Friday, February 3, 2012

Shaking the unshakeable

For some reason people think I'm a lot more confident than I am. I'm not. I live with a lot of anxiety and near crippling self doubt. However, I firmly believe that my fights are worth fighting.

Let me have that.

There's a systemic process that people use to break this kind of thing, to convince people that what they know and see and perceive and feel isn't real or accurate.

It's called gaslighting, and it's abuse.

Every time you tell someone that they are too sensitive, they are overreacting, they didn't mean it that way, you are gaslighting. And that is abuse.

Every time you tell someone with a disability that they aren't a really real disabled person, you are gaslighting, and that's abuse.

Every time you try to convince someone with a disability that they are too high functioning to talk accurately about that disability, you are gaslighting. That's abuse.

Every time you tell someone that enforcing their access needs is unreasonable, you are gaslighting. That's abuse.

Every time you tell someone that defending themselves against others hurting them is 'abusive', you are gaslighting. And that is abuse.

Every time you tell someone that they have to understand why someone did or said something hurtful, they didn't mean it about them, you are gaslighting. That's abuse.

When you tell someone on the receiving end of prejudice or injustice that they're imagining it, you are gaslighting. That is abuse.

You aren't the first person who thought to tell us that we're oversensitive or being unreasonable with our needs or that our perceptions are wrong or whatever. Gaslighting is common.

And it is abuse.

Trying to shake someone's sense that what they know, see, and think is true, trying to convince them they're just making shit up? Just so you don't have to listen to them? Just to break them down?

That is abuse. It is disgusting. It is an absolutely hateful thing to do to anyone. It's also a favorite tactic of all sorts of shitty people. And make no mistake, if you do this sort of thing you are a shitty person.

When you engage in this kind of thing, the planting and cultivating of self doubt, it'll work for a while. It won't get me to shut up though. It'll make me anxious as I try to figure out what is real and what is made up and who made it up and why and what I did wrong to make them think that was ok.

And I know the answer is it isn't ok. It is gaslighting. Gaslighting is abuse. But it is sneaky and it leaves marks, marks that no one can see.

Growing someone else's self doubt so that you don't have to change your thinking or your action?

That shit's abuse. You should know better. Stop doing it.

6 comments:

mybrainyourbrain said...

Great post, I think I had too many shitty people on my life and just now i'm daring to believe this is abuse. Thank you.

chavisory said...

I was just realizing the other day how difficult it is to accommodate the magnitude of something truly immense happening to you, when you've been taught your whole life to belittle and demean what was happening to you.

lurker said...

I don't understand why you wouldn't be so confident. I really wish I had the aptitude you have. I don't get why it should be forbidden to acknowledge that someone could have a differing viewpoint on disability which is influenced by them being high-functioning.

Neurodivergent K said...

The award for not getting it goes to: LURKER.

Xe gets bonus points for assuming this is about autism (protip: it's not).

ponetium said...

Wow, thank you for that post. I am very happy to learn that term.
I grew up with a family who were gaslighting me constantly, telling me things I did, see, tasted or herd are not true. That something is not painfull. That the food I am eating is not spoiled. That I agreed to something.

So thank you. I am reading back throght your blog and I love it.
Thank you!

yana yegorov said...

Wow, thank you for that post. I am very happy to learn that term.
I grew up with a family who were gaslighting me constantly, telling me things I did, see, tasted or herd are not true. That something is not painfull. That the food I am eating is not spoiled. That I agreed to something.

So thank you. I am reading back throght your blog and I love it.
Thank you!