(Tonight, I’m having a potential premonition. My fear may or may not turn out to be true. To be honest (as usual), what I’m afraid of has happened so many times that my neurological responses have become very primed and efficient. Tonight, I’m imagining the worst. It may or may not come to pass. Please bear with me. As with pretty much all of the posts on this blog, I write this in case it helps someone else out there who just might be going through something similar (which I’m discovering more and more).
Gaslighting is usually discussed among the Asperger’s/autistic community within the context of diagnosis/assessment or therapy, as something that medical/healthcare professionals perpetrate upon patients–especially females, but it happens to us via other sources as well. Sometimes, it comes from where one might least expect it; one of those (major, overlooked) sources is a committed relationship; the longer the relationship, the more entrenched the victim becomes.)
The outdoor (and indoor) lights have gone silent in most of the units around our apartment complex; only the courtyard lights and the bedroom/kitchen lights of a few straggling night-owls remain.
The temperature took a sharp nosedive over the past 24 hours, but even after adjusting for the difference, it still feels colder than it should. I’m shivering anyway.
I think he may be hiding details about our finances from me again. His brain works like the energizer bunny…when it comes to something he wants. When it comes to something he doesn’t want to do, however, his mind conveniently displaces and erases it.
Even if it’s something I desperately need.
Even if it’s something I’ve been pleading for for years.
I’ve run out of words. I don’t know what else to say. He seems to refuse to get the message. Short of assault, I don’t know how else to get his attention. I think the only reason that I haven’t is that I would get in trouble. I would face serious consequences for having run out of options, in another attempt to solve a situation that I didn’t create, but rather, was perpetrated upon me. A situation that I can’t get a handle on because one person can’t control the actions of another.
I’m not butting up against a meltdown, at least not yet. But I can feel the neurological “buzzing” that precedes it. That’s where it gets dicey; because I never know when that “buzzing” will reach a point of no return. I never know what the exact result of a meltdown will be. I just know that if it happens, it’s going to get ugly. But for now, I’m only in the anxiety stage.
That’s where I get cold. That’s when the world starts to spin.
That’s where I plead to get off. That’s when I can’t do it anymore.
This is the part that makes me feel like the “crazy” one. Even though he’s the one that causes this. And he gets to glide about through life, going about his day-to-day “thing”, seemingly unaffected.
But I know he’s affected. I know it eats at him. I think I’ve sensed it building up under that stoic, unrevealing surface. After 17 years, I know better. Or at least I should. He doesn’t make it easy. And my recently-discovered Asperger’s only makes it harder…
…because I want to believe him. I want to be able to take what he says, on faith and at face value, when he doesn’t mention any problem. When he doesn’t come to me and come clean. I want to believe that there’s nothing to come clean about. I want to believe that he’s not saying anything because there’s nothing to say.
I want to know that I’m safe. I want to know we’re ok, and not sliding backwards into this addiction.
What is this addiction anyway? It’s not a substance. It’s not gambling or sex. It’s financial infidelity (it’s a “thing”; link to an article on NextAvenue.org), which in itself is bad enough, even without the addiction factor. But yep, you heard (read) that right: he’s actually addicted to hiding the truth about our financial status. He hides a purchase here and there, but it’s not like he’s a shopaholic. And because his addiction is so unusual, there’s no support, no 12-step program he can partake in. (Cue the vicious cycle of Discovery –> Meltdown –> Apology –> Promises –> Lack of support system –> Relapse.)
And I’m the one made to feel “crazy”. I’m the one made to feel wrong. I’m the one who ends up feeling overreactive and paranoid.
Except that I’m right. Probably more often than I realize.
Here’s where the loneliness sets in. Here’s where the trapped and stuck feelings begin to mount. Here’s where I want to run, but there’s no place to go.
Gaslighting is a form of abuse. I’m a little late to the “party”, so I learned that definitively just tonight. PsychologyToday.com has a very decent article on gaslighting in relationships and how to determine if it’s happening to you. Protect yourself; do your damnedest not to end up where I am. ❤
(Image Credit: Sylar113)