uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"

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all4peace

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uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« on: July 05, 2017, 11:38:08 AM »
Shudder. This is all 3rd hand from my dear SIL who just spent time with my family. My sister had confronted both uNM and enF recently with their lack of involvement in any family relationship (very one sided, with us "kids" making 95% of the effort), mom's pathological lying (I doubt she called it pathological) and dad's apparent backing away (or being forced away by uNM) from us because of uNM's less-than-amazing relationship with all of us.

So, uNM goes silent for a month, S comes for a yearly visit anyway, and during this visit M and F pretend all is normal, nothing is spoken about, but while SIL and S were with uNM, mom brings up an internet article she read about "gaslighting."

I have no more details than this, but it gives me the shivers. The thought of a gaslighter learning about gaslighting and bringing it into a family conversation that has nothing to do with the topic at all.....it disturbs me. What on earth might she be doing?! Has anyone had someone with a PD start talking in psychological language and bringing up topics like this? This is NOT a typical topic in our family. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Is this the explanation she has hatched--she's being gaslit by those who dare to confront her on her behavior?!

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DazedDandelion

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 07:04:51 PM »
Its definitely frightening and upsetting when a PD parent learns terminology about abuse. What can help is to remind yourself that she is taking a term to describe an abusive behavior, and in a sense weaponizing it (intentionally or not). I would try to focus on how you can build up boundaries and validate yourself, as opposed to thinking about why she might be doing this.

My uPD M has done this with several terms, (gaslighting, introversion, extroversion, depression, ect.) She learns terms, eg. gaslighting, and uses it to try to guilt trip me or others to give her sympathy, reassurance, or as a way to try to breach boundaries or claim that my boundaries are unhealthy. Its confusing as can be, but the way I cope is to remind myself that my memories and boundaries are valid, and to shift my focus to something else. Like say she remembers something one way, and i another, she will try to make a sad confused hurt face. So I tell her that this is how, "I remember it", emphasizing I, and that its ok if she remembers it differently.  I then move on from there/ change the subject as quickly as possible.

This is definitely hair raising when it happens, but you aren't alone in coping with this behavior.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 07:07:27 PM by Vincent1889 »

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Moxie890

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 01:26:51 AM »
My uBPNm knows all the terms. She is convinced my dad is a N, and read lots of books and went to therapy  (as soon as a therapist said something she didn't exactly like she would change therapist).  I have heard many detailed accounts of how these terms apply to her, and how she was wronged (usually  by my dad... sometimes other family or me).  My mom projects on a regular basis.

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daughterofbpd

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 06:43:24 AM »
That's definitely creepy but I think just another form of projection. My BPDm has accused me of several PD behaviors, including gaslighting, although she didn't use that term. BPDm has painted me out to be the Borderline one and I half expect her to diagnose me as that someday. Yikes. I can see how it would feel like a violation having these people who have abused us learn the terms that have helped empower us.

Your M is being confronted and she's probably desperate to preserve her self image. She can tell herself that she isn't doing anything wrong - she's just a victim of gaslighting, therefore she doesn't need to self reflect or change.
How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego
~ Amanda Torroni

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practical

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 08:50:31 AM »
It is another way for her to not take responsibility for her behavior. Now she is using big words and hopes to get you back in line with them, shifting the blame with one word onto you and your siblings. If she is like my M, her understanding of the word is barely surface deep, but she has figured out she can use it as a conversation stopper and it may induce FOG.

I was anorexic in my 20s. M read a whole bunch of books about anorexia and the role of family, and what she came away with was that in my case it had nothing to do with dysfunctional family dynamics, after all our family was perfect and she was the most perfect of all mother's, but it was the fault of an ExBF from several years ago.  :stars: Yes, now she used big words and all to make sure she wouldn't even question our relationship. - By the way another young woman in the neighborhood that was anorexic, her case was textbook in M's now expert opinion, and she would tell you exactly what role the mother played, and what role the father played, but when it came to her, everything was different.

M also was in therapy because of her bipolar. There wasn't much change for the better, but now she used the language from therapy to blame others for her illness. So again it was used to abrogate responsibility and it became a weapon to induce FOG.

Ignore it as much as you can, don't react in front of your M if she ever uses it. MC is your friend here and changing the topic as if you didn't even here it. I think it is another way that shows how she feels her power over you and your siblings is slipping.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 09:26:27 AM by practical »
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

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daughter

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 10:54:26 AM »
Sounds like projection, where her "ownership" of term "gas-lighting" implies that she both knows term and believes it doesn't apply to her, so no one in family should think she's "gas-lighting" anyone, which she likely is, right?  Consider this as another form of "best defense is a strong offense" strategy to circumvent any family discussion that she's manipulative, or a pathological liar, or abusive, by stating "I know what gas-lighting is", meaning "don't you dare apply term gas-lighting to the gas-lighting I've been doing".

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all4peace

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2017, 12:24:37 PM »
Its definitely frightening and upsetting when a PD parent learns terminology about abuse. What can help is to remind yourself that she is taking a term to describe an abusive behavior, and in a sense weaponizing it (intentionally or not). I would try to focus on how you can build up boundaries and validate yourself, as opposed to thinking about why she might be doing this.

My uPD M has done this with several terms, (gaslighting, introversion, extroversion, depression, ect.) She learns terms, eg. gaslighting, and uses it to try to guilt trip me or others to give her sympathy, reassurance, or as a way to try to breach boundaries or claim that my boundaries are unhealthy. Its confusing as can be, but the way I cope is to remind myself that my memories and boundaries are valid, and to shift my focus to something else. Like say she remembers something one way, and i another, she will try to make a sad confused hurt face. So I tell her that this is how, "I remember it", emphasizing I, and that its ok if she remembers it differently.  I then move on from there/ change the subject as quickly as possible.

This is definitely hair raising when it happens, but you aren't alone in coping with this behavior.
Thank you for the good advice. It makes me cringe to think of a PD speaking the language we use to cope with them.

My uBPNm knows all the terms. She is convinced my dad is a N, and read lots of books and went to therapy  (as soon as a therapist said something she didn't exactly like she would change therapist).  I have heard many detailed accounts of how these terms apply to her, and how she was wronged (usually  by my dad... sometimes other family or me).  My mom projects on a regular basis.
:stars:

That's definitely creepy but I think just another form of projection. My BPDm has accused me of several PD behaviors, including gaslighting, although she didn't use that term. BPDm has painted me out to be the Borderline one and I half expect her to diagnose me as that someday. Yikes. I can see how it would feel like a violation having these people who have abused us learn the terms that have helped empower us.

Your M is being confronted and she's probably desperate to preserve her self image. She can tell herself that she isn't doing anything wrong - she's just a victim of gaslighting, therefore she doesn't need to self reflect or change.
That's exactly it--these terms empowered us and gave us a word for what we were experiencing, and it's distressing to hear them used by the very people because of whom we learned the language.

It is another way for her to not take responsibility for her behavior. Now she is using big words and hopes to get you back in line with them, shifting the blame with one word onto you and your siblings. If she is like my M, her understanding of the word is barely surface deep, but she has figured out she can use it as a conversation stopper and it may induce FOG.

I was anorexic in my 20s. M read a whole bunch of books about anorexia and the role of family, and what she came away with was that in my case it had nothing to do with dysfunctional family dynamics, after all our family was perfect and she was the most perfect of all mother's, but it was the fault of an ExBF from several years ago.  :stars: Yes, now she used big words and all to make sure she wouldn't even question our relationship. - By the way another young woman in the neighborhood that was anorexic, her case was textbook in M's now expert opinion, and she would tell you exactly what role the mother played, and what role the father played, but when it came to her, everything was different.

M also was in therapy because of her bipolar. There wasn't much change for the better, but now she used the language from therapy to blame others for her illness. So again it was used to abrogate responsibility and it became a weapon to induce FOG.

Ignore it as much as you can, don't react in front of your M if she ever uses it. MC is your friend here and changing the topic as if you didn't even here it. I think it is another way that shows how she feels her power over you and your siblings is slipping.
The weird thing is she just floated it out there for no apparent reason. I wasn't there so don't have the details, but SIL said she just brought it into a conversation that had nothing to do with anything related to that topic. Believe me, S and SIL would be very careful to not touch any personal topics around uNM. So odd.

I remember the time she wondered if I was backing away from her because she had been setting "borders" (boundaries) with me. I almost puked. The "borders" she had been apparently setting were so offensive and dishonest that I couldn't even address them with her. She had taken my language and turned it against me.

I am so sorry for your struggle with an eating disorder, and for a mother who self-righteously could see everyone else's faults but not her own. You are such an incredible help on this forum, so I'm glad you found a healthier way in life than your mother's way!

Sounds like projection, where her "ownership" of term "gas-lighting" implies that she both knows term and believes it doesn't apply to her, so no one in family should think she's "gas-lighting" anyone, which she likely is, right?  Consider this as another form of "best defense is a strong offense" strategy to circumvent any family discussion that she's manipulative, or a pathological liar, or abusive, by stating "I know what gas-lighting is", meaning "don't you dare apply term gas-lighting to the gas-lighting I've been doing".
Well, if bald-faced lying when confronted with factual behavior is gaslighting, she does it. Although I guess we rarely confront her. Yeah, she is losing power, control and influence and I think it's really, really getting to her. It's horrifying and sad to see a grown adult have no tools for building actual relationships in their life, no healthy coping strategies, and too much pride to seek the resources they need to thrive.

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NotFooledAnymore

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2017, 12:53:37 PM »
I am so sorry to hear about this, all4peace! Unfortunately, I think many PD's are aware of the terminology and behaviors and use it against others, whether verbally or unspoken. My uNMIL had EVERYONE believing that FIL (her ex) had been diagnosed with NPD. When I first met him 18 years ago, I was warned by my then future BIL, on my way to meeting FIL, that FIL had been diagnosed with NPD. That was the first time I'd every even heard of that PD.

Eighteen years later and FIL has never displayed any traits of NPD....but uNMIL is off the charts when it comes to all the traits. Several years ago, I asked DH how they knew their dad had been diagnosed with NPD and each of the brothers responded that it was their mom who had told them this!

She had people believing this for YEARS (and I'm sure her friends still believe it). She also managed to get all three of her sons to hate their father for years until they finally were old enough to think for themselves and build their own relationships with their father.

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What clarity?

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2017, 10:09:08 PM »
My M has been in extensive therapy, and she fully understands and often uses the terms. It was very confusing until I found this site because she does often correctly identify behaviors and chooses those kinds of people to bring into her life. But then she herself does many of those behaviors and of course that cannot be as she is perfect.

A couple of things in the this thread were actually very triggering but I think I will make its own post.

I'm sorry your M has found these terms. it was confusing growing up but its so incredibly irritating as an aware adult.

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all4peace

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Re: uNM brings up the term "gaslighting"
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2017, 12:37:42 AM »
I am so sorry to hear about this, all4peace! Unfortunately, I think many PD's are aware of the terminology and behaviors and use it against others, whether verbally or unspoken. My uNMIL had EVERYONE believing that FIL (her ex) had been diagnosed with NPD. When I first met him 18 years ago, I was warned by my then future BIL, on my way to meeting FIL, that FIL had been diagnosed with NPD. That was the first time I'd every even heard of that PD.

Eighteen years later and FIL has never displayed any traits of NPD....but uNMIL is off the charts when it comes to all the traits. Several years ago, I asked DH how they knew their dad had been diagnosed with NPD and each of the brothers responded that it was their mom who had told them this!

She had people believing this for YEARS (and I'm sure her friends still believe it). She also managed to get all three of her sons to hate their father for years until they finally were old enough to think for themselves and build their own relationships with their father.
That is really sinister. It's frightening to think of how much damage a person could do to another with dishonesty, and scary to think of how we could be fooled if we simply kept hearing the same thing and were too young/naive to understand the difference.

My M has been in extensive therapy, and she fully understands and often uses the terms. It was very confusing until I found this site because she does often correctly identify behaviors and chooses those kinds of people to bring into her life. But then she herself does many of those behaviors and of course that cannot be as she is perfect.

A couple of things in the this thread were actually very triggering but I think I will make its own post.

I'm sorry your M has found these terms. it was confusing growing up but its so incredibly irritating as an aware adult.
Welcome, rockmonkey! I'm sorry that parts of this thread have been triggering for you. I look forward to seeing future threads from you in the future where we can properly focus on what you'd like to share! Thankfully, uNM didn't do this while growing up. Nobody dared confront her while growing up, except dad who paid for it, and us occasionally when we were feeling masochistic. It's the adult versions of us who are calmly and clearly calling her out on her behavior that has her scrambling and apparently looking up things that lead to articles on gaslighting. I would LOVE to know her search words, or maybe she happened across this one accidentally?