You are Found Guilty of Gaslighting and Sentenced to Embarassment

I penned this post back in January on my phone in Penn Station after a conversation with a boy made me absolutely furious.

At the time, I didn’t have the balls to press post. Now I figure why the fuck not. So here ya’ll go.  

 

Let me pull a Taylor Swift blog style for a moment.

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Ever since the conception of Twenty Something What is my life and the first post I ever penned about “I’m Sorry” gifts, I’ve been on and off reeling from a rather interesting encounter with a supposed textbook Southern charmer from North Carolina. He is the mainly guilty party in my Hall of Lame I’m sorry gifts post.

Let me give you a quick profile. Thirty years old, small southern accent, works in the food industry and I met him in a bar that he managed. Super polite to everyone, but you’d never peg him as a huge ladies man. Initially perceived as a very sweet and nice guy that was raised to be a gentleman.

On top of being a liar, he is also guilty of gaslighting. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to an asshole who does something warranting a rather negative reaction. If said reaction makes them unhappy, they feebly attempt to make you feel bad about it. Gaslighting aims to make victims doubt their own perceptions and feel guilt.

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For those that need a more substantial example let’s say Mr. Charmer practically BEGS you to be exclusive with him, and as soon as you decide to not use your charm, sass, and boobs to get drinks and flings with other guys, his list of highly questionable actions start piling up. The sequence of events is as follows.

1. Charmer decides to bring me and my girlfriend to a friend’s house after meeting up with several people at a bar. Call it an after-party of sorts where I am meeting his friends for the first time. More people come to the house, including his friend of the female variety who I had met a few weeks previous. I met her, she met me, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries before he privately explained to me that they had never hooked up… ever. She comes in and I smile, and I am met with a look of drunken disdain. Girl was throwing shade like Regina George.

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Oh well, hello to you to. Well I brush it off since I’m in a 4loko haze and there’s the sweetest dog at the party that I’d rather hang out with anyways. My next question is why Charmer and this bitch are in the bathroom for an hour? I guess Charmer didn’t let his friends in on his manipulations, because it’s one of them who told me the truth about the two having previously dated.

Charmer spends the next 30 mins wondering why I’m not going anywhere near him and why I’m leaving the party. He insists they were “just talking” and for the next few weeks, continues to tell me nothing happened.

2. Then comes the actual sleeping with this girl, while we’re supposedly exclusive. I find out from her, not him. In fact he goes a few weeks without telling me. She also confirms my suspicions on the bathroom incident and when I bring it up, Charmer claims he really did not think anything happened, and that he didn’t find out the truth until a few days later. Apparently, he was really just THAT drunk.

3. He begs to be let back into my life. He actually wants to be my BOYFRIEND. He decides it’s worth cutting all ties with her even when I refuse to stop seeing other guys.

4. For a few months, he’s attempting to win me back, and in some cases it’s working. I refuse to be completely exclusive, but I rarely have time to spend with anyone else. I don’t think I can handle him talking to her again and he tells me he won’t. He tells me I’m the first girl he loves and that I’m the one. I take it with a grain of salt, even if I secretly wish he was being honest. I make it clear that any evidence that he’s speaking to her and I walk out the door.

5. I find out that he’s been texting her behind my back. BIG SURPRISE. I give him up.

6. He starts sending me I’m sorry gifts when I move to Boston.

7. I blog about it.

 

It wasn’t until yesterday that he discovered my blog post. The reaction to me calling his gifts pathetic and selfish set the following conversation into motion:

Charmer: I’m not sending you anything in the mail. I’m not trying to make you a true piece of artwork that I try really hard on and have it mocked on your blog. Maybe later when you think I’m no longer sending you “I’m Sorry” presents. Those were things to just make you smile and start your day off with a hit. I said I’m sorry, I don’t need to give you gifts for that.

Me: I dislike getting your gifts because every nice thing you do for me is in some way for you to feel less bad about what you did. Did you ever try to make me smile when it wasn’t after you did something horrible to me? No. The first nice thing you did for me was after the bathroom incident. The second? After you slept with her. Sending me the flowers? After you texted her. While we were together? Nothing.

Charmer: I’m trying to show you that I care.

Me: So you didn’t care for me when everything was fine and I wasn’t halfway walking out on you? You should’ve showed me you cared by NOT lying to me. I guess buying me flowers is a lot easier.

The conversation becomes circular. He keeps claiming he loves me and cares for me, while I start getting furious. I just want him to stop the word vomit! I hate word vomit… especially when it’s of the bullshit variety.

Charmer: I didn’t realize the damage I was causing when I did those things.

Me: Are you stupid?

And the gaslighting begins.

Charmer: Conversation is over if you’re going to start calling me stupid. I wish you could believe me when I tell you that I loved and cared for you but I know everything I did counters that.

Me: You lied to me? That’s stupid. You’re stupid because you did the one thing I said would result in me leaving and then bellyache about losing me. A stupid person counter acts what they want.

Charmer: Have a good night.

BUT ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t end there. The gaslighting continues.

Charmer: I ask you not to call me stupid in this conversation and you do the opposite. I’ll talk to you all night and day about what happened to us but I’m not going to be talked down in this manner.

Me: If you don’t want to be a liar, don’t lie. If you don’t want to be a cheater, don’t cheat. If you don’t want to be called stupid…. you can get the idea. And I wonder how it feels when someone that supposedly cares for you does the exact opposite of what you ask…. hmm…

 

GASLIGHTING: Blaming me for calling you stupid… when stupid is as stupid does.

 

 

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Attempting to Appreciate “I’m Sorry” gifts

I’m twenty-three, flirty, and swimming in “I’m sorry” gifts. What is my life?

What makes men feel pangs of guilt, so much so, that they have to go to the confessional that is 1-800-flowers and confess their crimes with roses, sunflowers, and baby’s breath? Even a better question, what is it about ME that makes them do this? I guess I just make men feel like bumbling, crying, regret ridden, Romeo wannabees.

An inventory of pathetic apologies in the past 4 months:

  • 1 edible arrangement. Contained chocolate covered strawberries which I guess says “I’m sorry” better than chocolate covered bananas.
  • 1 box of a dozen gourmet cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Funfetti puts the FUN in apologies I guess. Oh wait, there is no fun in apologies? My mistake.
  • 2 “I’m sorry” and “I miss you” hallmark cards.
  • 1 rose and lily arrangement in a square glass vase, with an overly dramatic card.
  • 1 bouquet of roses, sunflowers, and daisies in a glass vase, with a quote about how life starts all over again when it gets crisp in Fall blah blah blah.

I would like to add, that these gifts are from more than one sad man looking for my forgiveness. It can safely be assumed, that more than one idiot thinks that the “get out your wallet and get her stuff” tactic works.

Not only does all of this just add unwanted fat to my hips and mismatching glass vases to my home decor, this makes me shake my head and want to blog about how “I’m sorry” gifts sent by a scary tattooed delivery man is NEVER what a girl wants…. EVER. But, as the title of this post points out, I will attempt to appreciate these showerings of patheticness by listing the pros to the aforementioned gifts above.

I will never have to look for a vase again. On the rare occasion that I ever decide to buy flowers for myself, I will have a nice variety of vases to choose from. Glass vases are typically few and far between when you live with three roommates, two of them being guys.

All the Vitamin C I must have consumed from the Edible Arrangement. I did not get sick at all that week…

All the happy friends that I shared the goods with. I’m a sharer, even when it comes to sharing apologies.

Now, I’m not a heartless bitch that hates all things beautiful, perfumed, and sent with yours truly mind. Here are the reasons why I can’t stand apologies purchased online and sent by strangers.

The Cards. You might as well have tweeted me an apology. You can only fit about 160 characters on cards that accompany gifts, making the content overly dramatic. One card I received started with “You are the most incredible woman I have ever met.” I’d like to point out that I just met this now sniveling gentleman about 4 weeks ago. It also made me think of this Socratic inquiry: If I was so incredible, why are these guys dropping the ball so much? So, I’d like to point out ladies, that you should never take the message on these cards to be truth.

Materialism. My forgiveness CANNOT be bought with your credit card and SOMEONE ELSE’S sweat into making a beautiful arrangement.

Embarrassment. One arrangement arrived when I was sitting in a meeting with a client in my office. What first started as “ooohs and ahhhs” of envy, turned into voices of awkwardness as she found out they were “I’m sorry for being an asshole and yelling at you” flowers. I pictured her asking “Who’s the admirer?” and then a second later “Who’s the jackass?” The embarrassment was not due to the timing of the delivery, but having to explain the reason for the delivery. None of the guys were just thinking of me, they just didn’t want me to ignore them anymore.

The Motive. I’d like to make this clear Ladies.There is a motive behind these gifts and it has nothing to do with making YOU feel better. It’s about making THEM feel better. This is their attempt to end the silence or their tenure on the couch. In the mind of men it’s a simple equation:

Gift = Forgiveness = I’m not in the dog house anymore = I get laid = I forgot what I did

which leads me to….

Lessons not Learned. Humans can be conditioned, and this jackass was just conditioned to learn that “I’m Sorry” gifts will bring it all back to the status quo. Will he never do that again? Probably not, as long as he has some money in his wallet.

Therefore I’d like to end this post with something all women can agree on. Whether you share my opinion on “I’m sorry” gifts or not, gifts sent “just because” are more appreciated and will reap both him and her more rewards.

HALL OF LAME

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