Using ChatGPT to Identify Emotionally Abusive Behaviour from WhatsApp Messages

This is not strictly related to adoption, but it is related to my mental health breakdown that occurred to my perceived emotional abuse from my birth mother.

I am one of those people that will be kept up at night by random thoughts, and this is where this idea came from.

One of the issues I have experienced is self-doubt, anger, frustration, and general anxiety, due to my birth mother refusing to acknowledge her behaviour or show remorse.

Back in 2021, when I started to experience these issues, no one seemed to be on my side, I was told, “all families are like” this and “but they are your family” as if it magically makes disrespectful and abusive behaviour OK.

I think this significantly contributed to my mental breakdown because it made me feel like I was genuinely losing my mind. There was constant self-doubt wondering if it was all in my head.

Over time, more evidence has mounted that it is not just me. My brother slowly revealed things, and I now know he hates my birth mother and agrees that she is an emotionally abusive narcissist.

There seems to be a long list of people that hate or dislike her, or people that she hates/dislikes. Even her best friend confirmed how they have a massive fallout every couple of years and how my birth mother likes to dish out the silent treatment. She even did it just before our reunion, so her best friend, that has supported her throughout the reunification process, had to find out from a third party and then be the one to make amends with my birth mother.

Even though there is a lot of evidence to suggest I am right, it is still incredibly frustrating and aggravating that she is going around acting like she is loving life with her new travelling lifestyle (I don’t want to reveal specifics). Here I am, still in therapy after a year and still playing over these past events.

I am also led to believe she has basically been implying that the relationship broke down because I am too mentally ill.

So, what kept me up last night was the idea of running our WhatsApp messages through ChatGPT and seeing if it could identify abusive behaviour that would back up my claims.

My logic was that it has no biased towards my birth mother or me, it’s not like my therapist or friends reassuring me or her flying monkeys agreeing to everything she says.

Did Using ChatGPT to Identify Emotionally Abusive Behaviour Work?

Unfortunately, it didn’t work quite as well as I wanted. The main issue is the amount of information you can provide ChatGPT. I have three years’ worth of messages. ChatGPT will ask you to break it down into chunks, and it can use data from past chunks as part of the analysis but not as much data as I wanted.

I found a useful tool called ChatGPT Splitter that breaks down the content into chunks and gives ChatGPT a prompt to remember the data. However, when I used it, it clearly wasn’t using all the information I provided.

I, therefore, resorted to using the messages from 2023 only. I more or less went no contact from March, so it is only three months of messages.

ChatGPT Emotional Abuse Analysis Result

Replaced names with Adoptee, Birth Mother and Sister.

Based on the provided text, here’s an analysis of the interactions:

  1. Nature of Relationship: The conversation is between Birth Mother and Adoptee. Birth Mother is Adoptee’s mother, and they seem to have a recently rekindled relationship. The conversation also frequently mentions Sister, who appears to be Adoptee’s sister and Birth Mother’s daughter.
  2. Main Themes: The conversation revolves around several themes:
    • Personal Health and Activities: Both discuss their running routines, health issues, and personal activities.
    • Family Dynamics: There’s evident tension between Adoptee and Sister. Adoptee feels neglected and disrespected by Sister, leading to strained relations.
    • Emotional and Mental Health: Adoptee mentions undergoing therapy, struggling with mental health, and having ADHD. He also talks about the stress from his work and a friend’s suicidal tendencies.
    • Life Changes: Birth Mother mentions selling her house and her relationship status changes.
  3. Potential Abusive Behaviour:
    • Dismissiveness: Adoptee feels that his emotions and concerns have been dismissed by his family, particularly by Sister. He mentions feeling disrespected and not being heard.
    • Emotional Manipulation: Adoptee feels trapped in a cycle of emotional manipulation with Sister, leading to deteriorating mental health.
    • Boundary Issues: Adoptee tries to set boundaries for his own mental well-being, but there’s pushback or misunderstanding from Birth Mother.
    • Accusations: Birth Mother accuses Adoptee of being rude and suggests he should be embarrassed by his behaviour. Adoptee mentions past accusations of being abusive.
    • Gaslighting: There are hints of gaslighting, where Adoptee’s feelings or perceptions are downplayed or invalidated. For instance, Birth Mother mentions they didn’t “know” Adoptee properly before and that it was always going to be a bumpy ride, potentially minimizing his feelings.
  4. Positive Interactions:
    • Support and Concern: Both show concern for each other’s well-being. Birth Mother frequently checks in on Adoptee’s running, health, and work. Adoptee inquiries about Birth Mother’s health and her best friends medical condition.
    • Reconciliation Efforts: Despite the tension, there are efforts to reconcile and understand each other. Birth Mother acknowledges the need to understand Adoptee better, and Adoptee appreciates Birth Mother’s attempts to change.
  5. Neutral Observations:
    • Communication Gaps: There are evident communication gaps, misunderstandings, and missed expectations, especially regarding plans and commitments.
    • Life Updates: Both share updates about their lives, including work, personal projects, and relationships.

Conclusion: The conversation reveals a complex relationship with elements of tension, misunderstanding, and attempts at reconciliation. While there are instances that could be considered emotionally abusive or manipulative, there are also genuine efforts to understand and support each other. The dynamics suggest a family trying to navigate past traumas and misunderstandings while rebuilding their relationships.


It was an interesting experiment but not quite the result I wanted. Obviously, ChatGPT doesn’t understand the full context of what has happened, nor can it understand the nuances of how a narcissist behaves.

However, it did an OK job of summarising our interactions, and it identified “hints of gaslighting”. The hints of gaslighting bit is interesting because it is correctly identifying gaslighting behaviour used by my birth mother. It isn’t picking out text where I literally tell her my issues with our relationship.

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