Gaslighting – Emotional Manipulative Tactic #1

Like a stubborn child stomping his feet, having just returned from his ‘business trip’ Scott flatly refuses now to move his belongings into the guest bedroom or basement.  Not only that, he claims to never have agreed to sleep in the guest bedroom.  Nevermind our conference call with our marriage counselor and the half-dozen messages where Scott states he would move his belongings before I returned home. The guest bedroom is part of a walk-out basement with full-sized windows, a walk-in closet, and a full bathroom.  It’s larger than most apartments.  We live in a 6,500 square foot home, with a 2,500 square foot finished basement.  Scott refused to respect my boundaries. He has to have control. Always. With utter disregard for my privacy and the original agreement, Scott stated “It’s my home, my bedroom, and I have the right to come in any time I want.” Looking back I should have had that printed on a t-shirt for him, having heard it more times than I could count over the course of the divorce. So much for an amicable and peaceful divorce.

Then to add insult to injury while in bed that night, I couldn’t believe it when I heard Scott picking the lock on my bedroom door!  Frightened I quickly hit the recording button on my phone.  Scott nonchalantly entered and walked to the bed in his boxers and wife-beater t-shirt. To my shock, he climbed into my bed while I was still in it! He put his ear plugs in and blindfold on and proclaimed “It’s your turn to sleep in the basement.” Then he rolled over and turned off the light.  The Supreme Being had banished me to the basement — and so I went like a good, obedient girl.

 As I laid there in the guest bedroom bed I thought “If that’s how he’s going to act, the war over the master bedroom is on!”  What is his problem? It is pragmatic that I sleep upstairs in the master bedroom. Scott travels a significant amount of time.  I am the primary caretaker of the kids, waking them up in the morning and getting them ready and off to school every day.  Plus, that was our agreement with our therapist during our conference call when I was at the hospital in Florida with my father.  Of that I was certain — I’m not crazy or delusional. I can’t believe Scott now claims that conversation never took place. I thought to myself, “Who’s the crazy one now?”  I was so frustrated and sick of all of Scott’s games already.  I needed help, and a new attorney. 

Emotional Manipulation #1 – Gaslighting   

Gaslighting” was one of Scott’s strongest manipulation tactics.  Gaslighting is a form of persistent manipulation and brainwashing that causes the victim to doubt oneself, and to ultimately lose their own sense of perception, identity, and self-worth.  Gaslighting statements and accusations are usually based on blatant lies or an extreme exaggeration of the truth.  The term is derived from the 1944 film, “Gaslight”, in which a husband tries to convince his wife that she’s insane by forcing her to question herself and her sense of reality.  When someone is gaslighted, the narcissist will tell you, “That didn’t happen.  You imagined it.  You’re crazy. You’re delusional.”  In a nutshell, the narcissist will lie and that instills doubt.  Scott now proclaiming that he never agreed to reside in the guest bedroom during the divorce was a perfect example.  It’s easy to see how powerful this can be, as it allows the abuser to deflect all focus from their own actions and shift it to something completely irrelevant. Or, Scott would twist it so I would doubt my perceptions of what really happened time and time again.

close up photography of woman sleeping

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

 

Loneliness – Part 1

I’m deviating from my book a bit – and doing some introspection/self-evaluation.  For me, loneliness is my greatest fear.  I’ve moved a lot.  I was isolated, from friends and family always having to start over.  Maybe that’s why I stayed in a toxic relationship for as long as I did. I hate to be alone, plain and simple.  I’ve never done sit and still well.  Now, as I sit here alone in my home, its hard.  So hard.  The silence is deafening. But I have lots of friends, thousands. All over the globe. I have thousands of Facebook friends. I support the U.S. postal service significantly during the holidays sending out hundreds of Christmas cards to those I care about. But I’m lonely – lost in a sea of people.

And now I find that I’m surrounding myself with new people, that don’t necessarily (for a lack of words) build me up.  I constantly try to fill that void.  Instead, I’m “pimping” myself out – metaphorically. Just because I hate to be alone.  I find friends who want to use me…..  essentially a door mat.  Or those who fill a need.  But don’t really care.  Why do I do this?  Why, after all that I’ve been through, fought for, do I allow this emptiness to permeate my reasoning? Fear plain and simple.  It’s powerful.

Then there’s those people who, I believe my guardian angel brought into my life for a reason — to help me when I needed it most. For those of you out there, you know who you are, thank you. You are a gift that I will be forever grateful for.

Loneliness can hit anyone at any time. Sometimes you might not even feel lonely for an obvious reason, and what you’re experiencing could always be connected to other things like depression or anxiety. But it’s true that a lot of people tend to feel lonely during big life events. Maybe you’re moving house. Maybe your parents are getting separated. Maybe you’re going from high school into college. Or maybe you suddenly find yourself single, and all your friends are married.

Loneliness is painful. Clearly the pain is one in which the lonely individual feels damaged, as though somewhere their spirit was crushed. It hurts to feel lonely and it hurts even more because we don’t have anyone to share it with.

Feeling lost, having no sense of direction

Very interestingly, in my reading individuals described lonely as a feeling of being lost, and not knowing where they are going. This is true in my case. Why do I feel so lost when I am lonely? I think it’s because other people help give us a sense of meaning and understanding of the world. When you have a problem that you can’t figure out for yourself, what do you do? You go and talk to someone else about it.  Especially us girls.  We talk it out.  People help us to figure out what talents we have, what our good points and our bad points are. In other words, people help us maintain a sense of identity.

When we are lonely, and no one is around to give us support, we can begin to lose our sense of identity, no one is there to point out our mistakes, to give us a different point of view, to praise us when we do a good job. Then we tend to fall down that rabbit hole that the narcissist made us believe.  We can become encircled in our own delusions and thinking without the benefit of others to break us out of the vicious cycle. It is no wonder then lonely individuals feel lost and confused, it’s because there is no one out there to maintain our sense of identity, our sense of self.

Feeling of Nothingness

Another frequent feeling is that of nothingness. It has also been described as a void, a black hole, an abyss, hollow, and empty space. Basically there is a feeling that something is missing. When we break up with someone, or we are missing someone we loved dearly, we often describe that feeling as a hole in our heart, an emptiness somewhere in the space of our chest. Even if that relationship was toxic.  What is this emptiness that we feel? This emptiness is a hunger for others, for others to be close to us, for others to love us. When we are hungry for food, our stomach growls, we get an empty feeling in the pits of our stomachs, we can’t stop thinking about food, and sometimes it even hurts.

Overwhelming Feeling

In some cases, loneliness can be overwhelming, so overwhelming in fact that lonely individuals may feel like they are about to burst! There is a feeling of despair, not knowing how much more of this painful loneliness one can take, feeling as if one is going to break apart at any minute. It’s like blowing up a balloon past its normal capacity. People who are lonely may feel this way because very often one is experiencing a wide variety of emotions and experiences, and yet there is no one to talk to, no one to share it with. Imagine having a problem with no one to discuss it with. Imagine making the greatest discovery of a lifetime, and yet there is no one there to share it with. These feelings may just be pushed down inside our minds, pushed into a bottle. But there is only so much the bottle can hold, there is only so much our minds can handle. If we don’t tell others, if we don’t share, if we don’t let it out somehow, we may indeed burst.

So I write.  I share.    I know I’m not alone in my loneliness.

alone-beautiful-boardwalk-247314