To start, the relationships I get into begin wonderfully. I am intent on being in a relationship with a certain person, and so I do whatever is necessary to get them to fall for me. I become obsessed with learning everything I can about them. I “love bomb” them, so to speak. I learn all their strengths and all their faults, but eventually they lose their luster to me and I abandon them in pursuit of something else. The feelings just seem to die overnight. Ironically, I am a very private person. I like to control how people perceive me, and I really don’t like it when people talk about me and learn things they don’t need to know. Therefore, I am guilty of “gaslighting”. If I don’t want someone to know that I had dinner with my father last Tuesday, whoever told them will be called out as a liar by me. I have sexual fantasies about almost every person I meet, but when I get the chance to act on those fantasies I find it difficult to follow through. One minute I’m high on my own thoughts, and the next minute it’s all gone once they are in my grasp. When I am not doing any of these things and when I am not working, I am completely alone. I can resist contact with others like my family and friends for months. Loneliness gives me more pleasure than anything else. If I couldn’t be alone, I’d go mad. I’ve been called a psychopath/sociopath by some of my exes because they felt like I disregarded their feelings constantly and because I left them very easily, without regret or care for how it hurt them. I’m just not willing to invest in someone that I’ve lost interest in. The people in my life have brought to my attention that this behavior is inappropriate, atrocious, and disturbing. However, I don’t think so. I don’t understand how gaslighting and love bombing count as abuse. Is all of this some form of detachment? Or am I just harmlessly different?
A. Based on the description you have provided, your behavior does not necessarily seem outside the norm. When people are dating, they are trying to find a match. Both people tend to be on their very best behavior. When you first meet someone new, you’re trying to learn everything you can about them. That takes time. Once you realize they’re not for you, you end it. It would be odd to stay with someone with whom you are not a match.
You didn’t elaborate on how you end these relationships and that might be the problem. I would need more information about the manner in which you end these relationships to determine if it is a problem.
I’m not certain that I fully understand your example of “gaslighting.” Gaslighting, as I understand it, is essentially manipulating someone into believing something that isn’t true. In your example, you “call out” people as liars, who are not guilty of lying. That type of behavior will most certainly cause you to lose relationships. Not many people are willing to tolerate that type of abuse.
If you want an objective evaluation of how you behave in relationships, then try counseling. The therapist will analyze your relationships and determine if there is a problem. The fact that people repeatedly tell you that your behavior is problematic would suggest that you are the common denominator and thus may be the source of the problem but you need an objective opinion. I don’t have enough information to give you that objective opinion. Counseling is the solution. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle