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Gaslighting, On-line Dating, Boyfriend's Family, Friend's New Wife
Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that can be best described in different variations of three words: “That didn’t happen,” “You imagined it,” and “Are you crazy?” Gaslighting is perhaps one of the most insidious manipulative tactics out there because it works to distort and erode your sense of reality; it eats away at your ability to trust yourself and disables you from feeling justified in calling out abuse and mistreatment.
When a narcissist, sociopath or psychopath gaslights you, you may be prone to gaslighting yourself as a way to reconcile the mixed messages. Two conflicting beliefs battle it out: is this person right or can I trust what I experienced?
In order to resist gaslighting, it’s important to ground yourself in reality – for example writing things down as they happen, telling a friend or repeating your experience to a support network can help to counteract the gaslighting effect. The power of having people who can help you stay grounded and not be manipulated by the distorted statements and reality of the manipulator is important.
Dear Mrs. Web,
I have been dating this guy online for a little over a year now. I feel like we have a strong connection. However, I have postponed to meet him face to face because I'm self conscious about my weight. I am afraid he won't feel the same once he sees me in person. I know he has been really patient and understanding but I'm very afraid of rejection and humiliation. I know I should take a chance and meet him or else I will always wonder what I missed. But I've never had a boyfriend before and this is the first time I ever felt special to someone. I'm just so afraid I’ll lose him once we meet, what should I do?
You have an online relationship and you are worried this man who has not seen you will not find you attractive. Dear Mrs. Web has significant reservations about on-line relationships. However it seems as though you have a long term connection. He knows all the other sides of you. So this is a time to put your best foot forward and take a chance. He may have his own set of issues, as well.
Dear Mrs. Web,
My boyfriend and I were together for a few years. Due to the losses I experienced in my life I started questioning God’s existence and I broke things off with my boyfriend. I needed time to work on myself before I committed to him. I have finally found my faith again. My boyfriend recently contacted me and we have spent some time together. It is clear that our love has never waned. He told me recently that his family doesn’t trust me anymore. They think that I was somehow doing him dirt during our time apart. What should I do? I really care about him.
Well, he clearly has to make a choice here and stand up for you with his family. . What you did is a mature thing to do. His family obviously doesn't really know you.
Dear Mrs. Web,
Would it be in poor taste to go out to dinner with my husband, his good friend and his friend's new girlfriend, if I am still friends with his wife? We are not close friends we just say hello when we run into each other.
No it is not poor taste. The ex-wife is not a good friend. However, if the new girlfriend is a trophy, you may have some second thoughts about the values of your husband and his friends.
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