A blog by Claire Standen Coaching
Many times I have seen women express that they were gaslit by their narcissistic ex. I too once read an article about gaslighting and looked afresh at my relationship dynamics with my then husband. Across the ages, women’s truths have been questioned. This has never been more important to me than now, as I continue my quest for justice after I was sexually assaulted in 2020.
Yet as a coach and a practitioner that is interested in getting the most possible wellbeing for myself and my clients, I have to remain open to what works. It seems to me, that spending eternity thinking about and blaming an ex-partner for the troubles in your life (low self-esteem, self confidence issues etc) is a somewhat disempowering stance, and I started to look for what might serve me better in creating the kind of life I want. So, what is ‘gaslighting’? Well, google tells me it’s when somewhat deliberately denies your version of reality in an attempt to control or undermine you, ultimately leading you to question your sanity. Well! That’s pretty unpleasant, no?
Yet at the same time as someone is ‘doing’ this to you, the opposite must be true. If they don’t believe in your version of reality, then you don’t believe in theirs. How can we be free of this never ending spiral of uncertainty? Where each person disbelieves the other, with varying degrees of malicious intent? I think it’s time to call out ‘the truth’. The truth is, there IS no truth. They believe what they believe, and you believe what you believe. Beyond that, its all smoke and daggers. By which I mean, perception. Because, you see… we do not see the World as it is, we see the World as WE are. So you may actually have perceived different versions of reality, and all the arguing in the World won’t have you see each other’s ‘point of view’. Now. That’s not to say that there isn’t potentially some other stuff going on. Maybe you’re being coercively controlled in other ways. Ugh. Because it happens. And that sucks… AND no-one can actually BE IN your mind, controlling it. So. How do we ‘take back control’? I think it comes down to being more open, not less. TO learn to trust yourself and your version of events. To understand that when respect is not being served, you don’t stay and eat, you leave the table… this is radical responsibility for self. Am I victim balming? I hope not. I am, however, speaking as someone who has been on this journey. Who has felt controlled and restricted, and then taken the journey to understanding that the biggest restrictions I’ll ever face (no matter who I’m married to, who my boss is, or what my mum says) are all in my own mind. Which is actually excellent news, because ‘we are now entering the dimension where we have control… the inside). So if you’ve ever been faced with someone who denies your reality… I want you to stand a little taller, knowing that you matched them all along, without even knowing it, by denying theirs right back!
Now as to the beliefs you have and values you hold that had you create that reality in the first place, perhaps that’s a blog post for another day…