Gaslighting is a really messed up form of mental abuse usually done by narcissists, sociopaths, and manipulative people in general.
I guess a better definition of it would be "an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim - having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.
People who do this are some of the biggest pieces of shit, you'll ever meet. At least in my case.
I'm in a much better spot now, but unfortunately it took me a long time to get over it and I didn't know what gaslighting was until months after it occurred. Learning about gaslighting helped put things into perspective.
Getting started, in summer of 2016, I saw this girl on OkCupid who viewed my profile and was really cute and had a ton of common interests, mostly metal and horror, but we had similar political views and outlooks in life. Not to put her on a pedestal, but finding a girl with similar interests to me is pretty rare. She would send very long messages and we talked for a bit, and she would act a little hot and cold but sometimes it's truly hard to tell, especially in the very beginning.
Then we had our first date, and it was one of the best first dates we ever had. I only expected to have a few drinks, but then we went on a mini bar crawl around Chicago, hit it off big time, and then I ended up going back to her place.
As soon as we got back to her place, she then tells me she just gets out of a 5 year relationship and I was thinking "wait, you're just telling me this now". I mean it was still early on, but I feel like I could have taken a different approach but i knew ahead of time. Because let me tell you having been somoene's rebound before, it fucking sucks. It'll mess you up more than someone just ghosting you. Not to mention that a narcissist and someone on the rebound is a dangerous mix, when it comes to your mental health.
I decided to pursue because she seemed cool and we showed each other bands we liked, made out to them. She even put on Neurosis, one of my favorite bands and had us make out to it. That was definitely a first. I ended up crashing at her place, woke up and made out for hours and just listened to music with her while cuddling in bed. It was very euphoric.
Then for the next 3 weeks, it was odd. She would initiate texts a lot and send snapchats, instagram and stuff but then as soon as I'd ask her to meet up again, she'd come off flaky or make excuses. Like I get that she was busy but 3 weeks straight? Unless you're on vacation, it seemed like bs. I only asked her out once a week as well. I mean I get it, she was going to grad school and I had my own life too but consistency is not too much to ask for. Space and consistency are two very different things, not mutually exclusive and when she acted like that, it made me wonder what I did wrong, but at the same time I didn't wanna question her because it was early on and was afraid of coming off as clingy.
Then out of the blue she texts me to go see a movie, and was all over me. I didn't know what to think given her constant hot and cold behavior the previous weeks. I didn't question it and went to see the movie, got drinks and then made out in my car and listened to music for an hour. It made me think ok maybe it's not so bad after all, went with the flow and then she started to act more consistent.
A week later, she hits me up to come to her place and I go there, she offers me drinks, watched movies and she was sucking up to me hardcore. She even mentioned our first OkCupid convo ever when we were making out which i didn't expect. We then got food later at the bar too and she paid for everything. Once we got back to her place from the bar, she takes her dog out and tells me to go to her bedroom because she wanted to have sex.
I wait on her bed and then as soon as I get up to take my shirt off, I see a wrapper in her bed, look in and it was an empty trojan condom wrapper from another dude she fucked from recent, may have been the day of, who knows? I froze up in disgust. Now it wasn't cheating but that's still really fucked up. Her response was, oh that's trash and we still had sex, of course i wrapped my shit, but the sex was horrible and then shit got shadier and shadier. She was freaking out about her roommate coming home when she heard neighbors outside, told me to leave. I legit almost puked on the way back home trying to process what the fuck just happened.
Then over the next few days, things got worse and worse. I asked my friends if they had ever experienced anything like that because that was so fucked up. I mean not to be a hypocrite, I've multi dated and hooked up with a few people in a short amount of time, but I also didn't rub it anyone's face or leave evidence behind. Me and her were supposed to go to riot fest together too and one day i texted her 3 days after it happened and she ignored me.
Then a few days riot fest came and I was too depressed and angry to enjoy it despite being with a bunch of friends and seeing The Misfits and other bands I wanted to see for years. I thought I was going insane. I even tried calling her to talk about it and then 10 hours later she basically told me to fuck off and never talk to her again and then deleted me from snapchat. Weeks later she blocked me from Instagram which was fucking bullshit because if the roles were reversed and I invited her or some other girl with a condom wrapper in my bed, I'd be fucking crucified. This is not a gender issue, but a narcissist issue. It's a shitty thing to do regardless of what gender, race, or orientation you are.
This gave me a lot of anger, anxiety, and depression and because we had so much in common, it made things a lot harder to get over.
I would date other women after her and still feel like shit. It would be a distraction. Like it would help relieve it somewhat but then if the dates ended badly, I'd be back to zero. I almost felt like I was rebounding from being someone's rebound. An absolutely horrible position to be in.
4 months later, I run into her at a concert and after the show she calls me over, we start making out which was unexpected. I was super confused and then she asks to get drinks, gets in my car and then starts acting narcissistic again. She's like I didn't expect to see you, did you just come here to see me? How much of a narcissistic cunt can you be to ask that, especially after getting in my car. Then we get to the bar and she blows me off and starts talking to this stranger, tells me to leave and then i turn around she made out with that stranger.
Then 2 months later I started dating another girl and then I got to a concert with her and my other friends. Me and the girl i was seeing then go out for a smoke and are holding hands and then the same said girl is out there, sees me and despite that i was holding hands with the girl i was seeing, she starts screaming omg omg omg, he's following me to her new boyfriend and friends and her friends start giving me dirty looks.
If I wasn't with the girl I was seeing I would have called her out in front of everyone and said alright you fucking piece of shit, if you feel like you're the goddamn victim, why don't you tell everyone how you invited me over with a condom wrapper in your bed, you fucking narcissistic piece of shit.
Then later on after the show she sees me and starts pointing me out from across the building and starts slandering against me. I seriously wanted this person to get hit by a bus at this point. It's like I'm at a goddamn concert, I got into these bands before I met you, and I'm with the girl I'm seeing right now, you crazy twat. What the fuck am I supposed to do, stop doing what I enjoy so you don't see me when you're the one who fucked up. Go fuck yourself.
Then a month later, me and my coworkers get lunch at subway and then as we leave, out of all people, she walks up the stairs and gives me dirty looks. I then saw her a month later at a Mastodon concert as I was leaving and I told my friend, dude we gotta get out of here, she's here and he's like get over her man. And it wasn't like it was because i wanted her back, but because I didn't wanna put up with her bullshit. It made me feel anxious and guilty just for going to the city and living my life in general.
This also taught me another thing, never ignore red flags. Just because someone has common interests and is cute, doesn't mean they're good for you. I learned this the hard way. I mean she definitely does not represent all women into metal or all women in general, but if you see red flags, guy or girl, you do not ignore that or it'll cost you. The only thing is how do you predict/let alone prevent this behavior?
I mean despite that she acted a little hot and cold, there was no way to predict let alone prevent the condom wrapper situation on my end. But I would argue that you are better off being single than dealing with these shitty kinda people.