Who has the new The Chicks album, GASLIGHTER, on repeat right now? I do. As a survivor of narcissistic/sociopathic abuse, it feels like it’s written for me. For all of us survivors.
I had never heard the term GASLIGHT until months before the end of my 3-year relationship with a narcissistic predator. Even after I read the explanation of what it meant, it still felt confusing. That's because I was still being gaslit. I was still drowning in a sea of lies and projection. Eventually, I came to understand that all of the times that he called me crazy or sick, or accused me of cheating on him, it was a manipulative way of putting me in my place. And it was the closest thing I’d get to an admission of guilt on HIS part for all of those things. He was projecting everything he was doing onto me.
It took lots of therapy for me to understand that I wasn’t at fault. I wasn’t sick. I had to undo the subconscious conditioning that had been hard-wired inside of me since he and I met that fateful day in 2014. I went from being a strong, independent, confident person to a shell of a woman who couldn’t figure out why it had all gone so pear-shaped.
To better illustrate gaslighting, here’s a specific example from a few years back when I wrote a blog post about the abuse I endured while working on a project with my ex. I spelled out how he screamed at me when I innocently didn’t think to lock the door to the dorm room in which we were staying, and then he screamed at me that the reason I did that was because I wanted men to come in. It was soul crushing, all of it. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, he pushed the right button, for sure. Anyhow, I wrote openly about it and received this message from him before I eventually secured a restraining order against him:
You are sick Kiersten. And you were sick in Florida. And you're sick from the abuse you suffered as a child not any from me. And the blindness from your parents for their own facade all your life. Being sick does not make you bad. But it sure keeps you blind. And, you've lost the only one with the insight, guts, and the true love enough to tell you. You've surrounded yourself with only enablers. Truth needs NO validation. What happened in Florida got to anger on both sides. And you helped big time! Just as you did all along knowing each button to push, when calm loving truth showed itself, you RAN again to projection and blame....”
With love only, xxx
Do you see what he did there? He turned it all around. In no way was he calm or level headed EVER. He blew up that day just like he did down he road when the cops were called by a concerned person to our apartment for fear of my safety. And unbeknownst to me the whole time, he was the one who was wanting others to come into his bedroom. Latter I learned that he was cheating left and right with women of all ages.
I’m three years healed, now, and it’s all so clear in ways it wasn’t when I was battling the darkness of abuse. If you’re dealing with gaslighting, know that you are NOT in the wrong. You are not the problem.
You are being abused.
Many thanks to The Chicks for writing such a raw, vulnerable, brave album.