I wanted to introduce you to the term gaslighting. Problem is I’m really unclear on the concept. Basic definition I’ve been able to come up with is manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Well the story I would like to tell isn’t very black & white, but is a case of manipulation. And unfortunately it does involve The Hustler over the years he does have the tendency to bring up (or even have me further explain or retell) long ago events. For example remember I told a basic story about what happened with his favored company “Finer Foods“? Well after his attempts to get me there failed and I had moved onto other opportunities, he wants me to again explain what happened with that two years later!
So anyway one thing that I’ve only recently realized about The Hustler is that he’s picked up from me a weakness rich environment. He sought it out because why, he had an agenda he needed something and found someone from whom he could get something (ca$h money). Well he was looking for most of the summer when he first started “The Show” and found his weakness to exploit. Socially I just wasn’t doing very well up there, and yours truly was becoming more and more of a joke.
He decides to get involved regardless of whether or not I want him to or not. Besides according to Anthony one time years later, all I had been doing was fighting myself. I literally had no one and it was on him to take me under his wing. In his mind, I needed him to come in. See as I’ve had to learn later, he decided to write the story and I never really did at least until recently once I left the theater.
So anyway Henry wanted me to go to a party with his clique. Anthony got wind of it and pulled me aside to warn me not to go to that party. The social environment at the theater led to me getting a vulgar name which strangely enough I had accepted as my own joke. The Hustler wanted me to let the name go and had no issue letting me know I need to stop this and he’ll do this publicly. It took a while for others to respect that and others still wouldn’t so I’d have an uphill battle.
Now let me set this up for you. Anthony started off our work relationship not very well. Not long after he starts what offended me most was him having his hand out quickly after I just met him (“I need to borrow some money from you”, he says). So for a good part of this summer I avoided him but that didn’t deter him. All the sudden he had an interest in me, he may keep his distance but he still needs to speak to me every now and then.
Well anyway, I needed some convincing from Henry’s crew to go to this party. They convinced me I went to the party and was uncomfortable I was going against Anthony’s orders. And one member of the crew belatedly told me that he had no right to tell me who I can or can’t associate with. Regardless, I was between two opposed groups or better yet one opposed group and one individual who’s got a goal only he knows about. It was about me and what I had and it might have been about conflict because I would know him to be volatile.
I also learned years later that Anthony really didn’t like Henry – even if like a virus he connected with him at some point on facebook. And as it happens The Hustler uses facebook to gather intelligence, he looks at some of Henry’s posts and sees a man with issues. One time I outright had to tell him to get out of that man’s business! I had no interest in really discussing it.
So anyway back to this party. One thing of note that Anthony had decided to use as a weapon was the knowledge that there was a girl at the party who was heavily intoxicated (she had an illegal substance in her system). He got wind of a pic with me and that girl and I was uncomfortable in it. This was not the face of an excited man, however, I was at that party.
Once Anthony found out I went to that party he pulled me aside and let me know I will be the world’s biggest embarrassment. He wanted to depress the hell out of me and it worked, but again I had my own issues with him at that point. Did I really need to listen to that man? So once he found out about this pic he really wanted me to have a copy of it, so he can see it himself. As far as I know he’s never seen it, but he sure had little issue talking about it.
I was told by Henry later that The Hustler wanted to end his weird campaign against him and made reference to the party. He especially mentioned the pic of that girl with me, and suggested that “He had that girl and he didn’t f#ck her”. Great tip but wasn’t yet sure what to do with it, but it should’ve told me everything I needed to know about him. Still I was on Planet Hustle….
It was just about two years later when he decides to start bringing it up again. He wants me to explain what happened with that girl. I told him the story, she was on something and that’s why nothing happened. Bad news is that he was just getting started keeping this alive and he’d find a way to keep asking this question. I’d have to keep explaining the same thing over and over again with him as if what I said didn’t matter. And he did outright ask why I never did anything with her. Same answer she was intoxicated what was I supposed to do with her….
I feel some of this was triggered by me lingering feelings about D.B. the previous year I went through something with that character. Of course since I’m weakness rich, years later Anthony begins to start asserting that drama in conversation years after he expressed irritation with me for bringing that troubled individual up. He flips the switch and goes on full petty!
One pretty flagrant shot about this party happened one time at work. I somehow got onto the subject of my mother and I going to a local casino to eat at the buffet. I probably said it’s rare that I go anywhere without my mother. “Yeah I know you don’t” he says.
“Why you say that?”
‘Because the last time you did, you went to that party with those people who kept calling you that [vulgar] name! Now, where’d you go?”
After that I won’t tell him. He insists on telling me that “I told you not to go to that party”. I acknowledge, however, I refused to keep that conversation going. He was trying to say don’t be upset and then keep it moving. I kept it moving my way and just said nothing else. After that time he never brought this up again, he just found other weaknesses to exploit for his own gain!
See if I’m only now trying to write my rules of no engagement, he’s given me many reasons to push him away. And he once chided me on that too and thanks to the quirks of my personality he sometimes admonishes me for those also. I’ve accepted his quirks for far too long with the lopsided aspects of that “friendship”. I have to adjust to him, but overtime he failed to adjust to me and expects on request a small cash infusion.
What I finally have to realize is that the man is troubled. Perhaps I don’t need to really devote much time to how he got this way or even why. Still I now realize something is legitimately wrong with him and I’m kicking myself for letting this fake charade continue. At the end of the day I know I’ve called him a sociopath among other things, though to keep it simple The Hustler is nothing more than a user.