I would bet that most of you (if not all) reading this have read articles online about gaslighting. You've probably seen all the signs of it lined up neatly in bullet points, and yet felt like you still were unfamiliar with exactly what it was, and how it applied, if it even did, to your life. At least, that is how I always felt when I read articles like that. Sure, they felt familiar, but I don't generalize well. I need examples. Exactly what does it mean by gaslighting? How would that look in a real life interaction?
The other day I was making some dinner with a can of sauce. I always make my own, so I was nervous it wouldn't taste the same. That's when I recalled this story you're about to read, and realized that it is exactly what gaslighting means.
Several years ago my family went to go visit my parents. Must have been a good thirteen years, or so ago. I was in the kitchen helping my mother prepare dinner. I could tell she was in one of her strange moods, because nothing seemed prepared, and she seemed to constantly forget what she was doing. She had planned on having spaghetti, but the store had run out of the regular spaghetti sauce that she normally buys, so she bought another kind to try. She said this straight out in the kitchen in front of my husband, and I, because she was hoping she would like it. We get dinner made, and tables cleared off so we can eat.
We are all sitting there eating, and all is going great, until my father has his second bite. She knows it's coming. She has to know. We all know. He is really picky about his food. The texture, and brand, ect... It can be frustrating to deal with a grown man who has so many issues with food, and his hissy fits about it, but still....
"Is this sauce different?" he asks.
"No." she replies.
My husband looks at me as if he needs to verify what he just heard.