Gaslighting: This Includes "FRAMING" - Verified
Updated: Mar 21
[ TAP TO READ FULL POST ] You may be wondering what I mean by "verified" in the title of this post. Well, I simply mean that this post isn't just me claiming that abusive partners (particularly narcissists and sociopaths) often literally set-up (i.e. frame) their victims.
I'll give you an example from the abusive relationship I had the misfortune of being hoovered back into in 2019:
HOW IT STARTED:
The abuser questioned, interrogated rather, why I had a message from someone through MySpace. I hadn't even thought of MySpace since like what, 2003?? I had no idea what he was talking about, and that was my answer. Yet, he persisted. So, I tried to figure it out myself - why would I have a message from someone through MySpace? I began my theory: "Maybe my account is still active somehow and some random creeper found it and was able to send a message?" How the heck was I supposed to know!?
You'd think that would be the end of the conversation, right? I mean, there's no reason on earth to suspect I've been cheating - I mean he literally hoovered me back into this relationship in the name of "true love" and "soul mates" and "now is our time" and "God made us bump into each other after all these years because of fate." Blah, blah blah. Plus, my answer was completely sensical and logical. I mean, have YOU used MySpace in the past 20 years? What would you think if your partner attacked you for "getting a message on MySpace" today?
But this was nowhere near the end of the issue - my logical answer meant nothing to this guy. He went on for days and days about it, continuing to insinuate that I was "up to something." He began to be demeaning and passive aggressive towards me - making threats of "if I ever leave him, he will kill me" - and boy did this immediately remind me of why I left him so many years prior. It was like being in the Twighlight Zone. Here I was experiencing the same exact paranoid jack*** at age 35 as he was at age 13 - it hit me like a ton of bricks, he had not changed AT ALL like he had convinced me he had. (A few years later, he would manipulate me into believing this was all due to his "Adderal abuse," but that is for another blog post)!
Back to the story about MySpace - So, I told him he could just HAVE my phone if he was so paranoid - and he took it. For days. Searching through it like a madman and claiming I must have "hidden files" and a host of other compeltely absurd things not based in reality.
I was at my wit's end defending myself against something so ridiculous and meanwhile he starts gaslighting me by showing me actual messages in my Gmail account from MySpace. (Note, at the time I had never even heard of the term gaslighting). I honestly had no clue what-the-fart was going on or who-the-fart was "messaging me!"
Then, just when I was on the brink of leaving the relationship over the matter - I mean, my thought was, if I have to spend days arguing over something like this, then just go ahead and believe what you want and I'll leave - THEN and ONLY THEN, out of nowhere, and as nonchalant as ever, he says, "Oh, I know you've been telling me the truth because I made it all up; I made you a fake MySpace account and then I sent you those messages."
And when I asked "WHY IN GOD'S EARTH would you do something like that, let alone, go on for DAYS watching me go crazy defending myself!?!," he says cooly, "Oh, I just wanted to see what you would say."
THAT IS INTENTIONAL ABUSE.
AND THAT IS JUST ONE OF MANY EXAMPLES OF WHAT I ENDURED for my first 9 years on-and-off with this sociopathic lunatic, and then during the few he sucked me back during the pandemic era. Ughhh... I could write a freaking book with all the examples! You know what, as a matter of fact, I think I will! Stay tuned!
But anyway, the moral of the story is that this is just ONE example of ways that abusers gaslight, manipulate, coercively control, and make their victims start questioning reality. Imagine having this going on while another set-up is happening simultaneously. Sometimes there are multiple set-ups and crazymaking schemes going on at the same time. This is what causes many victims to "lose themselves" because they are being shown manufactured "evidence" of things they never did. I share this because I want others to know they ARE NOT ALONE and they CAN BREAK FREE!
BUT AREN'T SOCIOPATHS (AND OTHER SERIOUSLY MENTALL ILL ABUSERS) JUST IN NEED OF COMPASSION? AREN'T THEY VICTIMS THEMSELVES?
Often, people cite abuser's issues related to paranoia and delusions (or other personality disorders) as an excuse for this type of abuse. Addictions, drug abuse, and alcohol abuse are also often cited as "excuses" - ones I sadly believed in myself at one point in time. While, yes, many people with delusional and paranoid disorders may falsely accuse their partners of infidelity (and many other things), INTENTIONAL set-ups go beyond "uncontrollable paranoia." These types of manipulative framing scenarios require the abuser's CONSCIOUS COGNITION to put things in place and DO things to create "evidence" and other "questionable activity." This takes ANY possibility of an "excuse" for abuse off the table.
Additionally, if you have a disorder (whether it's addiction, mental illness, etc.) and because of it, you are hurting people you supposedly love, year after year after year after year, and those people tell you that you need to get help . . . you go and get professional help! That is, if you are a good and non-sadistic person! However, avoiding treatment for a disorder that you KNOW hurts other people badly, makes you 100% responsible for any harm you inflict.
Note: do not be fooled just because an abuser in your life "goes to therapy." Many abusers will actually enroll in treatment or even participate for a little while superficially in order to keep you around or try to get you back. However, you'll notice that
long-term (even lifelong) treatment (which is what is actually required for people with personality disorders), will not happen with true sociopathic individuals - they will NEVER stick to treatment and you will NEVER see long-term therapeutic changes within them.
AS SUCH, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ABUSE. RECOGNIZE IT AND LEAVE. PERIOD.