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Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

Greg, a Canadian lawyer, is 28 but he's already had 11 serious relationships. He says each of those relationships ended with infidelity, on his part, and severe self-doubt on the part of the women. He is a self-confessed "gaslighter"."Looking back it's clear that I was gaslighting the women and slowly making them second-guess their version of reality," he says. He's speaking out now to give insight into the mind of a gaslighter, and to warn women of the tell-tale signs.Gaslighting has been described as psychological abuse where false information is deliberately presented to the victim - the purpose being to make the victim question their own memory and perception of events. Greg learned that he was a gaslighter recently, while in therapy.
He pinpoints the start of his behaviour to a relationship when he was a 21-year-old law undergraduate. Paula was four years older and completing a master's degree. Greg describes the relationship as "romantic but unsteady". He soon began sexual encounters with other women behind her back. Gaslighting: The 'perfect' romance that became a nightmare
Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

For Greg, there was a third quality that the women he gaslighted all shared. They were all intelligent and successful. Intriguingly, he says this was a key factor in how receptive they were to being gaslighted."I've dated a doctor, an engineer, a well-known social media personality."From my experience it's not true that it is vulnerable or insecure women who are susceptible to gaslighting. These were successful women but with that came with a perception of what they thought a 'successful' relationship should look like and they shared that. They gave me a blueprint to what they were looking for in a man."The women, he says, approached relationships like they did their careers. With a checklist of qualities, often from relationships depicted in films, and high expectations. They wanted stimulating conversation peppered with attentive charm and humour. They were also looking for men who could match them in their success - men with impressive careers who also owned property and had financial security.
Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

This kind of checklist narrowed the field of suitable men considerably, he says, and made it easier to play to their desires."When you are gaslighting, you see the narrative that the other person wants the relationship to follow and you then go about setting how that fits in with what you want. As a result, you do little things over an extended period of time that increases the likelihood that the partner will accept your narrative over their own."In my case, I have never been aggressive, violent, issued threats, or blackmailed anyone. There has literally been nothing stopping any of these partners from telling me to get lost. But none of them ever did."So for a long period of time I didn't feel like the villain."But now, he says, he is aware of the consequences of his actions. "These women were intelligent and I felt that if they wanted to, they could have questioned the narrative I was spinning. But now I'm aware that is a flimsy argument where love is concerned."I wanted the experience of multiple partners and the ego boost that came with that, so I justified my behaviour to myself for years."I guess, as a lawyer, I was able to explain away discrepancies in my story to girlfriends and convince myself that I wasn't a bad guy."
Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

For help, contact:
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Cheating and manipulation: Confessions of a gaslighter

Some tactics of gaslighting, including isolating the victim from sources of support and depriving them of means needed for independence, could fall under the "Controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship" section of the Serious Crime Act of 2015, in England and Wales. But controlling or coercive behaviour is not a crime in Canada, and the same is true in many parts of the world.Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
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