So I confronted him and now he is gas lighting me. Telling me that my paranoia and insecurities will drive him away and that I need help.
How do you deal with it when someone is gas lighting you?? I need to get to the bottom of this, I have zero proof of anything.
I dont know if he is currently in any sort of affair with sally. But I'm sure that there was something going on between them not long before H met me. And he's gone and deleted the facebook messages that likely had some proof in them. And I can't retrieve them. So basically it's just his word against mine.
The gaslighting technique is a way to control the moment in the relationship, to stop the conflict, to ease some anxiety and feel ďin chargeĒ again. Itís a way for someone to deflect responsibility and to tear down someone else, all the while keeping the other person hooked, especially if what they are hooked on is the desperate need to please another person ó or prove that person wrong. In your specific instance, your husband is gaslighting you to stay in control of his affair and also keep you hooked--because he wants to have his cake (you) and eat it too (Sally). He knows that adultery is wrong, so he is trying to deflect responsibility from the choices he has made to you...he is committing at least emotional adultery because you are so insecure and paranoid. See how that deflects from HIM and HIS ACTIONS (and choices) to you? He's also gaslighting to tear you down and make you second-guess yourself, because if you question your own self, maybe you'll quit.
So now that you know he is gaslighting you, let's look at the infidelity. First, I suggest that you call it what it is so that there is no nice euphamism to make it sounds better: he is committing adultery, if not physically, then at least emotionally. Second, I suggest that you strengthen in your mind what IS and IS NOT adultery. Here's why: many people sort of take the stance of "How far can I go before it crosses the line and it's infidelity?" or "Where is the line between friendship and emotional affair?" as if the idea is to go just as far as you can go but not quite cross the line. If you take that tactic, then you and your husband will obviously argue about "where the line is" and his definition of the line will move almost daily because every day he crosses more and more and more of the line because he wants the good feeling! So instead of looking at it like "How close can I get before I cross the line?" I recommend thinking of it like "What is FAITHFULNESS? What would fidelity look like? How would I define 'forsaking all others'?" Here's my definition: "Faithfulness is giving 100% of your affection, loyalty, and companionship to your spouse."
Now, I realize that people have parents, siblings, and children whom they will love--but the love between spouses is affection that is different than the familial affection. So 100% of marital/romantic/intimate affection goes to the spouse and that means 0% is left to give to any other person, male or female! 100% of loyalty/allegiance/devotion goes to the spouse and that means 0% is left to give to any other person! And likewise 100% of companionship/togetherness/camaraderie goes to the spouse and that means 0% is left to give to any other person!
So it's not just your word against his. Both of you made a vow, which is a sacred promise before your deity and your family and your friends that you would forsake all others (or words to that effect). That means 100% of his affection, loyalty and companionship has been promised TO YOU and to no other. He is giving some percentage of his affection to Sally because given the option of pleasing you or pleasing her, he is pleasing HER. He is giving some percentage of his loyalty to Sally because given the option of being devoted to the spouse to whom he promised it, or "a friend"...he is giving his devotion to the friend! He is giving some percentage of his companionship to Sally because he is maintaining the "friendship" at the cost of the marriage!
So to combat his gaslighting here are some steps: 1) Recognize what drives the behavior.
Gaslighters donít have a strong sense of self and have to feel 'right' all the time, or else they feel threatened. Gaslighting is a way to control the moment in the relationship, to stop the conflict, to ease some anxiety and feel ďin chargeĒ again. Itís a way for someone to deflect responsibility and to tear down someone else, all the while keeping the other person hooked, especially if what they are hooked on is the desperate need to please another person ó or prove that person wrong. So just remind yourself that a gaslighter is a person too, who is wounded and learned poor coping techniques--they are a fellow human being, but they are indeed gaslighting. Name it! 2) React to their gaslighting the right way.
Remember, arguing with a gaslighter is a losing strategy. Defensive behavior is their fuel, and they'll respond to you by saying that youíre being hysterical, acting crazy, or other inflaming, frustrating statements. The more you try to defend yourself, the more they gaslight. So, instead of digging in your heels, tell your husband that while you hear him, what he's saying is not your experience. One of my favorite phrases is: "I hear that you think/feel ___ but my opinion differs greatly." In your instance, when he tells you that you are insecure and paranoid, use the phrase "I hear that you are suggesting I am not secure or not trusting, but that is not my experience and I disagree with you entirely." The end. 3) Don't second-guess yourself.
Gaslighting works in part by wearing you down. So be aware of when you begin to doubt what your gut tells you is true and real. It can be helpful to ask yourself the question, "What do I really believe is going on?" as opposed to "What am I being pressured to believe?Ē You may also find it helpful to jot down notes or keep a journal. Write down your conversation in a journal so you can take an objective look at it. Where is the conversation veering off from reality into the other personís view? Look for signs of repeated denial of your experience. If you're second-guessing what you know deep down is reality, check in with a friend who can back you up. Ask them if you seem like yourself and do a reality check on your spouseís behavior. Ask them to be brutally honest. 4) Seek help if the gaslighting continues.
Individual counseling (IC) will help you determine your next steps, from working to repair the relationship to leaving it. IC can also be a confidence builder. Gaslighters will erode your self-esteem; therapy can be very helpful in rebuilding it. 5) Get outóand don't look back.
You tried to address the behavior, but the gaslighter hasn't made an effort to change--or in your instance, you tried to address your husband's affair but he refuses to end it AND he continues to gaslight you. A marriage can not survive adultery. At this point, the only solution is to split; an emotionally abusive relationship is an unhealthy one. Unfortunately, calling it quits with a gaslighter is not easy. Often, gaslighters ramp up their behaviors when things come to an emotional head, as they so frequently do during a breakup, so just skip explanations and exhaustive conversations. Youíre wasting your energy if youíre looking for them to take responsibility or acknowledge or validate anything that youíre saying. Instead, state simply, clearly, and definitively that you want to end the relationship. After the breakup...complete radio silence: block your gaslighterís phone number, ignore calls from unknown numbers, and delete emails unread.