I just ended a 20-year relationship with a person I thought was a friend. A person I never saw not involved in my life. Through circumstances beyond my control, I forced myself to look at the truth. This person was a toxic gaslighting manipulator.
When you spend a long time in an unhealthy relationship, you start to make excuses for bad behavior. You question your thoughts about pretty much everything. This behavior, my friends, is called gaslighting.
I think as women; we think we can mend all problems. If a child falls, you comfort them, wipe the tears away, and put a bandage on a scrape. If a friend has a question, we carefully listen and offer suggestions regarding a direction to go in. It is our core kindness that makes us react in that fashion. Kindness abused is the deepest of hurt. It is a hurt that you have to give all forms of feeling.
2020 had too much time spent with ourselves not to feel all of the feels, and when I sat down to examine my life, my friendship, my career, my goals, and plans, the only thing that I could not see was staring me directly in the face.
The crazy part is I had a chance and the genuine opportunity to remove myself from all of it in 2015, and I took it. That decision felt hollow like I made it to run away from a toxic situation.
While I enjoyed my fledgling break from one situation, I put myself into another case where I was taken advantage of in another fashion. I was pumped up to feel great about myself and my work but underpaid and often treated poorly by management. Was it because I was so gullible? Too trusting? Strong women shouldn’t be taken advantage of like that.
In this slight crack, my old toxic relationship crept in and exploited my decision to leave, and ultimately wooed me back in.
Everyone who knows the situation can see how bad it was and did nothing about it because he was a man. An ill-behaved diva that behaved like a baby when he didn’t get his way. Threw remotes, and smashed windows, and hurt people. Had a tantrum when he didn’t get his way and then got his way.
I covered it up.
My bosses covered it up. His mother made excuses, and for the most part, I get it- her baby boy. Still acting like a baby and continued being rewarded for it.
Gaslighting is warfare in all of the senses.
You can never make sense of the nonsensical.
I can share what I have learned and how I have dealt with the head spin of putting this relationship back in a ball jar and back on the shelf.
A specimen to look at and learn.
A place that happened in my life.
A place that I allowed myself to be in because it was like a fun rollercoaster ride in my 20’s but became seasickness as I neared my 40’s.
Here is my process for dealing with my emotions when the anger bubbles up for allowing emotional abuse.
1. Call out the issue to yourself
2. Investigate what the root of the problem is
3. Remove and distance yourself from that problem
4. Move on with your life
I am not saying it works 100%, but I have been referring to the list daily so that when a feeling flare-up happens, I remind myself of why I am here in this space emotionally.
There are always going to be terrible people in the world.
Only you have control of your feelings and how you deal with them, and I am learning to worry about just that.
I heard Dr. Joy Brown talk many a night giving advice over the radio to her phone callers, and this piece of advice always sat with me
she said, “cookie,” “sometimes you have to act stupid and cheerful.”
When things don’t go the way you think they should- it has become my mantra.
Stupid and Cheerful is the way to go.
Feel Free to buy Me a Beer and I will tell you all about somedayBack