gaslighting

i’ve been fortunate enough to come across some interesting reads, be it here on wordpress or on the onion or huff post and the like.

when i read, i see how the author views life, how the world around them revolves, and try desperately to gain a new perspective, fleeting though it may be.  but my favorite part of reading is that proverbial face-smack-aha-moment when i feel like i met someone who knows my walk, my heart, my soul.

i had one of those moments last night.

it’s only this afternoon that i am getting to talk about it because yesterday the emotion was a little raw and i was a lot tired.

lisa, @stilllearning2b, writes of her divorce experience and the events that followed on her blog titled lessons from the end of a marriage.  she’s published.  she has great perspective.  our stories are a little different.  our point of view is different.  i love the fact that she seems to be over her bitterness and her anger.  i still seem to be caught up in my anger (i’ll give you a minute to get back up off the floor from the shock of learning that fact.).

i had heard the term gaslighting somewhere over the course of the last twenty-one months (yeah, it’s been that long).  and i was shocked to hear it, related to it, understood it, and then somehow forgot it.

just to give us a level playing field of understanding, let’s go to wikipedia (only because webster didn’t have the term) and see what exactly gaslighting is.  “gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.  instances ay range simply from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim.”

wth?

i was emotionally and psychologically abused by my husband.

there, i said it.

he wasn’t a constant yeller.  he didn’t call me nasty names.  he didn’t hit me.  he did not sexually abuse me.

but he did manipulate my mind.

i would walk away from conversations, or arguments, or situations, damn sure of myself and what transpired.

if he didn’t like the outcome of the conflict or the conversation or the situation, he would change it.  he would recreate the reality of what happened, of what i remembered, and convince me that it happened his way.  it was that way with dinners.  it was that way with housework.  it was that way with appointments and things that i was supposed to do for him and kids and events.  you name it, it happened.  i reached the point that i was pretty damn sure that i was a crazy person.  i absolutely doubted my sanity some days.

in her blog post yesterday, lisa refers to a letter that her ex wrote when he vaguely attempted suicide.  when she read that letter, she had to deal all over again with his reality of who she was vs. her reality.  it brought her back to that time when he did have control over her emotions and thoughts.  she describes the struggle of taking what was in that letter, his reality, and replacing it with her own.

recently the custody evaluation was completed. it is 98 pages long.  i stopped at page 50. and let me tell you, it took me a long ass time to get to page 50.  it’s not because i’m slow.  i read some crazy level of wpm with high comprehension levels (thank you mom for forcing me to take speed reading and typing, btw).  but reading that many pages of a reality you don’t know is daunting and emotionally exhausting.

back to wiki…  an expert quoted in the gaslighting entry says that sociopaths are charming and great liars and manage to convince others that they are right.  additionally, especially in the case of a spouse who’s sleeping around, professional therapists can promote the gaslighting to the victim by mislabeling their reactions, which can cause even further stress to the point of a nervous breakdown or worse.

oh, got it.

so the asshole, i mean ex, was able to get the evaluator (who i had misgivings about anyways) to believe that i was crazy at most or at least mis-remembered and over-reacted to reality.  and all of that work, stress, time, and effort to present the facts and show the npd patterns of behavior were for naught.

and 98 pages of it.

of a reality that is not mine.

so not only did my ex gaslight me…  the “professional” “evaluator” who has all of this “experience” and is greatly “respected” by the court did it too.  and the funny part?  i paid his ass a shit-ton of money for his “professional” opinion of me.

and to see this report paint the picture of the asshole, i mean ex, as this caring loving father who did all of these wonderful things for his children and participated in every activity and function and would go to the ends of the earth…

so, what did i miss?  have i looked through the bitter lenses of his fucking every woman in town, oh pardon me, i mean his infidelity?  have i punished him for that?  have i held a grudge? did i raise my voice to him?  am i out of touch with my kids?  or, better yet, as the fucking evaluator told me, do my kids not trust me?  did i over react when he spoke, yet again, of suicide, this time after i moved out?  should i have called him on the phone to ask “are you okay sweetie?”

why, after all of this time, meaning the 21 months i’ve been gone (vs. the nearly twenty years we were together), can i not correct the story in my head?  i mean, i’ve taken a red pen to parts of the printed report and corrected it.  yeah, i think lisa said it when she wrote:  “he had me trained well.”

unfortunately, it doesn’t matter in the court case.  unless i pull oodles of cash out of my ass to fight the stupid ass evaluator, i can’t fight this.  and even the oodles may not finish it off.

i know the truth.

either way you cut it, i cannot protect my children from the person that their father is.  i couldn’t do it in the marriage.  i can’t do it out of the marriage.  i can only hope that they see it for what it is and that god protects them just a little longer…  protect their hearts and their minds and their souls from the dark evil that resides in their father.  and no, not in a “luke-i-am-your-father” kind of way.  let’s not bastardize one of my favorite series…

fuck this shit.  i reject that reality.  i’m writing in my own.  now where did that red pen go?

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