Gaslighting-How To Deal With It

I happened upon a video this morning done by Matthew Hussey, a “dating guru” I have listened to for years. I love his straight forward, logical and honest approach to dating.

In this video he talks about how to deal with being gas-lighted, something all narcissists do.

Enjoy and tell me what you think.

9 thoughts on “Gaslighting-How To Deal With It

  1. Thomas Campbell

    Thanks for the gaslighting video. Have watched half of it and my dog needs to go out, but will get the rest in a few! I’ve recently experienced what I feel is gaslighting from an older brother, of all people. I emailed my brothers saying we need to develop a plan about our elderly mother, and spoke of how my life has changed since she moved near me and I have been trying to care for her (living nearby). My brothers don’t seem to get it, that they have a responsibility. Anyway, one brother BLASTED me, telling me he’s tired of me playing the victim and never following his advice (doesn’t quite cut it) and how I always complain. I didn’t read all he wrote, as it was caustic. He’s a narcissist, it seems. No empathy for me at all. Wonder why I never saw this, as we were growing up. Of course, back then, he wanted a favor only on his terms, withdrawing the offer (and reward) if not done right as he wanted -back then. Narcissist, I think.
    Thanks,
    Tom

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    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Hi Tom, thanks for commenting. I would caution about calling anyone a narcissist because a narcissist is a very dangerous, toxic person who never feels empathy, guilt or compassion. We all at different times in our lives show more narcissistic traits than at other times and everyone have some level of narcissism. A person can be lacking in empathy and not be a narcissist. If you hadn’t noticed this in your brother prior to now, then I doubt he is a narcissist. A narcissist has a history of abusing people and leaves a trail of destruction in their wake their whole life. It affects all areas of their life. Maybe this is your brother, I don’t know. But what I do know is, you have a problem with your mother and are frustrated because you don’t feel heard by your brothers.
      I have a very similar situation with my younger brother, only he moved away, leaving me to care for my mother. We haven’t seen him for over a year. I can get overwhelmed feeling and frustrated because I end up doing all her yard work, house repairs, etc on top of doing my own and I have chronic heart failure. But I know I am not going to change my brother at this age.
      He is 9 years younger than me and he grew up basically having two moms because I “mothered” him. He can be a spoiled brat, even though he’s in his 50’s.
      I have learned when dealing with him that to accuse him of falling short in his duties as a family member he is going to get defensive and we will get no where.
      I haven’t heard your conversations but I can imagine how they go. I would like to suggest to you to try this.
      Don’t talk to your brothers when you are feeling frustrated or angry. Instead dig deep and get in touch with exactly what you are feeling. Are you feeling taken for granted, unappreciated, over worked? Guilty? And what do you see as a solution?
      Be realistic in your solutions, if your brother’s don’t live near by, what do you expect them to do? How can they realistically help? Do they have the finances to contribute to your mother’s care by hiring someone to help you? I don’t know what all you do for your mother but if it is yard work or house repairs, hire a handyman. If it is house work, hire a care aid or house keeper. If she needs constant care, putting her in a seniors care facility.
      You want them to offer help but don’t take the advice they give so you have to present your own solutions. You have to set your boundaries, stick to them and present them to your brother’s in a calm, rational way. Remember, have realistic expectations. I remember when my stepdad had dementia my mother was constantly complaining about how much she had to do and how little his kids did for him. She made everyone’s life hell and my step siblings avoided visiting because they got so sick of her being a martyr. She wanted help on her terms and expected his kids to know what she wanted without being asked and to be there for her when it wasn’t even physically possible. Her expectations were unrealistic. She didn’t want to look bad by putting him in a home. But once she did, his kids started visiting him more and taking him out. But then she was upset they didn’t invite her along. His kids couldn’t win.
      You have to create a feeling of having a common problem and want to come to a joint solution. To accuse them of not living up to they duties as sons and brother’s will not get you any where.
      I have learned to say no. I have set firm lines with my mother. If she had her way I would be there at her beck and call 24/7. I just do not allow her to control me or guilt me into doing things for her. If she doesn’t have you to call on, she will call your brothers.
      Get a life. I don’t mean that in a nasty way, but you really need to establish your limitations with your mother and your brothers. Keep in mind, you can not dictate your brothers limitations. It is not your responsibility to make up for your brother’s shortcomings. If they fall short, let them fall short. As long as you are picking up the slack, they will keep falling short.
      Be honest without apology, blaming or complaining, own it. An example could be something like;
      Since mom moved closer to me I am feeling overwhelmed and need to pull back and take care of my self. I can do this, this and this but can no longer do the house work, (or whatever) If you guys can’t come up with a solution I think we need to put her in a care home or hire a care giver. If they hire someone you need to back off and allow that person to do their job even if it isn’t up to your standards. You have to give up the control and expectations.
      There are days I don’t answer my phone if I see it is my mother and I don’t engage in conversation if I am busy. If it is serious she will leave a message. I have told my brother I won’t be moving into mom’s house to care for her and prior to COVID I had told him he needed to pick a time he can take mom for a few weeks.
      He is always very appreciative of what I do and admits he doesn’t do near as much as I do. He cut me off one day because I was complaining about moms annoying habits. He was defensive of her.
      I cut him off and said, “Yeah, well, you spend as much time with her as I do and see how long before YOU snap”.
      He admitted he can’t handle mom in long doses.
      Sometimes I don’t even want help as much as I just want someone to listen. If that is the case, say that. “Look, I didn’t call to make you feel guilty or even with the expectation you would fix it. I just needed to vent to someone who would listen without judgement.”
      Good luck. It’s tough dealing with aging parents. Let me know how it goes. ❤️

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      1. Thomas Campbell

        Thanks so much! I was expecting a comment from readers, but a reply from you is super! I will have to re-read and digest what you said here. I know one thing for me to do is (like you said) don’t talk to my brothers when feeling frustrated or angry. They just don’t seem able to handle it. Maybe it’s not fair and I’m not expressing myself in the context of what I need to say. I also like what you say about maybe just being able to be listened to- venting. Plus setting boundaries. I grew up without them, so this is difficult, but I’m learning. Yes, you are really correct- a true narcissist leaves a lot of pain in their wake! I even wrote a book about a relationship with one of them -I should know that- and there are indeed varying degrees of it. I will seek out more of a “life” and not feel guilty when I hang out with friends a bit or don’t pick up the phone on occasion when my mother calls three hours after I’ve been there. Thanks again!!

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  2. Carrie Reimer Post author

    Thomas, so glad I was able to help. I think you will find that when you set boundaries your mother and brother’s will fight back. No one likes change especially when someone grows a backbone and sets boundaries. It’s difficult at first, but the longer you stick to your boundaries they will see they can no longer control you through guilt etc. And they will start to respect your boundaries.
    This Christmas my mother was wanting me to stay over night right through Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. I told her I had to think about it but I really preferred to go home where I sleep better and promised I would come back Xmas morning to open gifts. I was very matter of fact about it. “It’s just another day. I have spent Christmas alone before.”
    Previous Christmases she excluded me from the celebrations because she had other plans. She never worried about what I was going to do.
    Anyway, she messaged me the next day and said she understood and apologized for putting pressure on me to stay and not to worry about it. So I will spend Xmas day with her.
    It’s taken years for me to get used to not succumbing to guilt tactics but it really does work.
    We can’t change others, only ourselves and how we react.
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a 2021 that holds new more respectful relationships with your family. Make 2021 your year!!
    Hugs Carrie

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    1. Tom Campbell

      Thanks again, Carrie! The season is a bit bleak in some ways for me, as my brothers have decided to ignore me, basically, even though I sent them what I thought was a pleasant email last Saturday. Well, the older two brothers. The younger brother is busy and doesn’t contact me much but seemed sympathetic. I dared to stand up for myself! I was not a good soldier! Well, I do want to take your advice and not contact my brothers when I am frustrated or angry. It’s funny- I’m ignored but I am the worker, the one to attend to my mother when needed. My older brother told my roommate in an email (not to me) about 3 appointments my mother has, upcoming, but I guess I’m or my roommate is supposed to take her. It is odd. But, I will remember what you said and try to keep to boundaries, also. I am slow learning them, as I had none when a kid. My father was a rage-aholic and my mother was a bit psychologically and sexually inappropriate, mostly verbally. But I am trying. Thank you so much again! I hope your mother and you both have a wonderful Christmas. I am so thankful for your blog and your posts! Your blog is certainly needed by many. Tom

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      1. Carrie Reimer Post author

        Hang in there Thomas. I have spent more than one Christmas alone. I got to the point of rather being alone than tolerate the phoniness at Xmas. Everyone pretending to be “merry”, little jabs, talking about my dad in hushed whispers because he was so miserable. My stomach would be in knots all day.
        It’s only one day.
        You know, you might enjoy watching a couple of YouTube videos of Brene Brown. She is awesome!! She is a researcher that talks about courage, shame, and living your authentic life without apology.
        She’s got a sense of humor and is very down to earth.
        Take good care. Chin up! Looking forward. ❤️❤️

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        1. Tom Campbell

          Thanks for the tip- I will look up Brene Brown and see. I was thinking about you and hope your day today with you mother is going well. I know my own mother has some dementia, and she sometimes starts this weird stuff about my father being such a good father. Anyway, I wonder sometimes about the mix-up of life, when a person has dementia. Sometimes it’s almost better to see my mother as a person I don’t know well, as she is different in some ways, even though sometimes she Zings back into her old manipulative self! Oh, life is fun! I try to protect myself -guess that’s setting some boundaries. (Got to go see her in a few….) But, with your mother, hope it’s as great a day as it can be. Thanks again for the gifts you’ve given so many, this year and before. Tom

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          1. Carrie Reimer Post author

            Thank Thomas, you know, I could erase Christmas right off the calendar. I honestly don’t remember having many great Christmases. Everyone has such high expectations for one day out of a whole year.
            Last year my boss invited my mother and I to their family dinner and it was the best Christmas I can remember. They held it in the restaurant, I contributed to the meal and made nutcrackers for everyone. The food was excellent, the people were friendly and I didn’t have to be my mom’s main focus. Wonderful.
            My mother drains me, exhausts me, sucks the life out of me. Haha I can’t wait to get out of there and go home to my little trailer.
            She is a perfectionist. Can’t wait two minutes after dinner to relax before she starts cleaning up. I used to jump up and start cleaning too but now I sit and relax while she Huff’s and puff and mutters about how much work it is. 🙄
            She criticizes everyone, her best friend eats too much, her sister is a lousy housekeeper, I find myself getting really negative listening to it. On boxing day I just said, “your sister has always been a bad housekeeper. Nothing has changed in 20 years. It’s her life, it obviously doesn’t bother her.”
            Her friend IS fat, but it’s not my mother’s problem.
            I stayed in my PJs all day yesterday and hibernated.
            My mom doesn’t remember my dad being a controlling asshole. He screwed around on her all the time. My brother caught my dad getting a blow job from the neighbor lady. My mom was going on and on about how awful my uncle had been, my dad had been so much better. My cousin caught her dad, my uncle in his car at the end of their street with a hooker. I said, yeah well my brother caught dad with the neighbor. My mom says, “yeah but your uncle was an alcoholic.” I said, “oh so much better! Dad was sober when he screwed around!”
            I just shake my head.
            Have to laugh or go crazy. .

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            1. Tom Campbell

              You have the right idea- laugh or go crazy! My father had an affair for over a year. My brother figured it out before my mother one day. My father had said he needed to go to the hardware store. Well, in that town, the hardware store was closed that day! And yeah- sober like yours! After they were divorced, my mother would talk about how horrible my father was, chasing his secretaries, saying this especially when she thought his check was running late. But next day, when all was OK, she would stress how important it was for me to have a “good relationship” with him. It was an odd mix! But by then I’d (a couple of times, at least) written him a rough letter telling him to be nicer to my mother. I wasn’t his favorite kid even before that!
              Your mother sounds like a handful and controlling, like mine. A whirlwind! I’m right there with you! Glad you found the answer, at least the year you went to the restaurant you mentioned.
              Thanks again! Tom

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