Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
03-02-2017, 01:31 AM
Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
Gas-lighting occurs when an abuser manipulates their victim into questioning their own reality, their own sanity, or their own ability to interpret situations.

For years now, I have been questioning myself. Why do I feel angry at my parents? Why do I feel like they didn't love me like they should have? Am I just an unforgiving, negative person? What is wrong with me? Why am I so anxious when I am around them? Why don't I want to be around them?

I have been trying so hard to forgive and forget my parents for the memories in which my dad screamed at me for no apparent reason, other than he had a bad day. My parents would yell at each other in the middle of the night. Dishes smashed. Walls Punched. Slammed doors. The revving of an engine. My dad's tires peeling out at 4 am. Where'd he go? Is he coming back? Is he going to barge into my room early in the morning, flip on my lights, and demand at the top of his lungs that I get my lazy ass out of bed and do the dishes, like last time?
And then the next morning, I would wake up, tired from writhing about sleepless, terrified, and brokenhearted. I'd brush my teeth. Comb my hair. Put on some dress or something half decent. And walk across the street to church and sit in the pew to listen to my dad preach in front of the church, he was grinning, chuckling, jovial as always. How does he do it? Where did he come from? Is he going to disappear after the church service, like he has done before? Where the heck does he go when he leaves? Will he come back?
Then, he would give me that look that says it all. 'You better straighten up. You better toe the line.' Sheepishly, I'd grin as I shake the hands of the sweet old folks as they tell me how wonderful my father's sermon was. How lucky I am to be his daughter. OH JOY! All I was allowed to say, "thank you, I'm so proud of him." Felt like swallowing my own vomit.

And then, a few nights later, my parents would sit together on the couch; smiling?!! Telling us that 'everything is okay' it was 'just an argument.' We needed to forgive and forget. We were such wonderful children for being 'forgiving,' and 'patient.' Our parents love us so much and my dad will never leave us.

So, I don't know. What the heck do you do with these memories? I mean, this isn't even the half of it. But seriously, how do you forgive such a major hypocrite? I am not in contact right now with these people. But no contact is all new to me. For years now, I've been trying to forgive and love my parents, despite all that stuff. They have this way of manipulating me into feeling guilty for being angry at them and reacting emotionally to their mistreatment. They never take responsibility for their issues.

I find it so hard to find people who understand. Most christians I've told can't see past the fact that I need to forgive and let go of anger, and that it's really not that big of a deal. But it really is a big deal to me! Hence, now I am speaking to atheists. lol.

All I can think of is the song by Paramore, Playing God - "I know you don't believe me, but the way I, way I see it, next time you point the finger, I might have to bend it back and break it, break it off!"

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing? Thanks for any light you can shed!
Love and Peace Heart

If the pope went to Zumba class, then he may be eligible to spend eternity in my special unicorn mountain kingdom. Cool
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like hannaskywalker's post
03-02-2017, 03:59 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
I know a bit about guilt-tripping. Not to that degree though. Holy shit, your parents were pieces of work. Sorry you went through that Hug

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like morondog's post
03-02-2017, 04:03 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
At work.

Hug

Heart
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Peebothuhul's post
03-02-2017, 04:40 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
Hanna,

Of course you are angry. For years, in your formative youth, this bad stuff was happening and what could you do? Dreadful.

I have some experience of an angry, tormenting, father who could never be wrong. Even after he died I felt that he was around the corner, ready to start again.

But, we are not our parents. What is in our power is to be different from them, learning the lessons that they have taught us. They have taught us how not to be.

Warm wishes and good thoughts,

D. Heart
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Dworkin's post
03-02-2017, 07:05 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
I'm sorry you're stuck in such a difficult position.

I'm not sure I'd call what your parents did gaslighting, since that implies a level of control and clearheadedness that sounds beyond their abilities. But from your description, their behavior was definitely damaging to you. Your parents sound like volatile people without appropriate boundaries towards their children, trying to force the family into lockstep with their moods of the moment.

And, now that you are an adult, you don't have to tolerate that behavior. People often disagree with me, but I think anger (for a while) and disconnecting from your parents as much as you need to is an entirely appropriate response.

The advice to forgive them comes from both negative and positive directions. Negative direction is to position forgiveness as a rejection of your emotion of anger and a directive to feel something different, more socially acceptable--and, often, to continue on in an dysfunctional relationship without demanding change. The positive direction is positioning forgiveness in a way that doesn't deny or minimize your anger, but recognizes that in the long term, that emotion gets in your way. The second kind of forgiveness does not require you to reestablish a relationship with your parents and accept their abusive behavior, it just lets you move on with your life without the anger from past hurts getting in your way. But if you want a relationship with them, the second kind of forgiveness helps you set boundaries that will make you feel safer and let you enjoy their company to some extent.

My opinion is that you can stay angry as long as it serves you. Anger is a great energizer. And when you want to be done with anger, you might look for a therapist to help talk you through the transition.

I thought about my parents (who were pretty bad) every day when I became a parent myself. I avoided some of the mistakes my parents made with me, found myself repeating a few mistakes--which I worked hard to correct--and probably made a few mistakes of my own. Your dysfunctional relationship with your parents, if you work to understand it, can help you make better decisions in your own life.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like julep's post
03-02-2017, 07:12 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
I had a somewhat similar experience, if necessarily different in a lot of ways.

Just try and move on. Find something consuming enough that you don't think about it anymore, and you'll just turn a new corner forgetting about Memory Lane altogether.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes excitedpenguin's post
03-02-2017, 07:27 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
(03-02-2017 01:31 AM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  Gas-lighting occurs when an abuser manipulates their victim into questioning their own reality, their own sanity, or their own ability to interpret situations.

For years now, I have been questioning myself. Why do I feel angry at my parents? Why do I feel like they didn't love me like they should have? Am I just an unforgiving, negative person? What is wrong with me? Why am I so anxious when I am around them? Why don't I want to be around them?

I have been trying so hard to forgive and forget my parents for the memories in which my dad screamed at me for no apparent reason, other than he had a bad day. My parents would yell at each other in the middle of the night. Dishes smashed. Walls Punched. Slammed doors. The revving of an engine. My dad's tires peeling out at 4 am. Where'd he go? Is he coming back? Is he going to barge into my room early in the morning, flip on my lights, and demand at the top of his lungs that I get my lazy ass out of bed and do the dishes, like last time?
And then the next morning, I would wake up, tired from writhing about sleepless, terrified, and brokenhearted. I'd brush my teeth. Comb my hair. Put on some dress or something half decent. And walk across the street to church and sit in the pew to listen to my dad preach in front of the church, he was grinning, chuckling, jovial as always. How does he do it? Where did he come from? Is he going to disappear after the church service, like he has done before? Where the heck does he go when he leaves? Will he come back?
Then, he would give me that look that says it all. 'You better straighten up. You better toe the line.' Sheepishly, I'd grin as I shake the hands of the sweet old folks as they tell me how wonderful my father's sermon was. How lucky I am to be his daughter. OH JOY! All I was allowed to say, "thank you, I'm so proud of him." Felt like swallowing my own vomit.

And then, a few nights later, my parents would sit together on the couch; smiling?!! Telling us that 'everything is okay' it was 'just an argument.' We needed to forgive and forget. We were such wonderful children for being 'forgiving,' and 'patient.' Our parents love us so much and my dad will never leave us.

So, I don't know. What the heck do you do with these memories? I mean, this isn't even the half of it. But seriously, how do you forgive such a major hypocrite? I am not in contact right now with these people. But no contact is all new to me. For years now, I've been trying to forgive and love my parents, despite all that stuff. They have this way of manipulating me into feeling guilty for being angry at them and reacting emotionally to their mistreatment. They never take responsibility for their issues.

I find it so hard to find people who understand. Most christians I've told can't see past the fact that I need to forgive and let go of anger, and that it's really not that big of a deal. But it really is a big deal to me! Hence, now I am speaking to atheists. lol.

All I can think of is the song by Paramore, Playing God - "I know you don't believe me, but the way I, way I see it, next time you point the finger, I might have to bend it back and break it, break it off!"

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing? Thanks for any light you can shed!
Love and Peace Heart

You saying 'this isn't half of it' really resonates with me. Having two emotionally (and physically) abusive parents is something that is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't lived it. The abuse happens over a long time. Each 'little' thing added to every other 'little' thing becomes a gigantic thing that sucks the life out you and makes you question your own sanity.

My parents were expert at hiding their behavior from others (especially mom...people knew dad had a temper). It was impossible to get people to understand how bad things were because they only saw the faces that were presented outside of the house and those faces were quite different from the reality.

At 19 my mother had done enough groundwork at undermining me with everyone that she had me picked up by the police and committed to a state mental hospital. She got dad on her side, dad's golfing buddy-a lawyer and my aunt who was a nurse. They all said the right words to have me picked up and locked up. Mom claimed I had threatened to bomb their house...WTF! Are you kidding me? That was so far from anything I would have thought, then or now.

She was sure they would keep me, seemingly forever and would take the baby I was carrying from me. That way she could say I was crazy and explain away any embarrassment over her daughter being pregnant and unmarried. I locked up for three days and then had to go to court...I was then let go. The psychiatrist said that I had problems but they were mostly that I was pregnant, and had no family support of any kind. To this day (that was in 40 years ago) my mother tells people that I did something illegal to get released. How? I had no contact with the outside world...the only people I was allowed to talk to were my parents. What could I have done illegally or otherwise?

That's only one story of the things done. Over the years I have been told of a laundry list of things that mom told people about me...that were untrue.

This kind of shit is why I am so connected to my best friend...she lived a similar hell and she gets it.

I hate hearing that others go through similar crap. I hope you can find your way out to a peaceful life.

Heart

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF

We're all mad here. The Cheshire Cat
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 4 users Like Anjele's post
03-02-2017, 07:50 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
Yeah, I got committed to a mental hospital under false pretenses by my family too. I think they payed a psychiatrist to lie about me. Mind you, this was not so many years ago, in a country internationally reported for committing sane patients to corrupt mental hospitals by the dozens.

I escaped that country, didn't escape my family yet. It's a complex situation. Part of me wants to break off all contact and start on my own, but the other rises above their incredibly terrible behavior and hypocrisy and everything and excuses it on their stupidity. But that might be a problem in the sense that maybe I'm surrounding myself with people who will treat me the same as they did just by accepting this kind of connection and forgiving it. It's insidious how this can work.


Oh, they eventually got me out of there because they scared that they might not have the control over my release they thought they did at first, the fucking idiots. That didn't stop them from threatening me to get me back in there, soon thereafter, however.

I blame this kind of behavior on stupidity. As maddening as it can be... These kinds of people don't even see how they ruining your lives, it's all normal in their heads. Meanwhile you hate them so much you actually secretly dream about their death as an adult.

It's all human pettiness and anyone is prone to it, maybe we do it too, we just don't see it. That's the thing about life, you go through shit like that, it changes you, and then you want to prevent this from happening to others but people don't trust genuine kindness, because we're all so used to these kinds of monsters and their behaviors that we think anything else is actually worse or suspicious... So you end up not being able to make a connection with people. Or you transform them into your nightmare through your paranoia and what you expect.

And it's all because of the past...

My only solution is doing anything you can to forget and move on.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes excitedpenguin's post
03-02-2017, 08:28 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
(03-02-2017 01:31 AM)hannaskywalker Wrote:  Gas-lighting occurs when an abuser manipulates their victim into questioning their own reality, their own sanity, or their own ability to interpret situations.

For years now, I have been questioning myself. Why do I feel angry at my parents? Why do I feel like they didn't love me like they should have? Am I just an unforgiving, negative person? What is wrong with me? Why am I so anxious when I am around them? Why don't I want to be around them?

I have been trying so hard to forgive and forget my parents for the memories in which my dad screamed at me for no apparent reason, other than he had a bad day. My parents would yell at each other in the middle of the night. Dishes smashed. Walls Punched. Slammed doors. The revving of an engine. My dad's tires peeling out at 4 am. Where'd he go? Is he coming back? Is he going to barge into my room early in the morning, flip on my lights, and demand at the top of his lungs that I get my lazy ass out of bed and do the dishes, like last time?
And then the next morning, I would wake up, tired from writhing about sleepless, terrified, and brokenhearted. I'd brush my teeth. Comb my hair. Put on some dress or something half decent. And walk across the street to church and sit in the pew to listen to my dad preach in front of the church, he was grinning, chuckling, jovial as always. How does he do it? Where did he come from? Is he going to disappear after the church service, like he has done before? Where the heck does he go when he leaves? Will he come back?
Then, he would give me that look that says it all. 'You better straighten up. You better toe the line.' Sheepishly, I'd grin as I shake the hands of the sweet old folks as they tell me how wonderful my father's sermon was. How lucky I am to be his daughter. OH JOY! All I was allowed to say, "thank you, I'm so proud of him." Felt like swallowing my own vomit.

And then, a few nights later, my parents would sit together on the couch; smiling?!! Telling us that 'everything is okay' it was 'just an argument.' We needed to forgive and forget. We were such wonderful children for being 'forgiving,' and 'patient.' Our parents love us so much and my dad will never leave us.

So, I don't know. What the heck do you do with these memories? I mean, this isn't even the half of it. But seriously, how do you forgive such a major hypocrite? I am not in contact right now with these people. But no contact is all new to me. For years now, I've been trying to forgive and love my parents, despite all that stuff. They have this way of manipulating me into feeling guilty for being angry at them and reacting emotionally to their mistreatment. They never take responsibility for their issues.

I find it so hard to find people who understand. Most christians I've told can't see past the fact that I need to forgive and let go of anger, and that it's really not that big of a deal. But it really is a big deal to me! Hence, now I am speaking to atheists. lol.

All I can think of is the song by Paramore, Playing God - "I know you don't believe me, but the way I, way I see it, next time you point the finger, I might have to bend it back and break it, break it off!"

Has anyone else experienced this sort of thing? Thanks for any light you can shed!
Love and Peace Heart

I have never been through anything like this, so I can't do much more than offer up my sympathy.

My relationship with my parents isn't great, and neither is the relationship my wife has with her parents (one of my sister-in-laws also doesn't have a great relationship with them). Guilt tripping is pretty standard procedure of emotional manipulation around our families, but not to the degree you describe.

I think it is always great when you can have a relationship with your family, but not at your own expense. So we don't communicate with on of my in-laws at all any more and I don't communicate with my father-in-law at all. It is just easier and better for everyone to not try and force those relationships. I don't know what's best for you and I suspect you don't know right now either, but hopefully time will help you figure it out. There are some of us here who can give support and advice or just listen as needed. Thumbsup

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like TheBeardedDude's post
03-02-2017, 09:59 AM
RE: Have You Experienced Gas-lighting Emotional Abuse?
(03-02-2017 07:27 AM)Anjele Wrote:  You saying 'this isn't half of it' really resonates with me. Having two emotionally (and physically) abusive parents is something that is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't lived it. The abuse happens over a long time. Each 'little' thing added to every other 'little' thing becomes a gigantic thing that sucks the life out you and makes you question your own sanity.

My parents were expert at hiding their behavior from others (especially mom...people knew dad had a temper). It was impossible to get people to understand how bad things were because they only saw the faces that were presented outside of the house and those faces were quite different from the reality.

At 19 my mother had done enough groundwork at undermining me with everyone that she had me picked up by the police and committed to a state mental hospital. She got dad on her side, dad's golfing buddy-a lawyer and my aunt who was a nurse. They all said the right words to have me picked up and locked up. Mom claimed I had threatened to bomb their house...WTF! Are you kidding me? That was so far from anything I would have thought, then or now.

She was sure they would keep me, seemingly forever and would take the baby I was carrying from me. That way she could say I was crazy and explain away any embarrassment over her daughter being pregnant and unmarried. I locked up for three days and then had to go to court...I was then let go. The psychiatrist said that I had problems but they were mostly that I was pregnant, and had no family support of any kind. To this day (that was in 40 years ago) my mother tells people that I did something illegal to get released. How? I had no contact with the outside world...the only people I was allowed to talk to were my parents. What could I have done illegally or otherwise?

That's only one story of the things done. Over the years I have been told of a laundry list of things that mom told people about me...that were untrue.

This kind of shit is why I am so connected to my best friend...she lived a similar hell and she gets it.

I hate hearing that others go through similar crap. I hope you can find your way out to a peaceful life.

Heart

Gosh! How can a parent be so controlling and mean? I'm sorry that you went through all of that. I can't imagine being put in the mental hospital. It's so difficult being a child of a person that people in the community respect and admire, but you know a totally different side of them.

I have never felt 'allowed' to speak about my experiences. I've always protected their reputation. That's why I am posting this piece of my story here. I don't want to live in silence anymore. I want to connect to other people like you who really get it.

Thank you for sharing your experience! I wish that no child ever has to endure things like these stories ever again. I'm moving on and letting go now. Heart

If the pope went to Zumba class, then he may be eligible to spend eternity in my special unicorn mountain kingdom. Cool
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes hannaskywalker's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: