WARNING: The Bachelorette spoilers ahead.
Another night of The Bachelorette, another night where the annoyingly invincible Luke P. gets a rose by the skin of his teeth.
Somehow, Luke P. truly brought the emotional manipulation tactics to new levels in last night’s episode. The episode started with my favorite date so far, where Hannah and Garrett went bungee jumping naked (side note: I am very skeptical that this is actually a Latvian tradition). Human wet blanket Luke P. then questions Hannah over the date, saying, “I know that your body is a temple, and, honestly, I’m just thinking of you holding him bare-skinned, and I’m just thinking in my mind—it really pissed me off.”
Then, after Hannah has processed what Luke P. said, she goes back to talk about it with him. This is when it all gets very gaslight-y. If you don’t know, gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse and manipulation that essentially leaves the victim doubting their own sanity. Time after time, Luke P. displays signs of trying to gaslight Hannah into questioning what she thinks.
He totally lies about what he said
When Hannah talks with Luke P. the second time, he boldly tells Hannah that he “did not question your character for one second.”
Except he definitely did. Earlier on in the episode, he uses phrases like “boneheaded mistake” and suggested that Hannah would “do something completely out of your character and something that’s wrong” to reinforce that he’s upset about Hannah’s choice to go naked bungee jumping with Garrett (I mean, he literally says that he’s “frustrated” and “pissed”). He even whacked out the ol’ “body is a temple” line, in case you had any doubts that admitted former-fuckboy Luke P. slut-shames women.
He implies Hannah is the one manipulating him
Then when Hannah challenges him over the “bonehead” comments, he says, “I don’t want to say you’re twisting my words.” Well, he may not want to say it, but he pretty much is. Hannah is pretty much quoting him verbatim—the word-twisting is all Luke P.
He completely tries to change the context of what he said
Another part of when Luke P. first confronts Hannah about the bungee jumping is the comment, “I’m looking for you to meet my family soon and I felt like it was a slap in the face.” When Hannah brings it up later, Luke P. claims that he wasn’t even talking about the nude jump despite the fact that, ya know, that’s what their entire conversation was about.
Then, when Hannah presses the issue, Luke replies, “If I said that, I didn’t mean it. I want you to be confident and excited to meet my family”—completely denying his earlier apprehensions.
He hits her with a ton of romantic lines
According to Psychology Today, positive reinforcement is a key part of a gaslighter’s manipulation as it essentially makes you think, “Ah, they’re not so bad after all!” In Luke P.’s case, it’s telling Hannah things like, “I have full trust in you and that you will make the right decisions” even though his behavior suggests completely the opposite.
He claims Hannah misunderstood him
In the worst apology ever, Luke P. says, “I’m sorry I was misunderstood.” That’s basically putting most of the blame of their argument on Hannah for misunderstanding him, deflecting any responsibility for the hurtful words he said.
He says that Hannah forgot what he said
In a line straight out of the gaslighter’s handbook, Luke P. questions Hannah’s memory by saying, “I don’t know if you totally remember everything I said.” Well, thank god Hulu has the rewind option so I don’t have to second-guess my own recollection, because no, Luke, she does remember.
If any of this sounds like a relationship that you’re in, know that there’s a lot of support out there and that you don’t deserve it. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line or the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.
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