gaslighting,what-is

What does gaslighting feel like? And a gaslighting song

Gaslighting

I had never heard the term “gaslighting” before learning of my husband’s affair. In the days following D-day, I scoured the internet to find…I don’t know what exactly. Any info, any similar stories, how people coped with infidelity, etc. One word that kept showing up in just about everything I read was “gaslighting”.

What is gaslighting? From Wikipedia:

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favor the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.

When I first read the definition, I felt a sense of relief. For so long, I had been feeling a certain way (each time I confronted my husband and he denied it), but I couldn’t put those feelings into words. I knew my intuition was right, yet he would get indignant and of course, defensive.

gaslighting,what-is

About a year before D-day, I started thinking about things my husband was doing that seemed suspicious. He had bought new underwear. Now, my husband has worn boxer shorts since we met and loved them. All of a sudden he was buying form-fitting boxer briefs. Hmmm. Then I noticed he was taking extra cash out when he deposited his paycheck. I also started paying attention to his phone – and how he always turned it over when not in use, and how he just seemed so secretive with it. He had also bought some cologne/body spray that he said he just uses at work.

One day I just had a really bad feeling in the bottom of my stomach. I called him at work and said, “Who is she?”. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. I said, “I know…you need to tell me who she is”. He calmly denied that he was seeing anyone. I questioned him about the underwear, money, after shave, etc. and he came up with fairly reasonable explanations. But I still knew. He started sounding a bit nervous, but stuck to his story. He asked me why I accuse him of being unfaithful every couple of years. He said it’s really frustrating when he is not doing anything wrong. By the time we hung up, I felt a bit ridiculous. He had always been such a sweet and attentive husband (well minus about a 5-month span where he barely gave me the time of day). Why shouldn’t I believe him? I had been the victim of gaslighting for the very first time.

The second time was about 2 months before D-day. I had asked him to use his phone to text our daughter (we were out of town), as mine was almost dead. He was not at all thrilled about me using his phone, but did hand it to me after punching in his passcode. I texted her, and held onto the phone, waiting for her to respond. He damn near stood over me, and he was very uncomfortable. I sent another text to her and she still did not respond. He snatched the phone out of my hand and said, “this is ridiculous – I’ll just call her”. She did answer and I took the phone and wandered off with it. He was watching my every move. As soon as I could get out of his sight, I told her to hold on, and I pressed the home button twice to see what he had running on his phone. I checked his texts. Nothing. I couldn’t check very long as he was anxious to get his phone back.

Later that evening, we were outside sitting together and I started asking questions about his phone. He got REALLY angry and yelled, “just tell me what you are really getting at!!”. I asked him if he was seeing someone. He denied, denied, denied and was absolutely livid. He had never, ever yelled at me like that in our 20+ years together. We got in a HUGE fight. Finally he said a few things to try to placate me, and I had no choice but to believe him. He did make me feel absolutely crazy though, like I had serious issues with trust. We went on with our night, but I knew. I just knew, without a doubt, that my husband was cheating on me.

Two months later, I finally had the proof that I needed, and I confronted my cheating husband. If I learned anything, it is to not question too much until you have PROOF. Very rarely will someone confess when they think you are just grasping straws. I cannot stress this enough – wait to confront until you have enough information that they cannot weasel out of it anymore.

The gaslighting really took a toll on me. It left me doubting my intuitions, and ignoring my gut feelings. I wish I had heard this song about gaslighting (I’m Not the Only One – Sam Smithy) when it was actually happening to me. Sam Smith

This part especially gets me:

You say I’m crazy
‘Cause you don’t think I know what you’ve done
But when you call me baby
I know I’m not the only one

When someone gaslights you, it is such a slap in the face. It is unfathomable that someone who you truly love and trust, could do this. It is evil, it is cruel.

Were you the victim of gaslighting too?

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His mistress didn’t know he loved me

My husband and I had a conversation the other day and I asked if his mistress knew he loved me. He thought about it and said, “No”. It cut like a knife to hear him say that. Why does it matter to me?

For three years, while he was seeing the other woman, he never gave any indication to her that he loved me? Even when he finally was winding things down with her, he had told her he felt incredibly guilty and that he couldn’t do this anymore. But he didn’t say, “I love my wife”. To me, that is what a real man feeling remorse would say, right?
Or maybe he just didn’t want to piss her off.

did he love me during affair

He says he never stopped loving me, but this is hard for me to comprehend. While he was sleeping with another woman, he was loving me? Not enough apparently. Maybe he loved me in a roommate kind of way, or a “I’ve been with you so long” kind of way. But it wasn’t true, dedicated love. When did he stop loving me in such a way? We always got along perfectly.

But back to my original topic. She didn’t know he loved me…at all. I envision them talking about me (not in a good way), even though he has assured me that whenever she would bring me up, he would change the subject. My thinking is if he was in such a “bad” place, that he might have said anything about me, to justify his horrible actions. This is so unlike my husband, that it makes my heart ache.

I assume she thought that I was some horrible monster of a wife. She must have thought that he was neglected and sex-starved. What I’m sure she didn’t know is that for several years I had been begging him to be more affectionate. I told him I wanted to be intimate more often. He just didn’t seem interested, and now I know why. I tried and tried, but he chose to be with someone else. I didn’t let myself go, and was actually quite proud that I still look good. I thought he was too, yet his mistress was very unattractive. I just don’t understand the attraction or need. I guess she stroked his ego enough that she finally looked good to him.

Sometimes I wish I could talk to her, or write her a letter, telling her how our marriage REALLY was and that I am the one he loved…not her. Whatever impression she has of our marriage is horribly wrong. Not that she would care, but for some reason I do. I desperately want his mistress to know he loved me. Even better would be for him to tell her personally, while I listened in.

Do you have the same feelings?

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The Broken Pedestal

The Broken Pedestal

Throughout our marriage, my husband had always placed me on the proverbial pedestal. He loved and worshipped me, and made it very well known to everyone. Heck, even without saying a word, it was apparent that he absolutely adored me, just by the way he would look at me. My mother often marveled at the sparkle in his eye when I entered the room.

He encouraged me to follow my dreams, no matter how big or small they were. He let me do anything I wanted, as long as it made me happy. His happiness was seeing the smile on my face, and he was always my biggest fan. In fact, we were always each other’s biggest fan, and we both offered encouragement and support in everything we did. We stood by each other, with the utmost dedication. He was MY hero, and I admired him so much. The song, “Wind Beneath my Wings” was one that always made me think of him whenever I heard it. I was  safe in his arms, and I felt how much he loved me. His gentle kiss melted this girl’s heart, every time. I loved his morals, ethics, honesty, and his big, sensitive heart.

The woman on the pedestal stood so tall and proud. A man loving a woman so much, it was displayed proudly for all to see.

What changed?

All of the things I believed he loved about me, were just that – MY beliefs. The qualities I loved about him, I don’t know if they were ever real or not.

pedestal,broken,affair,heart,unfaithful,love

The pedestal is now broken into a million little pieces, with me lost somewhere in the heaps of debris.

Here is the visualization in my mind while he was having his affair:

While I stood so proudly atop the pedestal, he was callously pointing his finger at me and laughing, as I was blissfully unaware of the great fall that I was about to take. Naturally my head was held high, and my heart swelled because I knew I was loved. Why would I think any differently? I was ADORED.

I was the woman who stood on the pedestal and was intentionally and violently pushed and punched, in an effort to break the pedestal. My husband threw me to the ground so carelessly, while reveling in the knowledge that I only “thought” I was his everything.

Every time he called or texted the other woman he was, in essence, spitting in my face while saying, “Take that! You are not worthy of me, you piece of shit”.

All of the times he slept with the other woman, he was abusing my lifeless body. He stomped his foot into my chest, grinding his heel in deeply, while sputtering ruthless words through gritted teeth. “You aren’t loved enough, and you certainly don’t matter enough. You are not deserving of respect, honor or dignity. You are foolish, naive, and WAY too trusting. It doesn’t bother me in the least to deceive you and lie to you, because I just don’t care. I am fucking another woman while you are laying there whimpering, you weak bitch”.

I am crumpled on the ground, curled up in the fetal position. My tear stained face is bruised and bloody.

The broken pedestal will never be whole again, and neither will I, the woman who used to smile so brightly upon it. I am a shell, a broken soul. I have lost every last ounce of safety and comfort I have ever known. I will never trust again, and my gift of seeing only the good in people is forever tarnished. Not only do I doubt others, but I doubt myself. How can I trust my own intuition after being told I was ridiculous for thinking such things. The world and people around me are now the unknown. Our previously untainted marriage now feels dirty and cheap.

There is no longer sun in the sky, only angry clouds of grey. My tears fall like raindrops amidst a fierce winter storm. The man I have loved for so long, is not who I thought he was. I wear self-doubt like an all-weather jacket, but I only feel cold.

Like a wolf snarling at his prey, he has placed fear inside me. The man who used to protect me, and hold me in his arms, has shown me that I am easily dispensable and replaceable. My husband. My once loving husband did this to me.

My heart is the broken pedestal.

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The Other Woman (or Man) – what is yours like?

The Other Woman

Maybe “yours” isn’t the right term, but the woman or man that your husband (or wife) had their affair with. I wonder if their personalities are similar, or if only a few are slightly psycho.

The other woman in my case is a nut…straight up. A bulk size can of mixed nuts. Unfortunately, I know who she is on Twitter, and she knows who I am. She knows I look at her page (mostly to watch my back), and she stalks my page to taunt me, and try to get me to believe they are still seeing each other. I’m pretty sure if they were that she would keep her mouth shut. D-day happened months ago, yet she will not let go and move on with her life (and HER husband). She is married for God’s sake…why not work on her own marriage? Yes, she is MARRIED! Personally I think she’s got some big balls to tweet the things she does. I have been “nice” and haven’t told her husband. Actually I’m being nice to him, as I don’t want another innocent person to face the immense hurt and humiliation that I have experienced.

So back to the other woman/man (let’s just say “other person” going forward).

other woman,affair,ugly,look like
NOTE: This is not the “real” other woman!

What does the other person look like? Are they thinner than you? Taller than you? Prettier or more handsome? Do they have a great personality?

I’m sure you have asked these same questions, but I don’t think everyone has had the “pleasure” of seeing the other person. I have seen plenty of pictures and let me tell you, EWWWW. Just EW. When I first saw her ugly mug, I was horrified at how unattractive she is. I’m not just saying this because she slept with my husband, but she is seriously gross. Her teeth are crooked, her hair is reddish and “crispy”, she is rather large and she usually has a stupid, smug look on her face.

Naturally, this begged the question, “Why?”. Why on earth would he prefer her over me? Not tooting my own horn here, but I am pretty, I am petite, and I have kept myself up well. I still turn a head or ten when I am out and about. He has told me there is no comparison (no shit). Was he really that desperate? How could he look at her with a straight face without busting out laughing? And I cannot even fathom how he could sleep with her. EW again. He is pretty patriotic, so maybe he stuck a flag in her mouth and did it for his country. Who knows. Honey, what the f$#k were you thinking?? It is definitely an insult to me, but whatever. Not that I can understand an affair under any circumstance, but if she was HOT, it would make at least a little bit of sense. Of course, that would probably be even worse. Luckily, I know that I am a gazillion times more attractive than her.

What about their personality? Is (s)he funny? We have already determined that in my case, she is funny looking, but I digress. I think she *thinks* she is funny, by what she posts on Twitter. I think she just sounds stupid when she talks like a high school gansta’. She is 48, a supposedly grown woman. I also think she is a narcissist. She NEEDS and CRAVES attention. She actually has a couple of Twitter profiles (she doesn’t know I know this), and on her secondary profile she touts “goodness”. No bullying, no hating…just peace, love and happiness. How ironic, since I have seen her bully and taunt countless people on her primary Twitter account. Oh, but people think she is the epitome of wholesome, and they praise her constantly. GAG. I’m on to you bitch.

She is conniving, manipulative and evil. She obviously doesn’t care about others and she has no conscience. If she did, she wouldn’t have slept with my husband and she wouldn’t have done this to her own husband. She is a “me, me, me” kind of gal for sure. I learn a little more about her every day, as I observe what she posts on Twitter. It’s not pretty at all. My husband is no longer on Twitter, but she tweets to he and I, knowing damn well that I am the target of her hatred. OH! And she uses a special hashtag, to make sure I know they are for me (since she doesn’t use the “@”).

What are their interests & hobbies? Well, thanks to Twitter, I also know this! She is a big sports fan, seems to wear only branded t-shirts (usually black and drab), and apparently she has no other interests (except sleeping with men that are married). To me, she seems “manly” and “harsh”. She is definitely a rough stretch of highway…one that has been ridden on way too many times.

What does she like to eat? (besides, ya know). Well, she likes the whole damn buffet apparently! I really don’t care what she likes, to tell the truth. I just felt like throwing another dig in there.

Was she good in bed? I don’t think I’ll ever get an honest answer on this one (probably just as well). I am led to believe that she just kind of laid there (rightttt). I do know that she has a bum knee, which limited positions a bit. I, however, am quite bendy, and have shown my husband this many, many times since D-day. We’ve been doing it like rabbits, actually, and it has been HOT, HOT, HOT! So yeah, I know I am also better than her in this department. I think the only reason he “slept” with her is because he was desperate and she was willing.

So tell me about the “other person” in your spouse’s affair – I am dying to know!

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The Importance of Answering Questions After an Affair

affair,discovery,questions

My head feels like a jar full of sand, with each grain representing a question.  If you are the WS, you will be answering many questions after your affair. There are millions of questions that need answering after an affair, but unfortunately, us Betrayed Spouses will only get answers to half of them (truthful answers at least).

Ever since D-day, this has been my life. I had questions immediately, and I have questions almost 3 months later. There are questions I have already asked my WS, that I believe. But then there are questions I have asked him that I kind of believe. Then there are those that I’ve asked that I just cannot believe.

But that’s not all! There are soooo many questions I haven’t even asked yet! I am trying to remind myself that not every question that pops into my head needs to be answered. Some are very minor details that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But other questions I need to know.

My WS has said many times, “You’ve already asked that”. While this may be true, I don’t think he understands that after being gaslighted for so long, that I feel the need to ask questions in different ways, and be very, very specific, if you will. Well, we can throw in all the lies that have been told too, just for good measure.

The biggest question that needs answering of course is, “WHY?”. I don’t think either of us will never really know the answer to that. But I do feel that it is important to find out, to ensure that this never, ever happens again. It would kill me (probably literally) if I had to feel this pain again.

The first questions that I had were:

Where?
When?
Why?
How often?
Did you think about me?
Did you wear your wedding ring during sex?
Weren’t you afraid of losing me?
Wasn’t the fear of getting caught enough to make you stop the affair?
Do you/did you love her?
What did you talk about?
Did you talk about me or badmouth me?
What does she know about us? Our kids?
What does/did she have that I don’t?
Is she married? Does her husband know?
How can you even face me, or how could you during all this time?
When we had sex during that time, were you thinking of her?
Did you two do anything in bed that we have never done?
Was it hot?
Did you spend the night with her?
Did you cuddle like we do?
Did you two have a “song” that was special?
Did you go out for meals together?
Did you text back and forth on the weekends, while I was in the same room? Did she call on weekends?

Other questions that still linger, or I am not satisfied with the answers I’ve received are:

How could you not have done that without even thinking of me, especially during sex?
You called me from the hotel room (during your business trip) in the evening, saying you were just staying in. Then you went and met her. Everything seemed normal to me during our call. How could you do that??
Who initiated sex the first time?
Did it really end when you said it did?
Are you only telling me what you think I can handle?
Did you consider her your “girlfriend”?
How did you really feel about her?
How do you feel about her now?
Did you buy her sexy lingerie?
Did you take a shower together?
Have you cheated any other times?
How was her name displayed in your contacts so I wouldn’t find out?
Why won’t you let me discuss this with a friend or family member, so I have the support I need?

This list of questions could go on and on forever. Some of them I ask (or want to ask), to determine his feelings for her. Some I need to know because it lets me know exactly how intimate they were, and some I just feel I need to know.

I desperately want to piece all of this together, but I am beginning to realize that I will never know the whole story. I just won’t. I have to make peace with this, and it hurts like a son-of-a-bitch.

What are your burning questions for your WS? Do you have that feeling that he/she is sugar-coating some important details? Do you think your WS has been helpful in answering questions after their affair?

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