“Gaslighting” : Emotional Abuse

Am I a Victim of “Gaslighting”…?

Story by Vikram Karve

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GASLIGHTING

“Gaslighting” means trying to convince someone that they are wrong even when they are not wrong.

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse in which people try to manipulate your emotions and make you feel guilty about something that is not your fault — but — in fact — it may be their fault — for which they should feel guilty about.

The aim of gaslighting is to make you feel guilty about something that you don’t need to feel guilty about.

Let me give you a recent example from my own life.

We (my wife and I) — we are looking after my mother.

My sister neglects her duty to look after my mother.

Yes — for the last 20 years — my sister has consistently shirked her duty and avoided looking after my mother — and whenever the need arose — it was we (my wife and I) who had to take care of my mother. Even now — my mother is living with us — and my sister is not even offering to look after her for a few days.

So — in a nutshell — my sister is constantly shirking her responsibility and avoiding her duty of looking after her mother.

However — my sister tries to “gaslight” me by creating an impression that I am not looking after my mother “properly”.

My sister does this by indirectly (by remote control).

She keeps calling my mother on phone and manipulates her emotions in such a way that — despite the fact that it is we who are looking after my mother — a few days ago my mother called me “selfish”.

Believe it or not — we (my wife and I) — we look after my mother — and I am called “selfish” — and — my sister who neglects my mother is projected as a most “caring” person.

Let me make it clear that it is my wife who is doing much more than me in taking care of my mother. My wife has an extremely caring nature and goes out of her way look after my mother and make her feel comfortable — and she has done so for the last 20 years — especially during my mother’s two hospitalizations and long convalescences that took a few months each time — when my mother had multiple orthopedic surgeries due to falls. On both occasions — my sister was conspicuous by her absence when she was needed the most.

What hurts me the most is that despite all that my wife has done for my mother for so many years — sadly — my mother still favours my sister — who neglects to look after my mother. Maybe it is a universal phenomenon — a woman will always love her daughter more than her daughter-in-law — despite the fact that her daughter neglects her and her daughter-in-law cares for her. They take undue advantage of my wife’s good nature and take her for granted. I feel they are “gaslighting” her too — albeit in a subtle way — and this has really alarmed me. If they succeed — my wife may actually start feeling guilty for no fault of hers — or — she may start thinking that I am “selfish” — as they want everyone to believe.

Dear Reader — let me tell you of a recent attempt to “gaslight” me.

For the last 10 months — due to the COVID Pandemic — we have been cooped up in our flat (my mother, my wife and me). My wife works from home — and I have seen that it is extremely strenuous and stressful — involving long hours of demanding work. Though I do try to help to the extent feasible — the major share of work is done by my wife — so — you can imagine the tremendous stress and strain on her — “work from home” + house work + taking care of my mother — all this is taking a toll on her health. Even I am feeling quite depressed. I feel that we need a break. So — I requested my sister to look after our mother for a few days. She refused — giving a specious excuse — as usual. But worse — she called up my mother — I don’t know what she said — but it is likely that she indulged in a fake “emotional outburst” trying to gaslight me — and the result was that my mother called me “selfish”.

It is inexplicable.

Those who are taking care of their parents are being called “selfish” by those who are neglecting their parents.

If you call someone who looks after you “selfish” — will you call someone who neglects you “magnanimous”…?

My mother has a soft corner for my sister — since childhood. That is her prerogative. But does that justify blatant favoritism and always covering-up her faults and rationalizing her wrong actions…? My sister neglects my mother — and — my mother calls me “selfish”…!!! Isn’t it bizarre…? Are they trying to “gaslight” me just to whitewash their own guilt…?

I have been keeping these thoughts inside me — and this has caused internal anger, despair and depression — so — I felt it would be best for me to “vent” out my frustrations — and since — I have no one to talk to — I am writing this as catharsis to release my pent-up emotions.

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EPILOGUE

“Gaslighting” means trying to convince someone that they are wrong even when they are not wrong.

The aim of gaslighting is to make you feel guilty about something that you don’t need to feel guilty about.

Dear Reader — think about it — has “gaslighting” ever happened to you…?

Have you been “gaslighted” — at work, at home, in society, at school/college, in relationships…?

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VIKRAM KARVE

Copyright © Vikram Karve

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Disclaimer:

1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.

2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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Link to My Source Blog Posts in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve and Writing Blog: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2020/12/am-i-victim-of-gaslighting.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/catharsis-story-am-i-a-victim-of-gaslighting/

© vikram karve., all rights reserved

A creative person with a zest for life, alumnus IIT Delhi, Lawrence School Lovedale, Vikram Karve is a retired Navy Officer turned full time Writer and Blogger