Do you ever feel it? The sense that someone has created a world in which you play the starring role, but you’ve never been given the script, or even been invited to audition for the part?
You’re expected to take on a character and become a person that doesn’t exist outside of a fantasy world, or rudimentary manipulation of situations, and time.
Do you ever feel as though your voice, no matter how loud, how clear, and how articulately presented is silenced by someone who challenges your truths, and your expression?
Think back on how it’s felt to speak your mind only to find out that the recipient of the message is a clandestine gaslighter. They twist, and contort your words while infusing them with meaning that is more artificial than electric blue sport drinks.
The gaslighter doesn’t know of their worldly position. They sit upon their pedestals higher than anyone’s horse watching, observing, JUDGING everyone below them. The gaslighter feigns concern about your feelings, your hopes, your dreams. Ultimately, it’s their world that takes extreme priority. Your needs are stepping stones to their increasingly unfulfilled quest for happiness. Happiness will never exist for the gaslighter: they are too consumed with the selfish need to control, and manipulate you all while posing as perfection.
The trouble starts when their grip loosens; when you realize that you’d been cuffed, and gagged while believing you actually had freedom.
Do you feel yourself now questioning your reality? What have you done to create this situation? You’ve played a role, but who cast you in it? Did you slip under water so deep that you couldn’t swim? Did you cave to a moment of weakness? Did you succumb to the crumbs of temptation set out by the trapper? Did you give in because it was easier than fighting and saying “no?” Did you? Did you?!
Did you step out of your own world of safety because you felt like you were rescuing someone all while being rescued yourself? Are you now drowning while being dragged through water that slowly solidifies into lucite? Clear. Visible. Leaving you vulnerable to the gaslighter’s judgement, anger, and punishment?
Punishment. Have you set boundaries that the gaslighter disregards in honour of obtaining their own needs? That doesn’t sit well with the gaslighter, does it? Now you’re being punished. You didn’t fulfill the role that you were cast in. You’re not meeting expectations. You’re being judged. You’re being scolded. You’re confused. What have you done wrong? Did you say “no?” Did you put yourself first. That’s a gaslighter’s biggest trigger point: when the person they obsess over refutes their efforts and puts themselves first. How dare you?! How dare you stop providing fuel to their fire in order to partake in self-care, or self-reflection.
Everything you have is theirs to be controlled. You don’t have to think for yourself. They will fix you. They will hold your hand and guide you through every challenge in order to ensure that your outcomes meet their goals, not your own. They will consume your time and space so that any communication you have with others feels like an infraction on your relationship. You will be smothered. It won’t feel like it at first. At first, you’ll feel loved, cared for, almost worshiped. Then, the claws stick in and you start feeling smothered, overwhelmed, owned. You start questioning yourself. You start doubting your intentions. You start questioning your interactions. Every communication is a transaction of eggshells so fragile you fear breaking your own voice.
The Gaslighter waits for you to break. They wait for you to shed your protective cloak and then they pounce when you are naked, exposed, and vulnerable. You need them. They’ve told you so often that you can’t function without them, but the truth is that they can’t breathe without your oxygen. They grip you; hold you tighter than a toddler with a teddy bear. You are their crutch, their excuse, their purpose whether you choose to be, or not.
The Gaslighter holds you accountable for transactions that aren’t theirs to hold. You shut down. You pull back. You regrow your thicker skin and rebuild the walls that they destroyed. You are stronger now. You are wiser now. You are yourself again now.