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Gaslighting Station.

We met at the filling station where he was also getting fuel for his car. I was trying to get my tank full and get some snacks for my long journey from Kumasi to Accra. When I stepped out of my car and walked into the Super Mart, he also did same. I always do some sort of window shopping when I enter shopping halls, whether I have made up my mind about what I want to buy or not. Stopping at the wine rack, he also came to stand by me.

I didn’t want to think he was following me around but I had been doing something of the sort. So I casually asked, “Which of these wines do you think I should get?” He shrugged and replied, “I am not really a wine person so I wouldn’t know” I kept quiet for a while and said, “Oh okay” He saw I appeared flustered so he offered that I check out the soft drinks nearby. I said thanks and walked away.

It was getting late and I wanted to get to Accra before it got dark.. I had tried to beat the traffic but unfortunately, I fell into it. When I got to my junction, my car broke down. I got scared because my area is known for its notoriety at night. Sitting in the dark, I prayed for someone to find me and help me. From nowhere, I saw the headlights of an approaching car, it turned out to be the guy from the filling station. He said he had wanted to make sure I was okay.

He tried to find out what was the cause of my car breaking down but he couldn’t figure it out. At this point, it was almost 12 midnight. The weather was cold since it had rained and he saw how I had hugged myself so he offered for me to wait in his car. A friend of his who turned out to be a mechanic arrived after some minutes and got my car working again. I thanked him profusely and he gave me his card to call him whenever I was free.

I called him the following day and he was taken aback about how quick I had called back. He was a good conversationalist and I enjoyed speaking with him. From then, we spoke a lot and went out on several occasions until he asked me out and I said yes. One thing about him was how he was good with words. Words were his weapon and it wasn’t until we broke up that I found out about the term “gaslighting”

Gaslighting is the term used for when a person makes you question your own memory, perception and sanity, it is a form of psychological manipulation. Since he was already good with words, he began his work by making me trust him completely and rely on his words. He would shower me with praises, affection and validation. He got me hooked onto him. Then he started withdrawing bit by bit. I asked him about what he was planning for his mother’s birthday and he replied that it was on the 26th of October and he hadn’t given it much thought. Meanwhile, I remembered that a few weeks ago he had said it was on the 24th. I knew he told me it was on the 24th but for the sake of peace, I let it go.

Another time, he called me at dawn to come and meet him for something the following day. I was deep into the sleep when he called but I woke up and wrote it down. When I rung his doorbell, he came to meet me, annoyed that he asked me to come that dawn and so what was I doing there? I was shocked, I remembered writing the details down since I was sleepy. I let that one too pass. I was on some medication for some months and I always made it a point to take it at the right time.

He would remind me to take the drugs but I would tell him I had already taken it. I would walk into the kitchen and see everything laid out, just as I knew I laid it out each day. I started questioning myself and my recollection of events. I believed everything he told me because it appeared I was always wrong and there was something wrong with me.

How did I break free? It was a trusted co-worker who I confided in who helped me. I recounted everything to her and she told me something wasn’t right. I found out he was cheating and that gave me reason enough to break free. He gave me a different recollection of events. I nearly thought I was mad that day. He claimed that that lady was his cousin and we had even met before. He even showed me pictures of our meeting and texts to support his claims.

But the lady I met that day didn’t look anywhere near the one he was cheating with. And I also knew he told me the lady we had met was his friend’s cousin. Hmmmm. I told my co-worker about the situation and we planned to find out the truth although in my heart I had already broken up with him.

So, I started recording all our conversations and texts, I wrote down every piece of information he gave me and everything I said around him. It turned out I didn’t even need that much. I saw him one evening after he had told me he was going home. He with the lady he was cheating with. I called him and he distanced himself from the lady and pretended to be yawning, asking me that why did I wake him up. I asked him about certain events and he told me a different story altogether.

Caught! I finally knew then and there that the problem hadn’t been me but him. He was one hell of a liar and an emotional manipulator. Ladies and gentlemen, gaslighting is a form of abuse. Most abusers start from the mind. They work on you until you are something like their emotional slave. That is why most victims take a while and need a lot of support and pushing to leave. Had it not been for my friend from work, I am sure I would be running mad on the street by now.

Written by East@Edito468

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