Gratitude for Gaslighting


Life teaches us lessons – which grow in magnitude if we don’t listen and learn from them. They are not comparable to school history lessons – where it’s not too much of an issue if you don’t listen, and instead focus on the aubergine-sized willy of the boy next to you – life lessons have bigger consequences. For those of us with virtual neon lights across our forehead, advertising our naivety and vulnerability, there will be an inevitable series of arseholes that cross our paths until we man-up and change something. We attract what we think we deserve: feel worthless, and ‘cha-ching!’, welcome to the land of abusive relationships and bullying. This is an all-inclusive deal of friendships, partners and employers. That’s not to say everyone in your path will be a Twat – you may well have a sea of caring, compassionate gems of human beings in your life, but quite probably one big Twat of a human floating around in there at any one time. I say floating, but they don’t float – they are predators.

When someone repeatedly tells you there’s a problem with your head, calls you derogatory names and claims that everything they ask you to do has been imagined by your insanity, it can be taken as the truth, or that the person is a total dick. I recently fell into a midway point, where I could see that the delivery was harsh, but believed the observation; I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. And then came the realisation, in a very undignified meltdown on my kitchen floor, where I snot-showered my visiting parents. My mother, the eternal devil’s advocate, informs me: ‘this is abuse – it’s happening on the Archers’. She understands, and her lack of ‘well maybe they just…’ is the reality check that things aren’t OK.

I search online that night and read multiple cases about gaslighting – I am not alone. But I have to own this – I can’t absorb the positives of the law of attraction and ignore the shit stuff – I’m doing something wrong, and I need to change. No one deserves to be treated like the shit, but perhaps we need to take responsibility for attracting it – for me it makes it easier to swallow if I know it’s something I can change and affect. It’s OK to have a big gooey heart, but there are consequences of wearing it on your sleeve.  Something has clicked. The lesson that I have been presented with time and time over has facilitated sudden unforeseen change. I brainstormed pages of notes on a potential plan of action to change my life, erected a vision board, goal list and wall of affirmations (God bless America), concluding that I’m going back to study, I’m regaining my professional title and I’m setting up my own business. I need to create a path that brings out a stronger side of my personality, and a confidence that lacks outside of my writing voice. But I am very grateful for the experience that has led to this – regardless of the painful hurdle it caused, I believe something great is being born from it. It’s easier to learn from having shit slung at you than to be angry about it. Shit washes off.

A new part-time job lined up to support my study, I remain the millionaire waitress: the girl who learnt that the best things in life are born from empty pockets – the existence of mindfulness, nature, love of friends and family, and forgiveness.  I care not about how cheesy that sounds. I will forever prioritise these things, but will eventually enjoy them with the security of more easily keeping a roof over our heads, and whilst achieving my potential in life. The book will be the ultimate goal, but I strive to carve out a decent career around it – both ventures aiming to serve to help others.

I now have two heads: the warm and fuzzy one, and the business one. Both, however, are now void of the virtual neon sign. My sleeves are bare – and rolled up ready to charge.

Here goes nothing…