I read a blog post yesterday about something called Gaslighting. It is basically a form of abuse used to make someone believe something that isn’t true. It shapes their reality to where they are the ones doing the wrong things, but its really the other person putting their guilt on them.
I have put a lot of thought into this. First I wondered if I did this to my ex. I can’t think of a time I may have done this, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t do it unintentionally. I always try to look at myself first. I like to admit things that I do wrong, and focus on how to learn and change them.
I’m still unpacking what, when, and how my ex did this to me. A 10 year relationship is a long time go through, and now that I know what I’m looking for I suspect over time I will find more examples.
For those of you who don’t know, I met my ex-wife on AOL. Yes good old America On-Line. That brings back some memories. Being the kind of guy I am, I wanted to “rescue” someone from their situation. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker that is for certain. She had moved up to live with her grandparents in Michigan because, according to her, her mom’s side of the family wasn’t good to her. Then to top it off, after our first couple of dates I had to take her to the hospital because her heart was bothering her. Her grandma tried to give her some nitro and I flipped out on her. In retrospect I majorly over-reacted.
She took the opportunity to tell me how horrible her family was to her, and that her dad and uncle were going to shoot me. Looking back, I’m not certain that they ever actually intended to do so, but she had me convinced they were out to get me.
Anyhow, after about a week of being together I had to help her get a place because it was obviously not safe for her to be with her grandparents. At least in my mind it wasn’t. I was going to protect her. I was easy to manipulate. I was still devastated from a terrible break up 6 months prior.
So after being with her for about two months, we broke up. She called me 2 nights later saying that there was this crazy guy at the door telling her that she loved him, and blah blah blah she didn’t feel very safe. So I go up and “protect” her from him. Further building that dependence. We break up again in late spring, but shortly after the break up we find out she’s pregnant. Me, being the kind of person I am, wanted to be a part of my child’s life. This is what really tied the two of us together for the rest of the time we were together.
We went to the church, and they said we should get married, or give Kenny up for adoption. I couldn’t give my child up for adoption, it would have been easier to cut off one of my arms. I’ve always been one to take responsibility for the things that I do, and I knew I would love him.
So we stay together for awhile, but break up and get back together a few times after Kenny is born. I didn’t really want to stay with her, but I didn’t want to abandon Kenneth. My dad left when I was little, and I knew the trauma that caused to me. I couldn’t do that to another life. I wouldn’t do that to another life. Low and behold she ended up pregnant … again. This stuff happens when you live together and do stupid things. So I proposed to her, not so much out of love, but commitment. I figured we could make anything work with enough elbow grease, we could be happy.
So she wasn’t able to make the type of money I could make, so we decided she would be a stay at home mom because day care was more expensive than anything she would make.
So she became dependent on me, and we became dependent on government assistance. Our home was nasty, it wasn’t cleaned, dishes weren’t done, laundry wasn’t done, the floors weren’t swept, etc unless I took care of them. She had me convinced for a long time it was my fault the home looked like that. All I could do to handle the situation was to check out because I don’t like to fight. I don’t like being angry. I forgot to mention earlier, but she didn’t have her driver’s license either. I tried to teach her how to drive, but every time I took her out she almost killed me. We had friends from church that taught her how to drive, but she never would take the road test. She was to nervous. So yet another way she was dependent on me.
Things were OK until we moved to Jackson. She became involved with some unscrupulous people there in our trailer park. Things would end up missing, presumably sold. I also believe this is when she started sleeping around. I have no idea what she did with the stuff or the money she received from it. I imagine she had some kind of addiction I don’t know about. At this point I will probably never know the truth behind it. Moving along though, she convinced me that all of the arguments were my fault. That keeping the house clean should be my responsibility not hers. She “took care of the kids all day, and it was all she could do to take care of them.”
Of course, both of the kids start school and things around the house don’t get any better. In fact they get worse. She became so hooked to the internet, that nothing was done. There was times she even missed picking the kids up from the bus stop, and they walked home. Mind you this was a second grader and a kindergartner.
For the sake of honesty, I struggled with a pornography addiction throughout our entire relationship. I know it is demeaning and wrong, but she had just as much of an addiction with it as I did. Every time I wanted to put in controls she shot me down because I was “being controlling”. In the latter half of our relationship, that was what she would tell me every time I asked her to do anything. I was being a control freak. I will admit I can be a control freak, but only when I’m really insecure about things. I have always made an effort to not be one. Somewhere along the line she figured this out and started using it to manipulate me.
So the affair that I’m 100% certain of started mid 2010 I believe. I came home one day from work and saw a message on her computer from a guy saying “hey you, I love you.” So I questioned her about it, and she convinced me that I was over-reacting and it was just a cousin of hers I didn’t know. I was being irrational and it was nothing to worry about.
So fast forward 10-11 months. We’ve been fighting non-stop. Mostly about cleanliness issues. We had moved out of our last place because of mold, but they had to replace everything inside of it. It was that poorly taken care of. It was all new everything when we first moved in. The new place was starting to look like the old place, and the unit we were renting was brand new. No one had lived in it before.
Things came to a T early one morning, right after the kids had got on the bus. She was ready to be out of our relationship, she had found a new man to take care of her. I’m pretty sure she was trying to get me to hit her in that last fight. If you know me, I won’t hit a woman. Anyhow, she was up in my face screaming, spitting, and raised her fists to hit me multiple times. I was convinced I was in the wrong, but I told her I wanted a divorce. I couldn’t handle all of the fighting over everything. I then proceeded to rip the internet out of the house because its all she wanted to do. I took off to calm down. When I came home, I told her we needed to separate for awhile. I was expecting her to run off to one of her friends homes for a few days so things could go over and we both could calm down and assess things honestly. She shocked me when she said she was going to go stay with her sister in Texas. So she bought a train ticket with money from sources unknown to me, and took off to Texas the next morning.
It was at this point I found out about the affair. She had left her computer on. I went to shut it off, but Facebook was open with messages to her friend saying that I had beaten her and she was on the train to Texas. He then asked if I knew about “lover-boy” and she had said no. I started researching after that, and found out that she had been on the phone with this guy over the last year for 60 some odd days of talk time. She had been staying up all night talking to him, and then sleeping during the day when the kids weren’t at home. Its no wonder she didn’t have the patience to deal with them. I also found out that her sister lived just outside of Atlanta. Which she emphatically denied.
So my pastor talks to me the Monday after this, and God uses him to break me. After 6 weeks I convince her to come home, and work on the marriage. She is pregnant with Sam at this point. We went to marital counseling, and she refused to say if she slept with “lover-boy”, but I forgave her as if she did anyhow. She kept claiming that there was 1 day that she couldn’t remember. So eventually I start trusting her again, and things seem to be getting better, but here is where the deception really began. She had created a “secret” Facebook account, and was calling the guy at his mom’s house so I wouldn’t see his number on the bill. Eventually I figure it out and confront her on it. She says that he won’t stop calling her, blah blah blah, and convinces a friend of this by screaming in the phone at him while our friend was there.
Such a deceptive tactic. I believed her. It was enough to make me believe she had changed. it was all some elaborate show. A couple months later, she took off with the kids to be with “lover-boy”. She tried so hard to get me to believe that she was lost with her sister in Arkansas, and that her phone wasn’t working. She even went so far as to try and convince me that “lover-boy” had guns and was out to kill all of us. Even after I retrieved the children, she was still trying to get me to believe her. With emails and other things. The truth was known at that point.
I have screenshots and logs of all of that crazy stuff. Thankfully.
That is all I have for this evening.