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Of Gaslighting & Emotional Abuse (Part 4)

GAONE MONAU
Practical solutions for gaslighting are hereby presented to you in this piece. 

It is vital to preface that gaslighters customarily  gaslight their victims due to; the insatiable craving to appear right and impose their views on others, a tiny tolerance for differences in a relationship, the desire to pacify conflict, shunning or lessening responsibility for wrongdoing and the longing to manipulate others. At times gaslighters  gaslight out of the juice of human genuineness without any inkling that their behaviour could be emotionally bruising their loved ones; in such instances gaslighting may be an upshot of  defective problem solving patterns  inherited from one’s family of origin.

Gaslighting is like a deadly cancer that spreads to all the parts of your body i.e. once a gaslighter starts perpetually gaslighting you in one area of the relationship, it will eventually flow to all the other spheres of the relationship as well. Whether gaslighting is done from a noble or toxic place in our hearts, it kills connection in a relationship and hinders the gaslighter from getting to know the aunthentic self of their partners. It also instills doubt in the gaslightee. Ironically as the gaslightee gets more gaslighted she doubts herself further and clings more to the gaslighter as the better lens she uses to view the world. And as she cleaves to the gaslighter the gaslighter may feel resentful and smothered by her clinginess and gaslight her even further in an attempt to make her less clingy. The parties in a gaslighting relationship therefore end up ‘attached’ yet ‘disconnected’ from each other. In our and emotional abuse and gaslighting two series I, gave examples of gaslighting obtained from Dr Robert Stern’s book on gaslighting. I will use one of the examples and quote Dr Robin Stern’s recommended solution to such.

In the aforesaid emotional abuse and gaslighting two series we talked about Katie, an expressive, warm and friendly lady in her later 20s who was dating Brian, a great sweet, protective and friendly guy who treats everyone with fear and suspicion. Because of Brian’s approach to life he consistently accuses Katie of being flirtatious and naive. On the other hand, Katie thinks that she’s just being warm and friendly to the world as that is who she has always been even prior to meeting Brian. Her definition of flirting is inappropriately touching or talking suggestively to those of

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the opposite sex. Moreover, her definition of being naïve is ushering in people into her life hastily or divulging too much at once. Nonetheless, Katie finds herself endlessly entrenched in arguments with Brian over her alleged naivety and flirtatious behaviour and begins to doubt herself and her perceptions of the world.

The following worthy recommendations for Katie to Turn Off the Gas or address gaslighting have been extracted from Dr Robin Stern’s book as follows;

‘As Katie and I Stern worked together, she began to explore ways to Turn Off the Gas. At first she was optimistic about making her relationship with Brian better. But she discovered that her efforts to convince him she was a good and loyal girlfriend and not a flirt often led Brian to step up the gaslighting and escalate his emotional apocalypse, yelling and insulting her. She found this response frightening and upsetting, and was often tempted to give up. Katie needed to understand that you can’t Turn Off the Gas until you’ve fully mobilised yourself to take action, so you’ll be prepared for any resistance you may encounter, both from your gaslighter and from yourself. You can change a gaslighting relationship only when you are willing to leave it, even if you never actually have to leave. But you need to become comfortable with the idea that you and your gaslighter are each allowed to have your own thoughts, so that you neither have to give in to his negative view of you nor have to convince him to validate you as good. And you need to be willing to leave if your gaslighter continually punishes you for having your own thoughts. Until he knows you’re willing to walk away, he may not be motivated to change his behaviour’.

In the coming weeks we will discuss narcissism. Gaslighting is one of the narcissist’s greatest weapons. This series on gaslighting just served to erect a foundation so our walls of understanding can be stronger when we touch on gaslighting in the context of narcissim in the following weeks.

 *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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