Like a stubborn child stomping his feet, having just returned from his ‘business trip’ Scott flatly refuses now to move his belongings into the guest bedroom or basement. Not only that, he claims to never have agreed to sleep in the guest bedroom. Nevermind our conference call with our marriage counselor and the half-dozen messages where Scott states he would move his belongings before I returned home. The guest bedroom is part of a walk-out basement with full-sized windows, a walk-in closet, and a full bathroom. It’s larger than most apartments. We live in a 6,500 square foot home, with a 2,500 square foot finished basement. Scott refused to respect my boundaries. He has to have control. Always. With utter disregard for my privacy and the original agreement, Scott stated “It’s my home, my bedroom, and I have the right to come in any time I want.” Looking back I should have had that printed on a t-shirt for him, having heard it more times than I could count over the course of the divorce. So much for an amicable and peaceful divorce.
Then to add insult to injury while in bed that night, I couldn’t believe it when I heard Scott picking the lock on my bedroom door! Frightened I quickly hit the recording button on my phone. Scott nonchalantly entered and walked to the bed in his boxers and wife-beater t-shirt. To my shock, he climbed into my bed while I was still in it! He put his ear plugs in and blindfold on and proclaimed “It’s your turn to sleep in the basement.” Then he rolled over and turned off the light. The Supreme Being had banished me to the basement — and so I went like a good, obedient girl.
As I laid there in the guest bedroom bed I thought “If that’s how he’s going to act, the war over the master bedroom is on!” What is his problem? It is pragmatic that I sleep upstairs in the master bedroom. Scott travels a significant amount of time. I am the primary caretaker of the kids, waking them up in the morning and getting them ready and off to school every day. Plus, that was our agreement with our therapist during our conference call when I was at the hospital in Florida with my father. Of that I was certain — I’m not crazy or delusional. I can’t believe Scott now claims that conversation never took place. I thought to myself, “Who’s the crazy one now?” I was so frustrated and sick of all of Scott’s games already. I needed help, and a new attorney.
Emotional Manipulation #1 – Gaslighting
“Gaslighting” was one of Scott’s strongest manipulation tactics. Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt oneself, and to ultimately lose their own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth. Gaslighting statements and accusations are usually based on blatant lies or an extreme exaggeration of the truth. The term is derived from the 1944 film, “Gaslight”, in which a husband tries to convince his wife that she’s insane by forcing her to question herself and her sense of reality. When someone is gaslighted, the narcissist will tell you, “That didn’t happen. You imagined it. You’re crazy. You’re delusional.” In a nutshell, the narcissist will lie and that instills doubt. Scott now proclaiming that he never agreed to reside in the guest bedroom during the divorce was a perfect example. It’s easy to see how powerful this can be, as it allows the abuser to deflect all focus from their own actions and shift it to something completely irrelevant. Or, Scott would twist it so I would doubt my perceptions of what really happened time and time again.