November 1, 2022: Gaslighting Us
Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within. Stephen Jay Gould
Lies don’t end relationships, the truth does. Shannon L. Alder
While I am and have been nervous about what a truth is (clearly a truth to one form of sentient soul may not be a truth to another), there is nothing so pernicious as attempts to prove that others are crazy or psychotic. And nowadays, it seems to be a ubiquitous effort to not only distort reality, but to make others believe it is them who are the ones doing the distorting.
Such gaslighting is one thing if it’s about consumer issues, which is not a small thing—let the buyer beware still rules the roost (yes, prey and predator have evolved such “sophistications;” is that our model?), but it’s an entirely different thing to undermine people. It is a form of heart, mind, and soul genocide. And it is deliberate, premeditated.
I am not in the camp of blaming folks for falling for the shitstorm. We can all be fooled, have been fooled. To be fooled is not the same as deliberately fooling others. Yet we are taking sides against each other, the fooled vs the fooled. That just adds to the mess and makes it easy for the gaslighting purveyors to coast along on crush-control.
There is a general rule to follow if one is misplaced or lost in the woods: Stop, breathe, do not fall for being ashamed. Turning against one another or cliquing it up with some we think have shared “beliefs,” is a form of frenzied running about in the territory when we don’t know the territory. Yes, it’s a cha-ching for many a gaslighter, who seem to feel entitled to grab the “low-hanging” fruit (a-sucker-born-every-minute mantra), but it’s a lifeform-suck for those who are not gaslighters, even if they jump on the bandwagon.
You might sense I’m beyond pissed at the general lack of consumer protection as well as how pissed I am at those who need to control relationships born of fear. But my intolerance is astronomical when I think about outright premediated gaslighting. When that feeling of mine spills over onto the knee-jerk crowd, instead of calling out the actual gaslighters, I’m also passing along hurt. It’s one thing to not go quietly when under assault, it’s quite another to be on the assault. It’s a tough road, this uncontaminated awareness attempt. But, that’s what gaslighers do—get us to turn against ourselves and others. And they know, once committed, we’ll dig in our heals instead of own our mistake.
I, at least—maybe we—need better “road signs.” Sometimes in us, sometimes outside of us, but we cannot continue to attack each other while letting the gaslighters go to the bank and gather power and momentum in the process. We do not do so by dehumanizing, we do so by not being lost or misplaced—a truth, however temporal or contextual, that one can feel in their bones when we just stop, wait, and start again after allowing the picture to refresh. No gaslighter can do their grift by themselves. The least and maybe the best we can do is to not help them hurt others. It takes realization to own we’ve been grifted instead of gifted. Once that happens, gaslighters are the ones lost in their landscape of walls and manure, not us in theirs. Those walls are to keep us in. Let them fall, there is no need to destroy anything.
The world doesn’t belong to those who can take it,
We belong to the world.
All that’s left are fantasies and pain?
Like snipers wearing landscape-clothing we take a bead.
Going nowhere, doing little, thinking it’s much,
The moat grows, but not the castle.
Notice its dwindle if we let the walls fall, if we can
Notice it was a grift-landscape wearing us, taking its bead.