We share the same pattern. Reading this made me cry. Its comforting to know I am not some deeply flawed, lone individual. I am so sick of what I do but I have such a hard time figuring out why it is I do it. I realize now that I’ve been doing this since I was young. It’s hard to “fix” behaviors that are so instilled in you…

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Thank you for this, I had no idea how to put the way I feel into words and you did it!

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Wow. I have the same issue since I was a little girl, but I could’ve never describe my emotions in these situations better than you. Thank you for these amazing words. Last few months I’m really trying to work on it. I always ask myself: Is this what I really want? Act like I don’t care so my partner doesn’t even know what is up with me? No. I want to tell him how I feel so we can share it with ourselves and discuss it together. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it does not. Also communication is the key, so I explained this pattern to my bf and I told him what to do in these situations.. that it helps when he asks me whats wrong few more times or when he’s just there for me and doesn’t go away. Maybe it’ll help someone:)

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This is a fantastic piece. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience because IT RESONATED.

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Ur piece is rich.

I love that end note.

Thank you for your impressively intimate insights

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The version of myself that existed in late 2019 resonates with all of this, stonewalling was my instant response to conflict with my partner because I didn't know any other way. In response to "can we change our patterns?" I would say absolutely, speaking from personal experience at least, I've found a good place to start is building up a healthy relationship with myself and really committing to showing myself compassion for my behaviours while also recognizing that they're not serving me well in my life or the people around me. This is, of course, easier said than done and it was a scary step to try and show myself the love and safety I craved from others but for me it has really worked and has improved my mental wellbeing as well as fostered a stable connection within my romantic relationship. In relation to the end of this essay and some behaviours feeling inauthentic and like acting, from my experience telling someone you miss them while also expressing your hurt can feel more authentic since it may express all parts of what you're feeling in the moment, and in my experience saying I'm fine when I'm not feels much more like inauthentic acting. I hope anyone experiencing this can find the safety and love they need, doing this introspective work is very brave, well done x

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Thank you so much for sharing. It is incredibly relatable.

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I am familiar with becoming conscious of behaviors I desperately wanted to change. But that's the first step; the awareness that it's not comfortable and must change. Then, and only after that first step, I got better at catching myself in the act, in the moment. I was able to stop, but damnit, it didn't feel like me. Why not?

Of course it has to do with embracing and internalizing the new way of thinking and acting. It's going to feel weird at first. But persist. This is the new you. The new you is clearly not phony, just new. Observe the results. We hear the phrase 'fake it till you make it'. I used to hate that advice, but I've tried it and it works. Really we are not actually faking anything; we are experimenting and trying. Be patient and persist. After a while it will feel natural. Enjoy the new you. Be gentle with yourself

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I feel like this is a different issue from gaslighting though...

I was in this position a lot with my ex partner, and he told me that it was gaslighting because after days and days of saying "I'm fine" I would finally blow up. He told me that he would go about his day thinking nothing is wrong and feel blindsided when I eventually told him how upset I was...so, in his mind, I was gaslighting him because his reality was different from mine.

But from my perspective, I really do not feel it was...I think inattentive partners tend to force us into this narrative that this is gaslighting to add more blame to your side only. I wasn't creating a false reality for him, he was choosing to ignore major issues and his behaviours that he knew were upsetting, and hurtful, but he continued to do them and I was not allowed to say anything about it.

My ex was emotionally abusive, and if I ever expressed feelings, or told him something he did hurt me, he would get very angry and it was scary. I was often left with the options of pretending I was fine (though I clearly am not), or I could get yelled at for opening up and telling him what was upsetting me.

It was easier to get by in the relationship if I kept my mouth shut, because talking about feelings was never welcomed or allowed.

Because he would get very angry with me if I had feelings, I got used to operating in this "I'm fine" behaviour and like this comic, resenting him for going to bed knowing I actually am not.

I think I would mainly get angry because he should know better than to treat me in certain ways and then be fine with silencing me, as well as being fine with me silencing myself. In my mind, he should have full well known that what he did was wrong and it is really mean to just go to bed when I am crying saying "I'm fine", I am clearly not, and your partner should be concerned and want to be there for you if you are clearly not fine.

The fact that he was ok with going to bed knowing I was upset, showed that he was ignoring a reality, I wasn't setting him up to question one and I wasn't pasteing one over his perseption.

I think that most times in this situation, people do this because they are not comfortable talking to their partner and then the resent of them going to bed comes from wishing they were attentive enough to know you aren't ok and wishing they would actually care about you.

In a healthy relationship the person would know you well enough to know that you aren't ok. They would open up a healthy environment where they offer you time to get back to them about what is upsetting and they would tend to your needs. They would know you were upset by your body language, facial expressions, stims etc.

I am in a healthy relationship like that now and I have never felt the need to "I'm fine" him. He instantly knows something is on my mind if I tap my foot in a certain way, or make a certain face. If he sees I am not fine, he will ask if I am ok, but he already knows the answer regardless of what I potentially say, and he cares about making sure to get to the bottom of what's on my mind.

If I am clearly not ok but try to push through, he stops me lovingly and asks me to (when I am ready) communicate what is wrong. I am comfortable enough to know that I am allowed to have feelings in this relationship, that he will respond only with care, and most of all, it is SAFE to express my feelings once I am ready to do so (sometimes I need some time being mute and processing before I can speak).

I guess my point is that most of the time people get stuck doing the "I'm fine" thing, it really comes from not feeling safe enough to answer honestly, in a dynamic solidified by an innatentive partner.

Maybe this only applys to those in abusive relationships, I don't know, but I don't think it is fair to be pushed into a position, then be called a gaslighter for trying to do the only thing that will not cause conflict in the moment.

With my ex, even if I would say "I'm fine, but I'd like to talk about it in the morning" when morning came, he would say "your not over that yet?!" So talking about it after I am calmer wasn't an option either. Feelings would repeatedly get dissmised and that would only cause more pain that I then would not be allowed to talk about. By the time I explode, I am then accused of gaslighting.

It just feels like this is an easy way for abusers to blame you for them being innatentive and uncaring. So, this comic made me feel bad for anyone that has been in a situation similar to mine. They are probably already blaming themselves, not only for the abuse they endured, but now for gaslighting as well, having their abusers words sort of backed up.

I think it needs to be stated that these situations are not gaslighting...from my point of view anyway.

It feels more like the abuser is trying to create a false reality where they are now the victim, by making the "I'm fine" person believe that they're being abusive and gaslighty...which is total gaslighting...

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I feel so seen in this post. I am currently working with my therapist on ways to open up and be honest with my partner about my needs and my feelings in moments where I just want her to magically know with out me telling her. I am constantly hurting my own feelings by just not saying what I need, but I am trying so hard to change my patterns.

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We can change our patterns. The root cause of that behavior in me was putting how I valued myself so low that I thought I needed it from others. I just needed it from myself.

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reading this felt like looking in a mirror. thank you

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I feel so valid- thank you for this

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Thank you for sharing this, it resonates so much. I am probably going to lose my partner because of this behaviour and it hurst beyond belief to reslise what i have been doing to us. I hope I change this part of me for the better, its hard to unwind these toxic patterns set down over years.

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When I first came across the term gaslighting, I started finding its presence in others. My ignorance didn't let me see how I gaslight myself all the time. When I finally saw that, I was shocked and amused at my own ignorance.

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Thank you for this. I am currently in a relationship with someone who gaslights like this, and I am trying to understand them. This was super helpful.

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