Top in the Narcissists’ toolkit of abuse of others is ‘gaslighting’. The term comes from the 1944 film Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman, a brilliant film and definitely worth a watch if you haven’t seen it. Here’s the trailer’ link.
It involves a husband’s attempt to drive his wife insane by playing with her mind and making her doubt every move she makes. I won’t say more, won’t spoil the plot which is amazing.
Narcissists do this all the time. My mother does this. My mother can do no wrong, ever.
Even now, as I write this, having endured her abuse for fifty years, I doubt my mind and regularly think to myself, maybe I am being too hard, maybe it is me. Maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe what she did wasn’t that bad.
And then I have to stop myself and say – yes, yes it WAS that bad. She is that person, a mean, manipulative, self-absorbed bitch with not one shred of genuine empathy. She is that person who feels she is seriously entitled to have wealth, adoration, constant attention. She lives a no-blame, consequence-free life, and I have had enough.
All my physical ailments, headaches every day, back ache are due to repressed rage at the way she is, and the fact that I can never tell her what I think of her, not to her face. I have had all sorts of medical checks, courtesy of the NHS in the UK, and thankfully there is nothing wrong with me. It’s all psychological and it’s all down to her.
And the beauty of this situation (heavy sarcasm here) is that my sister is an evil narcissist too. My older sister mirrors my mother in every possible way. So it’s double whammy time and the load is getting too much to bear which is why I have gone NO CONTACT – more on that in my next post.
The gaslighting is one of the most powerful ways a narcissist rules from her dirty throne. My mother refuses to talk about any issue other than how well and wonderful her life is. On the occasions I have challenged her (remember I am the scapegoat, the one who is the blotting paper for her hatred, while my sister is the golden child – who can do no wrong), she blocks me, hangs up on me, changes the subject, tells me to my face that I always was a problem child, too sensitive, but generally she will just change the subject, walk away or hang up the phone.
Let me give you an example, and this is not gaslighting per se, rather another typical Narcissist tactic, pure rage on her part, rage at my attempt to infiltrate her perfect world with my human story.
This is a true story. This happened to me.
In my early 20s, I got pregnant by a boyfriend who I was scared of, a nasty bully (I was attracted to men who treated me badly in those days – classic fall-out from living with a narcissist). I said to my mother. ‘Mum, I need to talk to you, please listen. I have something to tell you.’
We were out at the time, meeting some of her friends. There had been no other opportunity to talk to her, as was usual.
Her words to me: ‘Not now. I can’t talk to you now.’
‘Mum,’ I said, ‘I’m pregnant.’
Her to me: ‘You’ve done this to me on purpose. I won’t talk about this. I am about to meet my friends.’
And she never talked me about my pregnancy again. I had an abortion. I told her I was going to have an abortion. But she refused to talk about it, has never mentioned it, obviously did not come with me to the hospital.
Gaslighting came into this scenario. She made me think that what I was going through wasn’t really happening. I feel sick at the thought of this. My feelings are coming through powerfully as I write this. I felt as though my experience, my existence wasn’t real, that I didn’t really exist. That’s how I still feel to this day, despite having a loving husband, who I have been with for 24 years.
Sending love to all fellow sufferers at the hands of Narcissists.
I am going to find ways to help you all. Please bear with me while I dig out lots of help that’s out there because there is loads of help out there in the cyber-world.
Just remember this. If you have been raised by a Narcissist or have Narcissists in your family, are married to one etc etc, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE WISE, YOU ARE AMAZING AND THEIR BEHAVIOUR IS THEIR BEHAVIOUR. IT’S NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH THEY GASLIGHT YOU INTO THINKING THE OPPOSITE.
Stay strong. Don’t feel alone.