A woman has turned to online forum Mumsnet for “advice” after her 16-year-old daughter revealed her husband had been having an affair for 20 years. The affair has been going on for two years and it’s about someone the father met at work, according to the daughter.
User Pippa49 wrote: “He claims it was an emotional relationship rather than a physical one, but has deleted all messages between them. They spoke via WhatsApp/text/phone daily, he sent her flowers and other expensive gifts monthly with intimate and emotional paid messages.
She continued: “I found some of the receipts for the gifts but he’s still very secretive and claims not to have met her outside of work and yet I’ve seen restaurant reservations (which he allegedly cancelled). …. I’ve been all over the place and was wondering if anyone has gone through something similar and has a guide.
The woman may be the target of gaslighting, defined by Merriam-Webster as “the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time,” resulting in the victim depriving the victim of the validity of their own thoughts, perceptions of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence, and self-esteem.” The term comes from a 1938 play and a 1944 film, both with the name gas lightin which a husband tricks his wife into believing that she has a mental illness.
In a later post, the Mumsnet user said she found receipts for nearly £1,000 ($1,140) worth of gifts, including flowers, perfume and a Tiffany necklace. An accompanying message read: “‘Dear [name]: This is my gift to you, because we are inextricably intertwined, connected and cannot separate. It fits because I know and will always understand you and everything you need [name] xxx.”
A message with some of the flowers read: “Dear [name]: Wherever you are, whatever we are, I just want you to know that I care and always will. All my love always.” That was at the end of May… He’s very emotional with me and claims to have ended it with her saying it was a big mistake, a fantasy and not real. None of this adds up,” the user wrote.
Her daughter, the mother wrote, suspecting her father was being secretive, “sat down at his laptop and found the receipts. She and her older sibling have known for 6 months but wouldn’t tell me. He said he was low on this, found someone to take care of him, the escapism helped especially during a time when our son was ill (he sent her flowers when my son was in the hospital after major surgery).
User Pegsonstrings commented, “It’s heartbreaking when the person you thought you knew commits the ultimate betrayal and then gaslights the betrayal to save their own face and future or reputation.”
How Gaslighting Happens
The National Domestic Violence Hotline says gaslighting can occur in a number of ways. They include:
refusal: Here a person refuses to take responsibility for their actions, whether by pretending to forget them or blaming someone or something else for their behavior.
hold back: This includes someone pretending not to understand the conversation or refusing to have the conversation.
counter: Countering is when someone questions a person’s memory.
Aquamarine1029 commented: “Exactly. Op, please don’t fall for his gaslight. He says whatever it takes to keep his life nice and simple.”
AdoraBell said: “He said it wasn’t real and he was in a bad place? I would tell him his betrayal is real and he put you in a bad place.”
Greystarblanchard wrote: “Whether you can ‘prove’ that he also had a physical affair is irrelevant. He totally cheated on you and you have to show him the door.”
https://www.newsweek.com/daughter-discovers-dad-having-having-affair-tells-mom-1744378 Anger as husband’s affair is outed by teenage daughter: ‘Being mysterious’