Codependency and PA; gaslighting vs controlling

Discussion in 'Partner Support' started by need4realchg, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. I wanted to post about this because it has some facets that appear to get confused for gaslighting. Your PA may be codependent more than you think he is manipulative. How do you know the difference?

    Is your PA controlling?

    • Domineering men have a need to be right because they do not know themselves from within and they are threatened by differing points of view. If we are able to remain connected to ourselves and God, we are able to be wrong about something’s without being overly threatened.
    • Domineering men have a need to be one up because in order to feel superior they must not be challenged. Their self esteem is so fragile that it cannot handle being questioned.
    • Domineering men need to win because they need to be right. Winning is more than a game to controllers.
    The ways controlling men employ tactics ( not gaslighting ) to maintain power:

    • Isolation— your friendship or outside activities may threaten him. He may demand that you come straight home from work.
    • Verbal abuse—he may use anger in combination with other tactics to frighten you. He may resort to name calling or threats to make you feel vulnerable.
    • Judgment—-he may be overly critical about your actions. Nothing you do will warrant his acceptance or affirmation.
    • Withdrawal —-he may let you know that what you are doing is wrong. You will pay for it by his withdrawal.
    • Spiritual abuse—he may use scripture to manipulate you into complying to his wishes.
    Taken from, Controlling People, Patricia Evans.
  2. Good post. I think many many addicts are also codependent. Gaslighting is just a tactic to hide things and divert attention. It comes off like manipulation but my guess is the motivations are different. In my experience it's more defensive then offensive.
    need4realchg likes this.
  3. I definitely agree. I've heard the term "gaslighting" a lot recently, but I hadn't looked up the actual definition. I just looked it up, and I was like seriously?

    I don't agree that many addicts "gaslight" their partners in order to make them feel crazy or to control them. They're just lying because they probably feel guilty and don't want to get caught doing something they know their partner will be mad about and make them stop doing.

    I feel like the term "gaslighting" implies too much manipulation and intent to control. I don't think that's what it is most of the time. Even outside of addiction. I think there are definitely some people out there who intentionally gaslight people to control them or manipulate them, but most of the time I think they are just insecure or want to look better than they think they are, so they lie. It's defensive, like you said, not generally offensive.

    At least that's my opinion.
  4. Someone recently said they re-read Twilight again and were frustrated with how Edward was "gaslighting" Bella the whole time. And now that I've looked up the definition, I believe they're just referring to the fact that he tried to make her think she was crazy thinking he was a vampire, which, I mean, duh.... He can't let people know he's a vampire, so obviously he's going to lie about it. That's not an example of him being "abusive" or something.

    Random example, but I just thought of that because I think a lot of people use the word "gaslighting" to sound like something bigger and worse than it really is.
    Deleted Account likes this.
  5. I second that. I was really dismayed that this term seems to demagogue the victims of their own addiction by implying a conscious manipulation at work continuously.

    Codependency probably is more invasive the deeper the addiction since the self esteem is gradually withered away.
  6. Susannah

    Susannah Fapstronaut

    I know first hand that conscious gaslighting happens. My husband did it to me, quite consciously, in order to make me more dependent on him so I wouldn't leave. My "irrational" beliefs and suspicions were evidence that I was "too ill" and "too fragile" to take care of myself. But that was okay, he said - as long as I stayed with him, "HE would take care of me." I know it was conscious because he has admitted this to me now that he is in recovery. He says it was driven by his own terror, but it was definitely conscious. But I understand that you are not saying gaslighting does not exist and never happens.

    It is my opinion that there is also unconscious/semi-conscious gaslighting and that it belongs in the realm of other addict traits that are more or less conscious and are deployed for the purpose of trying to manipulate a situation (or other person) in an attempt to justify or continue the addictive behaviors. These include behaviors such as denial, compartmentalization, and minimizing. Is the addict doing these things deliberately and consciously? Does he/she "know" the true nature of things he is doing while he is doing them? Obviously not in all cases. In the case of denial, "not knowing" is definitional. (Could this be true for gaslighting as well?) So does that make them unconscious in a way? I don't know- it is all confusing and so much depends on definitions.

    One thing I AM sure about is that if you read the article linked to by @hope4healing you will see a list symptoms shared by victims of betrayal trauma that are very real indeed, regardless of whether they were "intentionally" inflicted or not.
  7. letter

    letter Distinguished Fapstronaut

    My Journal
    I agree with the premise of this thread and would like to add a little something. There is a lot of overlap between actions done from an emotional need vs conscious choice.

    Either one of those can be fierce to face. Emotional needs can run so deep that there is little reason can do to help the afflicted and those who interact with them must be strong in their emotional intelligence to hold onto their sense of self while being a help to their loved ones.

    Those who consciously choose to attack another person's sense of self and sanity are often psychopathic/sociopathic/narcissistic and will tend to display traits associated with the disconnect of empathy that is required to actually willingly choose to do these kinds of things to another human being.

    Knowing the differences between the two can help you discern where these actions come from. The actions can look very similar, but the rest of the context of the person can tell you who they are.
  8. I don't think anybody here is saying that it never happens consciously. It's pretty obvious that intentional gaslighting is a thing.
    Deleted Account and need4realchg like this.
  9. Many addicts do gaslight their partners, and some have even acknowledged that they did once they are in recovery. It's happened to me, and as @Susannah said, it's happened to her. And, there are many others, too.

    The term is defined by manipulation and intent to control. It isn't misunderstood to include those things.

    If you've ever been the one being gaslit, especially over a long period of time, you don't need to make it sound bigger or worse than it really is because it is bad enough without exaggerating it. It doesn't matter if it's done consciously or not.
  10. I suppose I should have said I don't agree that all addicts who "gaslight" are doing it intentionally for control or to be manipulative. Obviously it happens, and I'm not denying anyone's personal experiences.

    I don't think you understand what I'm saying. I'm saying some people say "oh that person is gaslighting you!" When in reality, that person is just extremely insecure or feeling defensive or threatened in the moment. They aren't trying to control you or manipulate you, they're just afraid of a lot of things. I've seen that happen a lot.

    I still think you don't understand what I'm saying, but oh well I guess. I tried to be clear. I have been gaslit many times in my life, and I'm well aware of how it feels.

    And sorry, but I disagree with the last part of that statement. I think intent absolutely matters. I like to try to look at things from all sides and understand both people's emotions and perspectives. And I have seen many people displaying behavior that could be considered "gaslighting" who have a lot of deep emotional problems that they are just really afraid to address. I don't think those people are as bad as people who intentionally gaslight their partners to control them. I don't see how you can say that it doesn't matter whether or not it's done consciously. But if that's how you feel, that's your right to feel that way. I just disagree.
    need4realchg likes this.
  11. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    I find it interesting that those that claim that gas lighting is not real and just an over-exaggeration from codependent spouses are addicts themselves. It's very telling. While co-dependency from spouses and significant others is certainly something that happens, it is the exception rather than the rule. Most SOs suffer from betrayal trauma and/or PTSD. This entire thread is an attempt at justification to relieve guilt and shame.

    The following 2 part videos address all of the above. Gaslighting, crazy making, co-dependency, betrayal trauma, and PTSD. There are many more in my signature.

    The speaker is Dr. Barbara Steffens, listed below are her credentials:

    Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in Ohio
    Certified Clinical Sexual Addiction Specialist (CCSAS)
    Board Certified Coach (BCC)
    Certified Clinical Partner Specialist (CCPS) and Certified Partner Coach (CPC) through APSATS
    Certified Supervising Counselor (Ohio) for counseling professionals and counselors in training

  12. Should it not be relieved or should it be relieved differently?
  13. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    Good point. Relieved differently through personal self introspection of the addict.

    I feel like this thread is gas lighting in itself. An intentional manipulation for those that don't want to see gas lighting for what it really is.
  14. Whoa that's interesting! Can there be recovery gaslighting? Manipulation of the addict into thinking what they did was different then what it was? Inception. I feel nervous typing this. "You are in denial" "you aren't working hard enough" "you ogled that women a second ago!". I'm creeped do we know anything? In my addiction I dont see clearly until I do, through the help of others...what if they are lying...who do I trust?
  15. EatCake

    EatCake Fapstronaut

    I was the exception. Treated as the rule. Trauma on trauma on trauma. It enabled my addict spouse, as well.
    Yep. Glad someone else saw this & I'm not "crazy". Heh.

    Edit to clarify: there are by far more counselors & what not's that automatically assume the non-addicted spouse is co-dependent. The exception is those who aren't co-dependent, it seems. I wasn't co-dependent but assumed to be by a CSAT counselor. Instead of proper healing, I was left defending myself 99% of the time in an already horrid situation. My addict husband used this to his advantage.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  16. EatCake

    EatCake Fapstronaut

    These are traits of narcissism, machiavellianism, or psychopathy. The dark triad behaviors. What this lady wrote is called excuses.
    Susannah likes this.

  17. Thank you all for your hearty contributions on the subject, I am humbled as it allows deeper introspection.

    First, I understand the threads that say the PA manipulated them. The purpose here is to document there are additional reasons for an SO to have been manipulated apart from gaslighting.

    If the PA also is codependent then they are perfectly primed to be manipulative.

    I understood manipulation is inherent to any addict who seeks to propagate their habit.

    However when described through a codependent lense, manipulative behaviors are tactics that a codependent individual asserts to create cohesion , unity, control, or family structure. Also included persuasion, negotiating, even coercion— methods of both codependent and gaslighting individuals.

    The problem with assigning any and all manipulative behaviors as gaslighting—- is that it prevents codependency from being accurately identified, uncovered and addressed.
    Deleted Account likes this.
  18. I agree with you completely that it's worse to consciously gaslight. When I said it didn't matter, I only meant from the perspective of the one it's happening to...the damage and pain felt. I would guess that, while it's happening, the victim of the gaslighting generally wouldn't know the difference between consciously done or otherwise. I didn't even realize it was happening to me for a very long time.
  19. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

    I see where you are coming from. However, you are assuming that SOs are "assigning any and all manipulative behaviors as gaslighting" and seem personally offended by that. No one is lumping everything together the way you are assuming they are.

    But using your same reasoning, the same goes for attempting to dismiss gaslighting behavior and calling it something else. The vast majority of SOs on these forums have spent countless hours educating themselves on all that is going on in their lives and what is happening with their PAs and with themselves. They are not clouded by the years of addict brain fog and are not trying to protect their addiction. They are trying to understand what is going on inside of themselves, their loved one, and their relationship.

    Be careful not to make the mistake of assuming that you are dealing with a bunch of naive, emotional women that have no idea what they are talking about. Without these SOs and their educated tenacity, most of their PA partners never would have started their recovery journeys and most definitely would not have gotten as far as they have.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019

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