I was doing some research online tonight and I ran across an article posted by The National Domestic Violence Hotline website. The article discussed the term “gaslighting”. I became aware of this term from watching an old movie (I love old B&W movies) which was called Gaslight. The plot of the movie was about a man who was trying to run his wife insane in order to gain her wealth. He would dim the lights, back in that time were run on gas. And when she would mention it, he would say he hadn’t noticed. Or she would tell him that she heard footsteps in the attic. He would say that he didn’t hear anything. And all the time it was him in the attic.
What I didn’t understand at the time of watching this movie was the fact that this was a form of abuse. Emotional abuse. Emotional abuse is when your abuser causes you to question your own sanity or feelings about the things he/she is doing to you. For instance, your abuser will always try to rewrite the scenario of every fight that you’ve had. He may say things like “I never said that! You’re crazy!” or “I didn’t hit you! You tripped and I tried to catch you.” After hearing things like this for so long you begin to believe that what you heard isn’t really what he said or that he didn’t hit you after all.
At times I would know I had my abuser dead to rights and he would always find a way out of it. By the end of the conversation (argument) I was questioning myself. This is why it is always important to trust your own judgement. Never let anyone put your sanity in question. In my opinion, one of the worst things you can do to me is trying to make me feel crazy or worst…stupid. In the article, there is a list of techniques that an abuser will use. The one I had to deal with the most was trivializing how I felt. He would actually tell me I was too sensitive. There is no such thing when your life is in danger on a daily basis. If you have to start recording the arguments just to validate yourself, do it. Also keep them as evidence of the abuse. You have to understand that the abuser’s main objective is to get you to be completely submissive only to him/her.
This article gives some good advice about what gaslighting is and how to recognize it. I advise everyone to read it and commit this information to memory. Also, please remember that there is life after abuse. ~Be Blessed~