Wednesday, 27 June 2012

What is Gaslighting?

I’ve looked into this , I really didn’t know what it was. I didn’t understand it’s purpose. To a normal human being it’s an alien concept. But after finding out something about it , the penny dropped. In my case NM used it so I wouldn’t believe, trust or confide in anyone but her. The gaslighting was all mixed up with jealousy, hatred, mockery, disdain and pure fear mongering. Well, I didn’t trust her either, certainly couldn’t confide in her. She said  I was unforthcoming, secretive, therefore dishonest. So, I was actually completely on my own.
Of course the enablers and passives were trained to back her up, I couldn't trust them either.  She even made sure I was aware of that. She classed my Gran as an enabler, but she wasn't, so I always had a little belief.

Strangely, I had lots of freedom as a boy, I was always out, after school activities, scouts, just whizzing around on bikes with friends.  I remember, on quite a few occasions , leaving the house after a good slapping, my face still burning, tears still rolling and I had 20 yards to get normal, to straighten up before seeing my friends. I had to lie sometimes, something was in my eye, it’s really windy out there, were my favourites.

Staying the weekend with Grandparents on their sheep farm was also great freedom. But NM always gave Gran a long list of orders. These included taking us to the village church, what we could eat, not eat,  bedtimes, what we were allowed, not allowed to see on TV, a list of punishments and crimes. Grandparents were only allowed to speak the Queens English, not some silly rural dialect. Gran just shook her head in dismay then used the forbidden food list as a menu. The other orders were used to light the fire.

It always confused me that although she spent time and energy trying to convince us we were somehow a better caring happy family, but to me,  my friends families seemed more relaxed, smiled and laughed more naturally, also seemed more equal to each other.

We gave God a home visit every Sunday and that made us immediately more superior. I hated going there, opening your eyes when praying meant a slapping session later. She always prayed with her head angled up, snout pointing skyward, sniffing out some ecclesiastical  recognition. Always hoping with that little stone heart  that  the Vicar and God would see the snapped shut eyes. She listened to the rambling sermons with her head cocked jauntily to the side and blinked non stop, her face with an oh so knowledgeable look, as if he was merely repeating what she had already endorsed as worthy.  She warbled and screeched the loudest during the hymns, like a comic parody of a bad opera soprano. Her voice piercing heaven like a poisoned arrow. Her makeup was always the thickest, her perfume the smelliest and my embarrassment the greatest. 

She once said that she would have preferred to live in the 17th Century when EVVVRYBODY was obedient to the church, this horrified me that everybody in the world would become like her.  Sort of a like a medieval version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. 
When we got back to the car, I was told not to take my tie off until we got home, it was disrespectful.  I remember thinking that God probably thought it was a sin, dressing properly in church included the ride home. So there was God, aiming a lightning bolt at the back seat of my Dads car , because a 9 year old boy had loosened his tie. And there he was, locking the gates to heaven because I opened my eyes during a long incomprehensible prayer. All this on my mothers recommendation, because she was saintly. God obviously needed her expert help to look for sinners. 

No, this place to me,was somewhere everyone was a bit crazy and could not be trusted. Grans little church seemed less threatening. By the age of 11, I’d started to wonder if there even 2 Gods. One for normal folks and the other for crazy hypocrites.

I couldn’t speak to anyone about my homelife of course, all friends parents had an invented serious problem that would make them unapproachable, but also make me unwilling to answer any awkward questions. My best friends father was genuinely concerned, he was a jovial , kind man, but my Mother insisted he was an alcoholic, so he wasn’t actually being friendly, just the drink talking. Of course every time I saw him with a beer or a glass of scotch just confirmed this.

Another friends mother, a foul mouthed slut, she implied her kids might have had different fathers. (They actually all looked like clones, but 2 were redheads.)

Another friends parents, all wrapped up in themselves, didn’t care about their children, far too busy buying expensive clothes, cars, furniture, but kids always look scruffy. (Jealousy! Friends Dad was well paid, and boys always get scruffy anyway)

Her own Mother, getting senile, even little problems, or, any pressure makes her ill. (Didn’t stop Queen Croc yelling at her)

My old Auntie, only pretending to listen, not interested really, just wants to hear bad gossip and pass it on. (Exactly the opposite actually and never bad mouthed NM until I was an adult).

Uncle, husband of Aunty, a hen pecked low intelligence laughable man, oh yes and short term memory problems. (So if I complained, he’d just forget)

Teachers at school who praised or complimented me, only saying that to make me feel better, they were more than likely disappointed and just being kind.

If she spoke to them on a parents evening, she just lied about what they said about me. I got particularly upset on one occasion and asked this teacher about why he had said something to my mother. When he told me what he did say, I confronted her and she immediately invented a story about him. This was something about him being an atheist with no morals, so he wouldn’t worry about lying.

She had a hard job explaining away a couple of prizes I had won, was paranoid I would get big headed, the sports medals didn’t count, some sportsmen are really thick you know.

Did the huge fuzzy gas bubble burst one day and I saw rainbows and nice colours and little birds tweeting in the trees for the first time? No, it was never totally complete and it fizzled out unceremoniously bit by bit. The gaslit world is dark, scary, everchanging and uncertain. The real world isn’t like a Disney set, it’s just normal, unglamorous and it’s how you make it by yourself. 

1 comment:

  1. Let's face it Dave, Christianity is a narcissistic religion, all that born in sin and self imposed guilt. I'm surprised nobody has commented on this article, it's sad and yet humorous at the same time.