'Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilise the target and delegitimise the target's belief.'
As Aspies, I'm sure we're particularly prone to this. I know I am. My experience, too - with a sister-in-law who's a consummate narcissist - has caused me much grief and upset over the last 30 years. These were years when I not only didn't know that I was autistic, but I also didn't really know what her motivations were. I've found out so much more about it all since my diagnosis, and through having someone else who knows her tell me that she isn't just like it with me. For most of those years, I simply thought there was something wrong with me - and she was the one who, more than most, was at pains to keep reminding me. The damage this woman has done - not just to me, but to other members of my close family - is profound. Much of it is irreparable. But at least now I no longer have any reason to have any contact with her - notwithstanding the fact that she's married to my brother. I'm well rid of her. She's controlled and manipulated our family for far too long. My brother is her puppet. And so competent a puppeteer is she that he doesn't even realise he has strings! He's well and truly Stockholmed!
For years, I've been told I'm gullible, susceptible, credulous, naive, etc. I've had my leg pulled time after time, and been the butt-end of jokes. I've been taken for a ride, scammed, made to look ridiculous. But I take people at face value. If they tell me something, I tend to believe them. Why wouldn't I? Why would they lie to me? But people have, and do. It's why I detest gossip and won't have any part of it, because all it really is is manipulation and destabilisation, perpetuated by a group. Victimising the vulnerable. And it gives people a sense of 'belonging' to be onside in the gossip. If you're not happy with the way someone's behaving or performing - tell them! But no. Gossip is easier... and it's more fun. Huh!
Anyone else got any 'gaslight' tales to share?
Oh yes. As you know, I was in a 7 year relationship with a narcissist, so I have plenty of stories of gaslighting that I could tell.
But my recovery from that relationship, made me realise that the whole of society is gaslighting us and the manifestation of the relationship was simply a culmination of the whole of my life. I think this is why we’re more susceptible to it, in its extreme form. Because we have been subjected to a less visibly extreme form of it all our lives, so we have built up a tolerance to it, were more accepting of it, it’s seems more normal to us, because it is more normal to us.
When I did the recovery program, it was the beginning of me finding out who I was. I started the program just before Christmas in 2012, and it lead me on a remarkable journey of discovery, of who I was.
The first step was to take 100% responsibility for the relationship I was in, regardless of what part he played. When I was able to do that, I was able to take responsibility for the rest of my life. Which lead me to the discovery of autism, the discovery of who I was. I then found the freedom I had been searching for all my life, only to find that that doesn’t exist either. Not in its purest sense. But by taking full responsibility, we are rewarded with as much freedom as we are ever going to have.
Meaning, we are all connected, we are all individual aspects of the one whole, so what I do to you, I do to me and visa versa. Whatever we do or don’t do we have an effect on other people so our freedom comes in knowing who we are, that we are the creators of our lives and we use what we have and who we are, for the benefit of all. Which sounds like a tall order but it’s easy when you know how.
And no, I don’t gossip either. When I worked at a hotel bar when I lived in the Lake District. I noticed that the staff didn’t come and talk to me like they did each other. Then I found out it was because they were gossiping, and knew I wouldn’t join in.