The gaslighting doesn’t necessarily stop when the relationship ends.
“I never loved you.”
“I haven’t been happy for a long time.”
“You’re impossible to live with.”
Those were some of the words my ex chose to leave me with in the correspondence he exchanged with my mother. They were little bombs hooked to a timer set to detonate after he walked out the door.
At first, those words devastated me. Could they be true? Was I a wretch? Impossible? Unlovable? Piled on top of the rejection, they were an added kick when I was already down and out.
But then they made me angry. If he never loved me, why would act otherwise so consistently? If he hadn’t been happy for a long time, that was his responsibility to say something and change something. If I was so impossible to live with, why did he live with me for 14 of our 16 years together?
Those parting words were nothing but further fabrications. Gaslighting from a safe distance to try to tamp down any resistance. Perhaps blowtorching would be a proper term here? I’m picturing the scene from Alien:)
Perhaps part of the intent was to maim, but I believe the main goal was to rectify his own cognitive dissonance.
Because when you tell a lie frequently enough, it starts to become your truth.
If he believed he never loved me, it made it easier to hurt me.
If he claimed he wasn’t happy for a long time, he could blame it on the marriage.
And if he made me impossible to reside with, it made it easier to walk away.
Before you believe the hurtful words your ex threw your direction, make sure to see what they had to gain by them.