Codependency and PA; gaslighting vs controlling

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

  1. I apologize for offending; i thought I made clear this thread is not to dismiss the gaslight-phenomenon as ethereal or purely conjecture.

    It’s worth making clear I appreciate the color and tone of the female perspective provides. Without it, we (males) would debate without heart and connection.

    Gaslighting DOES explain that manipulative behaviors are driven by the addict’s need to perpetuate the addiction; and further serves as an underpinning for the subsequent traumas ( betrayal and ptsd).

    But does it cover ALL cases of addictive patterns of manipulation ?

    Since codependency manipulation can look, taste, smell, sound and feel exactly as gas lighting, how would a SO know the difference ?

    I submit to you another time-tested explanation for manipulation is codependency. Their need to keep up with appearances. Their need to please others. Their need to lose themselves for the benefit of those around them.

    The difference I suggest is IN the motive. What are they trying to accomplish in their manipulation of their partner’s feelings?

    What did the manipulation achieve?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  2. Literally NOBODY here claimed that gaslighting isn't real.
     
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  3. I completely disagree. Maybe some people here are doing that, but I absolutely am not. I don't even think I have any tendencies to gaslight people. My husband does it sometimes, and I find it extremely annoying. So I'm not trying to justify my own behavior, because I don't even have this behavior. I'm simply trying to express that human beings are complex creatures, and that we should all have more compassion and understanding for one another, even for those of us who are doing things we find hurtful at times.

    Look, you are more than welcome to disagree with anything anyone has said here, but to come in saying we are all just justifying our own actions and putting g words in everyone's mouth that nobody said (like that gaslighting doesn't exist) is quite rude.

    Well yeah, of course. Most people don't take time to sit and think about why their partner is being an asshole. They just feel hurt and angry, which is completely understandable.

    But I don't necessarily think that's a good thing, personally. And I'm not sitting on a high horse or anything. I totally don't do this as much as I should, but i think we all could benefit from thinking about the other person's perspective and giving a little bit of grace when people lash out out of fear or something. I'm not implying anyone is bad for not doing that, or that it's an easy or natural thing to do. But I think it's a good thing. That's just my opinion.
     
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  4. Seriously? Again, who is doing this? I haven't seen anyone in this thread doing that. I feel like you're overreacting. I'm a woman, too, and a spouse of an addict and a person who gaslights sometimes and I was not personally offended by someone starting a conversation about the nuance between gaslighting and things that look like gaslighting but might not be. You're acting like everyone in this conversation is just telling you and every single SO out there that all of their experiences are invalid, and nobody is doing that.
     
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  5. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    I shouldn't have used the words "entire thread." I was referring to the original post. I apologize.

    This was in reference to the OP. I have felt from other posts and threads of his that this is how he feels. It's why I quoted him specifically. I have never felt that you have this attitude.
    For the record, I dont recall a time that my husband has ever gas lit me, or manipulated me, so this is not personal. But I must agree that yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. Manipulation is manipulation no matter what label you slap on it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
  6. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    No worries, I'm not offended at all.

    But tell me, how is this "codependency manipulation" NOT the same thing as gas lighting? It is all still manipulation to protect the addict and/or addiction.
     
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  7. Fair enough, we will agree to disagree.
     
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  8. To me it's about intent and the reasons behind their actions. Someone doing this behavior because they want to control their partner and make them feel vulnerable or crazy, is different than someone who is operating out of fear and their own vulnerability and just not wanting to address their own problems so they don't want their partner to find out about them. It's not a huge difference, it's very subtle. But personally I think it is different.

    Mostly I just feel like too many people who talk about gaslighting use it as a term to just write someone off as some evil, manipulative person, rather than coming from a place of trying to understand why they act that way and what deeper problems might be occurring. That's just been my personal experience with a lot of people who use that term. It's used a lot as like "oh, he's gaslighting you! Screw him!" Not like "well, that sounds like gaslighting, and usually people do that because of _______ reasons, so this is what he might be feeling and why he might be acting that way." That's completely just my own personal experience, though, and not meant to be a claim about any majority or anything. I've just seen the former situation way more often than the latter, and that bothers me. It's not so much the word "gaslighting" that bugs me, just the attitude a lot of people seem to have who use that word a lot, from my experience.
     
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  9. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    I see where you are coming from. I think it's merely a matter of semantics. It's all manipulation to protect the addict or addiction, regardless of intent. Whether they are doing it maliciously or not, it's still manipulation and I don't think it really matters how it gets categorized.
     
  10. I'm of two minds reading all of these posts and I really appreciate this discussion. It does seem to me intent matters. I struggle as an addict with the polar extremes of addiction philosophy. On the one hand I am powerless in my addiction. Which feels awfully close to a cop out of responsibility. If I gaslight and manipulate how much of that is the addict me. But the addict IS me and I need to accept and atone for my behaviors to progress in my recovery. I almost wonder what intent even means to some degree. Maybe it truly doesn't matter to the SO ultimately but to the PA it could mean a lot. If you truly believe as a PA your manipulation was unintentional and then everyone tells you it was, telling you that you are in denial and avoiding responsibility and refusing to see what's right in front of you, implying you are crazy....it seems like the gaslighting shoe is on the other foot. BUT like you said the manipulation still stands so there's that...intent is a hard beast. I read this to try and parse it out. I lean more towards the objective results of the manipulation and your position. I think the addict can and should error on the reports and assessments of others and relinquish control to some extent or self diagnosis even with the danger of counter manipulation.

    I know this isnt quite what you all are discussing but your talks got me pondering this. :)
     
  11. letter

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    One of the issues is that the definitions of gaslighting imply conscious choice to do it. All that I've read about it uses active verbs. The term itself originates in a movie where the act was done intentionally.

    It is a really horrible thing. When people use it to describe things that aren't gaslighting, it dilutes the word. So when it is used to describe actions that happen unconsciously and habitually as part of a broken emotional nature, it makes the uses where gaslighting is actually being done to not be taken as seriously. Or, conversely, it makes the person in the instances where manipulation is not consciously done to be demonized.

    *broken person just does the things that a broken person does*
    "They are gaslighting me!"
    "Omg, what a monster. Run away, we'll all stay far away too."


    ...could be...

    *broken person just does the things that a broken person does*
    "I am feeling seriously hurt, I feel like I'm going crazy. What is going on??"
    "They've got some issues, this isn't you. This is how it is happening..."


    ...and because people misuse it like the first case...

    *psychopath tries to destabilize a person's sanity*
    "They are gaslighting me!"
    "C'mon, stop crying wolf. Last time you said that it ruined their reputation. This person is probably just co-dependant like the last one. You just seem to attract these people. You should know what to do by now."


    You see the difference and why using the correct terminology is important? The conclusion that gaslighting leads people to believe, because of where it comes from and how it is defined, can change how people will respond. All cases of manipulation are horrible. I don't think anyone here is saying anything differently on that.

    The more serious the things we are dealing with and talking about, the more imperative it is that we get the terminology right. We don't want to end up muddying the waters on issues that can lead to suicide. When things matter, like in either case of co-dependant manipulation or gaslighting, accuracy is important. Co-dependancy is horrible, but gaslighting is a whole other beast. Think about it in another way, gaslighting is just another tool in the psychopath's belt, they've got other ways to harm and control someone. When gaslighting is really happening, it needs some very special attention for the victim because who knows what else may be tried against them to control them.

    I wish we had a better term for co-dependant manipulation that would separate it from gaslighting while still conveying the seriousness of what happens.

    Anyways. Hope this makes sense to people.
     
  12. What's great about this thread is I keep changing my mind with each new addition. This is a well articulated post. Thanks.
     
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  13. letter

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    Yeah, it's such a hairy issue, isn't it?

    The victim, because in either case they're destabilized, likely can't tell the difference and to them, it may very well appear to be the same.

    Thus I don't think it is fair or realistic to place the burden any further on the victim, and therefore the onus of getting things right should fall on the only people who can carry it, their supporters. If the victim can manage their emotions well and can articulate themselves well, awesome. But so often, they are not going to be able to.

    Thus, it becomes important for our general understanding to know what is going on with the victim so that we don't also fall into the trap and make wise choices in how we help.
     
  14. EyesWideOpen

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  16. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    Wikipedia is far from an accurate source but I recognize there are other sources that do say gas lighting is intentional.

    But my point is that even psychologists debate this topic. To me, manipulation is manipulation is manipulation. Whether the addict is blatantly aware of it or it is a learned pattern or an unintentional self protection mechanism, whether it's called gas lighting or something else, I personally feel it's all the same. Different reasons from where it comes from may require different therapeutic treatment, but in the end it's still the same.

    I think when we start splitting hairs as to what kind of manipulation it is, it becomes "this kind" isn't that bad compared to "that kind," which then makes the addict not feel like such a bad person. It circles back to shame, which I believe is the underlying issue in this entire discussion.
     
  17. EatCake

    EatCake Fapstronaut

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    Gaslighting is discrediting someones reality. It's a manipulation tactic, not exactly manipulation. A gaslighter has no empathy. It is the nucleus of someone with an anti-social personality disorder. Intentional, whether learned or born with.

    When you no longer trust the voice in that head of yours or your intuition, you've become a victim of gaslighting. They want you dependent on them. They intentionally make you feel crazy so you need them.

    If you've been in a gaslighting situation & escaped, you know the difference. It's hell on earth & the ultimate abuse. I'd rather have had the shit beat out of me than be a survivor of gaslighting.
     
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  18. letter

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    I agree the effect is much the same.
    I think you agree that the different reasons need different approaches.

    Where I split hairs on is in trying to approach the issue holistically. I'm not disagreeing with you that the shame a victim feels needs to be addressed carefully. I'm not saying that anyone should try to downplay co-dependant manipulation because it isn't intentional gaslighting.

    I'd argue that focusing too much on the victim can be harmful for the other people they are involved with and thereby, the victim themselves. It can be tempting to paint the other people in a picture that makes it easier for the victim to not feel shame. So I'm saying this not to disagree with you on the importance of removing a wrongfully felt shame, but in not letting that shame twist the reality of the circumstances. As tempting as it can be to do that out of empathy for the victim, it can have bad consequences.

    What if, because we got things wrong here, we gave someone advice that ended a marriage which could have been saved?

    When we give advice to other people, we can really end up affecting their lives and that needs to be done with great care. So I'll split hairs all day here where we are just casually debating in hopes that it further hones my own understanding, as well as the understanding of those I debate with, so that in the end we all become more effective in the help we can offer.

    I think we can agree there are no easy answers here. As you said, even psychologists debate this. So while we may wrestle with the various sides of the issue, I hope you can see that it is a good thing to struggle with and that we could struggle together to find the best answers. For reasons that would take me a long while to articulate, the perspective I'm bringing here is important. I've personally been greatly harmed by my family through false-victims who were believed too earnestly and too readily.

    Put this another way, if I really wanted to harm someone, I could accuse them of gaslighting and then play the "don't shame me" card when someone tries to question me. I have lived surrounded by manipulators. They can be all kinds of sneaky. Give them one little opening and they can exploit it. So while you want to protect the victim, you have to be careful in how you do so because an expert manipulator can play the victim to manipulate you.

    I've seen all kinds of horrible things. I know this from experience. Victims need to be protected, 100%! But don't let victims cause you to then go and make more victims on their behalf in protecting them. I don't think that's you, I don't want to seem like I'm implying that at all. But because you only offered a few words, these kinds of possibilities can arise from how someone could interpret them and I know there is a trend today where victims should not be questioned for the sake of protecting them from feeling shame.

    It's such a twisted world today, isn't it?
     
  19. EyesWideOpen

    EyesWideOpen Fapstronaut

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    When I spoke about shame, I meant the addict feels shame, not the SO. Am i understanding that you thought I was speaking of the SO?
     
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  20. EatCake

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    So you're saying that if advice is taken & it causes the destruction of a marriage, it is the advice givers fault? What? Aren't we in charge of our own destiny's? If someone took advice from an anti-porn website & decided the fate of their marriage on that, wouldn't that be on them? Who even makes a major life decision based on advice from strangers?!

    I'm sorry, but to think you have that kind of power over someone is bizarre. Maybe it happens & if so, how unfortunate. Even then, is it the advice givers fault for the receivers decision?
     
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