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Gaslighting/Ghosting

(30 Posts)
Allsorts Sat 19-Mar-22 07:42:27

I believe the terms gaslighting and ghosting are the same, when someone starts not communicating with you, promises to call and doesn’t, never contact you, so eventually you are off the scene. Why do people do this? How does one handle it? How can someone be so bad to deserve it?

argymargy Sat 19-Mar-22 07:47:45

I think gaslighting is very different from ghosting. Gaslighting is when you convince people that they have misunderstood, misread or misremembered things. The reason is always nefarious - the motive may be financial, sexual but usually overall control of the person being gaslit. You could look it up.

BigBertha1 Sat 19-Mar-22 07:56:03

I agree Argymargy. All sorts of people behave like that don't chase them and lose your self respect. Let them go unless they are close family of course. Painful but better than hoping and hoping for years.

FannyCornforth Sat 19-Mar-22 07:56:54

Yes. Gaslighting is different.
It takes its name from the old film Gaslight.
It means to make someone question their own thinking; even their own sanity.
It’s often done by narcissists and psychopaths.

I’ve been the victim of it.
A man I worked with was having an affair with a student in plain sight, but tried to made me feel that it was all in my mind.
I was his wife’s friend.
His wife was on maternity leave at the time.
It was horrendous

FannyCornforth Sat 19-Mar-22 08:00:29

The film Gaslight en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslight_(1944_film)

Nyman1962 Sat 19-Mar-22 08:07:34

It's a truly despicable thing to do to someone.

Urmstongran Sat 19-Mar-22 08:18:08

Ghosting is cowardly in my opinion. I had it done to me five years ago. It was awful. It was (fortunately) only by an ex-colleague. I had retired and she was still working. It hurt. I was very upset and shocked by it until a friend said to me “face it, you friendship meant more to you than it did to her”. That, for me, was cathartic. I stopped trying to contact her and got on with my life. Weirdly, she pops up in my dreams sometimes but we can’t control our unconscious minds.

Allsorts Sat 19-Mar-22 08:30:54

Thanks all. I didn’t read up on Gaslighting and I should have done, can see how+very different the two things are, though ultimately it’s control of a situation. Ghosting is I suppose to just getting rid of someone you don’t need in your life anymore, you’re done with them for some reason.
I definitely have been a victim of Gaslighting, it’s hard to get over.

DaisyAnne Sat 19-Mar-22 08:39:23

The OP is completely misunderstanding the two things they are trying to conflate.

"Ghosting" is mainly used in dating. It is simply someone who disappears from your life, cuts off all contact and from whom you get no response. Sometimes it's to avoid what they think will be an awkward conversation. Sometimes, as with online dating, it's done to cut down the number of contacts you are trying to deal with. It's unpleasant and can affect the ghosted and the ghost. It has grown because of online dating. If someone had, as we used to hear, "gone out for a loaf of bread and never returned" you would probably have reported them missing. Online, the relationships can be more tenuous and the "relationship" may only have existed online. The sense of loss is often akin to a sense of grieving.

Gaslighting is nothing like this. As others have said, it is an attempt to make you question your sanity, your view of the world. It can and does happen in personal relationships but those are more likely to be actual than online. It can also happen in the workplace. It is not simply a disagreement between how you see things and how someone else does. It is an attempt to undermine someone's sense of self. It can be as simple as continually not giving value to someone else's opinion - as if it is worthless. It can be as petty as continually saying such things as "well, if you haven't got a sense of humour ..." or "you never do the washing up - you just don't do your fair share". If you are defining someone else you are gaslighting - even if it is low level.

Gaslighting can also be very destructive and wear away someone's sense of self. At work or in the home it distorts what is. The "Gaslighter" intends to make the gaslighted feel as if the structure of their world is continuously moving. It can take years to recover, and that may not always be possible. People can be given "tools" to help but more than anything they need to get away from the gaslighter. Because they may be very undermined, very lacking in confidence, this is very hard to do.

Gaslighting could seem a little like ghosting, I suppose. If someone uses not being there when they have agreed to I suppose it's similar but the ghost will not explain - they will just not be there. The gaslighter, on the other hand, will make out that you got it all wrong and whatever did/didn't happen because they didn't turn up is down to you; you misunderstood/are too stupid/are incompetent.

DaisyAnne Sat 19-Mar-22 08:41:48

You posted while I was typing and couldn't see your post Allsorts. I'm sorry I wasn't able to acknowledge it.

AcornFairy Sat 19-Mar-22 09:46:52

I agree with Urmstongran: ghosting is cowardly. However, there may be reasons for that kind of behaviour.

I have/had a friend (?) who seems to have ghosted me. She (?) decided to end our friendship, without an explanation. However, I suspect that she is being controlled by her husband, and it was he who wanted our friendship to end.

When we became physically distanced by Covid restrictions, email, phone or snail mail became our only avenues of contact. And significantly, she and her husband share an email address. My messages remained unanswered.

This has left me swinging back and forth between two scenarios. The first is that my friend was not actually a friend in the true sense of the word, and that she was too cowardly and selfish to be honest with me about how she viewed our relationship. The second is the more disturbing scenario: that she is being controlled by her husband. I’m left in limbo….

JaneJudge Sat 19-Mar-22 09:53:47

I have had so much going on in my life at times that I am worried friends might think I've ghosted them when in fact I have had just too much on sad

Gaslighting is abuse isn't it? it seems very manipulative from the examples given

Aveline Sat 19-Mar-22 09:55:16

I realise that I have what is now known as 'ghosted' someone. The reason I just stopped communicating with someone was that I was so angry and fed up at her behaviour that it was kindest to just withdraw as I couldn't be sure I wouldn't say something awful to her.
I'm sure that perfect people will rush in and say that I should have had a quiet reasoned conversation with her but it's hard to communicate for whom alcohol was so important. I just withdrew. She'd taken up so much of my mental energy that I wanted to redirect it in more positive directions.
I'm posting this to show why someone might 'ghost' another person

henetha Sat 19-Mar-22 09:55:20

Gaslighting, that's an absolute revelation, and I now realise I've had it done to me.... I have suspected that he was a narcissist
and now I'm sure.

Shelmiss Sat 19-Mar-22 10:03:50

I also ghosted someone who was once my best friend. We were so close and then suddenly, she stopped contacting me as much as she used to, began to cancel arrangements we had made, there was a real change in our friendship. I spoke to her about it, asking her if I’d done something and she said no, everything was fine.

The final straw came for me when my dad became terminally ill, and had two months to live. I didn’t hear from her in three full weeks, nothing at all, no text asking how things were, never mind a phone call (we used to speak a couple of times a day in the good old days).

I gave up. It hurt me too much. When he passed away another friend told her and she did message me then. I replied telling her how I didn’t want her friendship anymore as things were obviously going on with her which she didn’t want me to be privy too, fair enough. Suddenly she was messaging me, ringing me, even sending me flowers.

But I didn’t contact her again. It was too painful.

Chewbacca Sat 19-Mar-22 10:14:38

Gaslighting, whether done in person or virtually, is very damaging and upsetting; I've been on the receiving end of it. Repeated assurances that I've been mistaken, misconstrued what's been said or simply "taken things out of context" are all examples of how narcissists operate "under the radar" whilst being outwardly seen as "being kind and considerate and concerned for your welfare". It's very subtle and done in such a way as to make you doubt yourself.

I've never been ghosted but could possibly have been accused of ghosting someone else. But when friendships become too burdensome and negative and continually take more out of you than they give, it's time to let it go.

Farzanah Sat 19-Mar-22 10:27:21

Ghosting is definitely not just mainly a “dating” thing. I’ve know two women who are serial “ghosters”
One was a friend who did it to me. They are enthusiastic when meeting new prospective friends, paying lots of attention, giving little presents an so on. Bit like a romance really.
After becoming close to the “new” friend for a couple of years they would suddenly drop them with no warning or explanation and move on to the next “new” friend in a similar manner.
It was hurtful at first until I learned this was a pattern and they had done the same to several people, and even some family members.
My sister is the second serial ghoster. She makes friends then drops them without contact, regularly. When she moved to a new part of the country she ghosted her old friends, and most family members, and they never heard from her again.
I find it odd, and something to do with commitment may be?

Aveline Sat 19-Mar-22 10:30:10

Or something to do with the ghosted?

Redhead56 Sat 19-Mar-22 10:34:12

Gaslighting goes hand in hand with coercive control. I was married to someone who manipulated everything to suit his choice of lifestyle. It leaves scars that never heal you are grateful it is behind you.
Ghosting is someone friend or family who suddenly drops you without explanation or reason. It’s been done to people I love and it is very hurtful.

Chewbacca Sat 19-Mar-22 10:39:32

Gaslighting goes hand in hand with coercive control. Yes, exactly! I've been able to recognise that the person who's tried to gaslight me has "issues" of their own and that they're simply reflecting them back towards me; probably to make themselves feel that they're in control of one aspect of their life, even if just remotely.

Ohmother Sat 19-Mar-22 10:46:26

I am currently being ghosted by someone who I put masses of my energy and support into. To be honest it’s a pattern she’s used on other family and friends. She hardly has any friends and has disown her own and her husbands family blaming all of them for this.

When she’s done this in the past I have seen her F2F and asked if she’s OK and she made the excuse of saying she didn’t feel well to play the game of ‘Please feel sorry for me’. 🙄.

To be honest, I’m enjoying the break. She may have done me a favour this time. 👍🏻

DaisyAnne Sat 19-Mar-22 11:38:59

Labelling someone a "narcissist" really doesn't help. If someone is 'gaslighting', it is coercive behaviour. Namecalling, without the background knowledge, often diminishes the real problem; that of criminal coercive behaviour. I don't know any psychologist who would throw this term around. Dealing with coercive behaviour is difficult enough without adding to it. That behaviour needs a clear description without blaming a label dreamt up by an unqualified person.

FannyCornforth Sat 19-Mar-22 11:51:38

Daisy Anne I only mentioned it because the man who gaslit me was definitely a narcissist.
He had therapy for it.
I was trying to explain gaslighting to the op who didn’t know what it meant

MissAdventure Sat 19-Mar-22 12:07:32

My ex ghosted me.
It was very traumatic to realise that he was gone for good, and to have to deal with everything he had left at my flat.

He was very much part of the family, so it was hurtful for them, too.

biglouis Mon 28-Mar-22 01:34:00

The term "gaslighting" reminds me of the film of the same name set in Victorian times. A man marries an heiress and tries to make her believe she is going insane so he can control her property. He uses a variety of manipulative techniques such hiding things, so he can claim she has "lost" them.

Ghosting is when you remove someone from your life. Suddently blocking them and refusing to speak to them or give an explanation is a very brutal tool.

Ghosting by gradually withdrawing from a clingy needy or toxic relationship (something I have done several times) gives the other person the opportunity to begin to take adult responsibility for their own life. It does not require a big dramatic scene