Gaslighting with Small Infractions

Gaslighting is a covert manipulative behavior. The goal is to make you feel crazy and cover up what is really going on. Some toxic people will do it in a major way. Others will do many minor things day after day.

I have lived with someone who played these petty nasty move-your-stuff games, so I know they are every bit as toxic as outright verbal or physical abuse.

For anyone reading this who does not understand why abusers do this, it is a way for a covert abuser to in many small ways violate someone else and trigger a reaction.

It is done with many small petty acts like going into your room while you sleep and opening your shades or moving your car keys from the key holder next to the door to the coffee table in the living room. When you are doing laundry, your clothes get taken from the dryer 15 min too soon and left in a heap. Your tooth brush is moved from the holder on the sink counter to the back of the toilet. Your box of cereal is repeatedly found open with the bag unrolled inside, so that it is stale.

It can be more aggressive. For example, your shampoo could go from 3/4 full to 1/8 full overnight because they poured most of it down the drain. Mostly though, it will be things that you cannot be completely sure that someone really did.

It keeps you always feeling off balance. It is all little stuff that “you should just ignore”, so you get jumped if you speak out. Saying something to anyone else can make you feel like the one with problems.

AND that is the whole point.

Don’t discount people’s reports of this. It is a pretty strong sign that they are dealing with someone who is not just covert aggressive but also psychopathic.

One Comment

  • My ex would swap pillows with me (I could tell because I could suddenly see his hairs show up on *my* pillow). There was absolutely no reason for him to do so except he knew I had a bit of a hair phobia and seeing all those short dark hairs suddenly on my pillow (which I would pick off) would drive me batty.

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