goes every day. I have even gone as far as planning how and where I’d do it - and one time I began to write my own suicide note

I cannot bear the reality of losing the love of my life, the 3 kids we’ve raised together, and the home we’ve lived in throughout. I hold it together, but I often crack, despite all the love and support I’ve had from family and friends - particularly my parents.

My world was shattered so suddenly, I had no chance to save it.

I’ve been left behind. Left to feel worthless and hated. I feel my family would be better off without me. I’m desperately trying to claw back what I have lost, but it is getting further and further away from me, no matter what I do.

I want to die
 
Mayflower7

Mayflower7

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I can feel severe depression sinking in. I have had feelings of total despair and hopelessness. I’ve had suicidal thoughts more than once, and it is still something that comes and goes every day. I have even gone as far as planning how and where I’d do it - and one time I began to write my own suicide note

I cannot bear the reality of losing the love of my life, the 3 kids we’ve raised together, and the home we’ve lived in throughout. I hold it together, but I often crack, despite all the love and support I’ve had from family and friends - particularly my parents.

My world was shattered so suddenly, I had no chance to save it.

I’ve been left behind. Left to feel worthless and hated. I feel my family would be better off without me. I’m desperately trying to claw back what I have lost, but it is getting further and further away from me, no matter what I do.

I want to die
Hi,
Please do seek out support, we care.

Help for suicidal thoughts

If you're feeling like you want to die, it's important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

Phone a helpline

These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate.

You can also call these helplines for advice if you’re worried about someone else.

In the UK and Ireland, call the Samaritans on 116123.
In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ion 1-800-273-8255.
In Canada, call the Suicide Prevention Service on 1.833.456.4566.
In Australia, call Lifeline on 131114.
In New Zealand, call Need to Talk on 1737 or 080017371737.
For other countries please visit this list of crisis helplines.

If you have been affected by the contents of this thread and would like to speak to someone about your feelings you can also call one of the above helplines.

Emergency help

If you are in immediate danger, please call your local emergency number (in the UK call 999, in the USA or Canada call 911, in Australia call 000 and in New Zealand call 111 or call the international emergency number of 112).
 
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Zoe1

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hi and :welcome:

since you live in the UK its safe for you to get help from social services
your gp and other local services can help you
I would start with your gp tell them what you are going through
and ask for help

they may help you get some therapy
to separate the different strands of this story
and the various options open to you as a family

losing the relationship does not mean losing your children for example

I hope you find the forum helpful


:grouphug:
 
T E_90

T E_90

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It's not surprising you're feeling like this and I cannot imagine how hard this could be.
Losing suddenly all your reality and securities you've built, can be shocking for sure.
Maybe try to think of your kids, they need you and loosing the father can be a burden for life, and even your parents will miss you surely.
I'm not good at this but maybe talking to your wife about the level of emotional pain you are, might help.
Everybody deserves a second chance.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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I can feel severe depression sinking in. I have had feelings of total despair and hopelessness. I’ve had suicidal thoughts more than once, and it is still something that comes and goes every day. I have even gone as far as planning how and where I’d do it - and one time I began to write my own suicide note

I cannot bear the reality of losing the love of my life, the 3 kids we’ve raised together, and the home we’ve lived in throughout. I hold it together, but I often crack, despite all the love and support I’ve had from family and friends - particularly my parents.

My world was shattered so suddenly, I had no chance to save it.

I’ve been left behind. Left to feel worthless and hated. I feel my family would be better off without me. I’m desperately trying to claw back what I have lost, but it is getting further and further away from me, no matter what I do.

I want to die
You have an illness just like any other. You need treatment for that illness.

You could have become ill with anything.

With treatment, you will feel better and your wife will feel better too.

We don't often realise we are unwell and our behaviour is affecting others, until it gets to such a degree that divorce is mentioned or suicidal thoughts come.

This isn't the end, it is the beginning of something easier and better for your whole family.
 
Tawny

Tawny

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It is of course your wife's decision if she chooses to stick with your through treatment, or needs to keep her own mind protected from stress whilst you get yourself better.

I would think her asking for divorce is her crying out for relief. Whether it is all your fault, which is unlikely, or mostly your fault, which is possible, she is clearly not coping and needs your understand with that.

I feel very sad for you both but i think from now on, things are going to get better.

You are a dad and that is your number 1 role in life now, so focus your mind on that and getting ready to be well enough to be their dad and possibly grandad to their children. Both roles are not to be underestimated.

Are you going to call your doctor tomorrow?
 
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