After pouring herself a glass of champagne and pressing record, Dana Pizzarelli prepared for a serious confrontation.
“Caught my boyfriend of six years in a restaurant getting food with another girl today, so I confronted him. Enjoy,” she wrote in her TikTok video, which has now gone viral with 3.7 million likes and 18.6 million views.
In the clip, Pizzarelli asked her boyfriend if he had eaten yet today. He said yes, but didn’t mention this other person — so she did.
“Who wanted to go there? Hailey?” she said.
When he asked what she was talking about, she pressed him further.
“What are you talking about …. I don’t know which one of your friends you’re listening to but no,” he replied.
At that point, Pizzarelli became more agitated, but she didn’t waver.
“This has nothing to do with any of my friends … as if I did not literally see you there today,” she said, standing her ground in her certainty.
“You definitely didn’t,” he said.
She walked away, still sipping her champagne.
“You can go f*** yourself, honestly,” she said. That’s where the video ends.
What is gaslighting?
Commenters were quick to identify her boyfriend’s behavior — namely, when he denied something she saw with her own eyes — as gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation in which someone tries to get another person or group of people to question their own reality or perceptions.
“Gaslighting at its finest,” one user said.
“My blood is boiling, why do men think its normal to gaslight? It’s a psychological problem for sure,” another wrote.
“Calmly lying on camera means he’s done it many times before. Glad you finally caught it,” a third replied.
“I love the energy. The champagne, the contemplation, the calmness,” a fourth responded.
Pizzarelli’s audience was riled up in response to her post, with some even admitting that they were dealing with a similar situation at that time and not even realizing it was bad.
Here’s the thing, though — the video is not real.
Does it even matter if this video isn’t real?
Pizzarelli told In The Know that even though a similar thing happened to her in the past, this was just a skit. Her boyfriend wasn’t cheating on her — in fact, he was on board with the whole thing and acted with her.
“The situation was authentic, but the video was not,” she said. “I’m glad the video was able to help a lot of women and men in learning about what gaslighting is too.”
When the video blew up, she didn’t even consider removing it. She called her boyfriend a “good man” and said he was a “great sport for taking the heat of the internet.”
“It would be insane to take it down when there could be someone out there who’s in a similar situation that may be able to see it from out of their box,” she said. “Skit or not, I’m glad I raised awareness and could do something positive with that experience.”
What do experts say we can learn from this video?
Experts said Pizzarelli did a good job confronting her boyfriend in the skit.
“I believe this woman did handle the confrontation well. She was assertive, no threats … or ‘low road’ behaviors. Clear, honest,” Nancy B. Irwin, a clinical psychologist, told In The Know.
She said the cure for gaslighting is transparency, and that works both ways. The next step is holding the gaslighter accountable for their actions.
Chloe Ballatore, a relationship expert who teaches consciousness training, agreed that this is gaslighting — but noted that it could have been a lot worse.
“Gaslighting is almost more dangerous when it is more subtle and insidious,” she said. “You have to be very convicted in your own feelings and instincts to stand up to a gaslighter.”
She said that women are taught to muffle their instincts and act as if everything is fine all the time.
“We are taught to suppress our feelings. Thus, when a boyfriend tells us we’re crazy, it’s easy to get talked out of what we know,” she explained.
Dr. Candace V. Love, a clinical psychologist at North Shore Behavioral Medicine in Chicago, said this wasn’t gaslighting at all — just “a guy denying that he got caught just like guys usually do.”
“Gaslighting is more involved and strategic than just one dishonest incident,” she told In The Know. “It’s a pattern of not lying because you got caught, but by a systemic pattern of trying to make you doubt yourself and believe that you’re crazy.”
Whether this particular fictional incident was an example of gaslighting or just general bad behavior, it has left TikTok users inspired to stand up for the truth — and that’s never a bad thing.
if you enjoyed this story, check out how a woman caught her boyfriend cheating with a Snapchat photo.
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