I posted this on Facebook the other day. I post it here as an example of how abusers gaslight you–but that you must not believe it:
Just had a Writer’s Club meeting on journaling/diaries. Also mentioned was the treasure trove of a deceased mother’s letters: both to and from people, because she saved drafts of the letters she wrote.
We were encouraged to keep journals of our lives, to save letters.
It was healing and affirming for me: I have saved journals and letters to/from people ever since I was a kid.
It’s a record of my life, a place to vent and sort out, a place to remember.
My letters to people record things I have done and thought, while letters from friends are to be treasured, not tossed out like trash. The letters are all part of the journal.
I am an introvert who needs to reflect.
I have always admired Laura Ingalls Wilder, but knew that I could not write memoirs like hers without keeping records.
I also want to have this record in case my memories fade in old age.
One day, my ex-friend Richard found out about this. So publicly on his blog, and then the next day in person, he called me “creepy” for saving all my letters. Tracy even made fun of me for it!
Then there was Shawn from college, who scolded me for keeping a diary. He said that important memories should not be written down. He also psychologically abused me, so I think these people were just scared of what might be in my journals.
As I heard today (and already knew), my archives/journals are perfectly normal–especially for writers–and encouraged. The saving of memories is considered valuable, whether for yourself or for posterity.
I must drain the poison of psychological abuse, not allow myself to take any of it to heart and spoil this wonderful thing I have always loved to do.
My friends said things like, “I do the same thing,” it’s beautiful to save letters/journals, who cares what other people think about what you do with your own life. The president of the club wrote, “Nicely said, Nyssa.”
And THAT is what real friends say to you. They encourage you, don’t try to tear you down. Even if they criticize you, you can tell they have your best interests at heart. Many times, good friends have criticized me, but they are still my friends, and I realize why they said what they did, even if I disagree.
Maybe once in a while a good friend has indeed been too harsh, but this was a rare event in a normally loving friendship, so I can let it go–and it does not repeat itself.
In the cases of Richard and Tracy, and Shawn, the “friendship” was abusive, so the attacks were repeated, whether covert (little things said or gestures that shake your confidence) or overt (rages, angry criticism).
It also demonstrates to me just how entrenched I was in Richard’s narcissistic web.
Somehow he had me so anxious to have his good opinion that when he’d gaslight me like this–tell me some normal behavior (for writers/introverts/NVLDers/Americans/Christians) was “creepy” or “wrong” or “offensive”–it would devastate me.
I would resist and feel the need to defend myself, while some small part of me would think, “What if he’s right?”
But right here is a perfect example that no, he’s NOT right. That he did NOT have my best interests at heart, that he and Tracy were trying to warp my mind.
I post here so that others can see a real-life example of gaslighting, recognize it in their own lives, and resist the lies of Wormtongue. Don’t let those lies hamper your resolve to get away from the abuse, or work their poison in your mind long after the abuser is gone.
For an excellent fictional example of what abusers do to your mind, see Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, and how Wormtongue spun a deceitful web around a king, until the king was emotionally crippled and unable to fight. This is what your own abuser is doing to you, so slowly you don’t notice it.
Even now I sometimes feel the effects of all the Wormtongues I’ve encountered through the years. But over time, their webs are disintegrating and falling away, leaving my mind clear and able to recognize what they were doing.
I no longer feel the need to defend myself in my mind against Richard and Tracy calling me “creepy” for saving my letters. There is no need, because what they said was absolutely ridiculous. If I could haul them in front of the Writer’s Club, they would get thoroughly chastised for spewing such rubbish.