'Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the target and delegitimise the target's belief.'
As Aspies, I'm sure we're particularly prone to this. I know I am. My experience, too - with a sister-in-law who's a consummate narcissist - has caused me much grief and upset over the last 30 years. These were years when I not only didn't know that I was autistic, but I also didn't really know what her motivations were. I've found out so much more about it all since my diagnosis, and through having someone else who knows her tell me that she isn't just like it with me. For most of those years, I simply thought there was something wrong with me - and she was the one who, more than most, was at pains to keep reminding me. The damage this woman has done - not just to me, but to other members of my close family - is profound. Much of it is irreparable. But at least now I no longer have any reason to have any contact with her - notwithstanding the fact that she's married to my brother. I'm well rid of her. She's controlled and manipulated our family for far too long. My brother is her puppet. And so competent a puppeteer is she that he doesn't even realise he has strings! He's well and truly Stockholmed!
For years, I've been told I'm gullible, susceptible, credulous, naive, etc. I've had my leg pulled time after time, and been the butt-end of jokes. I've been taken for a ride, scammed, made to look ridiculous. But I take people at face value. If they tell me something, I tend to believe them. Why wouldn't I? Why would they lie to me? But people have, and do. It's why I detest gossip and won't have any part of it, because all it really is is manipulation and destabilisation, perpetuated by a group. Victimising the vulnerable. And it gives people a sense of 'belonging' to be onside in the gossip. If you're not happy with the way someone's behaving or performing - tell them! But no. Gossip is easier... and it's more fun. Huh!
Anyone else got any 'gaslight' tales to share?
Does anyone think it might be a good idea for me to put a general message in the Staff Communication Book at work just to warn everyone about parking in that car park, because I'd received some damage to my car in there? That way, I'm not pointing the finger or implying anything. Just telling everyone to be careful. I could say I've reported the matter to police. I think that could be perceived as being thoughtful to others. When she reads it, too, she'll probably be reassured that I don't know anything about who might have done it - but it might warn her off.
(I'm just leaving for work now - 7.30 am. Something is going to happen today. I can feel it. Not looking forward to going in.)
Personally I wouldn't do this. The best way of disengaging from her game is to avoid any unnecessary communication at all. Putting the note in the book still has the intention of communicating with her, albeit indirectly. Narcissists are incredibly clever, this will just confirm to her she's still got you on the hook.
If you want it to be 'game over' you have to pretend everything is "water off a duck's back" (someone else said that on this thread but I can't find it). I find this incredibly difficult to do myself because it goes against the principles of justice. Starving her of what fuels her behaviour is the only way to put the fire out though.
If you are sure something is going to happen today do you have to go in to work? Is it time to invoke that fit note you arranged? I am still off work and time away has helped me to recover my equilibrium. It was only when I stopped trying to cope that I realised how exhausted I was.
If you are off with work related stress usually a risk assessment is done before you return. The HSE provide a helpful template. This then leads to a proper action plan designed to avoid any further harm. This is the process I am going through with Union support.
For a long while I would not stop working because I thought I might not be able to go back again. Ultimately the decision was made for me when my ankle injury immobilised me. The impossibly high levels of stress I had been under then became apparent. I am glad I was forced to stop working - I think something catastrophic would have happened had I continued.
I should not give advice because this is a decision you can only make for yourself. These are my thoughts though. Take care whatever you decide to do. Those of us who have been in similar situations really feel for you.
I don't see why you couldn't put up a message saying your car got scratched and that the police are looking into it.
I do think you need to try to stop thinking something bad is going to happen because you might bring it upon yourself that way. However hard that is because it has become such an obsession. There are meds that are quite succesful in breaking that flow of thought by the way.