Five types of gaslighting narcissists.

Lucky Otters Haven

Gaslight-2

I haven’t written an original narcissism article in awhile, and I was thinking about gaslighting today, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

Gaslighting is a defense mechanism commonly used by narcissists in order to diminish their victims and make them doubt and question their own reality.  The term comes from the 1942 movie “Gaslight,” in which a young wife is abused in this manner by her husband, who almost succeeds in driving her insane by telling her she is imagining the gaslights in their house going on and off, even though he has been secretly playing with the gaslights himself to make her think she’s going insane.  Gaslighting is one of the most sinister and crazymaking things a narcissist can do, and over time your self esteem and even your grip on what is real and what isn’t begins to erode.   Dealing with a gaslighting narcissist…

View original post 978 more words

Advertisements

I’m thinking about contacting my narcissist ex.

missyouasshole

For the past week or so, I’ve been actually missing my emotionally abusive, narcissistic ex husband.   Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like him, and I’m not making excuses for him (I still know he’s a narc and know No Contact is best).  I don’t want to be friends with him.  I don’t want to visit him, have lunch with him, or have him over to my house.   I realize the dangers of even having phone conversations with him; it would be a slippery slope into a relapse or very triggering situation (and I’m already triggered enough as it is right now).

But even at the height of his abusive behavior (here’s a semi-funny-but-not-really story about one way he used to manipulate and mentally torture me), there always remained those rare times I actually enjoyed his company.   I enjoyed his intellect.  It was almost as if at certain times, when he could talk about something he actually knew a lot about, he became less narcissistic — or I was able to look past it — or something.  There were certain topics having nothing to do with ourselves or the kids that we could have long, intellectual conversations about without fighting.  Politics was one of them.   We always were on the same page about politics, and we used to get into long, rather enjoyable intellectual discussions, sometimes with a little weed providing a kind of social lubricant.   These conversations never ended badly, unlike almost everything else.

My daughter visits her dad at least once or twice a week, since he lives nearby.   She says all he talks about anymore is the political situation, and how much he hates Trump.    Meanwhile, I have very few — really no — people in real life I can talk to about the political situation, which gets more threatening and scary by the day.    My daughter agrees with my views, but hates talking about it, and my son (who also agrees with me and is gay so he feels very much under threat by the Trump administration’s anti-gay rhetoric) has been escaping into entertainment, movies, games, and work because he doesn’t want to deal with it at all. My daughter’s boyfriend, who I get along with otherwise, does not agree with us about Trump, unfortunately (I thought he was changing his mind, but he never really did).   I really don’t have any other close friends or family I can talk to about this and it’s driving me crazy.

My daughter just went up to see her dad, and I asked her to give him a message.  I told her to tell him I missed our political discussions, and to give him my phone number in case he ever wanted to talk politics.    She said he probably wouldn’t call me, and that’s okay, but I wanted to extend the invitation.   I feel very much alone these days in an increasingly scary country that is about to get a whole lot worse (unless some miracle happens soon) and want a real life person to talk to about this, even if it’s a narc I was married to, because there just really isn’t anyone else.

I’ll provide an update, should he take me up on my offer, but he probably won’t.   I’m pretty much dead to him.

The most effective defense against gaslighting.

bytheirfruits

Narcissists and sociopaths not only try to make you think you are insane, they can literally drive you insane.   They do this most effectively and insidiously through gaslighting, a method of mental manipulation in which you are made to doubt or question reality or told your feelings are invalid.   This occurs on a personal level with narcissistic people and extends today all the way up to the national and political level. It is always extremely damaging.  People who are constantly gaslighted by a narcissist or sociopath often develop PTSD or Complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

Examples of gaslighting in relationships:

“I was joking. Stop being so sensitive.”

“That’s not what I said.” (when they definitely have said it).

“You are imagining things.”

“It never happened.”

Trump gaslights his political rivals, his enemies, and the entire country on a daily basis.   I can’t and won’t attempt to list all the examples, but his Twitter account is a treasure trove of gaslighting if you can stomach it.   Perhaps the most egregious example to date is his recent denial of the Access Hollywood tape where he now denies he ever said he could “grab women by the pussy.”  Another good recent example is Roy Moore (who I believe is as sociopathic as Trump) justifying his pedophilia by comparing himself to Jesus being persecuted — he is pinning the blame on the truth-tellers (projection and blame shifting) and denying reality (gaslighting) at the same time.

When our own reality is questioned or denied, or when actual events are called “fake news” and the free press “the enemy of the people,” it’s not uncommon for us to begin to question the truth itself.   You begin to think that maybe, just maybe, the gaslighter is actually the one telling the truth and you are just nuts (which the gaslighter will happily confirm).

My favorite Bible verse ever is this one, from Matthew 7:15-20 (New Living Translation) because it’s so useful in gaslighting situations.

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.  You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.  So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

When a gaslighter makes you question the truth or wonder if your honest feelings are invalid, I’ve found this verse stops any doubt I’m having and calls out the abuser for the liar they really are at the same time.   Look at what the person is producing.    If they’re creating nothing but chaos, destruction, fear, and misery, if they’re sowing discord instead of unity,  if they always break their promises,  don’t believe anything they tell you.    They are lying and will never produce any good fruit, no matter what they might want you to believe.

The Still Face Experiment (with an observation about Caylee Anthony).

I was reminded of the Still Face video again today and think it’s so important because it shows how vital attachment is to develop a healthy sense of self. Watch how quickly this child in the experiment notices the mother’s lack of mirroring and how hard she tries to make an emotional connection.

***THESE VIDEOS MAY BE TRIGGERING***

Caylee Anthony and Casey Anthony

I was watching some Caylee Anthony videos that were filmed by her mother Casey before she murdered her daughter.   The lack of interaction with Caylee in these videos is very creepy and disturbing.  Casey apparently didn’t physically abuse her daughter (at least not anything that could be readily seen), but was starving her emotionally.  She would sit and film her daughter but not interact with her at all.  You can see Caylee reacting in ways very similar to the baby in the Still Face video experiment,except that Caylee almost never cried, which make you wonder if she had already partly given up.

In this video, you can see how frustrated and confused Caylee is.

 

Lucky Otters Haven

Here is a dramatic video that shows how powerful the lack of mirroring is on an infant. It’s amazing how quickly the baby in this video notices the mother’s lack of affect and responds negatively to it. This is at the root of attachment disorders in children and most personality disorders, especially Cluster B. Without appropriate mirroring a child can’t develop empathy because it has never been modeled for them.

View original post

Emotional Abuse.

emotional_abuse

Can you think of any other examples?

Words as weapons.

by Photos8.com

by Photos8.com

If you were raised by narcissistic parents, you are probably familiar with these.  These are the words I heard from my parents (yours may differ somewhat but the devastating effect is the same).  I’ve broken them down into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, since the emotional abuse doesn’t stop when you become an adult.  Sometimes it gets worse. No matter what stage of life you’re in, these words are intended to destroy your soul. They are extremely effective weapons.

Childhood:

child-abuse1

You are too sensitive (the #1 criticism)

You have no sense of humor.

You cry too much.

Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.

Your hair looks like a rat’s nest.

You always look so dirty and sloppy. (after being outside playing)

What did you do to your hair? (I did nothing; my hair was naturally thin and fine and tangled easily–and also grew in a strange way with cowlicks and weird curls)

You read too much.  (what?)

You’re too obsessed with your books, drawing, and solitary games. (These were my escapes)

You act so immature; no wonder you have no friends.

You know you hate competition (when I wanted to join the swim team)

You know you’re not good at team sports. (I wasn’t, but this made me doubt myself even more when playing team sports)

I don’t think you really want that. (subtle gaslighting intended to make me doubt my own reality)

Here, let me do that for you.  (a favorite of my mother’s when she didn’t have the patience to teach me or supervise me in a new or unfamiliar activity)

You’ll only make a mess of things. (another way to discourage my competence).

They’re just jealous of you because you’re prettier/smarter than they are (this seems nice but wasn’t based on reality and even I could see through that BS; I was bullied because of my high sensitivity, not my “superior” looks and intelligence)

You come from a better family than they do. (better in what way?)

We don’t associate with people like that. (see above–my parents were VERY into social status)

Don’t tell anyone what goes on in this family.

Keep your mouth shut about what happened here tonight.

Adolescence

teenager_sad

You’re gaining too much weight.  (my mother’s #1 favorite criticism, usually done in front of others)

You’re too fat (when I weighed 120 lbs at 5’4″!)

Your hair looks too stringy/greasy/what have you done to it, etc.  (a variation on the childhood hair criticism)

You eat too much chocolate, you will get pimples and no one will think you’re pretty anymore.

You’re boy-crazy!

You don’t study hard enough; you will fail all your subjects and not graduate (always catastrophizing)

You’re too pretty to wear that/do that/say that, etc.

You know you don’t want that. (making me doubt my reality)

You know I don’t like it when you act “tough” (but my sensitivity was hated too–I could never win).

You always get too hurt by everything (no empathy after a breakup or lost friendship, etc.)

You always get too obsessed with a boy.

This dress will make you look slimmer (this was a dress given to me in front of my friends at a birthday party)

Your butt is too big (I do have a big butt–I couldn’t help it!  It’s the way my spine curves. What was I supposed to do? Slice it off?)

Your breasts are so big they will hang down to your waist when you’re 50.  (I’m over 50 now and they don’t, they weren’t THAT big, and I think there might have been some envy in this anyway because she wore an A cup and I wore a C)

You’re acting like a crazy person.

What a stupid thing to say.

You have a terrible personality. I wouldn’t like you either.

You should change your personality.

You need to learn to control yourself.

You’re not goal-oriented.

Adulthood:

depressed_woman_bw

You’re living  a loser’s life.

You have nothing to show for your life.

You make terrible choices.

You’ve always made terrible choices.

You probably did something to deserve it. (always said when someone else treated me unfairly; no empathy shown)

Well, the way you are, I’m not surprised they are so angry with you/don’t like you, etc.

You’re a disgrace.

You never learn from your mistakes.

You overreact to everything.

You have no sense of humor/too sensitive, etc.

You don’t know how office politics works.  (I don’t, and I hate it, but this was meant to insult me)

You never did have a knack for making it in the business world.

You’ll always be poor because you make such terrible choices.

Don’t expect any help from us.

You made your bed, now lie in it.

Why don’t you join a convent? The nuns will take care of you.  (said when I was threatened with homelessness during my divorce).

Go live in a homeless shelter (see above).

You don’t take good care of your kids.

You’re a terrible parent.

Those kids are going to grow up with so many problems.

You weren’t raised to be this way.

It’s not my responsibility that what I said upset you.

You chose to be upset by that.  (again, taking no responsibility and blame-shifting).

You choose your own emotions. (see above).

You made a choice to be depressed/miserable, etc.

****

I could go on, but I think this is enough for now.   Do any of these sound familiar to you?

Further Reading:
Lies My Narcissists Told Me

The Silent Treatment: weapon of control.

silent_treatment2

The silent treatment is a psychological weapon all narcissists use, even those lacking the cunning or Machiavellianism to successfully use more complex weapons like triangulation or gaslighting (I’m not sure they really require intelligence since it’s probably programmed into them and I’ve known plenty of dumb narcissists who are great at controlling and manipulating others in these ways–they are like trained monkeys).

We’ve all been victims of the silent treatment.  We might have even used it ourselves on occasion.  It’s not exclusive to narcissists so is probably not a good red flag, but all narcissists use it–and they use it a lot more frequently than other people do.

If you’ve been a victim of the silent treatment (also known as “stonewalling”) you won’t forget it.  You know the drill. It’s when they just stop speaking to you or even acknowledging your existence.   Usually, it’s in response to an insult of some kind.   You tell a narcissist their new haircut looks nice, and they get mad at you because you didn’t say it makes them look like a runway model (that’s how sensitive some of them are).   But they don’t tell you what made them mad.  No, you’re supposed to be a mind reader!  Instead, they don’t talk to you.   No matter how many times you ask them to tell you what upset them, their tongue is locked up like Fort Knox.   You beg and plead and soon find yourself apologizing even though you don’t even know what you’re apologizing for.   Anything to get them to talk to you!  It’s torture.   But it’s supposed to be–you are under their control and just where they want you to be.  It’s a brilliant psychological weapon and requires nothing from the narcissist other than a refusal to speak.

words_may_sting

While the silent treatment is most often used in response to an insult of some kind, this isn’t always the case.  Sometimes a narcissist will use the silent treatment for seemingly no reason at all.   I remember a man I dated for a short time before he devalued and discarded me and moved onto a new victim.  We were driving around New York City in his car, and having what I thought was a good time. The radio was playing and we were laughing about something or other.   Suddenly, for absolutely no reason, he went silent.  No matter how many times I begged him to tell me what was wrong, he wouldn’t.  In fact, my questioning seemed to piss him off.   It was weird. One minute he was laughing and had his arm around me, the next he was silent and stony faced.  I didn’t get it.    But he wasn’t done with me yet.  Suddenly, he pulled the car over, and told me to get out.  It was nighttime and we were in a terrible neighborhood.  I reminded him how dangerous this area was at night, and asked him for money for a taxi. “No,” he said coldly. “Take the subway to your bus stop,” he said callously, practically pushing me out of the car.  I managed to get home without being raped, robbed, or killed, and the next day this jerk called me and wanted to see me again.  He acted like nothing had happened.   I didn’t dare ask why (I didn’t accept his invitation though).   In retrospect, I think he did what he did because he could.  It was fun for him, and while he was doing it, he felt big and powerful and in control.

And that’s what the silent treatment is all about.  Control.  You are completely at their mercy, bewildered and confused–and they love that.    It makes them feel powerful.  If they’ve suffered narcissistic injury, giving you the silent treatment restores their equilibrium.   It’s also a handy way to punish you.  But sometimes they do it just because they can and there’s no way you can fight back.   If a non-narcissist uses the silent treatment, it’s a reaction to legitimate anger or hurt.   They are so upset they don’t want to speak to you for the time being.  But it isn’t being used to manipulate or control you.  They will talk to you about it later.  With a narcissist though, you will probably never know what upset them–if anything at all did.

I’m only 6 years old.

Therapy was more productive tonight…

Five types of gaslighting narcissists.

Gaslight-2

I haven’t written an original narcissism article in awhile, and I was thinking about gaslighting today, so I thought I’d write a post about it.

Gaslighting is a defense mechanism commonly used by narcissists in order to diminish their victims and make them doubt and question their own reality.  The term comes from the 1942 movie “Gaslight,” in which a young wife is abused in this manner by her husband, who almost succeeds in driving her insane by telling her she is imagining the gaslights in their house going on and off, even though he has been secretly playing with the gaslights himself to make her think she’s going insane.  Gaslighting is one of the most sinister and crazymaking things a narcissist can do, and over time your self esteem and even your grip on what is real and what isn’t begins to erode.   Dealing with a gaslighting narcissist is like looking into an endless hall of mirrors.  It’s common for victims of such mindf*ckery to develop PTSD or complex PTSD.

Here are five common types of gaslighters, with examples that show what these darlings do to make us feel like we’re going crazy.

1.  The “You’re Insane” gaslighter.

maybe_your_crazy

This type of gaslighter, when confronted with the truth about their disgusting and unacceptable behavior, accuses you of insanity, stupidity, or (in the case of women) your terrible PMS (gaslighting with a little misogyny thrown in for good measure).

You:  I don’t think you should have told all our friends that you think I’m cheating on you, especially because I’m not.

Gaslighter:  You’re imagining things as usual.  Have you taken your meds today?

You:  I hate it when you use that tone of voice.

Gaslighter:  Oh, please, not this again.   You must be on your period.

 

2. The “I never said that” gaslighter:

never_said_that

This type of narcissist is so far into their lies and denial he/she would sell you down that river in Egypt.

You:  Why did you tell my mother I can’t keep a job?

Gaslighter:   I never said that.  This may be followed by a “you’re insane” elaboration to drive home their case that you’re the deluded one.

You: You promised me I could have some money to buy the kids new school clothes.

Gaslighter:  No, I never agreed to that.  I told you I don’t have the money.  What part of “I don’t have the money” did you not understand?

 

3.  The “Everyone’s Against You” gaslighter:

nobody_likes_you

This  is an especially mindfucking type of gaslighting, in which the narcissist draws other people into their attack on you, which may in fact not be the case but they can definitely convince you no one is on your side.  If actual flying monkeys are being used, then a different tactic, triangulation, has become part of their arsenal of weapons they use against you.

You:  Why do you always talk to me like you hate me?

Gaslighter:  That’s just your overactive imagination again, but to be honest, I was talking to [names of friends, associates, or family members] the other day, and they all told me they think you’re very difficult to be around [or insane, stupid, etc], so put that in your pipe and smoke it.

This type of abuse can also be very subtle:

You:  You are driving me crazy!

Gaslighter:  Well, I wasn’t going to tell you this, but [name of friend, family member or associate] and I were talking, and we are all very concerned about you (“I’m/we’re concerned” is narc-ese for “I/we think you’re batshit crazy.”)

This next type of gaslighter is probably the most infamous and well known to most narcissistic abuse survivors:

4. The “You’re Too Sensitive” Gaslighter:

your_too_sensitive

Narcissists love to call out the sensitivity of their victims as if it’s a character defect (and if we were raised by narcissists, we have probably learned to hate and be ashamed of our high sensitivity).   It’s true that many abuse victims are highly sensitive, in fact some of us are HSPs.  Narcissists are drawn to sensitive people because of their high empathy and tendency to become codependent and thereby good sources of narcissistic supply.   At the same time they need us, they also hate and envy those qualities they seem to be so attracted to, and don’t miss an opportunity to take hurtful potshots.  Even if they do or say something that would even hurt the feelings of someone as coolheaded as Star Trek’s Mr. Spock, they somehow make it your fault if you’re bothered by it because you’re just too damned sensitive.”  It’s really just a variation of the “you’re crazy” tactic.

You:  I wish you’d talk to me more respectfully when we’re out in public.

Gaslighter (dramatically rolling eyes):   I do talk to you respectfully (lie).  Your oversensitivity is really getting tiresome.

 

5.  The “I Was Just Joking” Gaslighter.

cant_take_a_joke

Similar to the “You’re Too Sensitive” gaslighter, this one calls your sense of humor (or lack thereof) into question, even when their “joke” is clearly anything but.

Gaslighter: That dress makes you look fat.

You: (looking hurt):  It does? But I’ve been trying to lose weight for you.

Gaslighter:  Jesus, don’t you have any sense of humor?  You can never take a joke.

To rub salt in the wound, they might even toss a little “Everyone’s Against You” into the mix and say something like, “Maybe it’s because you can’t laugh at anything that no one really likes you.”

There’s one more type of gaslighter that’s incredibly dangerous because they manipulate reality itself and then tell you there’s something wrong with you because you noticed.  The abusive husband in “Gaslight” illustrates this well, by manipulating things around the house and then telling his wife she’s unbalanced and imagining things.   This was a favorite technique of my ex, who often deliberately misplaced things I needed, such as my car keys, then when I wasn’t looking, he’d return them to their rightful place and chided me for being “careless.”   He did this for shitz and giggles.

When you’re dealing with a gaslighting narcissist, nothing you do or say is ever right.  They always have to have the upper hand and they always have to make you feel about 3 inches tall, because that’s the only way they know how to keep you weak and in your place so they can continue to prey on you for supply.  They do this because their own egos are so fragile they need to put you down in order to make themselves feel better.    He or she isn’t going to change.   Arguing isn’t going to help, it will only make things worse.  The best way to handle a gaslighting narcissist is to leave and never look back.

Sensitive Children and the Adult Child in the Abusive Narcissistic Home

Excellent article about the devastating effect narcissistic parents have on the most sensitive children in the family and why they tend to become scapegoats. They grow up into codependent adults prone to repeat the same toxic patterns with others. But this doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Read on.

SITE FOR CREATIVE SOLUTIONS

flute-player-h7x

In a home affected with an abusive narcissistic parent emotions are repressed and become twisted.  Rules are built on shame, guilt, or fear.  Feelings are often not shared and when they are expressed, it is done in a judgmental manner placing blame on one another.  The narcissistic parent is self-involved and feels no empathy for their children.  They are incapable of mirroring real love and try to get their children to fulfill their unmet dependency needs.  The narcissistic parent’s unresolved drives for attention and caretaking takes center stage as the child’s early developmental needs are ignored and denied.  The self-involved parent shames the child for having desires and makes them feel guilty.  All of the family attention and energy is focused on the demands of the narcissist.

Sensitive children growing up in abusive narcissistic homes build their personalities based on what they have to do to survive.  Many of these children…

View original post 685 more words