gas·light /ˈɡaslīt/ verb
- manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Yep,… it’s been the biggest battle I’ve had to fight. Am I crazy? Should I say something or keep quiet? Am I doing too much? Is it wrong to feel the way I feel? That’s one of the ways the enemy has stolen from me. Making me second guess how I feel then having me looking to the people around me for their approval.
It’s been by far my most challenging fight in the area of my mental health. When I was a kid I was made to feel like I was strange because of some of the most minor things. Like literally down to my fashion choices. I would get mocked when I picked out a pair of shoes or a jacket I liked. Needless to say I questioned myself a lot. Growing up when people said things to me and the energy they said it to me was mean spirited and it hurt my feelings- but then they followed up (the snarky comment) with a hug or a ” You know I’m only saying this because I love you,”….I wrestled inwardly.
How could what they were saying and doing have so much incongruence? Growing up a preacher’s kid we were taught to see the good in everything. My parents were always such nice people and that was hard to process because a lot of the people they were nice to (in my opinion) weren’t reciprocating nice back. So yeah,… that was always a problem for me because I often didn’t see anything good in the people mistreating me, my family or anyone else. So being excused from accountability or the consequences for narcissistic type people didn’t sit well with me. Not while I along with everyone else was supposed to be okay with it. You mean I was supposed to say nothing about the way it impacted me? That was hard as a kid and is even harder now. But I’m becoming wiser. I’m learning not to cast my pearls before swine. I’m learning that self absorbed people don’t care how you feel anyway. Not like a normal person. They don’t care about how their actions effect others so gaslighting is one of their many manipulative tools. It’s the way they get around in life. And no matter how much they say they do- they don’t care. That’s the whole reason they are so scary to me because they want you to question your sanity. So they do disrespectful things to you and say “But aren’t you a Christian?” “That’s not the intent!” “You’re overreacting,.. that’s not a big deal!” “Get over it!” All the while they want you to abandon yourself and your needs to accommodate them and the way they think. I feel for you if you’re in a family that gaslights you to accommodate someone else’s bad behavior. I empathize with you if you’re in a relationship with people who treat you like your feelings aren’t valid. Cause yeah – take it from me- Gaslighting literally makes you question yourself. It made me doubt myself. Was I carnal, wicked, not Christlike because I don’t want to be a doormat? Was I supposed to sit there and act like it wasn’t harmful to my mental health when people wanted me to consider them but they didn’t consider me? They want loyalty from you but don’t give you loyalty. They want sincerity from you but they don’t have a sincere bone in their body. SMH 🤦🏽♀️
Well, one things for sure and two things for certain, it wasn’t an easy path healing from the sneaky, hidden abuse of a system that excuses narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths. It’s still a challenge! The encouragement I can share with anyone who this resonates with is that over time, it gets easier to hold onto yourself in a room of people who validate nonsense.
Can we talk about that for a little? How crazy it is how so many people go along with and side with and validate narcissistic people and their bad behavior while gaslighting the reasonable emotionally self aware people. Unfortunately, it seems in many systems like church, family, school, friend circles, workplace environments; the easiest way to deal with the “emotionally unwell elephant in the room” is to keep the worse behaved individuals in the room happy. Sick right!? But this is what they do. Keep the toxic person happy even if it means turning a blind eye to the abuse and neglecting the safety and emotional needs of those who are actually in need of support. So sad.
Moving forward we will always be confronted with new opportunities to see where we are in our growth journey. We can choose to respond or react. We can make intentional decisions on who and what we give our energy to. At the end of the day, I am more and more aware of what kind of people I feel safe with and that’s where I put my attention. When it comes to low vibrational energy – it’s a no for me. I pray those individuals who enjoy enabling toxic people heal from their trauma bond sooner than later because they will eventually have to learn when their own karma visits them.
I’ll end with the words of one of my favorite artist, “Don’t hurt your feelings trying to hurt mine.” K. Michelle
Sherry Grant copyright © 2022