What is breadcrumbing?
While ghosting has always ruled the land of bad dating behavior, breadcrumbing is starting to take the reign. So, what is breadcrumbing exactly? Breadcrumbing is the act of leading a person on by leaving a trail of interest and intrigue but never developing the communication beyond a surface level of engagement. A few examples include, texting or reaching out but doesn’t commit to spending quality time together, only interested in sexual endeavours, and unreliable and avoidant in their communication.
“It’s important to set your boundaries from the beginning and identify that you are deserving of balanced and genuine attention.”
Whenever a potential partner doesn’t show a secure communication style it can weigh heavy on the heart, and while ghosting can be disappointing, it’s an end point that can help with achieving closure. The act of breadcrumbing can have damaging consequences that last way beyond the time of a courtship. It’s important to identify this type of dating conduct from the get-go, as it’s as rare as The Hope Diamond that the behavior will adapt over time. It’s important to set your boundaries from the beginning and identify that you are deserving of balanced and genuine attention.
What is gaslighting?
What can start as breadcrumbing can quickly develop into gaslighting which is the act of psychological abuse where an individual manipulates a person and gets them to question or doubt their memories, thoughts, and situations around them. A devious power play, gaslighting can happen to the best of us and we may not even see what’s happening to us until the act has already occurred. Gaslighting can unfold in many forms, such as the offender minimizing your feelings, making you question your memory, name calling, and deflecting all together. This can play out when they lie about how events occured, suggesting your feelings are wrong, and repeatedly suggesting how lucky you are to be with them. The abuser looks to make the other question and doubt their own feelings, lose confidence and self-esteem, and spin their own strategy to put their partner in a perpetual state of weakness.
Once you begin to identify these damaging tactics it’s important to take small steps to combat such behavior. Start to document all these interactions by detailing the event: how it unfolded and what was said (even writing a few bullet points can be helpful). By taking notes immediately following the altercation it will help minimize the chances one can be talked out of their feelings by the perpetrator. Looking back on these records of events will help the victim to see negative and harmful patterns unfold over a period of time. It won’t just be one-off negative interactions but an unhealthy dynamic. Often gaslighters get a thrill by winning and by not engaging in combative interaction they can easily lose interest.