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Is this Gas lighting?



New member
May 21, 2019
I'm not sure if what my ex did is technically gas lighting. Whenever he didn't get his way, he would insult me; insult my family; insult my nation; and play the race card; but it was never confusing to me. It was sometimes difficult to address because the insults were so farfetched. They made me angry and exasperated because they were so unfair, but I didn't doubt my sanity as a result. I doubted his, but not mine.

However, one thing he did very frequently was withhold information. It didn't have to be important information. He would hint about something and then refuse to tell me what it was. His response if I asked, which I eventually stopped doing, was to say that I hadn't asked in the right manner so he wouldn't tell me, or that he was saving the information for the right time, or he would simply ignore me. It could be about something as simple as what time he was planning to leave or come home or even if he was coming home, or it could be much more important such as how he had invested our money, or even where he was taking our child.

He also often hinted about his "connections" as a sort of intimidation method. He would talk about his "connected" lawyer and drop just enough information to make me wonder if he really did have a connected lawyer. I knew that if all the facts were known, he would never get custody of our child, but I couldn't afford a lawyer and I knew how the courts could be used to manipulate, so this intimidation method was very effective for about 6 or 7 years. Out of fear as a result of this claim, I wanted to keep him pacified.

He also used mild threats such as if I didn't help him, someday I might need his help. . . . I didn't fully fall for this because I couldn't imagine how I would ever need his help, or more importantly, how he would ever be capable of helping me if I needed it. He also made wild threats, such as alerting the media about how I had been treating him or the "racism" of my father, claiming his connections would bring me and my family down; his secrets, once revealed, would be a bombshell. Once again, I almost wished he would go to the media because I was sure that they would see it my way. The "secrets" thing did confuse me and make me wonder what he thought he had on me that would be so destructive. I couldn't think of anything. At most, it would be mildly embarrassing such as I might have written something negative in an email years ago about a boss or friend that could come back to bite me, but generally, I didn't think he had anything. It did make me pause, however.

Inevitably though, after an hour or two of these threats and constant badgering back and forth between insults and him playing on my sympathies because he was so "alone" except for me - his only family in this country, blah, blah, blah; as well a my need to keep him pacified because I couldn't afford to go to court for sole custody and I was in ZERO doubt that he would hold his parental rights over me as his way of controlling us, I would always end up caving in and loaning him money or giving in to his demands.

Looking back now, I can't believe I fell for it for so long and I can't explain it in a way that makes sense. I mean, I was having to take out payday loans to satisfy his demands. I'm not a stupid person, and I was no longer "in love" with him, so I wasn't acting against my better judgement or my and my child's best interest in order to keep him close. So why did I do it? I wasn't able to fully break free until I moved out of the country again, across the ocean from where he is.

Is all this a form of gaslighting? It doesn't seem to fit the traditional description.


Well-known member
Feb 8, 2019
California, USA
I'm not sure about gaslighting - but he was definitely trying to manipulate you. I'm glad you have gotten away from him. :hug:


Well-known member
May 15, 2019
Is all this a form of gaslighting? It doesn't seem to fit the traditional description.[/QUOTE]

I was in a very similar situation with a man like this! It is gaslighting in a way. It is just a way to try to control you and therefore have power over you by concealing information and making you wonder. Gaslighting is just them trying to make you go insane.

I was able to hold onto a very small piece of my sanity, that kind of got me through it. Now I am extremely cautious around people and am learning how to have healthy boundaries.