Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Why Gaslighting Works

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

As mindfuckery goes, it doesn’t seem like gaslighting should work. It isn’t concealing the truth (lying) — it’s denying a reality you have actual evidence of.

Gaslighter Jim: Nice dog you have there.

Bob: That’s a pygmy goat.

Gaslighter Jim: What breed is it? Labrador? Newfie?

Bob: PYG-MY! Goat!

Gaslighter Jim: I don’t know why you’re getting so defensive about your dog. Anyone can see that’s a dog.

(Bob looks quixotically at his goat/dog.)

How damaged you are by this encounter really depends on how deeply invested you are in Jim.

If Gaslighter Jim is just a random stranger, you’re going to dismiss him as nuts. If, however, you’ve invested a lot of money with Gaslighter Jim, or he’s your father, or your favorite child, you’re going to give a lot more credence to his erroneous pronouncements.

But, but… Jim is unassailable! 

Also, if Gaslighter Jim has the trappings of authority, say he went to an Ivy League school and he wears nicer sports jackets than Bob, you may also doubt if goats are dogs.

But, but… Jim is man of intelligence and discernment! And has a perfectly folded pocket square!

At the end of the day, none of these things — your investment, your opinions about Jim, your hopes — changes a goat into a dog.

Dogs are dogs and goats are goats.

So, why is gaslighting a THING? Are gaslighters just that good at their mindfuck craft, or are we really just gullible saps?

I think it’s a bit of both, but frankly, more of the latter. Gaslighting works because we want to believe.

Let’s break down our chump tendencies around gaslighting. (And don’t beat yourself up.   No one gets chumped without letting some real whoppers go by.)

Gaslighting works because:

1.) You want to believe. If Jim is your spouse, you’ve got some deeply invested sunk costs in believing him. Dog versus goat is pretty low-stakes poker. “That wasn’t a kiss you saw, I was swatting a bee off her face with my mouth” is higher stakes. You don’t want to believe Jim is a cheater. The evidence suggests otherwise.

Antidote: Trust your senses and the critical faculties God gave you.

2.) You give this person power you shouldn’t. Gaslighting is just a contest of narrative wills. The truth versus mindfuckery. You’re either going to let this fuckwit steamroll you with bullshit, or you’re going to stand up to it. Jim isn’t better than you. He may have a perfectly folded pocket square, but he’s NOT the final authority on goats. You have no idea what his pernicious agenda is behind saying a goat is a dog, but you’re a pretty damn good judge of both dogs AND goats, and your perceptions matter.

Antidote: Don’t give away your power. Does Jim really deserve this much benefit of the doubt?

3.) It’s very upsetting to your world order if you accept the truth. And don’t think Jim doesn’t know that. If you accept reality, you also much accept that Jim is a Bad Person who mindfucks. You will hit a wall of pain.

Antidote: Hit the wall of pain and then realize fuckwits are not worth your tears.

4.) It’s exhausting. As I said, it’s a contest of wills. And if you’re going to stand there and argue with Jim who is deeply invested in getting you to doubt yourself (for some evil Dog v. Goat scheme), you may just give up to keep the peace. (And let Jim go about his nefarious business.)

Antidote: Let go. Trust the truth. You know reality, it doesn’t matter what Jim says. The only winning move in mindfuck games is not to play.

How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg. — Abraham Lincoln

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • There were so many times that I knew he was lying and I didn’t even question him. I’m wondering if I was just too scared of the truth even though I knew what it was. When you don’t have financial means to get out at that moment, I think we stick our heads in the sand and exists for as long as we can or maybe it’s just fear that overtakes us.

    • I knew he was lying, and I was also stuck financially and physically unable to get out. I knew if I pushed he’d just deflect and project his actions on me and end up having a temper tantrum. I finally decided not to waste my time and energy trying to get him to be honest with me. I just gave him the look, shook my head sadly and walked away. He knew I knew he was full of shit, and he was perfectly happy to go along indefinitely in that way. Boy was he shocked when I finally walked out. He said to me, “I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that you don’t want me anymore.” So surprised and shocked that he moved the OW in 3 months after I left – the one whom he proclaimed, “I didn’t get together with her until after you left.” Uh huh. Sure you did.

    • Likewise. I knew he was bullshitting. But anytime I called him on any of his bullshit, no matter how small, I would be punished. Maybe not in the next 5 minutes, but there would be payback. And he didn’t mind making our son cry as well. If it was important B.S. I knew our marriage (and my mind) would be at risk. He would only ever back down if he was cornered and there was a metaphorical gun pointed at his head. And this is the way our divorce orders went as well. Who wants to live like that? So, I just pretended it wasn’t happening and I was NOT going to let him get a rise out of me. Becuase also, a lot of it was done merely to provoke a reaction. Then he could say I was crazy. Melodrama, always…

    • That’s where I am now. I know he’s lying and I just don’t say anything or much of anything (most of the time). I haven’t mastered pretending it didn’t happen – so he’s fully aware that I don’t believe him and it drives him nuts, but I’ve learned that calling him out results in drama, verbal abuse etc.

      Until he’s out of the house, I just have to “go along to get along” as they say. It’s making me crazy. I desperately want to not care anymore but until we are apart and there’s no contact I guess that’s not realistic.

      • JChump,

        Hang in there. I know I FELT like I was betraying myself during the ‘don’t rock the boat’ stage but I KNEW better so, for me, it was no rocking. Intellect over emotion but knowing it was by choice and not out of ignorance did provide some consolation.

        After all was said and done legally I then was able to go NC and therein began my walk out of the dark and into the light.

        Be kind to yourself when only grey rock can be used to help you cope.. It really is insanity AND it does get better once you can go NC.

        • Thank you EC. I appreciate your encouragement. I’m striving for 100% grey rock but there are times his obvious lies still get under my skin.

          It’s impossible to live in this crazy reality and keep a clear head. Coming back here helps a lot.

          • Chump,
            So true. Easy to slip and people here are so understanding and accepting of that.

            A line from Al-Anon helps me too when I have ‘slips’,

            ‘Progress not perfection.’

            • Thanks EC.
              Today I was thinking about how they say women take an average of 8 or 9 attempts before they successfully leave an abusive relationship. Certainly being cheated on is abusive. I’ve tried to end this several times so, I *have* to be close.

              I can see some subtle shifts like I don’t try to get him to understand how I feel anymore; even if I initially react to something, I quickly nip the argument in the bud – no more hours long screaming matches; and I don’t cry every day, and I never cry in front of him.

              Inching my way out.

  • I once found a wrapped condom in his wallet. I was a stay at home mom and we had one car at the time. I asked him why is there a condom in the wallet?

    He said he was cowardly, he would never cheat on me. Now, it’s true, he was cowardly. But looking back, I never realized that he never answered my question. And i never pressed for it.

    I was too afraid of the answer (who’s cowardly, here?) and I WANTED to believe that he would never cheat on me (pure CHUMPINESS there).

    Sigh. How i regret not pushing back and facing the facts then. We went through hell the next few yers after that.

      • I once found an empty condom wrapper on the side of the bath, and a really curly long brown hair in the bath tub. My hair’s straight and blonde. When I asked why the empty wrapper was there he said he was trying something different, i.e. masturbating using a condom. The hair was just a figment of my imagination, apparently.

          • Yes this onestepatatime. He left evidence all over our bedroom. The second time—4 years later he brought her to our cottage ( she spilled her coffee all over my bedroom side table and left it for me to find—pond scum), and to our house in Florida/-scandalized the neighbourhood and I heard all about it the following week when I went to empty the house as it was sold( he even had the nerve to ask for half of the proceeds of the fire sale of all the lovely things I decorated our potential retirement home with) f-you! That money is for a very small part of the bills you refused to pay.. wackjob!

        • I wish I’d found condoms… instead of being told by the AP that he never used one and was actively trying to get her pregnant.

          All the while he was telling me (after the discovery) he never actually thought she’d get pregnant. He just told her that to keep her happy. 🙄

          • My husband also tried to impregnate one of several OW at OW’s request. He also decided to get a vasectomy at her request, even looking online to determine if I could sue him for getting a vasectomy without my knowledge. Thankfully. he got the vasectomy—do that no other children, other than the two I know of, mine, will be subjected to my now ex-husband.

      • I got the old “The Viagra is for jerking off” explanation when Snakeface and I stopped having sex but found receipts for the little blue pill from the local pharmacy.

        • me too. I found empty bottle of viagra and asked about it. he said he beat off with it. I kicked him out that day. I am not stupid.

      • I got the story thatcondoms were for our high school senior and his girlfriend in case they were ever “sexual”.
        I’m a chump, he never had that discussion with him.
        Ugh

        • Yea that’s not as bad as mine. Mine said him and his supervisor at work we’re messing around with the condom, putting air in it. When I found the wrapper I’m his laundry bin. He’s 48 years old. Imagine hearing that 🤣🤣🤣🤣

    • I found wrapped condoms in my husband’s travel bag. He insisted that his coworker and bestie–and admitted man whore–had given them to him and he’d just shoved them in his bag.

      Sigh. Boy was I dumb.

      • My husband cheated on me 13 years ago and I found out. He said it was so awful for him to come to terms with the built and that he had behaved appallingly.
        He recently was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I found out at the same time that he had been cheating again. I have had to deal with both bombshells together as well as care for him.
        He has passed now but I am still so angry, this website has helped me so much, thank you, I went through a bad stage of thinking it was all my fault but now I know it was his lying cheating character.

    • Yeah … or that every man keeps a condom in his wallet … it’s a man thing … shaking my head now how naive I was.

      • ^^^^ Yes- it’s 2019, and men keep condoms in their backpacks. “Sometimes other men ask for one, you know, like women do with tampons, in the bathroom at work.”
        (Cue Larry David tuba)

    • Don’t beat urself up I engaged in something similar back in 2017 with my ex. I had a vivid dream my ex was fuck’n a women right in front of me. I woke up clutching the sheets and was upset. My ex jumped up and was like what’s wrong? I just dreamed I were Fuck’n someone else! Gaslight reply who was I fuck’n? Not I would never do that to! I later realized after d-day his response to me was odd. I totally believed that piece of shit but I am working on that😊

      Codependency sucks. Never want to go back…happy Halloween 🎃👻

      • I was gaslighted, too. When I asked if he was having an affair, he said ” I thought you were having an affair.” Typical deflection and never answered the question. Of course, he was in the throws of an affair at the time and is back with her for the 2nd time. She took him back after he got her pregnant and she got an abortion. They did go to counseling together to decide if they should have the baby. Are you kidding me??? He didn’t even change diapers with our 2 kids, and he hated counseling with me. Codependency sucks, but thanks to this book, I am co-dependent no more!! I can’t wait to be divorced.

    • I am joining the club of condom finders here. I actually went as far as researching the manufature day of the condom to verify that it was indeed an old one that he owned since before he met me (16 years ago!!!) and never threw away. Turns out it was made the year I found it. Wow! A topic I never thought I would be researching!

      • Club of condom finders…

        OMG. Splitting my sides laughing.

        I belong to the club of I was swatting bees from her mouth, not kissing. Except with sparkledick it was a fly. So makes it insects instead of bees for the club’s name

      • Beruska,
        I did the SAME EXACT THING!!!! He gave me the ‘they’re years old’ lie! I placed a call to the company, asked about the numbers/letters etc on there and voila’, they were made in the last year!

        Once we catch wind that something smells, there’s no stoppin us! We just want the truth so we can figure out if we will accept that they’re assholes or move on in life.
        I think we all chose……move on.

        They have all the puzzle pieces and we get just a few.
        Carry on!

        • IHaveHate
          first of all, I love your screen name. I have so much hate!!! and I know, I know, it’s not healthy blah blah…
          anyway, the last thing you wrote is what I always say!!! He has all the puzzle pieces, I have few, and I don’t know how they fit. I HATE that feeling. I have known he was cheating on me for 7 months now, but it seems like an eternity because time has drawn out so slowly. I am so glad I found this blog with ladies like you, so I can change my perspective, because for the first 4-5 months (while I was a blubbering mess on the floor) it seemed he was really sorry for hurting me and we could move forward.
          NOPE
          I hit the wall of PAIN.
          Bless you and your journey.

      • Don’t feel bad, I did the exact same thing when I found an open box of condoms with one missing (that I KNEW was not from us)!! He said one of his old roommates must have just got his stuff mixed up with my ex husbands! So dumb!

    • Four months before DDay, we walked to the bakery with our son. He stayed outside with the dog and gave me his wallet. Son & I went to pay when I found a viagra pill wrapped in toilet paper. He must have remembered as he immediately grabbed the wallet when we got back outside. He was so rattled, that he left his wallet in his jeans when he washed them later that day. I had suspected by that point so this was one moment of levity in my 6 month pick me polka.

      So…….karma hit twice, as I realized he had to use that little blue pill to get it up for Soulmate Schmoopie!!!

      • There could be a whole separate line about cheaters and that blue pill so I will add mine here.

        You can get dick pills in the Middle East over the counter (surprise! because of course). Since the X Asshat worked over there for months at a time he once brought a pile of them home. Not long after that I noticed that there were none left and was aware of only 2 that had been used for us. He denied it flat. Like I had not seen a dozen or more pills at one point and now there were none.

        As CL said, their go-to problem solving strategy is simply to lie. They don’t see us as real humans and have no problem with deceit even if the result is that we question our own sanity.

        Lie like you mean it, early and often, and never ever admit guilt. Problem solved!

        • Ex would leave dick pills and syringes (after his dick needed a biggest boost) around the house and car so that they never completely looked out of place.

          • Oh yeah, the dick pills. Never once in our entire marriage did cheater xh use Viagra. He didn’t need to.Then one day I found a six pack sample pack in his bathroom with two missing. WTH?! I asked him about that and he said he used them with me. I think I would have remembered that wood.
            Schmoopie is a triple bagger down grade so of course he’d need Viagra to get it up to stick it in her. Ew. Gross.

    • Used condom on the counter by the bathroom sink. “Just wanted to see if it felt different for masturbating.” I wondered back then if he was cheating but no regular signs. I of course believed his explanation. If he was cheating why leave it in plain sight? Says the chump….

      In hindsight, as I now suspect he hooked up with men, the signs of cheating would have been different than cheating with women.

    • I once found a whole bunch of condoms in his traveling kit. I asked about them and he said, “I brought them for YOU.” Mind you, I was past menopause, and he hadn’t touched me in years by then. Nor did he on that trip. But I just let it pass. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • I never found condoms, but I found Viagra pills TWICE and both times I believed his lie that it was his friends. We were 45 and he didn’t need Viagra. Turns out Viagra is fun, and I am not. I hate these people.

      • I’m gonna beat myself up here for the Viagra. Cheater is 41. I found an empty Viagra blister after a night where he didn’t manage to get it up for me next to an empty bottle of wine and two beers. He managed to convince me he had bought them for ME! I walked around one day in tears believing I was the worst wife on earth because I was accusing him of infidelity while there he was having a physical problem. I apologised to him.
        This happened six months after he mistakenly sent a text message to me that was intended for schmoopie. It read taxi at 1 pm works great. Kisses. I was out of country with my parents. He convinced me that he wanted to send it to his male colleague and was writing a message to me at the same effing time. Got mixed up with the kisses. Damn I was so deep in.
        I finally found him out on his extensive viagra orders online. More than 200 pills in one year. Highest dosage. Plus the tracking of pick ups at night post boxes. He still tried to deny. He said, give me an hour to finish something, I’ll come home and show you the full unused packs! Like the man would have gone through all places to get the equivalent amount! This time I didn’t fall for it. I locked myself into the bathroom and started phoning his friends and family. Threatened to go on to work partners until he admitted through the locked bathroom door. I was on the phone to people and at the same time shouting ‘name’ and ‘since when’ at him. I’m not ashamed I did this. He made me do it and I’m justified to save my sanity. Btw I punched the last name out of him until his nose was bleeding.
        He never used condomes. I had clamydia galore.

      • My piece of shit told me that he didn’t use condoms. He had a vasectomy, and he never could get me pregnant so who cares. Although the married whore he was fucking had a husband who was cheating on her and she had four kids. Obviously she had no problem getting pregnant. And who cares about STD’s, not the asshole ex and his whore, I’m sure they loved giving them to each other…

    • My ex and I used condoms, but I’d find them in odd places. I first found condoms in his travel bag. He said they were his 12 year old son’s. Many years later, I found a three pack of condoms in his glove compartment and jokingly said, “Are these for your girlfriend?” He claimed he had forgotten to bring them in the house, but he already had a larger box of condoms in his night stand. Glad the shit stain is gone!

    • I found a condom once. Never again. With hindsight and after a very long stint of trickle truth (8 years and no doubt more to come, even 1 year after dumping him) I realise now he basically stopped using them. Win win for him.

      I was pregnant and walked in on him sucking our lawyers dick. Guys use condoms at least. Trickle truth and OWs with eventual conscience don’t.

      As soon as baby (that was number 2) was born I insisted he get a vasectomy. Win win. No more condoms with the ladies.

      Narcs make everything into a win win. When no one else is playing or knows there’s even a game on it’s not that hard. Cheaters in more ways than one.

    • I found a packet of condoms in my Ex car, only for him to tell me it was a joke that his work mates had set a work colleague up with pants and condoms in his coat pocket….what a fool I was!!

    • “Explanations” I got from ex:
      1) the what looks like makeup smudges on inside of his undershirt was color transfer from his red chest hair (that wasn’t dyed)
      2) when daughters iPad had gotten linked to affair partners icloud account, said daughters’ iPad had gotten hacked
      3) when out all night until 4am and not answering my calls, he had fallen asleep in his car
      4) when I found a receipt for condoms in my backpack after he used it for a trip, the receipt was in the chair next to his at the airport and he just picked it up to use as a book mark
      5) when I found flight itineraries that we’re contradictory to the travel plans he told me, the travel agent for the company his work uses to book travel just came up with several options to see which was more cost effective
      … a bunch of others over 15 years…

      • FinallyFree, you have to hand it to your cheater, the excuse for the receipt for condoms is pretty convincing. I bet ALL of us female chumps would fall for it.

    • I only wish I’d found condoms. What I found was a dick that smelled like rotten fish on multiple occasions and once reeked of cheap perfume. He clearly went straight from sticking his dick in some other woman to sticking it in me a jillion times. And since he wasn’t involved with one AP, but rather was hooking up through kink hook-up sites and seeing pros, I was exposed to all manner of crap from who knows how many other people.

      I haven’t yet had the wherewithal to get tested for STDs. I don’t have any symptoms and since I stopped having sex with him, my nonstop, recurrent yeast infections have magically disappeared. I wish this asshole had the decency to use a condom.

      Clearly, they aren’t just seeking cake, they are also seeking some kind of revenge on us when they risk our health like this.

    • Friday, a week ago, I found a empty condom wrapper in his laundry bin. I also found in his email he was on a site called zoosk and Ashley madisson. I took pictures, sent them to him, he was at work. I called and called he talked than hung up on me. When I got the chance to confront him he said the condom wrapper was from him and his supervisor playing with a condom at work, mind you he’s 48 years old!! So I said what are you guys little high school kids, he said they were putting air in it!!! Omg I know it’s not true, yet I am so frozen inside right now I can’t seem to believe he screwed someone.
      I kicked him out that Friday. Than like a fuck’n dog I crawled back!! I think somethings wrong with me!! He cheated yet I was the one calling and txting him and feeling sorry that he was sleeping in his car and cold. So I let him back in. Went to work Monday morning, came home told him to txt the woman, he was talking to one very often and in the mornings also telling her when he’s off work etc, so I said txt her and tell her you have a wife. He than started to txt her , was covering the phone with his body I said let me see, he kept covering it, I stole a glance and saw he was talking to her this same Monday!!! After I let him back in and he said he’ll work on things with me and he stopped talking to her!! Omg how stupid I am. So I asked why he still talking to her he said oh cuz she txt him. So I said but you didn’t have to reply, he said well I did.
      Anyway so today, he’s still here. Last night I got home from work tried talking. He told me he cheated cuz he was bored, I didn’t have time for him, So on and on. So anyway I started talking last night and I said well how do I know you won’t get bored again? He said “I didn’t say that” I said yes you did. When I first asked you told me you cheated cuz you were bored, he kept insisting he didn’t say that!! So I changed the question, I said, well ok since you didn’t say that you cheated cuz you were bored than why did you cheat. He said “cuz I was bored” I’m like but you said you didn’t say that he said oh I just remembered I did!!! Omg I didn’t know what to do I kept talking than he told me to shut up, I didn’t. He said it again, and at that point I stopped talking cuz now I was hurt and didn’t know what to do. So I cried a little, couldn’t sleep. Eventually went to bed.
      Why the f… can’t I let go!!! We been together 6 years. No kids.

      • Magdalena- you are in shock. Stay quiet, and bide your time. Read everything on Chump Lady. Chump Nation has your back. The confusion from betrayal is horrible. Don’t whip yourself. Like someone here said “Its easy to deceive someone who loves you. And cheaters know that.” The other thing- quietly line up your ducks. And RUN LIKE HELL when you are ready. Ask for help from trusted others. Treat yourself well. Take care and come back here often,

        • Thank you for that. I don’t know if I’m strong enough to leave. I am sure somethings wrong with me. I’m the past I was able to let go of someone who cheated on me and never looked back. Im weak now I guess, I was stronger than.
          I know he’s still lying. I don’t believe anything he said as it makes no sense. Yesterday I was at work, he said he was going to get himself a coffee. Ok that’s fine. But the thing that didn’t make sense, is I never saw a cup. The tim Hortons is a 5 min drive from the house. Before he would get the coffee and come home. Yesterday there was no cup, in the house or in his car.
          You all must think I’m nuts and Insecure and picking on stupid little things. But it just doesn’t make sense!
          I need to let go, but when I feel like I’m strong enough I get weak. I want to cry and hold on to him and make him stay.
          I know he’s there because I fought for him to come back, I know they say if a person wants to go let them go. Why didn’t I!??? I’m living in this dog like, always insecure and thinking he still talking to people. The thing is deep down I’m pretty sore he is. I don’t have any evidence at this very moment. But he says some weird things that he’s never said in our 6 years. I was doing my mascara before work yesterday, he asked oh you not gonna so the bottom lashes? I was like what? What do you know about that, you never asked me before. Am I insane!!!?

          • You’re trauma bonded to him. That’s why you THINK you can’t leave. You CAN leave. Google “trauma bonding” to learn about it. See a therapist to help you with it. You can do this, and we’re here to support you.

            • I wanted to thank everyone for all your suggestions. I so read everything that you guys say to read. It’s definitely helpful but it’s like I’m in some fog that over clouds my better judgment.

          • One more thing. He’s gas lighting you…making you doubt your reality and sanity. Look into gas lighting and cognitive dissonance. These things are also why you feel confused and weak.

            • Thank you!! I am so happy and glad I found this site! I’m thankful for all you ladies and guys. I can’t go to therapy I can’t afford it and my benefits are not that great. Anyway I’m allowing this to happen to me and not understanding why. I know he’s still doing shit. F…. me!

      • Magdelena, you can’t let go, because you are bonded to him. But bonds CAN be undone, but it takes time for your heart to catch-up with your head. Your head is telling you that your married to a cheater and a liar. If you read here long enough, you will see he’d doing everything from The Cheaters Handbook. As Chump Lady has asked all over us many time, “Is this relationship acceptable to you?” Only you can answer that question. But the facts are: he’s a pathological liar: he’s a gaslighter: he’s a cheater (probably more times due to the dating apps); he’s a man/child who’s capable of making up a stupid story about blowing up condoms like balloons to play with them with his boss; he’s abusive (cheating and playing with someone’s reality is abuse). Is this man acceptable to you?

        And don’t beat yourself for crawling back to him and letting him back home. I’m guessing most of us chumps do some sort of Pick Me Dancing, “working on the marriage” or believing them when they say “they’ve changed” or are no longer seeing their whores.

        Stay with us here at Chump Nation and we will all help and encourage you the best we can.

        • Thank you so. Just reading this opened my eyes to so much more than I was seeing and willing to see. I guess I need all the help I can get as I am messed up emotionally right now. Some days I feel frozen inside, I try to make myself cry but nothing comes out, just so I can feel something.
          Such a shitty place to be in. I wish I let go lol time ago.

  • Once I saw a banner message from a girl on an old iPod touch he had and I asked him what it was about. He told me he couldnt open the iPod touch because he had forgotten the password and that it was his brothers anyway

    Another time he took 200$ out of the bank and when I asked him why he said “just cause, you never know when you’re going to need cash!” And I didn’t believe him. He later admitted his car got towed at a certain part of the city while he skipped work and didn’t tell me.

    Gosh I so trust myself more now. If there’s something I don’t believe, I bring it to light

  • The gaslightlighter in my life came unstuck when also thought she was able to gaslight the kid’s school head mistress and CAFCASS court family services despite video evidence. Narrative has fallen apart nicely.

  • Gaslighting is psychological abuse,
    My examples are
    Ow, screaming outside house, several times.
    Phoning exs phone 28 times Xmas day,
    Asking to leave the kids on Xmas day.
    He said she threatened to burn my house, kill me and the kids, throw acid in my face.
    Gods knows what he saw in her.
    HE DENIED EVERY THING
    Piece of shit

  • “You’re isolating me from my family and friends so I need to divorce you and we will share custody of our three month old”

    After I discovered he regularly converses with other women via social media. Not to mention his secret relationship with the neighbor across the street while I was pregnant. But yes, this is my fault because I’m just SO controlling. I actually asked myself..huh maybe nothing happened maybe I really am that controlling. Nah..men don’t leave their wife and three month old bc they were told by their wife they need transparency.

  • Chumps, it helps me to do some writing.

    Get a piece of paper.
    Make two columns.
    Write FACT at the top of one column.
    Write OPINION at the top of the other.

    Now, put every single sentence that comes out of their mouth in the appropriate column.

    For an extra layer of sanity, don’t talk to the cheater. Just keep those mental columns in your head and put everything they say in the appropriate column. Then decide if you want to spend your non-refundable precious breath of life responding.

    I no longer say a single word to him unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I dismiss everything he says unless it’s independently verified……

    • I don’t need two columns; only one labeled Lies. Ex opens mouth lies and bs flying; he wouldn’t know truth if it hit him in the face.

      Example of how he is – My daughter in elementary school was telling me the other night this story. Ex picks her up from school on his weekend. This school year he has had 6 weekends and cancelled 1. She said that the school has had to call him 3 times because she was the last kid to be picked up. She said 1st time he tells some story on phone about a couch being in the road. She said she rolled her eye’s. 2nd time he says an auto accident had road shut. She said she rolled her eye’s. 3rd time he says that cows were in the road. She said her and her teacher rolled eye’s.

      Always a lie or my ex has really bad luck on Fridays for school pickups.

    • Think of those columns–both the written ones and the ones in your head–as research. Try not to focus on him as a person you know and loved–but as a TYPE of person, as the kind of person who will lie, cheat, backstab and gaslight. Study that. Learn to recognize it.

      If you start out assuming he lies, then whatever comes out of his mouth lacks meaning to you, an honest person. So study the liar. The cheater. The gaslighter. The manipulator. It’s a life skill to be able to recognize them.

    • VH,

      Reminds me of the saying:

      How do you know when an alcoholic is lying?

      Every time he/she opens his mouth.

      How do you stop him/her from lying?

      Stop asking him questions.

      Someone here last week said she will no longer speak to the x. Everything between them MUST be written down….Document. Document. Document. Reality check = Sanity.

      I know when I was switching gears from my RIC conditioning to LACFAL Truth I kept a written list of all of the bizarre things he had been doing since Dday. Having pages of lists really helped me see what was going on. Denial runs deep especially after being together for decades and when one is married to a TFC/covert narcissist.

      Seems like a life time ago now. SO much has changed.

  • Once 12 :00 am after having sex, I caught him on his cell phone. I asked him who was he talking to. He said it was a barmaid at a bar he frequents asking her when next scheduled motorcycle ride was next day. I asked him it’s Monday midnight.. what bar is open? Why would she know?
    He said she’s familiar with all the group rides
    How stupid was I?? Looking back I’m so angry at myself for not doing anything about it. Was afraid to know the truth, Biggest chump ever! Wish I left him sooner.😞

    • It’s okay. My first cheater once snowed me that all the calls to his schmoopie howorker were due to the fact that she was running the fantasy football pool…I know, I know….

        • They must have a manual with chapters. Short chapters, easily memorized. Do all young men get them when puberty strikes??

          • No, all CHEATERS get them slightly BEFORE they hit puberty.
            I’m a male chump and it’s really pisses me off when it becomes a battle of the sexes. It’s not, it’s a battle of the ethically and honest minded, and the ‘thinking with their genitals’ minded.
            Gender does not come into it.

  • Gaslighting is most effective (and most diabolical) when chumps already have emotional damage from the cheater’s long term emotional abuse; anxiety, depression and trauma. That way the scheming little relational nazis can use your mental health problems against you to try to convince you that the lipstick stains on his shirt when he’s coming home drunk at 4 in the morning every night are actually salsa from a Mexican place. He’ll then try convincing her that “mental heath issues” are the cause of her “irrational reaction”. The self-doubt and fear that puts in the chump’s mind is pure cruelty, and the cheater knows it.

    • Chumpup, this hit a nerve. Two-Legged Rat gaslighted me for 26 years that I spent in and out of shrinks’ offices and psychiatric hospitals, loaded with antidepressants, anticonvulsants! (never had a seizure), mood stabilizers, you name it. He stole my identity, my soul, and made me feel I was useless. He robbed me of precious, healthy time with my three sons, and I’ll never know how much this affected my oldest who ended up taking his own life at 20. A few weeks after my son’s death I caught TLR having phone sex with his much older first cousin, and that’s how I eventually found about multiple subordinates, strippers and hookers for pretty much the whole 26 years. I kicked him out almost three years later, only to be abandoned by family and “friends”. Not even my other two sons wanted to be with me, because I was so sad and angry. But I survived, I haven’t been depressed or taken medication in ten years, made new friends and my boys had a chance to see who I really am. They love me, respect me and admire my work with suicidal teens. My youngest son is a psychologist and he still laughs at my self-doubt, but I know he knows why it’s there. Big hugs to you!

      • chumpiest- oh my gosh that is a horrible story. You are so very brave. I have a son who stays loyal to his dad (he loves me too) but I always fear for his mental health. Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s so important to know

      • Chumpiest, how terrible to not only be cheated on and mindfucked, but abandoned by loved ones.
        I had some of that as well, with certain family members being angry with me (not the cheater) after Dday and in-laws whom I was kind to suddenly pretending as though I never existed. I’m still not on speaking terms with my eldest daughter and have never seen my infant grandchild. She blocked the whole family from Facebook so I can’t even see photos.

        The person who leaves the marriage first often takes the blame even if we were subjected to intolerable abuse.

        I’m glad you’re coming out the other side of it, have your soms back, and life is getting better.

      • Chumpiest, what an evil man you were married to. So very sorry about the loss of your son, but in awe of your ability to make that terrible loss meaningful in your work with teens. But shame on your shrinks, who didn’t see what was happening and help you.

      • Oh Chumpiest, your story resonates with me, because I have not been there emotionally for my two who are 20 and 17…I am so worried about them both mentally (both are in need of mental health help) I am so happy you have moved past the negative, it gives me hope, but am deeply saddened reading about the losses you suffered. I never was on any medication, but was a basket case neverthless, deeply depressed, angry, frustrated and impatient…plus menopause (I am only 45 but am already post menopause, went through it all early)…

        • Nexangelus, I know what you mean. Maybe you can ask Tempest to give you my email address so you can write to me. It helps a lot to know we’re not the only ones going through so much pain and to feel the support of CN. It was a boost for me to read the replies to my post yesterday by Chumpedchange, Chumpupthevolume, Lovedajackass and yourself. Big hugs!

    • chumpupthevolume,

      Sudden memory brought to mind when reading your comment.

      Years ago, I mean years and years ago, he came home one night reeking of perfume and his off hand comment was along the lines of how much he hated strong perfume and that someone at his AA meeting had hugged him who was doused in perfume and it carried over to him.

      I never questioned that comment until just now.

      Shit.

      Another one to add to my list of how my past, that I thought was stamped in stone, keeps shifting on me as more comes to light.

      I was so completely trusting. Trusting. Trusting. Trusting.

      I still am but with ample caution now thanks to CL and CN.

  • (music by Neil Diamond, lyrics by Gaslighting Jim — and with sincerest apologies to E.T.)

    Listen to me
    I need you to still believe
    ‘Cause sometimes I must deceive
    So you won’t accept the truth ’bout me

    I just made a ‘friend’
    A ‘friend’ is someone you screw
    And now that I’ve got you on the hook
    I’ll explain the deeds that you mistook . . .

    Rev up the gaslight
    Let it hide what I won’t admit
    Let it spread a layer of shit
    So you’ll depend on me

    Rev up the gaslight
    In the middle of your misery
    Don’t trust that hunch inside
    Gonna take a nice deception ride, you and me . . .

  • Happy Halloween everyone!!
    WOW…myX Gaslighted me for a over a year telling me I was crazy, jealous, of the Skanky Lumberjack (OW). (don’t want to offend anyone by stating the northern state) and looks like a man, ie rough and no make up!!!

    I KNEW he was lying because my BFF and I did our own PI work!!! They were staying at an “extended stay” hotel while working in a town several hours from our home. My BFF and I drove there and checked into another “extended stay” right behind theirs!! Had a picture window view of the entrance he always used!!! Didn’t have to use our binoculars either!!! We had a clear shot of them coming and going!! Also, tailed them to a restaurant and got photos of them, obviously not on a business meeting!! We laughed that we were pretty good at this PI stuff!! But, I live in a “no fault” state and if I had taken pics of them in bed, it wouldn’t have helped my court case!!! He even Gaslighted me when I told him I had PROOF of his name infidelity!!! To this day, I never told him I had all those photos!!
    I still won in the end!!! I got my home and all the furnishings, my car, etc… AND most of all I have my dignity, integrity and character and knowledge that I don’t have to put up with a Gaslighting Scoundrel!!!!

    • I was sent an anonymous photo of Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore in a very compromising position. I went to work getting back up evidence and the financials in order before I confronted him. He denied the infidelity but never asked to see the photo. All he wanted to know is who sent me the photo. Of course that action there told me everything I needed to know. He just wanted to go after the person who outed him.

  • I literally had his GF calling and leaving messages on our recorder telling him she was leaving a key out for him, etc. He would stand by the phone and tell me I didn’t know what I was hearing.

    me: why is this person leaving a key out for you
    him: what are you talking about, she didn’t say that, I don’t know anything about it

    Then she shows up drunk at the door one night. I’m trying to pull her in the house to see what a lovely mess she wanted to inherit, he was pushing her out the door to the amusement of our neighbors. Then after she left, he had me convinced she was just a crazy person and he didn’t know her. We actually sat and laughed about it. I wanted so much to believe him, it just hurt too much not to.

  • My ex was a violent alcoholic (many DUIs, his licence eventually cancelled – not suspended – and I had a domestic violence conviction against him). Over the years of lack of sleep and sheer terror I started drinking heavily to “cope” (yeah, we all know how that helps). BUT I had tremendous help, went into rehab and the full support of my family and my employer. Ex was living with the skank at this time and one day came to the house with a bottle of rosé, took one glass and said “I’ll leave the rest for you”. I told him to take it away with him as I was trying not to drink. But he kept insisting he would leave it for me, when in reality he never had “one glass” of anything – more like 16 beers and a bottle of whiskey or 3 bottles of wine kinda guy! So I poured it down the sink and he hit the roof. When I mentioned this to the young therapist I was seeing she said “and you think THAT was unintentional?” I almost fell over. She was the ONLY one who pointed that out to me. Even now I shake my damn head!

  • my abusive ex had a big expectation of Family Secrets, which complemented the gas lighting well. He was both surprised and furious when I told people what he had done, and experienced it as an attack.

  • “the affair was only a consequence” yeah, right.

    “I seduced him because I wanted to and it felt good” now this has the ring of truth!

    “I could have exhanged these texts with my best friend” aaaaaaaand back to mindfuck.

    “If you think I’m a liar why talk to me?” You know what? You’re right. NC rules.

    • Ugh, that last part give me a flashback. I remember calling him out on several odd/mean things he was doing. He asked me something like, “Well, if you believe all this about me, then why aren’t you breaking up with me?” I replied while crying “Because I want to believe in the best in you.” He hugged me saying “aww and laughing. Laughing at what a fucking sucker I was.

      • Yes, Chumpawumpa, the “why are you still with me?” I gave the same answer as you. We handed them the keys with that, didn’t we? So glad it’s over and I can work on me now, and not a dysfunctional relationship.

      • Chynpawumpa: Uggh. Disturbing and creepy! Mine kept hugging me while I was upset, in a similar condescending way. Ewwww——- What sicko’s.

        • X used to say, “If you don’t like it, you can leave”.
          I said it back to him once and got pushed to the floor. Thankfully, the physical stuff only escalated after my daughter had moved out. She has enough lasting anxiety from his emotional bullshit.
          I’m free now going on 6 yrs and my home is so very peaceful.

      • Ugh! why is this so common?! X the cartoon cheater cat would say the same thing “if you think that I did that then why are you still with me?” A little smug curl on his lips. Now I see he was daring me to leave him. The cruelty had no limits.

        My gut, head and heart were in a constant battle: My gut pings: oh yes, he cheated! My head rationalizes: he says he loves ME and I refuse to believe he would plot against me, lie, and intentionally hurt me. My Heart: I love him and I don’t want to be without him.

        For him it was GAME ON. Now I see it was fun for him. A pathologically jealous person wanting to level the playing field. “Oh she thinks she is so high and mighty, but I’ve got a dirty little secret and plenty of them.”

        • That’s important point: A lot of cheaters feel less powerful than is because they know what cowards they really are at the end of the day. Their cowardly way of leveling the playing the field, of deluding themselves into feeling powerful and significant are their secrets. We can take a really weird compliment out of this, value our strengths more and find people who have actual respect for those strengths.

  • Oh, the crazy making! I cannot remember how many times my ex and his mother would pull this crap on me. Sometimes I think the goal was to drive me crazy, but not sure of why. His mother would tell me a story about a family member (usually something that was a little ridiculous), I would come home and tell the ex, he would call his mother, she would deny the story, and make me out to be a fool. That happened almost daily until I caught on and quit playing this game. The ex would often re-write reality….I could present him with evidence and he would insist what I was showing him was not what I was saying, it was something totally different. At one point I actually thought I was going nuts and went into therapy. After that, I realized I was seriously being screwed with.

    What my ex and his messed up family didn’t take into account was that I am trained in forensic sampling/information/evidence gathering. We have a saying “Sample (as in collecting environmental samples) like you have to defend it in court.” That kicked in, and I started collecting and saving information/evidence. Came in handy during the divorce and not to mention saved my sanity, because I could see tangible evidence of what was really happening…..

    • One of my sisters final straws was when she showed photo’s to her ex cheater of him doing the OW in a car that her PI took. Ex looked her in the eye and said that he didn’t do what was in the photo!!!

      I thank her to this day for warning me to have proof for my own sanity because I would NEVER get the truth from him.

  • Right after my ex cheated he started saying to me, “I never cheated on you.” He said it often and with great conviction.

    • Yesss. I just discovered my sweet loving husband is a cheater a month ago. He constantly will say “I didn’t cheat on you” “I didn’t have a sexual relationship with that woman”..ok? Are you the next bill clinton bc that sounds familiar. Oh and he immediately filed for divorce. Not the actions of an innocent man.

      Funny how my sweet husband is now a different person that throws F bombs at me on the regular. Sucks when the mask slips.

    • My current and hopefully STBX cheater knew I was cheated on in my previous relationship and that fidelity was of the utmost importance. He knew all the trauma and drama I was subjected to and I thought, really got it. Often he would take my face in his hands and look me deep in my eyes and say, “Jchump, I will never, ever cheat on you.” Now – these were totally unprompted declarations – no context – I wasn’t feeling insecure nor had I just accused him of something or had a flashback to my ex – Nope, he would just spontaneously say this.

      Funny thing is: the entire time he was cheating on me like it was his full-time job.

      Wtf kind of crazy is this???

      • I have the exact same story. It’s fucked-up and it’s evil. It’s like they want to break us and cause us serious harm.

        • It’s insanity. He used my vulnerability to deepen my trust while betraying it all the while. It’s sociopathic. They lie when they don’t have to lie. No logic.

  • My x gaslight me on numerous occasions and it worked (sometimes). When I found his stash of viagra he claimed he had taken them to get ready just in case I wanted sex so that’s why all the pills were missing. I didn’t even know he took viagra. I didn’t really believe him but had no evidence to refute it. As for the condom stories- at least yours used protection. That is one of the facts I find unforgivable- risking my health and lying about it until the bitter end ( I realized then that he wasn’t the person I thought he was). They are all pos just on different levels.

    • My ex-wife never used protection either. Then discovered, many months into our “reconciliation”, that she had genital warts due to a HPV infection. She had the nerve to ask me if I had been unfaithful during our separation. I was furious and replied “no”. I didn’t care to even look at another woman during the time. When I asked if she had, she referred me to what she had confessed to me shortly after d-day. I was aware enough to know that didn’t actually answer the question and I pointed it out. She finally said that she hadn’t.

      Took me a while to study about HPV and realize that this infection could have easily been caught after our separation had been over. After studying about lies and how to catch people in them, I realized it was very telling on her part that she asked if it happened during our separation. It was just a subtle way that she had let slip the truth about what she was doing during that time.

  • CL, you hit the nail on the head with this gem: “ Let go. Trust the truth. You know reality, it doesn’t matter what Jim says. The only winning move in mindfuck games is not to play.”

    The gaslighting and blameshifting after the first DDAY caused as much or more trauma than the initial discovery. This is why NC and divorce after discovery is critical to preserve mental health and begin healing.

    My narcissist mom recently came to stay with me for a few weeks. She’s 80 now. I saw clearly where I learned to accept this mental abuse— she is still gaslighting. I can remember these tactics, which made me question my sanity, and constant blameshifting from a very young age. I refuse now to listen to any of that abuse. 😡

  • I said a few months ago on another thread i had never heard of gas lighting or even knew it had a term of any description i just thought well it MUST be me . I thought this was just my relationship

    I will give a few examples

    1- He would shout / snap at me and i would say don’t shout at me , he would them deny doing it although it happened less than 2 seconds before

    2- He would say something could be anything and i would repeat the exact same words he had just used and again he would deny it . I would say you just said it less than 10 seconds ago ! He would still say no i never said that

    3- He would accuse me of making things up in my head even though i had no such thought . Again this could be anything but then he would rage at me for having said thought – then of course i had it firmly planted in my head by this time and he would say , See i TOLD you that’s what you thought .

    4- He could have an entire argument without me opening my mouth as he would constantly tell me what i was going to say next . Example and i know what you are going to say so don’t even open your mouth ( by which point i still had not opened my mouth ) and then this would revert back to line 3 see i know what you are thinking

    Can’t win !!
    But i am glad this never just happened to me as i really thought he was either really good at mind reading or i was indeed going mad

    • Ha Karen, I’ve said before on here that my ex could have an entire argument without me opening my mouth because he “knew what I was thinking”. He fumed all the way from D.C. to Pittsburgh once because of an imaginary argument in that stupid brain of his – 5 hours of fuming for that little peanut of a brain of his!

    • Wow! You just described my fuckwit perfectly. I thought the whole arguing with himself while “speaking” on my behalf was a rather unique and completely bizzare behavior, but guess not that unique.

      He can actually go on for several hours like that. The only difference is that I would simply tune him out, start reading the news, work on the computer, whatever. At some point I’d look at him calm as a rock and go, “Do you realize that I haven’t said a word in the last hour and you are just standing there arguing with yourself?” – that would actually unnerve him and shut him up. So yes, only way to deal with gaslighting is don’t participate. At the time, I had no idea what this wild behavior even is. Totally clueless. Just thought it was weird.

      On a separate note, watched a video by a psychiatrist who specializes in narcs state very simply that if you’ve ever had an urge to record your conversations, you’ve been subjected to gaslighting. She also said the same thing – do not engage, do not argue reality, do not bother with confrontations. Just disengage and get away as quickly as possible and if you can’t disengage completely, then keep them at arm’s length and just smile and nod at their crazy. Don’t bother to point it out and don’t even try to reason with them. You are dealing with a person whose goal is to make you feel crazy, so any attempt by you to reason with them will be used against you. The correct response is know your truth and don’t bother to explain it to a narc. If you need to check your reality, check with friends and family, never the narc in your life.

      • My God. I use to threaten to record our arguments all the time! Sometimes I would feel like I was going crazy – he’d twist and turn and then HE’D be arguing for what I was saying, and trying to make it that I had been arguing the opposite the entire time! Even know, he’ll say some shit and I’ve learned to just look at him. I don’t respond, I just look at him like he’s crazy. I don’t think he knows what to do now that I won’t engage with him. If it’s not about our daughter, then he quite simply doesn’t get a response.

  • There was one time (I actually said this quite often) I told my ex-wife “I hate the way you treat me” when we were in a mad rush to make it to an event on time and she was being especially rude. I guess she was so rushed and not cognizant enough to keep up her false self, because she replied “If you’d just DO WHAT I SAY, then I wouldn’t have to treat you this way!”.

    I froze and my mouth fell open. I stood there in shock. She looked at me puzzled and asked me what was wrong. I stammered “I can’t believe you said that”! Again she looked puzzled and asked “said what?” I repeated what she said less than 30 seconds prior. She immediately burst into tears and wailing sobs. She kept saying over and over “I didn’t say that. I could NEVER say something as hurtful as that. It hurts me so bad that you think I’m capable of being so cruel”. Her reaction was so over the top emotional and intense. She was shaking uncontrollably. I just stood there in complete disbelief.

    What made her gaslighting so horrible is the length she was willing to go to. She wasn’t a good actor on command. However, when she gaslighted, she could win an Oscar for the performance she would put on.

    • Oy do they know how to turn on the drama and the waterworks to avoid any accountability. It has to be dramatic and tearful because then if you don’t comfort this sobbing mess you’re the cruel one. The first time I was ready to break up with my ex, he was literally falling to his knees, pleading and sobbing for hours. And when I said we could work on it, right back to the abuse cycle within a week. I’ve learned it’s never worth confronting my mom about her behavior no matter how horrible because she’s got a dramatic skit to play out any time you do it … about 10 seconds of silence. 10 seconds of wobbly lip … and then, while crying uncontrollably “all I’ve tried to do my entire life is be the best mom I can and I love my children SO much … “ blah blah bullshit.

      • I remember one time where my ex was really freaking out after I called her out on bad behavior. I just sat there with this blank look. I was trying to project that I wasn’t buying it without actually saying that. She continued to get worse and finally collapsed on to the floor, started hyperventilating and kept repeating “I can’t breath”. I’ve seen plenty of toddlers act like this, but this was the first time I’ve seen an adult do it.

        That freaked me out. I gave this involuntary nervous laugh and asked if I should call 911. She said no and almost immediately calmed down. Now I’m angry because she obviously was faking. I knew she’d never want me to call 911 on her. Any chance that others would see this side of her and evaluate her mental state was out of the question. In the end I tried to be a bit supportive, despite being angry.

        She used that whole episode against me from that point forward. Can you guess the angle she used? According to her, when she was being vulnerable by freely expressing her true emotions and crying, I laughed and ridiculed her.

        I’m so glad the bullshit I have to tolerate is only a minor fraction of what I used to deal with. The 18th birthday of our kid, that percentage is going to zero. I will do everything possible to block her out of my life at that point.

  • My stepdaughter was a novice in the gaslighting department. She would relate the stories and tales about her friends or family members and I would leave the conversation with my questions than answers. I would question things she told me because they just didn’t make sense. What she was forgetting was that I’m an adult woman with experiences and can read between the lines, or use my experiences to determine that 2+2 wasn’t adding up to 4. She is so much like her narcissistic father it’s not even funny. True story – the fuckwit tried to convince everyone that his daughter was a blooming narcissist because of her mother. Everyone knew that wasn’t true but he never let up.

    When it came to the Dickhead, he was more clever and deceptive. I remember one incident where he supposedly went hunting on a cold damp evening and came back looking like he just left the house. I made some comment and he just blew me off as being too clingy and too sensitive. This was still in the early years of our 18 marriage. I knew then that something wasn’t right but continued to deny and spackle for many years later.

  • I’m over five years out from D-Day, but today’s post and the comments are really bringing on some serious ptsd symptoms. To think back on all the gaslighting and how I could either (a) just allow myself to be deceived (sort of), or (b) engage in relentless sleuthing and arguing to get my ex to admit to his deceptions … ugh! I actually feel nauseated right now, and my hands are shaking.

    Maybe it’s time to stop reading Chump Lady columns! And maybe that is actually a good topic for Chump Lady. Should NC eventually apply to these daily reads? (Not that she herself
    has the luxury ….)

    • Right there with you. I think we dwell in this stuff for years not because of the heartbreak, but because of the utter humiliation that gaslighting especially brings us. It’s the most humbling, scary and disempowering thing to accept that you ever deeply trusted someone who not only does this kind of psychological abuse deliberately, but they even pat themselves on the back for it. It still creeps me out that people like this exist. I wish it was just me. But when I read others’ stories that are often so much worse than mine, it just still scares me that it’s possible to sleep walk into relationships with people like this. I don’t need to watch any Halloween horror movie to get the creeps today. All I need is this post and the comments.

      • Chumpawumpa….I agree! While I hate the reminders of what I am going through, I never want to forget how evil our world is and that I need to always be diligent to work on my boundaries so I can hopefully prevent this from ever happening again (either with my child, family, a friendship, etc). I think it’s constant work to keep the evil away, and not just with people. We need to make better choices with what we watch on TV too. There are just way too many shows and movies that propoganda narcissism and cheating. Disney movies are notorious for that “love at first sight ” crap! I was watching Frozen last night with my kiddo and I’m like, “oh hell no!” I never caught it before, but now I can’t watch it anymore. While we need to improve our picker with people, I think we also need to improve our picker with what we watch and even read.

        • Actually Frozen turns that whole “love at first sight” notion on it’s head and shows the prince to be a manipulating POS and all around bad guy. It has the message of LAFS is not how this works. Neither female protagonist end up with a man at the end of the movie and reinforces a message of building relationships with other people based on trust and respect.

    • She had addressed this in a few places and maybe the old forum. She understands that sometimes healing means moving away from those things that bring us pain. If we are constantly reliving moments and our life and get stuck in the process, this is never good. She’s here to help the newbies and maybe even other that need little reminders that chumps are indeed mighty and living our lives in the light. If being here keeps in a loop or brings you pain, she (and we) completely understand. Even I have cut down on the time I spend on here. Moving toward my new life is important and good for me 🙂

    • I’ve had that thought too Lillian. Why am I allowing him to play such a central role in my life 10 years after he left!!!!!! It has been VERY VERY enlightening and helpful to me though to find out that I wasn’t going mad and (sadly) that I wasn’t as alone in my situation as I thought, but I do sometimes think I should take a break from CL to just get on with my life (after PTSD). That being said, I’m still here and it still breaks my heart to hear the newbies stories so for the time being here I stay!

    • I have had the same thoughts about no longer reading Chump Lady. Many experts in the field of healing after narc abuse or infidelity say it’s not good for us to keep “telling our story” or listening to others traumatic stories. Our body reacts to these stories like they are happening right now. I’m just having a very had time saying goodbye to Chump Lady and Chump Nation. You are all likes friends to me, even though I highly doubt I’ll ever meet any of you. After all the losses I’ve endured (husband, some family, some friends, house, community, church), this will feel like another lose to me. And another part of me wants to be here for the newbies; help them like so many wonderful people helped me when I first arrived here. I sometimes read the old blog posts and will read the comments; so many CN names I don’t recognize. Or names of people that I recognize that no longer post. I’m guessing they gained a life or maybe they read once in awhile and don’t post. Maybe if I unsubscribe to the emails, that could be a gentle start of saying goodbye? I just look forward to all the wisdom and snark. Plus hearing how the cheaters are all alike with what they say and do. It’s my daily reminder not to be so naive and trusting ever again!!! And don’t fall gaslighting!! I think the years and years of gaslighting did the most damage!

      • As a relative newbie I can honestly tell you what an inspiration it is to have people in front of us holding our hands and picking us up when we fall .
        I can fully understand why people leave or don’t post any more but it’s so reassuring to know people have done it / survived it and are a lot stronger and it does get better .
        So personally for me I love reading the posters that have been here a while knowing how we feel knowing what comes next and guides us newbies 💚

      • I’m 8 months in but I can now tell my story without all the visceral pain I had at the beginning. I can tell people what happened in a manner that may even have some humor to it bc they’re always shocked at the tale. I’m not spewing my story anymore just to get it out there and feel some relief. For those reasons, I feel that I’m healing and doing much better, in this area, than I was before. Sometimes now I just say it for the shock value people give! Then we have several small conversations, they tell their story, we laugh about what FWs we used to have and I feel like I made a new friend at the carwash. I think if you’re not feeling such a pain in your gut that you used to have, then maybe reading and sharing here in the group actually is helpful to you and others. I’m still here to not feel alone, to post now and then but I read daily. I haven’t found myself depressed being here…. just informed, emboldened, more confident.

      • In many ways, I am mightier. I started my own business, committed to an art I love and am getting good at it, and have literally climbed big mountains. With relationships, it’s much harder to open up the way I used to. I feel like I’ve seen a dark side of humanity that is hard to unsee. Honestly, doesn’t help at all that meanwhile Donald Trump is my president and way too many people here excuse his atrocities, even the ones against innocent children. All of it makes me feel sick and less safe around humans in general. I come back to Chump Lady because I’m scared I’ll go back to being naive because continuing to see reality for what it is these days is so excruciating.

        • Chumpawumpa,

          My sentiments too. I was naive and, because of someone else’s behavior, I have been thrust into seeing a much darker world.

          I don’t watch the news.

          I work on being a better person despite what has happened to me and I remind myself that the world is a HUGE place and it really isn’t my job to fix it.

          That doesn’t mean I don’t do my part though so I do what is put in front of me as best as I can each day that I have been given to remain an inhabitant of this amazing blue planet.

          I practice kindness and tolerance and boundaries.

          I love the heck out of my children and faithful friends.

          I practice gratitude for all that has been given to me throughout my life, even the stuff that hurts.

          So grateful for CL and CN.

  • My EX was a pro at gaslighting. It went on all of our marriage I just did not notice. When I found out about Skankella and I showed him the picture of him at Facebook with him at her Birthday Party. His response was that is not me. It just looks like me. It took him awhile to finally admit he was at her 50th birthday party. I asked him why he did not tell me that he was going(he told me he was going to Bill’s party). He said he knew I would have a problem with it so he just lied. When I found the picture on facebook messenger that she sent him with her on the toilet. And his response to her was that she was one sexy women even on a toilet. His response was that he did not remember that. And if he did say it he was just joking. On our cell phone bill I went back 4 years and there were at least 50 texts a day between them. The texts would start a 5 am and continue to 10 or 11 pm. When I showed him the proof he said. You know how my phone is I get the same text about 10 times in a row. He could not explain his numerous texts to her. He never admitted to anything.
    When I asked him why he cheated and why he had to pick my cousin. His response was. You told me to. You never wanted to have fun. She complimented me. I did not think you would care anyway. You did get the credit card I did not know about. Even though the last year before I found out. He would go out 4 nights a week. Said he was going to Bill or Kevin’s to watch Football etc. He denied that he went out that much. Said I was crazy and was making that up. Even til today he denies having sex with her. He told my children that he would not do that to me.

  • The gaslighting ran strong in my ex. There are countless examples, but my favorite was the time I got home from work and he came to greet me at the door. I could swear that I caught a whiff of pussy on his beard when he kissed me. I sniffed a few times and pulled back in surprise since we hadn’t had sex. He asked me what was wrong. I said, “Why does your beard smell like pussy?” He looked puzzled, then smiled and said, “Oh, that must be the fish sauce in the sandwich filling I had for lunch.” Then he told me all about the sandwich.

    I can tell the difference between pussy and fish sauce, but I believed him since we spent all of our time together outside of work, and it was unimaginable to me that he would have had sex with someone in his office or at our house while our niece was there living with us. Little did I know he was doing my niece in both places.

    • I had the exact same encounter with the Dickhead after he had come from work. He said it was sweat. Funny, I’ve smelled your sweat many times before and it never smelled like that. He must have gotten better about cleanup because I never smelled that “sweat” again.

  • So much gaslighting in the wake of D-day. He never wanted kids and had tried to convince me to abort our first child but I had forced him into it. ?? Wow-that never happened. I proposed to him. A really interesting one since he literally proposed after his cousin’s wedding in front of his entire extended family. So there were many witnesses, although many of them only speak Russian. I had been telling him I was unhappy and wanted a divorce and he assumed we were on the same page. To which I pointed out I had sacrificed my career to move only 2 years earlier and he had already been involved with Schmoopy-how could he do that. To which he replied that I didn’t like my job– so he did me a favor by uprooting us and urging me to retire early and being involved with Schmoopy was immaterial. But I also realized he had been gaslighting me WHILE we were married as well. Lots of goats and dog discussions. Lots and lots.

  • I learned Spanish for what I thought was the love my life. In 17 years she never learned English for me or her autisti
    c son. She learned English for the boyfriend who dumped. her.

    My Spanish was never fluent, but it was functional. She never helped me much with it. Then she would gaslight me telling me I had not understood correctly.

    We have been seperated for over a year. The other week she sent a text in Spanish saying, “Come earlier you are always late.” It was to pickup the kids. When I showed up early she asked why. I told her because she asked me to. Instead of just admitting a forgetful error she gaslighted me saying I did not understand Spanish. I confirmed the meaning of the text later with to fluent Spanish speakers.

    They lie just to lie.

      • Tell me about it Martha. The Twat wanted to go to counselling “to fix all my (as in mine not his) problems”, but it had to be somebody who spoke English because “your French is better than mine”. (N.B. he lived in France for 30 years with the opportunity to have lessons provided by his employer and during work time but nah, that would be too much like hard work). Anyway, his “best friend in the whole world” suggested a Brazilian lady who worked in English so we chose her. Then when SHE called him out on his BS she was a “terrible choice” and was supporting me because she was a woman. Nope, she was more supportive of me because you’re a dick!

  • Right about when all hell broke loose in my marriage I was sitting at the kitchen table doing some work and ex walked up and started talking about how depressed I was. This was news to me so naturally, as a chump, I started introspecting, wondering if maybe he was right. He persisted in this vein for months but I realized that this line was what his grandfather had used to justify leaving his grandmother. Can’t blame a guy for leaving a depressed wife!

  • We were supposed to be working on our marriage through a separation. Things had been rough and I was having a difficult time making sense of it, but we were seeing a therapist together. She and I were alternating weeks at home with the kids, changing places and cars on Sunday night.
    Monday morning I drive to an appointment with a client. I reach for my sunglasses in the door pocket and out with them comes a small note paper with her tiny lefthanded scrawl. Her list for Saturday night’s fuck fest:
    -Name and address of cheap hotel
    -Jack Daniels
    – KY Jelly
    -Clothes for church (Yes, they went to church together the next morning)

    No this could not be happening!
    I drive back home and find the evidence in her still unpacked overnight bag next to the bed.
    Suddenly it all becomes clear.
    It was all gaslighting!
    The questions she deflected and turned back on me had been part of her plan. All the croccodile tears. The anger she spouted at our teenaged son who questioned how she talked to me. Even the complaints about how mean her co-workers treated her. (They knew)
    The next day we had a therapy session scheduled.
    Oh the looks on their faces when I read the note out loud. My wife’s freckled face turned beet red. She said, “That is not my note. It doesn’t prove anything!” “Then why are you so upset?” the therapist said.
    Gaslighting does not work on people who are not invested in the perpetrator.
    The bubble burst.
    I could never believe anything she said after that, although I sometimes needed a reality check from people to keep me on course. The weight of the sunk costs makes you want to not believe your eyes despite what they see.

    • Bruno, “We were supposed to be working on our marriage through a separation. Things had been rough and I was having a difficult time making sense of it, but we were seeing a therapist together. She and I were alternating weeks at home with the kids, changing places and cars on Sunday night.” … Me too! I wanted out, was so over it and ready to leave (after he asked for an Open Marriage). Then he begged for a “Healing Separation”, bought the books etc. All that 6 months I was agonizing over my role, and how to make things better. We had an outside apartment we would go back and forth to. And our poor son was twisted in knots thinking things were “healing.”. And then I found out he’d been having an affair through the whole time. No wonder he was happy. But finding out about it demolished me. He denied it of course (at first) but worse, he didn’t give a crap. He’d already “moved on.” Thanks for telling part of my story- I also wonder whether it’s good for me to keep going back to Chump Lady- but it’s the only place I have so many screwed up inexplicable scenes reflected back to me. What happens is SO unreal to most people, this is one of the few places for a reality check- “wait, did that really happen?”

  • I live in a jurisdiction where a 50-50 split of time with kids is the default, and what EVERYONE does. Cheater Narc did the following;

    – immediately accepted my suggestion he have the kds about 20% of the time
    – immediately cut that to 15% because of extra work he chose to do
    – very soon started being late to meet the kids or sending kids back early, if he had work to take care of
    – within 8 months of moving out, cut his custody time down to 36 hours twice a month, so he could go work in another city for a few months contract (oooooh, Shmoopyville! What a coincidence!)
    – when queried a couple of months later about when he’d be back living here, informed me it might be a year

    But STILL claims ‘I didn’t abandon the kids!’. And that the only reason the kids stopped seeing him was because I’ve poisoned them against him.

    I finally learned that if you have an argument with someone, then afterwards can’t figure out what the hell happened, and feel like you need to record those discussions in order to understand how you ended up where you did (like apologizing to the person you just confronted about THEIR bad behaviour, or defending yourself from something they say you are thinking), then you are being DARVOed and gaslighted. There is no point discussing ANYTHING with these people. BIFF communication only.

    Sigh. Too soon old, too late smart.

  • 8 years ago I find my xcheatingh on a private social media site with some woman sending cream cones and eggplant emojies. He said it was a game. I was newly pregnant. I believed him. He said he stopped. I believed him. Now I don’t. I found him with a co-worker about two years ago. Me a chump.

  • One of my sisters final straws was when she showed photo’s to her ex cheater of him doing the OW in a car that her PI took. Ex looked her in the eye and said that he didn’t do what was in the photo!!!

    I thank her to this day for warning me to have proof for my own sanity because I would NEVER get the truth from him.

  • Exhole has never met a lie he was uncomfortable telling. And he didn’t just gaslight me, he does it to everyone. Some of the stories I have heard from other people and the things he tried to convince them of are just patently ridiculous. From stupid no stakes reality denying, like when he tried to pass a dog off as male when it was clearly female. To suggesting in a round about way that someone we knew was a child abuser (because Exhole didn’t like that person).
    Just sooooo many stupid lies and tall tales, it would leave you shaking your head and wondering if you had actually heard correctly. He even lied to the court about his work schedule last week. Just straight up was like I work on this day (he doesn’t work on that day). Exhole has had the same schedule for 6 years, it has never changed. The court is subpoenaing the schedule from his work, and in the meantime our court date gets delayed again. It’s pathological, and delusional thinking.

  • I have been separated for 18mths, I couldn’t find a Christmas present I had bought and as he had been in the house, I asked if he’d seen it. ‘Are you sure you had even bought it, you know how you are’ was his reply. Ummmm not delusional is how I am thanks!! So automatic is his gaslighting response, he didn’t even think about it. So conditioned I once was, I would’ve questioned myself and checked receipts. That though is part of the problem, the gaslighting is with everything, til you question which way is up because he is adamant it is down – we are aaaall crazy, paranoid bitches here!!!!

  • All the gaslighting is 100% the reason why I had to get trauma therapy.

    He would say something mean and when I would respond, he would say “Oh I guess THIS is how we are starting the day”

    Near the end of our relationship anytime I was putting knives away he would say that he expected his life to end with me and a knife. He said this so often that I started to question if I was giving him reason to fear me. Nope. He used to tell me I was angry all the time too and I’m fairly certain I never was. I could repeat anything him or his mom said and they would deny ever saying it. He still does it, not only to me but our daughter too and I’ve noticed the new gf does it too.

    I’m SO happy to be aware of it and removed from it because it was literally costing me my health.

    • Wow CC. Your story resonated with me!

      My STBXFW has said he always felt I was going to kill him! Why? I have no idea. I’ve never been violent, I’m the most stable sane rational person you could meet. Do I have quirks, yes. Sometimes I’m depressed, I have lots of health issues, I brought personality differences into our marriage….but to KILL him?! WTH? He is quiet, doesn’t talk, show his emotions (unless he’s mad) and stuffs every problem ever as far down as it would go. Talking about someone hurting someone, it would totally be him when he just can’t take it anymore and explodes on you.

      He was a runner, from ANY type of discussion, arguing, everything. We probably never solved one issue and if we did, it was only bc no matter how upset I was, I would have to speak in a low monotone voice to him. Now, if he was upset, he was allowed to raise his voice all he wanted but you Better NOT raise yours to him. He would immediately shut down, which now I realize may not have actually been the issue. He would run away, going up the stairs stating how I was always ‘blaming’ him for everything and that he was done (with the conversation we never actually got to start). I think I now realize he wasn’t running from a problem, he was totally GL’g me, along with all the times he would say something, I would tell him about it later or repeat it and he would deny he ever said it!

      I swear, if it wasn’t for this site and all you other ladies have been thru, I would still think *I* was the total problem. I was the only reason he slept with my friend and now they’re together, moving in soon and who knows what after that. I’m SO grateful to CL/CN! And while all our stories suck (and we know the FWs suck), they’re helpful to others.

  • The gaslighting never stopped, even after DDay and my formal declaration of “Enough!” Because . . . co-habitation intensifies the rage.

    Shortly after the legal wheels were set in motion, she gave me a check to cover her enrollment in state required co-parenting classes (she’d used the ‘house money’, funded entirely by me, to do so). I must have put the check down someplace and gotten distracted, because I realized the next day that I didn’t have it. She dismissed my not being able to find it by saying: “Oh well, it will turn up” — knowing full well I would never ask for another, due to my own forgetfulness.

    I found it a few days later, underneath the underwear and socks in her dresser.

    I documented the situation for my records and took pictures of the check sitting in her drawer. When I confronted her about it during one of her passive aggressive rants, her response was: “See, this is what I’m saying. WE have to be better than this. For the sake of our daughters.”

  • How do you stop giving them power when you have to do “coparenting?” Mine writes me emails telling me how anxious 8 year old son is. Then he tells me it’s because of books I let him read (“I Survived…” series) or shows he watches. Cheater with hookers father says he “limits exposure” of our son to scary shows. Yet claims son had a panic attack at his house. Tells me I’m lying when I say that hasn’t happened with me. How do I respond to this?

    • I talk with my child about everything and have since he was little. For me, I would ask him how he feels at dads, is he nervous, is there anything here at home that is bothering him….but in a way that works for his personality.

      I let my child watch some shows that really were bothering him even though he would swear he was ok but then he was having nightmares and talking about the show content at other times. For that scenario, I actually would take that show away from him, just bc it’s one less thing you would have to worry about. And I would limit show content to an 8 yr old and I say this from experience. Nothing bad, some things just are above their reasoning level.

      And maybe I would just say something along the lines of, I don’t know…..thanks for letting me know, I’ll watch for signs of that, how do we know it’s not something at your house that’s making him anxious you POS!……..I digress.

      Anyway, good luck with this situation and NC/GR the shit out of this man to the best of your ability.

    • If this were me I would announce how concerned I am that DS has these bouts of anxiety when he is with the Asshat. That I am immediately going to have him checked by a professional and get advice on why, oh why, poor DS would be feeling these things when with the Asshat. That I simply must act for the welfare of DS and thank you oh so much for alerting me to this potential problem.

      DS is old enough to tell the truth and if he never has episodes with you then it will be clear to any professional that the Asshat is the problem. If Asshat is lying by making this crap up and just trying to get your goat or get you to change somethings to benefit him he will stop it when real consequences show up. The threat of a professional recommending less time with Asshat and another visit to court to reduce time or, even worse, insist on supervised visitation for the protection of DS–that should be enough to get him to cut the crap.

  • You cannot co-parent with a narc. And cheaters are narcs! Have you heard the term “parallel parenting”? Chump Lady has covered this at least two times:

    https://www.chumplady.com/2018/01/co-parent-narcissist/

    https://www.chumplady.com/2016/11/co-parenting-fuckwits-thoughts/

    He’s trying to get a reaction out of you. And it’s common for cheaters to be all “holier than thou” — he doesn’t let him watch and read scary things, but you do. He’s portraying himself as the “good” parent. He’s projecting his badness onto you. At least that’s the way I see it. Let him parent the way he wants to and you do your thing. You know the truth! Your son is not having panic attacks when he’s with you! He’s playing a game that you will never win.

  • It is exhausting to live in the space where you aren’t just listening but needing to evaluate the honesty of the person talking. What baffles me about me is that after I reconciled with my ex the first time I caught him cheating, I just locked away the idea that he was a liar in my head somewhere and then I lost the key! I even remember being gaslighted later and thinking, “no way. Not after what we went through before” when all the evidence was plainly in line with the past behavior. This drives me nuts about me. I want to be the kind of person who not only smells horseshit but pushes assholes down into the big steaming piles they create.

    So how do you recognize a liar if you have a past history of missing the tells? If “past behavior is best predictor of future behavior” is true, then my future behavior is going to be all about me being gaslighted unless I figure out what is up with my disconnect. Do y’all have strategies you use?

    • No RainNoFlowers, I suffered with this after my second cheater! My first and best strategy is to never question the person I suspect might be lying. Never confront them on the spot. If possible, act like you buy their excuse. Just walk to another room and IMMEDIATELY while it is fresh in your mind write down exactly what you said and what they said. Go ahead and quietly check out their story without their knowledge. Odds are other data will turn up that confirms your initial response. If you find something that clearly indicates cheating like a different phone, condoms, viagra, suspicious bank activity, receipts…do not confront and ask about them. Again quietly carry out your own investigation without their knowledge. Odds are, when you check the bills, track the phone or tablet or car, follow him, come home early–you’ll see the truth eventually.

    • If you are talking about when you meet new people, one of the things I try to do is not get too attached right away. I try to take a “watchful waiting” approach. I’m wary of people who want to get too close too fast, who push boundaries, etc. It’s sometimes hard, especially when I’ve felt lonely or otherwise wanted closeness with someone. But with creepy people, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure or whatever. Go slow and don’t ignore or gloss over any gut feelings or red flags. This is an interesting article with information on red flags: https://www.psychopathfree.com/articles/30-red-flags-of-manipulative-people.212/

  • “Gaslighting is just a contest of narrative wills.”

    Oh my, did this point just hit home.

    The contest of narrative of wills continues even long after he’s left to pursue a relationship with the OW. We’re 22 months later and he will still deny the affair. He’s able to deny it and believe he’s getting away with it because I have yet to reveal to him that I have all the emails printed between him and the OW for the last three months of our marriage, when he claimed to be doing everything in his power to save the marriage but was really tearing it apart. He wanted to have a buffer of time before leaving me when he could claim that he had nothing to do with the OW so that it wouldn’t look like he left me for another woman. All impression management.

    His family knows of the emails, my family does, and I’ve shared it with some of the wives of his friends that I am close to. So far as I know, everyone has kept it from him that they know the truth as I asked them to wait until the legal separation agreement was finalized. He goes around continuing his lies, thinking everyone believes this narrative and that he’s getting away with it. It must be confusing to him why his family has stood their ground that the OW will never be accepted into their homes and why his friends don’t seem too keen in keeping in touch with him. I think he’s just chugging along thinking that as long as he bides his time, he’ll pass off this relationship as being innocent.

    Now, that the agreement is done. I’ve secured my children 65-68% of the time. The monies are now secured, I find myself wondering if I should now reveal what I know and the evidence that goes with it.

    I’m tired of his continued gaslighting and the smugness that I see in him when he blatantly lies to me. Yet, if I reveal what I know, I lose the advantage that I feel I have that, at least for some things, I know the truth. Most of the people around me just want me to hit him over the head with it all and would be more than happy to purchase a ticket to watch the show. But, I don’t know. My counsellor feels that the advantage of revealing is not what it would do to him, but what it would do for me. It would allow me the opportunity to set the boundary that I am on to him, every lie every step of the way. Will he stop his shenanigans? That’s not the point. The point is letting this man, who obviously believes that I’m still stupid, know that I’m on to him and that he won’t pull one over on my ever again.

    The battle of the narratives indeed. Mine is steeped in data-based truth.

    • This is one of those things where calling him out will give you temporary satisfaction, but the flip side of that is that narcs are vindictive and downright sadistic.

      It won’t be just immediate rage, which will happen, but that he will plot revenge and carry it out in all kinds of ways. If you didn’t have children together, I’d say damn the torpedoes, but….since you still have to deal with him in some ways….the greater victory is your knowledge and the knowledge of why others are rejecting him and his owhore.

      The smarter power move here is to keep this knowledge close to your chest, get that divorce finalized, not just the separation agreement, wait for children to grow up, bide your time and then toss it in his face when he has no recourse against you at all…..if you still feel like it….. Chances are, by then you’ll have long moved past caring either way. Still, it’s a shot you always have in your pocket. Just don’t waste it when you stand in the way of being hit by your own shrapnel.

      • Excellent answer, @Foolishchump! “Never confront” as we sometimes say around here, just line up ducks and GTFO.

        In a sense, confronting when you already know enough of the truth of the abuse is a form seeking validation from the cheater. It’s KIBBLES to the cheater. Get to the point where you could give a shit less about making sure the cheater knows that you know the cheater sucks— that way lies madness.

        • Foolishchump and Edie – Thank you so much. I totally here you and feel that it’s the right position to just always keep these cards close to my chest. It’s already been very beneficial to me that I have. My lawyer thought it’s been brilliant and told me that she felt that my patience in navigating the separation settlement with the knowledge I have without losing my nerve was my greatest asset.

          It’s good to be reminded that there is still a lot at stake and that reaching a settlement, albeit a huge relief, doesn’t necessarily spell the end. If I give away what I know, then I’ve given away any advantage. He’ll just shift his narrative to suit something else in light of what I reveal I know. This way, the people who matter most to me, and many of the people around him, know that truth and continue to see his lies.

          Thank you again.

  • Me: Who are you snap chatting?

    Asshat: Nobody

    Me: yes you are

    Asshat: You’re Crazy. stop making things up…

    I could see the reflection of the chat in his glasses…. STILL I stayed until he told me he was “broken hearted” and was leaving… after 31 years. I can’t believe I knew he was a lying asshole and still I stayed….

    Best thing he ever did was tell me he was moving out. I filed on Valentines day and it blew his mind!

  • Years ago I found out about 2 affairs then H had. About 6 months after this discovery, I noticed family pictures having been moved around in my den. I am the kind of person where everything has its place and I knew for certain that I hadn’t moved them.

    This continued every morning for about 2 weeks, where family pictures were rearranged.

    I asked him many times if he was moving them around, which of course he denied. I really thought I was loosing my mind, and at times thought that my dead beloved aunt was trying to send me some type of message. Why I thought that I’m not sure.

    Fast forward 17-18 years when I found out about the last whore he left me for. For some reason I asked him about moving those pictures years previously. And he finally admitted that yes he had kept moving them around just to “get a rise” out of me.

    Sick freak!!

  • I think one item was left off the list….

    Gaslighting from your family of origin.

    If you grew up with gaslighting as how your family regularly dealt with inconvenient truths or lies you caught them in or uncomfortable situations then you won’t recognize it when someone else does it. You already question your sanity and assume you are wrong. If people have been telling you for years that you misunderstood, didn’t hear correctly or were making things up then you’re not going to fight back against the notion when someone else does it to you. You just assume it was you.

    • I grew up with gas lighting and told, “I never said that!” When I asked about stuff. My mom was always on the verge of dying if I didn’t do what she wanted. I did medical transcription when I got older. I did the hardest to understand doctors with the most technical vocabulary to prove to myself I heard what I heard. I was the best transcriptionist she had. Lol. I was not crazy. I just felt like it most of the time.
      I picked 2 ex husbands who were as cruel and manipulative as she was. My mom and 1st ex were on heavy duty psych meds. My last ex denies he needs help – it’s every one else’s fault of course. I am free. At peace. Self sufficient. Very few friends as I have let go of the users. I pray for everyone here, the healing does come.

      • Thanks so much- nomorecamping. I became an indexer after the grand illusion went bust- and from your response, I see that my work entails finding the exact word to fit, trying to nail down the truth so it is accessible,… because words mean something! They do to me, as a researcher and as a person who keywords information for online access. I’ll add a scene with my xhole: I had been a single mom for ten years when I got together with xhole. A few years in to the relationship, we were still living apart, and he said why don’t we have a child together. I told him that I didn’t want to be a single parent again. That I’d done that. He said “oh don’t worry. We will share all the caregiving etc etc” I beleived him. One day when child was about 6 years old I said “why am I doing all the shit work, while you travel around the world as your successful self? You promised me we would share the childcare etc”. His response “Oh that. That was just words.” There was SO MUCH wrong with that response that I was speechless. There was simply no answer. I had bet my life on those words, and to him they were nothing.

        • We are blessed to be free. Words and truth are meaningful. The people that don’t see that –
          we don’t need in our lives. Prayers.

  • We hired a contractor to assist us on a rental this summer. My STBX wife was working along side him most of July. They started texting and calling late July. Late August she tells me she wants a divorce. I later find out this was after he advised her to leave me. Mid September I find out about all of the texts. They texted over 15,000 times in 52 days. Over 25 hours of calls. She admitted to going to his house/dates at least 4 times, and I suspect it was 8. Reason being I made a pivot table of the hour of day and date they texted. There were 8 times I was home with the kids that they didn’t text/call for at least 4 hours. She literally texted or called this man at least once per hour (usually double digits, some triple digits) 85% of her waking hours. One day she texted every hour starting at 6 AM and finally last text after midnight.
    I have texts from her about how she didn’t understand her feelings for him, and she knew he was a schmooze, but she was lonely, etc..
    She told me she loved him. She was planning a trip to Hawaii with him (cancelled now).

    She now is trying to convince me she didnt have an affair. She did nothing wrong. It is baffling to me. I truly dont understand who she is anymore. I was originally going to try to work thing out, but this is just psychotic.

    And additional gaslight from her. I demanded and STD test (fortunately she and I haven’t been together since this started.) She demands I get one. I do. Clean. She does. . .an online test that she self administered. She is now claiming *I* am controlling for not accepting her “test”.

  • I was accused of being Paranoid. Because I thought CheaterEx was cheating and asked. Apparently I suffered Pathological Jealousy also. And was Controlling. About interactions with “Just Friends”. Oh then I found emails and evidence and came down with a big dose of Actual Reality and Cheaterex came down with a big dose of Consequenses. Phew. Divorce was brutal and my life has taken a financial cut…but I’m Free, Solo and healing. Meh approaches. Chump Lady and Chump Nation helped and saved my life and sanity. Reconciliation Industrial Complex had me working on my Trust Issues! I so want to write follow up letters to those so called counsellors!

  • Excerpt from her writings( left loose In a drawer that i accidentally came across) : ” i need to stop my destructive habits: smoking, drinking , SEX WITH STRANGERS”. WHEN CONFRONTED: ” there was no physical cheating. I had inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized.”
    Asked for further explanation, she simply hung up and any mention of her cheating and she always, immediately, ends the conversation.
    Anyone else have this, their cheater simply refuse to hear any mention, ever, of the cheating?

  • Hi Arnold. Yes I have this. First he wouldn’t hear of it. I found a empty condom wrapper, he still denies its use. I fond in his email and saw messages and well as txt messages. I still have the pics I snapped of it. Denied it. One woman he was txting and they seemed pretty cozy. Denied he ever met her. He’s still lying about stuff. So I know how it is. 2 nights ago when I tried to bring it up he told me to shut up. Gets mad and turns his back. Like as if he doesn’t want to face it. Maybe she doesn’t want to face it. Maybe she’s one of those that in her mind she made it that what she did was ok and you by asking are bringing back the reality that shit like that is not ok.
    I think people like these are not emotionally mature enough, I think if they were they wouldn’t do the things they do in the first place. Selfish too, no stopped and thought about the person they are doing it too and the impact. All about me me me type. I’m sorry this happened to you. This fully sucks. She’s shutting you out cuz she just wants you to shut up so she doesn’t have to face the truth.

  • It still goes on after separation. “OM is not and will not ever live with us”.
    He is there 6 nights in 7, share vehicles, does our children’s school run/clubs, Fathered child which arrived 9.5 months after I had to leave, cooks meals, showers washing etc there.
    BUT he ‘does not live there’ because that would mean she would not keep our house if he did.

  • I think gaslighting and similar behavioral techniques work because to follow truth and thus contradiction to its logical end means the end of the relationship and all the fear and conflict therein contained.

  • I had to laugh at the scenario of dog/pymy goat … we had new neighbors move in and we were out walking with our pygmy goats and met the wife. She is sweet and more than a little ‘fried.’ Next day, husband is out with goats again and she asks what kind of dogs they are.

  • >