Gaslighting: Extinguish the toxic flames
This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. About 4 years ago, I was in a relationship with a man whom I thought was “the ONE”. On paper, he was perfect! Handsome, charismatic, ambition, God-fearing; everything mama and daddy would want for their little girl. About a year into the relationship, I begin to change. The once loud, confident, ball of energy had disappeared to the point I legit couldn’t recognize who I was anymore. The man who I thought loved me, made me feel like utter shit. Not the light-hearted kind where he says you’ve had enough Oreos or shots, but the kind that made me second guess my entire existence.
The words this man would say to me would cut so deep, that I would’ve rather he beat my ass. Let that sink in. I’ve gotten to the point where I can say the words, I was in an emotional abusive relationship for almost 3 years. And how I even got out of it is still a blur but I remember the last straw being when he basically said I wasn’t good enough to be the mother of his kids. Who says that to someone they “love” and knows they want to be a mother someday. Though we’ve been broken up for about 1.5 yrs now, as I’m writing this, I’m tearing up. Like how can a man who claimed to love me, say some mess like that to me. God SAVED me man.
A few months ago, my mother sent me an article on gaslighting. I remember thinking, the hell is gaslighting? Because I am a fan of random articles, I opened the link and my goodness! (I’m sad to report, I couldn’t find the exact article my mom sent me, but I found another) Let me back track a touch. Gaslighting means “to manipulate someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity”. Take a second to re-read that definition. I was with someone who had me question my own sanity, question who I was, if I was good enough, if I’ll be anything, if it was an issue that I went out with my friends, was I too loud or too silly or the fact I’m obsessed with everything The Walking Dead. I gave this man so much power that I questioned EVERYTHING that made me, me.
Since we’re all friends here and I vow to be completely transparent in my posts, after 1.5 yrs without talking, we did. It was a good and productive convo, but of course all the feelings came rushing back and we even talked about getting back together (please feel free to judge). In the moment, I agreed but knew it would take some time (I’m very forgiving to a fault sometimes). Can you guess what happened the next day? HE CHANGED HIS MIND, manipulating the situation as he’s done in the past. And just like that, like a flood, all the negative feelings and emotions I had while with him came rushing back...am I good enough?, am I the problem?, what’s wrong with me?, etc etc. After a moment of quiet, this overwhelming feeling of empowerment came over me and literally said aloud, “this is ENOUGH Cherish. You have come SO far to get back into the fetal position. You are a bad bitch (I laughed because why not make yourself laugh), f*cking awesome and f*ck anyone who says or make you think otherwise. You will NOT shed another tear for ANYONE over this kind of mess.” Sometimes you really have to slap yourself into reality and give yourself a dose of tough love. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT allow yourself to get involved with someone who makes you question your sanity and worth. Do NOT allow someone to gaslight you.
Image is from the 1944 film Gaslight where the term "gaslighting" originates from.