Gaslighting

When I wrote of craving documentation, I did not think it was a necessity.  It was merely because I am forgetful sometimes, although not typically ergarding matters close to my heart.  Those things seem burned into my memories like permanent fixtures I can’t rid myself of when I want to!

However, it is exceedingly troublesome to be in the position to doubt reality.  I recall reading something about this technique referred to as “gaslighting”.  This term comes from a Hitchcock movie where a woman’s husband wants her to believe she’s crazy.  He tells her things didn’t happen when they did.  He tells her she did things she didn’t.  He tells her she didn’t do things she knows she did.  She gets increasingly confused by this and doubts her own sanity.  This is the perfect setup to make someone believe they’re crazy.  Although it is somewhat easy to dismiss this the first few times as just being mistaken, over time, it really does work to make you wonder…

No one thinks that documenting every encounter, ever visit, every conversation, every phone call or text would ever be necessary in order to prove mundane everyday things.  I think we should all be exhausted if we had to document every interaction with others in order to have verification of reality.  Quite honestly, out of embarraassment for the truth, I have not done that even here…the place where I really “let it all out”.  Why I would be embarrassed about things on a mostly anonymous blog, I’ve no idea, but I have been.   However, I’m now wishing I wasn’t.  Not that it provides any actual documentation or evidentiary proof of anything real, but at this point for my own peace of mind it would be comforting.  And mind comfort is hard for me to come by these days.  So, I’m really wishing I had blogged more concretely in dates and times and events. 

I did not.  And perhaps my embarrassment was what he counts on.  The embarrassment  does help keep things hidden and creates a challenge for me in the event that I ever might have to prove something, either to myself, him, or anyone else.  Although I just wouldn’t ever imagine that this kind of thing would be important to prove  anything other than possibly  a murder case or police investigation.  Couldn’t imagine it would be important to prove irrelevant events that shouldn’t even be up for debate…other than for someone attempting to “gaslight”.

Can I trust that I’m typing this right now?  Can I trust that I’m even sitting here?  I might not be.  He very well may tell me tomorrow that I wasn’t.  And when I attempt to “prove” it, by showing the blog entry with date and time (or some equivalent method of proof), he will explain it away, as though I’m ridiculous to believe that proves a single thing. 

And gosh, why would I ever need to prove such things anyway, right?  I should know if I am sitting here typing this; if I checked my email, if I went to the grocery store yesterday, if my favorite sweater is grey, or my favorite color is green…  shouldn’t I be able to know these things without needing “proof”?  And what kind of freak sociopathic psycho tries to make you doubt these things?  I understand that many things are based on perspective, like what something feels like to another person, we could never know for certain or have thet audacity to doubt their sensations and experience.  But there are concrete, factual things that are not up for debate.  You might think my shoes are navy and I might see them as black and in relative terms we are both correct in our own right, but we can’t deny that I’m wearing shoes, right? 

What would anyone hope to gain other than perhaps a husband trying to get rid of a wife “legally” by discrediting her sanity?  Or acting in terms of self preservation maybe?  If our behavior is so outrageously embarrassing that we need to believe it didn’t exist, we don’t “do that”, or we need to be sure no one else would believe that we did/have done such things? 

This is my favorite sweater.  No, it isn’t.  I have not been tanning in over a month.  Yes, you have. We went to the movies last week.  No, we didn’t.  I’m sitting on the sofa right now.  No, you aren’t.

What???!!??  Why would anyone do this?  How very, very cruel!

1,2,3……rrrrrrriiiippppp!

So I’m thinking lately how this situation makes me feel resentful, manipulated, frustrated, and less of myself in general.  As though I start to become a distant fading light, losing its power and sense of being.  The very essence of who I am feels lost every time this cycle starts over and/or continues.  I realize that although my part in it is to hold onto a sense of faith in the person I love, that is allowing this and affecting me as a whole.  As much as I want to believe in the person I love and his ability to do the right thing and my ability to patiently wait for that to happen, there comes a time when I have to accept what is and let go of what I want so badly to believe.  A time when I have to take responsibility for that and my part in perpetuating the insanity in my life.  My responsibility is to love myself enough to believe in myself and not try so much to believe in another.

Starting yesterday, I’m making the attempt to take back the power in this ongoing crazy situation; to take responsibility for making it different – changing the things I want changed.  I’m tired of being perplexed, confused, hopeful and hurt, trusting and betrayed.  I’ve been tired of that for some time now. Hopefully I’ve really had enough at this point and will stick to it.   I’ve made small steps toward that in the past and then hoped he would give the rest, by accepting my position, taking it into consideration, respecting it, and ultimately doing the right thing in response to my efforts.  Guess I’ve been hoping he would share the responsibility of correcting this situation, making it a little easier on me to be strong and do the right thing for myself. 

What kind of ridiculously innocent faith is that?  And what has he done over the past 2 and 1/2 years to demonstrate that he would ever take any responsibility for doing the right thing?  Nothing.  I’ve seen nothing in him that resembles the character of the man I love for years now.  Why would I hold onto faith in him when I’ve seen nothing of him in so very long?  Is it because I’m too lazy to just do it all myself and be the complete strong person on my own?  Or is it denial that the man I knew and loved somehow disappeared and is possibly gone forever?  Or never existed, except as a facade…  Which is an extremely hurtful concept to consider.  It makes the truest thing I’ve ever known or experienced all just a manipulative act which I was naive enough to fall for completely.  If I have to accept that the only love I’ve felt was real was not in fact real, what does that mean?  It means I was duped.  It means I’ve never known authentic love, ever… 

Gosh, how desperately I have clung to my deepest hopes of the heart and soul, while the ugly face of its  opposite  screams directly in my face?  I  may as well cover my eyes and chant a sing-song I can’t seeeeee yoooooouuu…I can’t seeeeee yoooouuu. 

How ridiculous.  Time to grow up.    Time to face the music that’s actually playing instead of thinking I can keep dancing to the music from my heart, at an entirely different beat.  Time to take the power back and take responsibility for eliminating this chaos in my world which is changing me at a structural level.  Where did my boundaries go?   I am not the victim here unless I allow myself to be.  I am not inherently lazy either.  Apparently just inherently, ridiculously faithful in others, regardless of their actuality.  Holding onto that innocence has been exhausting and soul mutilating.  My knuckles are white and stretched to their max.  The skin might even be starting to rip and tear.  It’s painful to continue holding on that way.  It’s also painful to let go… 

However, one makes more sense and will prompt a faster end to the difficulty.  I’ve never been one to rip the band-aid off fast and quick, although I’ve always known that’s the smartest and most effective method to remove a bandage. 

In respect of the possibility there is even an ounce of truth in the “struggle” he’s indicated he is currently experiencing in his life and in his expressed need to turn to me for comfort and support, I do not want to be vengeful or cold in my removal or harsh in my setting boundaries.  It has never been about getting what I want.  It has only been about believing in him and believing in the power and purity of unconditional love for another human being…   Yesterday, I selected a nice card expressing my love, concern and support of him and wrote my well wishes and other kind, but unattached, non-expectant words, in signage and left this on his door.  Not wishing or expecting anything at all in return.  Being inherently true to myself and my heart irregardless of his character; confirming that in spite of what I’m about to do and the boundaries I must set and hold firm, I do truly love him.  Then, last evening before I went to sleep, I blocked all access to me, locking him out of my life.  I drew a line in the sand, directly and firmly in front of where he’s chosen to stand. 

And with that, here I go…..

Pondering the possibilities…

Her perspective hadn’t altered drastically.  She was keeping it in check with just a bit of effort.  At times, her mind wandered to those confounding what if’s, but it was brief and tempered with the reality of what is and all that had beenover the past few years.  This was keeping her from drifting off into the fantasy land of unconditional joy and love which he unfortunately usually inspired.

As good as it felt to be washed away with it all, it was feeling pretty darn good to not float off for a change.  This made her feel as though she had accomplished something through it all.  At least she didn’t feel like she was standing at square one facing the freshest, worst heart break she had ever imagined she could suffer.  Therefore, there wasprogress occurring at last!

Yesterday she couldn’t get him off her mind.  Tempted to stop over there during lunch, she had effectively battled that urge.  Interesting that her intuition and her sources of divination kept alluding directly and indirectly to his preoccupation with another woman.  She didn’t feel jealous or angry, not even much sadness or resentment when she accepted that likely possibility.  Hoping he would find happiness and hoping she (and he) could soon let go completely was her primary focus.  Perhaps she finally had suffered enough?  She was afraid to believe it was close to over, getting her hopes up that it was at an end at last had often been a major source of frustration and disappointment in herself.  Like most everything else, she entertained the thought momentarily and then let it float freely away. 

Not holding on to anything made her feel so free.  It wasn’t bringing sadness to her either, just a delightful sense of freedom and vast possibility.  And gratitude as well.  While it still seemed the tiniest inkling of hope for him still thrived deep down, the hope that she would move on was growing faster than ever before.  It probably helped that she had recently started dating someone, although she did not take that seriously at all.  It was more of a time-passing thing, but she felt proud of herself regardless.

Wha would happen when she moved?  Would he find her?  Would it throw him off balance to realize he didn’t know where she was for once?  Would it cause him to feel anything at all?  Would it merely be out of sight, out of mind?  Would he kick it all up a notch or would it all fade into nothingness?  She was leaving that open and unanswered…  Best to leave that wide open to natural fate.

Love floats

The answers aren’t going to come, are they?  Nothing will clear itself to black and white.  It’s cloaked in confusion and my good will.  Is it my good will which clouds the issue?  Or is it love?

Love started out as my greatest source of confusion.  I love you.  No, I really love you only if…  That’s the source of it and people put their fingers in it, and stir around to cloud it further…

I love you, but…  I love you if…  You’re wonderful, if only…  Exactly where in that is love itself?  Stipulations and conditions do not define love and have no place in it.  They have a distinct place in mutually satisfying negotiations, not love.  Love has no distinct edge and the stipulations placed on it are sourced from our fears and selfishness, the very opposite of love.

Love floats and falls softly or whips you off your feet like a gust of wind.  Still there are no edges, except that edge which you might have to jump from to embrace it fully.  If it hurts, that is from self.  If it scares, that is from fear.  Love requires removing the vision of self from the heart and feeling only unity and oneness.  We are all one.  When all sense of separate self is removed from the equation, only love remains and it cannot hurt anyone from it’s pure viewpoint.  It feathers the fall because love floats.

Dreaded trust!!

 

Argh…I’m in the process of buying a house under extremely odd (or perhaps awkward?) circumstances.  I confess that I am far too old to be a virgin to this whole process, but the truth is that I’ve never really had an interest in buying something – anything – that ties me down or might hold me back.  Facing this frightening ordeal and getting “advice” from many friends a great deal younger than I, I’m faced with seeing that I am, without a doubt,  the most deeply committed commitment-phobe imaginable. I can commit myself to causes and hang on when there’s nothing left but thin air and I have been known to champion people who probably never had any genuine intention or desire of “being all they could be” and believe there’s hope beyond reasonable evidence indicating so.  However, in this situation, I’m looking at all of these characteristics about me as a whole and feeling frustratingly entertained, to say the least.

I talk to my beloved dad briefly about the offer  I’m about to write tomorrow.  Halfway through the conversation (which I have to say IS a “typical conversation with my dad), I realize my dad is drunk.  I even was so bold as to ask, “Daddy, you sound a little odd….are you drinking?”  And it wasn’t that he was saying anything out of the ordinary for him, it was more the deliberation of his words that made me wonder if he had had more than several.  Now, I certainly don’t judge my dad or anyone for their drinking.  I have  experienced my fair share of irresponsible drinking in my life and certainly have no grounds to pass judgment.  Actually, this is just a side note to my purpose of this post….. So anyway…..

After my dad gives me fair (and reasonable) warning as to “take your time – no need to rush into anything”, etc., and I couldn’t reconcile his points with his warnings and he was clearly getting frustrated with me as I was with him, I finally just point blank asked him, “Are you telling me not to trust the information my realtor is giving me? Are you saying I shouldn’t trust my realtor?”  To which he responded, “Yes, I’m saying not to trust your realtor or ANY body”

And I realize there is my life-plight.  I avoid big decisions involving major commitments because other than those that I make with  and to  myself,  every commitment involves trusting another person to a degree.  In order to function adequately in this world it is such that you have to, at times, put trust into another human being in order to make those choices…and even to realistically choose to not make such commitments, then you’ve made the choice not to trust another person.    I cannot stand this.  How in the world do you function at a responsible level when life (and people) tell you, “don’t trust anyone”?  What then?  Honestly, living that way means living in limbo and yet, it seems that jumping off that ledge of trust and just “trusting” often leads to a horrible crashing at the end of the jump, along with the crippling regret that comes with hindsight.  How does one live with the state of people today?  How does any one make   responsible commitments to something or someone?  We are all fallible and live sometimes from our  basic modern survival instincts. 

So if my individual choice is to listen to Gandhi and “be the change I want to see in the world”, my commitment is to be trustworthy and honest…and so I am..  I believe wholly in the theory of that statement and I really see no other way to instigate the changes I wish for this world, other than to demonstrate it and be it myself first, regardless of what the rest of the world thinks or chooses.

This has not for even a moment made my life more full of trustworthy people.  In fact, it seems it has done the opposite and attracted every needy person on self-serving missions and every type of untrustworthy source to me.  Which, in turn, creates an environment where I struggle to actually live and practice what I believe in.  It is difficult work for me to “be the change I want to see” and it is a scary jump every day – and sometimes requires several jumps per day.  My first thought response to this  conundrum is that I must not be authentically “being” that which I wish to see, or I would be attracting “that which I wish to see”  or at the least, perhaps have found a safe place to freely be “that change which I wish to see”….  and yet truly, I have not.  The lesson in nearly every experience is usually, trust no one.  And even my dad, with all his wisdom, shares this same lesson with me, which directly contradicts “the change I want to see”.  I am flustered.    Yet, I do not know how to be more authentic or genuine.   In fact, I’m realizing that my inability (absolute unwillingness?) to practice the standard little commonly accepted games of deception, are practically a handicap in this world and have placed a gargantuous bullseye on my back.

Dammit then(please excuse my swearing-in-frustration-and-confusion), how can this ever work????  I want to know and believe I can trust someone other than myself…I want to live in a world where it’s safe to trust the majority.  I want my children to have that safety as well.  So I must be trustworthy and I must provide people with access to my trust so they can demonstrate that they are trustworthy, which seems to mean that I’m actually providing people with the ability to disappoint me and demonstrating what an idiot I am for giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Where’s my urine-proof umbrella?

It seems most everything in life revolves around some degree of trust, particularly relationships.  This makes it more challenging.  What about people who talk, talk, talk about things but their actions rarely match up with their words?  What is that?  Is that just good intention at its best?  Or is it deception: smoke and mirrors?

Regardless of what it is, there is no way to trust this type of person. However, these are the very people who can talk quite a charming tale of excuses and explanations.  This type person pees on your head, smiling and looking directly at you, while trying to convince you it’s actually just raining.  And it’s so tempting to want to believe them!  I always wonder at what point do you just give up on someone with this issue?  What’s the old phrase?  First time, shame on you.  Second time, shame on me? 

I wonder if this is a charcter defect or a learned survival mechanism?  If it’s learned, I wonder what purpose it serves?  Do these people just go through other people like underwear?  Once they’ve thoroughly drenched a person in urine, then just move on to the next innocent victim who doesn’t want to think he’s getting peed on everyday?  And what about reputations?  Don’t they soon get the reputation for being that person?  Isn’t difficukt to find new victims once they’ve peed on 20 people?

A part of me believes these people need compassion and friends the most.  That’s why I’m drenched in urine most of the time and questioning the constant rain, when it’s dry and sunny over every one else’s head.  Then, the next time it might really be raining, how do you shake that fear that you’re getting peed on?  What happens once you seriously doubt your own discernment?  Functioning from that place is quite self-defeating and prophecy fulfilling.

What is wrong with people today?  Have the majority just dedicated themselves to self preservation and personal success at any moral cost?  Why does it seem that there are so many who are just out to take advantage of any and every kindness offered them?  Leaves the rest of us looking like schmucks.  Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in te world.”  That makes sense to me, yet it seems so detrimental to one’s own well being.  And with that thought alone, have I just demonstrated that I am maybe not that much different than the rest?  Do you seek to be working toward the highest good until you have nothing left to give?  At that point I understand kicking into selfish mode.  Good heavens, you must or else resign yourself to having a “pee here” tatooed on your forehead!