Back to heartsupport

Dream about my ex / coming into terms that I've experienced gaslighting

I’ve been super tired recently, and today was even worse because I needed to get up early to go to church with my family. Church was okay despite me trying to stay awake, and getting lunch after was a highlight. When I came home I just crashed in bed and fell asleep, makeup on and all. I woke up about half an hour ago. My back hurts and though I don’t feel as upset now, I kinda wanna write about a couple of thoughts I had about the dream.

I’ve forgotten most of the plot of the dream, except for how it ended because I guess that’s when I started to become conscious. In my dream, I was hanging out with my ex like we always used to. We were in the city, but irl places in my dream have a different feel to it. Kinda comforting, kinda ominous. We went to a cafe where we used to get gelato, and the sun started setting so we made our way back to the train station. We started getting into an argument, and I started letting out things like “you abandoned me”, “you left me behind”. But they didn’t care and I just left. Shortly after that, I woke up feeling gross but I feel much calmer now after some food and listening to something in the background.

In my sleep, I started to feel the exact way I used to feel during and immediately after the breakup. Like I was really desperate to try and make my ex understand how I felt and my perspective on what was going on, but they were just too focused on their new friends. I was worried that their friends were telling them different things that manipulated how they thought and felt, and I was just pushed behind. My ex has no idea how extremely hurtful this was, and I’ve become resentful of them and their friends.

My counselor called this “triangulation”, like it’s them vs me. My counselor also explained to me that during this experience I’ve been gaslit and I completely understand that now. It felt like I was trying to hard to push my truth and everyone was saying, actually that’s not the truth. Like I was scrambling and working so hard to pull myself out of quicksand. It feels like panic, paranoia, fear, and total sadness. Not only did I feel alone, but I also felt like my own truth was being distorted and my mind started believing that I am the problem. My ex and their friends painted that picture, that I was the “bad guy”, and that’s probably why my ex started to enjoy being with their friends more than me while I was left alone. Even now I still feel like it’s my fault and I was in the wrong. But all I did was react to situations and expressed how I felt. I can’t always be happy and avaliable, unlike their friends. My counselor also told me that it’s unfair, because my ex’s friends can just log off and come back as this super positive force. But because my ex lived with me at the time, they had to go through my live reactions. I still feel betrayed and angry about it, but I have to keep moving. I don’t want to be in that mindset or situation again. I don’t know if my ex understands this, considering they wanted me to be the one to suck up to them and basically beg for them to come back.

On a different note, I remember when I was younger, my parents would do something similar. I would say something happened, and they would say, that’s not what happened. Or I would be sad or angry, and they would get annoyed and say I shouldn’t be sad or angry. I just wish my family were more kind and supportive. Growing up, I could never stand up for myself and I’m only coming into terms that for most of my life, my feelings have been invalidated. It’s why I haven’t been able to openly tell them things, and why I’ve gotten used to hiding/lying. I just never felt safe enough to actually talk to them about myself, what I’m going through, who I really am etc. It’s a lot better now, but I don’t believe I’ll have a closer relationship with my parents because I’ve never been strong enough to defend myself when they talk down on me.

For a long time in my life I’ve always had negative thinking, I guess because I’ve internalized the way they talked to me. But this community has seriously made me feel human again, like despite of it all I can be kind and I don’t have to put out the same negativity that’s been given to me my whole life. Everytime I feel bad I just remember how much this place has helped me. I can reflect on things I could have done better in my relationship, but I’d rather move forward and bring this positive energy with me and the new opportunities and people I’ll meet.

4 Likes

I am so so sorry someone has put you through this experience. It’s horrible and isolating. And the whole point of being gaslit is to make you feel like “look how much better my friends are to me- you’re not good enough”.
Let me tell you that if someone loves you truely in a way that isn’t for their own benefit, then they would never play those games with you and never want you to feel you are solely responsible for their happiness or that you’re the reason when they aren’t happy.
People can have positive input into other peoples lives/days, but they are not in control of how that person then responds to the encouragement.

Your ex’s friends are hearing a one sided story where they (your ex) get to paint themselves as a victim. They get to narrate what you said and did and how you feel, but not anymore!
You have every right to feel hurt and betrayed by those actions. Nobody has the right to make you feel inferior.
It’s something I’m also learning with my ex. The “I’m sorry” afterward doesn’t stop the initial abuse.

As for your parents, it can be a balancing act of protecting yourself and looking after yourself and creating a space where you all can get along.

You’ve been doing amazing leaving situations behind and I’m sorry you experienced that dream. I hope you feel safer now x

2 Likes

Thanks for your reply, Bimini <3

And yeah, it was so hard for me to see for the first few months of our breakup. They were my first relationship and we’ve been together for 8 years, so I thought they did really love me. Maybe they do, but it just didn’t work.

The gaslighting really painted me as a controlling and abusive partner, which wasn’t the case at all, and I couldn’t argue against it because it became a me vs them situation. So I just stayed quiet but my mind had a billion thoughts that weren’t being listened to or validated. It wasn’t until I told my friends and counselors that I’ve actually been through something super rough. But yes, the only way for me now is forward and I hate being reminded of that time, especially in dreams where I feel like my own mind is torturing me by making me watch awful things it comes up with. You’re absolutely right with what you’re learning about your ex. I think even though my ex and I apologized to each other, there didn’t seem like a healthy way of moving forward for me in the relationship. It had to end, and that’s something I tell myself everyday.

1 Like

Your words of conclusion are beautiful, Misty. It’s something I’m learning to come to terms with as well. That our experiences don’t have to be burdens to carry for the rest of our life. That we can actually turn them into something meaningful, something that would allow us to create better connections with others. There is something so liberating in this perspective, as it doesn’t require us to be someone we’re not anymore.

I’m so sorry that you have been through so many moments when your feelings and your voice were dismissed. I understand how it feels, have I had to grow up with parents who were not about sharing feelings at all. It was seen as something embarrassing, something that would take too much space. If there was an argument or something bad happening, we would have to keep pretending everything was fine, because the discomfort it would create around us would be too much. It’s so destructive to be taught that kind of behavior. To internalize that how we feel must be wrong because of how others react.

The very fact that you have now such a thoughtful and in-depth perspective about all of this is amazing. You understand that you deserve to have a voice regardless of others reactions. You understand that how you feel doesn’t have to be labelled as “acceptable” or not. It is just how it is. And once we are in an environment where we are simply allowed to be, then magic operates, the tension and anger we feel inside decrase, which gives finally more space for healing, understanding, acceptance, respect.

It sounds that you have an amazing counselor. They have shared some very fair and healing perspectibves with you.

You are embracing your journey, your story, who you are, how you feel. You can be proud of yourself for taking such huge steps. :hrtlegolove:

2 Likes

From: Micro

Hey Misty, just wanted to check in with you today. How is life going on your end? I’d love to hear some updates from you. You are truly cared for. :hrtlegolove:

1 Like

Hi Micro! I’m feeling pretty okay overall, I’m so happy you asked :blush: I’ve been recharging for the past few weeks, I’ve just been feeling so burnt out! I lost the motivation to draw too, and I just spent most days in bed watching random YouTube videos (though I’ve been sketching ideas and chipping away at a digital painting lol). I’ve finally come to terms that my body needs good food and good sleep, and that’s something I want to work on after years of poor habits. But overall, I really think that things are getting better for me right now. I hung out with a friend for brunch and we talked about creative ideas we wanted to work on together which I’m excited about and I hope it blossoms into a bigger project that can involve my community. My last year of uni is starting soon too, and I’m just really enjoying my time off lol

Re-reading this post, I’ve been having dreams about my ex again but it doesn’t have the same sort of negativity. I can wake up and be okay that it was just a dream. I think it’s because I’ve been contemplating on messaging them… I just miss talking to them and I wonder what they’re up to but I don’t think I should. Everytime I try to talk to them it has always ended in disaster or an argument. I had the impression that they didn’t want to engage with me anymore so I just removed and blocked them on all socials. It’s still so difficult trying to move on. I know in a way I’ve made huge progress in “moving on”… but I also know there’s still a bit left to work on.

I made a post talking about a crush I have. It’s so embarrassing but also so fun because I get to gush about him with my aunt (he’s an actor lol so we get to talk about his movies). Even though I haven’t replied to my thread yet, I have read the replies and I’ve seen what @Sita has said, and it has really changed my way of thinking. Yes it hurts that the fantasies are just that, but it also means that it is how I want to be treated. I feel less upset about coming back into reality, and I’ve become hopeful that if it is meant for me then I’ll find someone like that!

I’m still a little worried about the future, mostly because of mixed messages from my parents when it comes to finances. They say I shouldn’t worry about working while studying because I live at home, but I feel like I need to land a job straight after uni. I worry too much about the possibility of them losing their jobs for whatever reason. I know I should really focus on the present, especially since it’s my last year of uni and I really enjoy it, but this is always at the back of my mind. I’m just trying my best to redirect my energy to art and study and I hope it pays off.

<3

2 Likes

yay!
glad to help! Yes, that’s the real role of fantasies I believe! Here for you if you need !