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Of Gaslighting & Emotional Abuse (Part 3)

GAONE MONAU
We are recommencing on gas lighting.

In the preceding articles we gave real life examples of gaslighting. Before we address how to effectively handle gaslighting in the ensuing article, it is central to analyse why gaslightees are gaslighted. It is notable to mention that it is possible for partners to occasionally gaslight each other even in a healthy relationship. The concept of gaslighting that we are discussing at present and that has been discussed in the erstwhile commentaries seeks to deal with pathological and relentless gaslighting in a love bond.

Gaslightees are on occasion gaslighted due to lack of empowerment on how to handle the gaslighter. By virtue of being human and fallible we sometimes find ourselves thrust in circumstances we may not be able to overcome without the armoury of right knowledge. Women who have a healthy self-esteem and self-concept may still be gaslighted if they do not have resources on how to disentangle themselves from gaslighting.

Unhealed trauma at times exhibits itself in the form of condoning perpetual gaslighting or abuse in a relationship. Research upon research depicts that kids who grew up in an abusive homes stand a much greater chance to be victims or perpetrators of abuse in their adult life.

Therefore, grown-ups who have not recovered from the trauma of abuse in their childhood may be easily gaslighted or gaslight others in their intimate interactions. This happens mainly because they relinquish their abused inner child to their gaslighter instead of parenting their own inner child. Since eternity past womenkind have been steadiers of rocked boats. Some societies unforgivingly condemn females who openly express anger in comparison to males. Conversely, the same society is more sympathetic on womenfolk who exhibit sadness and unsympathetic on menfolk who exude same.

Societal shaming of women who blatantly display resentment even when they have been grossly mistreated therefore causes various women to conceal their anger and ‘keep the peace’ when they are gaslighted or abused in their relationships.

The necessity to keep peace in relationships may also lead several womenfolk to dread conflict and cage in to the slightest precursor of gaslighting or abuse in a relationship. This primarily stems from the bogus expectation that a relationship is perfect if there is no conflict. Whilst a perpetually conflict- ridden romance is cantankerous; it is healthy for parties to differ in their love script at times. Conflict if handled well

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provides an opportunity for lovers to fathom, value and treasure each other’s authenticity more. Certain Christian circles believe that wives ought to submit to their husbands and that submission to a man in a marriage ought to absolute.

The very fact that some religious cliques deem submission to a husband to be absolute in my humble view connotes that a wife must submit to everything that a husband says or does even if it constitutes abuse or contradicts her convictions of honour and good sense.

The absoluteness of submission proffered by some Christian elite’ renders wives voiceless against potential injustices (including gaslighting and other forms of abuse) committed against them in a marriage. Womenkind are generally groomed and biologically wired to be caregivers and nurturers. Subsequently they are more relationally oriented and empathetic than mankind. Even when abused some women stay in the relationship because of the empathy they have for the abuser. If our empathy for the gaslighter transcends our self-love, self-compassion, and acknowledgement of the right to be in a healthy relationship we will remain entangled in the gaslight tango.

It is only when we secure our own oxygen mask first that we can be strong to escape death and abuse in this instance; otherwise the grip of abuse on us may tighten whilst we are trying to rescue the abuser. Guilt is a companion of many females. As already mentioned women folk are raised to be caregivers and nurturers; consequently when the ones they care for become toxic they are most likely to blame themselves for having fallen short in their caretaking duties.

Some womenfolk thus tolerate gaslighting and other forms of abuse because they blame themselves for abuse; they think that the abuser is abusing them due to their failure to amply love the abuser. Though there may be gaslighting triggers in a relationship, gaslighting in and of itself is abuse and must be reproved in the strongest terms possible. Every human being (including the abuser) is responsible for his/her own behaviour and reactions. The subsequent piece will focus on practical solutions for the gaslightee.

Gaone Monau is a practicing attorney and motivational speaker. For bookings on gender based violence awareness seminars, motivational talks or consultations on relationships, confidence building, stress management and self-discovery contact +26774542732 or gpmonau@gmail.com. Her Facebook page is Be Motivated with Gaone



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