Category Archives: Bashing

Being human…

Human
I started 2016 with high hopes. I was feeling good and felt strong. Then I spent over 2 months fighting off infections one after the next. I am normally quite healthy so to have 7 infections of various sorts in a row was very shocking. It finally ended and now I am back to my usual self. 🙂

Once I finally got better and stayed well, I decided it would be a good time to my art studio and a spare room painted. This endeavour is the only thing that really turned out since the beginning of 2016. Thank goodness for this!!!

And then April arrived.
My husband works seasonally at the only workplace available to people in our area. We live on the east coast of Newfoundland Canada and the only business here on the “north shore” is fishing. My husband worked on the wharf and the months that he spends at work are the ones that get us through the whole year. Of his 5 siblings that live here, 2 couples are retired and the other 3 all depend on the plant for their yearly income.
We were all ready to get back in to the swing of things and the crab plant was ready to run at full tilt… until it burnt down the day before everything was to really go wild for the summer. This means no work (or scrounging up a few hours wherever he can). It will devastate us financially until the plant is rebuilt in a year (best) or two (reasonable).

That alone was enough but then I found out that my hubby was sneaking smokes. I will not say a lot except to say that he has severe health issues that will only see him deteriorate with the smoking coming back in to his life. This causes me a great deal of stress because I love him and do not want to watch him to decline as he did before he quit. He almost died twice last year… it is scary.

Due to my therapist becoming a grandmother again, I did not see her for what should have been 3 weeks. It is now 4 weeks because the car broke down while trying to go see her this past Tuesday. IF next week works out, I will see her then. A full month of no therapy… seriously not at all good for my head space. 😦

The biggest issue this past week was even bigger to me because I was already so depleted and psychologically tired but that aside, I had a HUGE trigger this week that has just knocked me right over.
You may recall me speaking about my son Marcus and his death. I have not given a ton of details regarding his actual last moments except to say that they were horrific and caused by someone who should have loved him.
This week in my area (very rural – everyone knows everyone). A 5 year old girl was murdered by her father and then he set his house on fire to cover the crime. It is damn close to exactly what happened to Marcus and I have found this whole week triggering in a way that I have rarely been tested before.
The father had been charged with domestic violence 3 times yet the court dismissed the charges each time. Due to the fact that he had no record, he was given shared custody.
The mom did what she could to be heard but no one would listen.
And now her child is dead.
Trigger, trigger, trigger…

To add to those triggers, I was privately discussing the loss of Marcus when one of my Monster/mother’s friends interrupted to call me a liar. That just pi$$ed me right off and being seen as a liar is probably my biggest trigger. I know she is misinformed but it still sent me spiralling downhill at an even quicker speed.

These are the reasons why I was so quiet last week. I was just feeling so anxious, depressed, and triggered. I wanted to drink or just be done with this world and although I did neither one, the thoughts alone scare me plenty. I do not like it when these options begin to look like reasonable responses to the issues in my life.

I have also been feeling so very alone. In reality, I am not alone. I have my blog which is always a source of comfort in hard times, I have wonderful friends, I know good coping strategies now and life when I am more stable, looks really good.
Sadly none of this seems to be enough when things get really bad. I just feel terribly alone. I feel unlikable, unlovable, unworthy, and untrustworthy. I feel terribly unimportant. I do realize that my mind is playing tricks on me but it doesn’t seem to really matter in the moment.

Now the rebuilding begins. Self care, self-care and more self-care.  I have the skills to find my way out of this and I have supports to turn to but it is the actual action of doing it when my energy is so depleted.

I don’t write this to make you worry or feel badly for me. I write it because I can so often come across like I have everything together, that I am calm, capable and have my biggest storms behind me.
The truth? I have weathered many storms, I have managed to make huge changes in my life and I am proud of my accomplishments.
Some days really just “bite the big one” though and I am quickly reminded that I am human. Fallible, occasionally weak, messed up, and confused. So totally human.

My story.

Girl

It was suggested to me by a long time reader that allowing my story to be told might help reach others. I have hesitated doing this is the past because I just felt the details were not really important. That said? I do agree with this reader and have decided to share some of my story (minus the nitty-gritty) with you today. I do hope it helps you understand me better and I hope it reaches some of you so that you know that you are not alone in this fight for your survival.
I am going to leave my siblings out of this story because I do not feel it is fair to assume how they felt or what they went through personally. If there is a day that the ones still living wish to share with you? I’d happily post it.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a princess.
Scratch that. This is no fairy tale. 😉

I was born at the beginning of 1970 in a winter storm. A fitting beginning for the life that would follow. A winter storm of sorts that lasted decades.
I was born to a family that was quite wealthy and had every available support to raise a child as easily as possible. From other family members, I have been told about how my father was thrilled by my birth but my mother hated me from day one. Probably long before day one in reality. I am sure she viewed her pregnancy as a real inconvenience.

My beginning could have been a good one but right from the very start of my life here on this earth, my mother would begin making choices that would seal my fate and my father would not do anything to stop her.
Their first decision? My name.
Heather was the name of a girl whom my father and mother hated. She’d chased my father around and my mother hated her for it. This is the person whom I was named after. Someone they hated.

I have a few memories of my early childhood but none are good. From 0-4, all I recall is being afraid. Many years ago my grandmothers both told me stories of how I was left in filth and ignored while my father was at work. I was also told that I would scream and beg others to take me with them as they left our house or begged babysitters to keep me. That is just not normal behaviour for a young child. Wanting to leave with anyone rather than staying home with their mother.

Starting at age 4, I was given a gift of new underwear for my birthday. Not the best gift for a 4-year-old but they were a tiny hint as to what that birthday would mean. I would be sold to men who liked little girls and my hair was cut so short that I also looked like a boy and could satisfy men who liked boys as well. This was not a rare occurrence. It was done as often as there was demand and there was ALWAYS a demand.

It was also around this time that I learned to mistrust what people said vs. what they actually did. My mother could be the sweetest, kindest, most gregarious person to anyone on the outside but then a monster behind closed doors. It was her perfect “outside face” that allowed others to believe that she was trying her best but that I was a child with some real issues. She convinced therapists, social workers, a child psychiatrist, doctors, teachers and strangers that the problem was set squarely on my own shoulders. I was the one who hurt myself and then lied with crazy stories to cover it all up. This lasted for my entire life with her. It still goes on to this day! She is perfect while I have mental illnesses.

There was a lot of sexual and physical abuse but even worse than that was the sadistic nature of the emotional abuse. I was made to believe that I was only sold to men (and some women) because I liked it and caused it to happen. If there were bruises or broken bones? I had obviously done something to deserve that. If I got ill. that was my fault too. That woman (my mother) made sure that my self-esteem was now only low but non-existent. I felt less than human and not truly worthy of any kindness. This is the part of her abuse that is the hardest to get over or heal from. I feel like I am worthy and then someone talks about me or doesn’t like me and I am plunged deeply right back in to feeling absolutely worthless. My brain knows that I am a good person, that I give a lot of myself to helping others, that I am smart, and have a lot going for me but my heart still says “You don’t deserve any of it and you are just as worthless as you always were”.

I did try to speak out and I tried to reach for help but these efforts were always met with my mothers wrath. I recall being made to eat a “poop” hot-dog in a bun. If I was going to spread “filthy lies”, I was going to eat filth as well. After a certain number of times where I reached out to ask for help and having that come back at me with a vengeance, I gave up. I still find it hard today to speak up about it because my automatic feeling that accompanies this openness is fear.

There are so many details and situations that I could discuss but I am sure you get the idea by now? It wasn’t just a hard life. It was a life filled with monsters that never hid under my bed. They just stayed out in the open and did as they wished with me as often as they wished it. I many ways this abuse started before I was born and still continues today. 46 years of situations and stories that would make your blood curdle.
If you read my list of Helpers from last week, there are a few more details of which Helpers came in to being and when/why.

I wish I could say that I grew up, moved away and never had to deal with my mother again but I moved 3,500kms to get away from her and 2 months later, she was living 1km down the street from me in her newly purchased home.
I have not spoken to her in over 11 years yet she still speaks about me in public to anyone who will lend her an ear. She tells them lies and makes me look horrible. We live in a very small community and there are many people who have never even met me whom hate me with passion. I’ve been called a liar, a bitch, a whore, a selfish daughter and worse by these people who just believe the words my mother shares. Supposed grownups and mostly “church friends” of my mothers. I really try hard not to let it bother me but she has even gotten to my own children and 2 of my husbands extended family members. The words said under hushed breaths make me want to just run away again and never look back… or just give up and leave this world altogether. It is hard not to taint the good that I have created in my life with that poison. I am only human. It is hard to be hated and even harder to be hated for something you never were.

Sadly it is not only my monster/mother that drags me down like this. My father takes part as well. He is quieter about it but when discussions of how my brother abused me surfaced, it was his voice on the other end of the phone calling me a sociopath. In my heart I know that he believes every word and knows the truth but he is unwilling to face it and it seems that hurting me instead is acceptable to him. I recently cut off all contact with him and I know it was necessary for my future mental health but I feel like a 46 years old orphan who never knew what it was like to have a mom or dad.

I’ve felt very lonely lately. I miss those whom have loved and seen die by suicide due to their PTSD. I ache for my murdered son. My heart has cement poured all over it while my living children find their way home. I really miss the nurse I felt close to while in hospital and the doctor whom I got to know before his sabbatical. Now my current therapist is retiring in a couple of months and I must say goodbye to her as well. I know these supports are not meant to be lifelong friendships and I am good with that but it doesn’t make missing them any easier. These people got me, they understood me, They believed me and truly heard me. They made me a better person. I am just tired and I am trying to find and keep my spark. I will find it again. I have faith in that.

I’ve had some comments about how I do not share negative stories on my blog but I feel that my intentions are perhaps a bit misunderstood. I do not keep things positive because I want people to think life is just all great and I am flying high. I keep it positive because I have dealt with and still deal with more negative in the run of a day that some people experience in a lifetime. By remaining positive myself, I feel like I am adding to the good in the world and that somehow negates some of the bad. It takes a lot of effort on a daily basis to live a good and positive life but I almost always feel that it is worth the effort.

This blog is very important to me. YOU are important to me. When someone says that they heard what they needed to hear or got what they needed to get because of a blog I wrote, it helps me add to the balance of positive in my life. Thank you for that.

If there is more you wish to know, just ask. If it is too personal to be on the blog, I will respond with a private email.
All the best to each of you. ❤

Kind Words CopyHand drawn by Heather. For sale. $20
Buy an 8×10 “Be Gentle”

Schools lack…

School

Schools try their very best to teach children all the skills they need to learn in order to lead full and successful lives. I really believe that for the most part, educators really do care.

That said, I think there is one area that schools and society lacks attention that is absolutely critical and would change the way that our society worked as a whole. We all went to school and now we are all “society”. One day these kids will be taking our places.Will they be as prepared as we were? Were we prepared?

Bullying is a HUGE issue that receives a ton of attention but the education about it isn’t working. I’ve sat in school auditoriums, listened to very passionate speakers on the effects of bullying and then as we leave, I hear kids calling each other names, pushing each other, basically ignoring every lesson they just learned. I would hate to even fathom a guess at the hours a principal spends dealing with bullies, bullied children and their parents. Yet it is only getting worse.
And much worse than bullying? Having no respect for your own self, beating yourself up for finding life challenging, feeling like you are less than or not worthy of better, harming yourself in ANY way because you just don’t have the skills to cope.

I am not usually one for coming up with ideas that basically throw what we  are already doing out the window but in this case? I think we need to strongly consider it.
What do I think we should teach instead?
I think we could do wonders for our youth and our society as a whole if we taught about good mental health.

  • Teach and do projects on self-esteem, help kids figure out what they really love to do and how to be proud of it.
  • Teach lessons on being resilient. You CAN teach someone how to gain skills that will make the ups and downs of life easier to manage.
  • Explain to our youth that they are worthy of love, attention, and support. If they are not getting that at home, parents can be led towards parenting classes that are not done to be punitive but rather done to make all of their lives better. It is very obvious to me that the parents needs as much consideration as the child.
  • We need to teach children about self-care and self nurture. I was 43 before I even knew what this meant. I assumed if I showered and brushed my teeth? I was all good. I had no idea that I needed to also nurture myself, treat myself well, do things that I enjoy like being creative or spending time writing.
  • Teach some behaviour therapy. How to see the world with realistic but not dirtied glasses. Help them see the good that surrounds them and actively push further away from the bad.
  • Teach these children about mental health issues. Let them know what is “normal” and what is not. Help them learn the signs of anxiety or depression so that they can be proactive far earlier. Many youth and many adults graduate from anxiety and/or depression to more serious concerns such as self harm, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders. Give them the local support numbers to call if they ever feel the need to reach out for help. Don’t make them (or anyone) have to go searching for it when they are at their lowest.

My personal belief (and that is all this is although I would LOVE to change the world with it) is that youth who are taught and helped to mature with a good self-esteem, an ability to be more resilient, know that they are worthy and important people in this world, take an active role in doing things that make themselves happy and feel fulfilled, youth who are taught about mental health and have no fear or stigma attached to it will reach out sooner, get help quicker and not fall so far before trying to catch themselves.

Mentally healthy children, youth and eventually members of our adult society will require less interventions, they will become happier workers, more positive people, they will be resilient and good at taking care of their own needs.
I think it is worth taking the time to make this a part of the curriculum and if they don’t? We parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, caregivers, friends, doctors, nurses, etc. need to start teaching it if we can.
I also firmly believe that these stronger, more self-assured youth won’t need as much help with bullies because a bully will be far less likely to upset them as easily AND we will have fewer bullies in the first place. Mentally healthy people do not feel the need to stomp on the feelings of those around them.

Blaming the Victim

There has been a huge news story about a town that is about 45 minutes away from me. A woman firefighter was being harassed and even exposed to pornographic video during a training session while surrounded by the otherwise male only fire department. This blog will not be solely about that case but it is where I wanted to start because the reaction of the locals in the area is sadly very normal. They have largely supported the perpetrators! Rallies to support the men, death threats to the female victim… I want to act shocked but I am not. This is the world that we live in.

My experience has been the same. Even as recently as two years ago. After exposing a family member who did me great harm and being totally willing to provide proof, my entire family turned against me. I was called a sociopath, my proof was never looked at or heard, I was accused of trying to ruin people’s lives and relationships… The person who did the harm and continues to do harm still sits at the family table on holidays, has regular contact with everyone including the children (I did call the authorities to try to protect the children). This person has never been called names or been accused of lying.
I don’t tell you this for sympathy. I tell you because this firefighter is not alone in being victimized and then being blamed for it.

As a society, what are we teaching each other when the victim can still be blamed for causing their abuse? I know that many of my readers will understand this blog from the inside out. I know that so many of you have been horribly hurt and then also used as the scapegoat. It is viewed as though YOU are the problem.

Someone gets raped. Society asks “What was she wearing? Was she drinking? What did she expect was going to happen?”.

A child opens up to an adult about being abused. Society is mortified if it is a story in the news about some unknown child but if that child is actually coming to them with that information??? It is with a very heavy heart that I tell you that most of society will not believe the child. They don’t want to get involved. The child must be looking for attention.

As an adult, men and women try to finally break their silence on childhood abuse but since these same people are now also dealing with mental health issued that were very often caused by that abuse? It is easy to look at the abuser and see them doing well in life but here is this mentally ill person saying that they were abused…
Who do you think gets believed more often than not?

I kept my silence for years because whenever I broke my silence, I was blamed. Now that I refuse to stay silent, guess who gets the blame?
“Didn’t you tell anyone?” I tried. I put myself in harm’s way for nothing.
“Why didn’t you run away?” Seriously? It started when I was still an infant. Run to where?
“Didn’t doctors/teachers/social workers find out or try to help you?” Red flags were raised so many times that I am sure a satellite over Ontario can see the red flags with the naked eye but did any of them ever take it far enough to actually help me? No.
“Didn’t you speak out when you were older?” Sure I did! I told a counsellor at school. I spent a whole afternoon with her. I felt heard and cared for. I thought she might actually be my way out… until I left her office and she called my mother to tell her that I’d been in her office weaving wild stories and I needed help.” Yes, I am serious!
I also know that I am not alone. I hear this story in different words time after time after time.

Even when we do take it “all the way”, it is such a waste of time. Several years ago, one of my children pressed charges against someone whom we had accepted in to our family. This abuse went on for almost 2 years and included other girls. At least 35 other girls. The proof was insurmountable and he was found guilty of 9 counts of sexual assault, 1 count of forcible confinement, and another count of uttering a death threat. Know what he got for that? ONE YEAR PROBATION.
… and I got his middle finger and a smile as he left the courthouse.

If a mature, married, well-spoken, respected firefighter gets death threats in 2016 for speaking up and making people face the crap they caused? What do you think women learn from that?  We learn to stay quiet.

I write this blog today because I want to offer another lesson.
Refuse to stay quiet. Refuse to allow others to shame you in to silence. You are not the one at fault here.
If you are in a good and stable place, stand up for yourself and do not back down. Even if no one believes you. There are people who do. They are just too afraid to admit it.
If you are in a vulnerable space but still wish to speak up? Do it anonymously or only to people whom you trust. Just do not allow that silence to smother you.

I no longer care who feels uncomfortable when I speak out. My silence allowed people to put me right back in to where I could be abused over and over again. Perhaps not as obviously but if you call someone a sociopath and refuse to even look at her proof then freeze her out of her family? That is abusive.

I have over 3,000 readers now so if the only thing we do today is refuse to allow others to blame a victim? Just one time? That will be over 3,000 stories that will be heard and believed. That story might even be your own… and I believe you. I will stand beside you. I will refuse to allow others to silence you.

What an amazing footprint we can have on the world if we each just affect one life. Your own or someone you know. Use the most powerful words that I have ever heard in my lifetime.
“I hear you and I believe you.”

Hear you

Ugly

I’ve been doing craft shows 2-3 times a week now for over a month. It won’t even begin to slow down until December 6th. It’s been a great experience for the most part and I’ve met some lovely people whom I consider new “craft fair” friends. I’ve enjoyed hearing and seeing the public react to my art. For the most part, I am very happy that I took this leap of faith and put myself out there.
3 years ago? ONE fair would have done me in and I’d unlikely even manage that many. Heck, I had trouble getting there as a shopper let alone a vendor!
I’ve made sure to record this accomplishment on my “Accomplishment List”.

This past Saturday I had a new experience.
My mother/monster showed up at a show I was in. My heart sank and my anxiety rose but somehow I retained my composure. Of course I was feeling very uncomfortable but I was able to remain in control. I didn’t dissociate or run away scared.
I did not stay at my table when she came up my aisle but I did that for my own mental health and to avoid putting myself in a negative situation I returned to my seat shortly after she moved on to the next set of vendors.

I watched her continue her journey from vendor to vendor and saw her stop, point at me and proceed to talk nasty to her friends. This is where things changed for me.
In the past this would have REALLY bothered me. I would have gotten upset, felt the need to defend myself and likely fallen in to a deep depression with thoughts of how things would never get better for me. I say that with confidence because I’ve watched myself do it time and again for years.

This time as different.
As I watched her speak, I saw how her face got nasty looking. Her eyes squinted, her nose scrunched up, her brow furrowed, her head almost shook with powerful anger and she was doing her very best to make her point as clear as possible to her mates.
I saw her friends looking over at me in confusion because as my mother spoke so horribly, I sat at my table speaking kindly to shoppers, smiling at people whom I knew and somehow just not fitting in to the picture that was being painted.
Then I saw something else.

Rather than being hurt, intimidated, sad or defensive? I saw her face and it just looked ugly. My mother is not an ugly woman at all and most people would say she’s very attractive but all of her good looks left and were replaced by a pinched, angry, resentful, incredibly ugly face.
All I really felt was shock at seeing how ugly this anger made her and then doing a little scan of my own face, I knew that when people look at me? They never see that ugliness. It felt good to know that.

She decided as a parting gesture that she would tell the person who was in charge of the show that all my work was stolen off the internet and that I was selling copyrighted material. I did not find this out until later but once again, I did not feel defensive or angry. I just felt that ugliness again. This bitter old woman doing her very best to squash my new venture.
It did not work. I’ve had many people watch my work from the first scribbles of an idea up to the finished product and I happily offered pictures of my latest work from beginning to end as well as other crafters that I have done shows with that have watched my pieces take form over the weekends that we’ve been together.
The issue was resolved quickly and once again, I did not feel that crushing weight of being accused unfairly. I felt protected because I can prove that I do my own art at a moments notice. Just give me paper and a pen.
What a GREAT feeling.

DSCN2495 DSCN2496 DSCN2497

I do not see this powerful woman with the ability to ruin me any longer. She’s taken everything that I cared about away from me including my children. I have nothing left to lose that she is able to take. Everything else is up to me and me alone.
In time I can see the tides changing. I believe that others will see the same ugliness that I see and they will avoid her as I do. They will stop believing her lies because my character stands on its own even though it has taken me YEARS to have people see that. I am a kind, loving, and giving person (YAY!! A bit of self-esteem kicking in!). I do not harbour ugliness inside of me.

So it wasn’t a perfect day but it was a powerful one. I handled myself with grace and that means a lot to me.
That monster can do and say whatever she likes. Her ugliness is finally beginning to show and she’s going to be found out. Watch out my monster. I see you for who you really are and soon others will too because YOU are showing it to them.

I KNOW how hard it is when others belittle or demean you especially if it is a supposed friend or a family member. I’ve lived it my WHOLE life. There is only one surefire way to win though. Be the one that radiates a beautiful heart and a kind spirit and let the ones who wish to harm you show their ugliness all on their own.

Karma2

The Mask

blog5

I am blessed to have a therapist now who specializes in trauma and has been doing trauma therapy for most of her 38 years on the job. Trauma therapy is  different from other therapy I feel. We need the same skills taught to us and we need to change the way we think but the root causes of how we feel are so incredibly deep and so often caused by the people who should have loved us most. We suffer not only because of what happened but we suffer sometimes even more with the way we were taught to think and how we internalize all those early messages that everything that happened to us was truly our own fault.

As I mentioned in another recent blog, I am dealing with my self-esteem right now and I had a VERY hard session this week. I admitted my true feelings. Not the surface mask feelings but the true, deep in my core, very negative view that I have of myself. It was hard to allow that mask to fall off and allow her to see what is truly hidden under that smiling face that the rest of the world sees.
You know that mask? I am sure you do.

As my therapist read out the words I used to describe myself deep in my core, it was easy to place every word. The words I use to describe myself are the same words that my parents used to describe me from my earliest memories until the last time I ever spoke to them.
It was and still is terrifying to me that those words are actually the correct ones. A waste of space, a sociopath, a liar, fat, dirty, disgusting, stupid… the list is horribly long but I am sure you get the idea.

I now have a list of words that my friends use to describe me today. Who I really am. I actually cried the whole time that my therapist read them out to me. I cried because I know my friends were being totally honest and not just stroking my ego. I also know that they are right about who I am. I am a very authentic person and they see me for who I really am. Good days and bad.
To hear those words made me feel so loved and so special but it also made me angry at the words that were on my list. They are not MY words, they are the words that were used to brainwash me and keep me quiet. Those words bought my silence for over 40 years.

So I have a project to do now. Homework. 🙂
I need to use words that people use to describe me NOW and do something creative with them. Something beautiful. It has been hard to come up with a good idea but I believe that I have now. I’ll share it when I have a chance to start it (next week – this week is NUTS).

My therapist also showed me a picture of a trauma group they run and all the women in the group posed wearing masks. She told me that each one of them feels they are wearing a mask too and they describe themselves in the same way that I describe myself. I cried again because I know 100% for sure that if any of them ever confided in me, I’d spend every moment trying to help them see the good in themselves. I’d move mountains if I had to. Whatever would be needed to help them see the beauty in themselves that I so clearly see.
Now I need to move mountains for me.

Who are you really? At your deepest core, who do you think you are?
Do you think that is how your friends see you?
In the world TODAY… is that really you?
Are you like me and still carrying around the words you were taught? Some venomous, incorrect, soul crushing set of words used to keep you quiet?

Now the most important question.
Are you willing to accept that you are not THAT person?
THAT person was created to keep you where “they” wanted you to be.
Who are you really? Today? What have you done in your world or others to make this world a better place?
People who have been abused and hurt are very often the nicest, most giving, gentle souls on the planet. I am sure you are one of them.
Think about it and if you feel that you need to do the same work that I do, try to create something using the words of who you are now. Even if all you create is a list. Use nice paper and write with care. Put that list somewhere that you will see it often.
One day we will be able to drop those masks and just show our authentic selves. I am positive you shine.
Now the hard part… admitting out loud that I shine too.

Gas-lighting.

I’m quite honestly unsure of how to even begin describing this. As soon as I even think about it, my anxiety creeps up my throat and begins to strangle me.

If you’ve never heard the term “gas-lighting”, the best way I can explain it is to say that this is when a manipulative person needles their way in to the “victims” life in some way and will literally make them so angry or anxious that the victim ends up losing it and reacting to what is being done to them.
The manipulator now pulls back, puts their perfect person face back on for the world to see and now will use the victim “acting crazy” as proof that they are in fact unstable or crazy. This only raises the manipulator up higher in most people’s eyes and “proves” that their target is a nut-job that can’t be trusted.

I look back at my life and see that my mother did this my whole life and still continues to do it to this day. Even though it has been 11 years since we last spoke, she is still able to tell others about how crazy I am, what a liar I can be, how uncaring and thoughtless I can be and how fake I am. She tells so many people that eventually her words get back to me, I react without even meaning to (I am human and can only keep a stone face for so many years before losing it) and then she has me in her trap. I end up looking like an awful person while she sits back and enjoys the show.

I know for certain that I have many readers who have this happen now and in their pasts. It is incredibly painful when anyone does this to you but it is beyond painful when it is a parent or loved one. These people who should be loving and caring towards us are the people that do us the most harm and it is very hard to wrap our minds around it. I think I have said “Why can’t she just leave me alone?” at least a thousand times in therapy and there is no answer other than she is enjoying the “game”.

Trust me… I have the ability to ignore and refuse her baiting me for YEARS. I don’t react to anything she says, I don’t give her the pleasure of watching me trying to defend myself or continue her stories but then she does something like talking my children in to thinking I am horrible to them (pliable, young adult (18/20) year old minds who already have the normal love/hate relationship with their parents that most upper teens that age have going on). She got them to the point where they won’t even speak to me and they moved out immediately after a visit with her…
Needless to say? I lost it! I actually wanted to go down and kill her. I became a homicidal, suicidal freak with nothing but revenge and hatred on my mind.
Anyone who knows me knows that this is NOT who I am.

I’ve watched the news before and seen people say “I just snapped”. I will be honest and felt that was bullcrap. No one “just snaps”. Then I did. I found out first hand that you can push normally kind and loving people to the brink of insanity and they will do things that they would NEVER even think of before then.

Side note… I am beyond blessed with friends and family who kept me safe during that time and made sure I was never out of their sight or contact (phone calls, emails, text messages, craft days) until my fury subsided and was replaced with less life altering thoughts.

I felt terrified for a long time after that happened. I felt that I could no longer trust myself not to do something crazy. If I am fair to myself? She has already “killed” me (my mind) a thousand times over. It isn’t like most people wouldn’t understand why I had done it BUT I am not that person. I am not dangerous, hate-filled, homicidal, cruel or a vengeful person and I do not wish to ever be that person. It scared me for a LONG time that I could “go there” even when pushed right over the edge.

I trust myself again now. Months have passed and I have discussed this at length in therapy. I also trust my husband and my friends to come to my aid if anything like this was to happen again.

That said? This is  the best example of gas-lighting I have to share. Maybe others haven’t become murderous with rage but I am sure many have felt it.
Then it is us that look like the crazy ones.

My mother never went to therapy to work through this. She did not become homicidal or suicidal during it. She sat at her home and trimmed her perfectly manicured gardens, had tea and went on with her life while gleefully watching me explode.

Perhaps the lesson I can share here is that people can be “gas-lit” at any time by husbands, siblings, parents, teachers or any other person who has a manipulative mind and a mean spirit.
When we see someone totally over-reacting to a supposedly “simple” situation, perhaps we can take a step back and wonder what else has gone on before this seemingly “crazy” over-reaction.

Even the strongest human mind can be broken or shattered at times and these people need compassion and care far more than they need to be judged. I hope to never judge.

If you can relate to this blog? I am so very sorry for the pain it caused. I know there is almost nothing worse.

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