Feeling crazy in a relationship? The problem might not be you - you might be experiencing gaslighting. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the victim is left questioning and doubting their own feelings and sanity. Gaslighting is a power play used by the perpetrator to gain control over the victim
It was the end of the line. She found herself in an impossible situation and everything had to change. All of it. Every single bit. Some caused by her own mistakes some by the mistakes of others but it didn’t matter because it was all impacting her; and now she was the one who had to make the tough decisions.
One -by- one her friends began to fade away, distancing themselves from a nasty situation for fear that some of her misfortune rub off.
I couldn’t do it anymore.
What do you want to do?
I don’t want to pick up his pieces any longer – I don’t want to continue to clean up the mess from his bad decisions. But I also don’t want to hurt him – and I know he’ll be very hurt (and angry) if I stop.
I didn’t think I should knowingly do things that would disappoint my husband, but instead go along to get along. Values that were taught in my family – they were taught in my church, taught in my community. Peacekeeping was valued over peacemaking and real, authentic relationship.
Yes, he will be hurt – and he’ll feel like you’re abandoning him.
Well, aren’t I?
Yes, you will be essentially.
But the real crime was that I abandoned myself many years prior.
How do you handle self-doubt? For some of us, it's debilitating. Doubting yourself sometimes makes you want to quit. What we believe about ourselves and the messages we allow in, are often crucial to a successful outcome in any situation. Sometimes we begin to doubt ourselves because our 'gut' is telling us one thing while the people and circumstances around us are saying something else. Sometimes, the people around us are gaslighting.
There was a knock at the door.
‘Um, Sara. What is going on?’ – I am making a shift in my life and I hadn’t discussed it with him yet. If I’m being honest, I’ve been avoiding discussing it with him. Avoiding is my thing and it’s easy to justify when you have kids and a life and a big shift that steals your attention.
My dad likes to tell me what to do and I’m not the kind of person who particularly likes being told what to do. We’re both stubborn that way. When he is unsure of the soundness of my decisions, he’s been known to invite me for a friendly lunch or dinner, ‘let’s have dinner at the club tonight…’ where half way through the meal he’ll gently mention, ‘well, you know I’m a little concerned….’ Ah, there it is…
Oh God, I hate you…
I had just stepped into our corporate conference room a few minutes early for a weekly meeting. My co-worker was looking straight at me – it was just the two of us in the room.
You look great again today – every day. Is there ever a time you don’t look this good?
10 years my junior, I like this woman a lot. She is smart and does her job well. She’s single. Her money and her time are both her own. Mine are not. I understood what she meant.
I laughed as I took my seat at the table.
Umm – thanks, I think…
I found myself in a sea of silicone and tattoos. The day was picture-perfect. I always love the intriguing nuances of South Beach where the attitudes and priorities seem so different from my own. There’s a certain freedom to it. I love being an observer there.
I was traveling alone, something I’ve come to love. It’s amazing what you can discover about yourself and how you fit into the world when you travel by yourself.
I don’t do resolutions.
But, it’s 2-0-1-7 and I’m taking a basic inventory. How am I feeling? About my physical and emotional health? About my relationships? About my parenting? What do I want to know and understand more clearly about myself? About the people and the world around me?
What gives me that feeling of dread? What keeps me up at night?
Am I brave enough to face these things?
I’ve noticed a pattern in my behavior recently.
“Smoke and mirrors, baby. Smmmoke and mirrors.” We were discussing the art of keeping up appearances and those who contrive to live the perfect life.
Huge houses, new cars, extravagant vacations with no real money in the bank. Picture perfect holiday cards while chaos, abuse, and broken relationships dominate the family dynamic. Obtaining the latest gadget for the sake of acquisition without consideration of its actual need and usefulness.
Bigger, newer, faster – often digs another layer in the hole of our discontent. Because everybody knows these things can’t make you happy. Yet, we all try and see if they will.
I get it, I am that person – or I was that person. To some extent, we are all that person.
“Go home, 2016 – you’re drunk.” I love reading The Skimm every morning. They do a great job of reporting what’s happening in the world in a relevant and entertaining way. That was a quote from a few months ago, I’ve held on to – funny, because it’s true.
The Holidays are upon us and I don’t have my sh*t together.
I’m not talking about tree trimming and gift wrapping – all of that is appropriately behind schedule, yes. It’s the bigger things – the stuff of life that makes us who we are, the stuff that shapes our stories that’s got me worried. Expectations, hopes, desires. Things that happened that I wish had not happened. Things that didn’t happen that I wish had. The struggle to accept where I am in this beautiful thing we call life. It’s this stuff that’s got me perplexed right now.
It was a night of intimate gathering. The holidays are filled with nights of intimate gatherings. Within the span of my 90-minute appearance the group had made fun of handicapped people, questioned Obama’s birth heritage and ridiculed and minimized a community member on the autism spectrum. I stood as an outsider in the conversation, simply watching. Nervous laughter came and went as we waited for the buzz of the second, third, fourth (?) drink to kick in and take the sting off the social anxiety hovering slightly above eye level. It seems we all need a drink to take the edge off – I stopped drinking a long time ago.
I like to give myself adventure goals about once a year. I’m not one for resolutions necessary, but I fully support the adventure in trying new things.
The easiest way to grow and understand yourself and others more fully is to step out of your comfort zone. Do it differently, try something you normally wouldn’t try. It’s intimidating. You won’t do it right the first time – and you might even look like a fool. Who are we kidding, you’ll most likely look like a fool.
It was a leap and I knew it. But any great thing – any bold move begins with a risk. If your choice is to live a full life, to be fully ALIVE, risk is inevitable.
Our hearts, our ideas, our money – sometimes you must ask, ‘am I willing to risk something important to have an opportunity to gain something great?’
I spend quite a bit of time in the Carolina mountains.
There is a simple hike to the top of the mountain that is a great way to start the day. It’s about 3 miles with a gradual and steady incline – perfect for the girl from Florida who is more accustomed to a flat surface and an altitude that runs right at sea level. At the top of this hike, there is a gate – and a stern warning not to go any further. Under penalty of law and possibly even death… the warning is pinned to a tree about 10 feet in, and pinned to the next tree is a message stating clearly, no bicycles. The point being, you better stay out of here, but if you do come through, it damn better not be on a bike. It’s hard to take that warning too seriously. The message cracks me up every time.
Ah – the holidays are upon us; and on the heels of a nerve-wrecking and completely divisive election non-the-less… should make for interesting fodder over the next several weeks as we come together to celebrate our respective faiths and each other. Oh, the stories we will tell…
The people are protesting. The people are pissed – except for half the people. Half the people are elated. Half the people feel justified. The other half feel scorned. Half the people didn’t even show up.
Sometimes in life, you’re lucky if half the people even show up.
I hate politics. Holding firm to a personal belief that the only way to effect real change is not through government, but through the hearts of the people.
I know you are worried, and I know you are scared. When we met the other day, you told me you were considering divorce - you and your spouse have fallen out of love. Yesterday, I wrote part 1 of an open letter describing my own experience of divorce and shared some insight I thought might help you. Today, I promised a deeper look at some of the specifics that often contribute to the end of partnership. I hope it helps.
It was great seeing you last night, I love it when we get together – with our busy lives, those opportunities are few and far between. You have come to me, as many do, to ask about my divorce, to see how I’m doing. You say it is something you’re considering for yourself. You say you and your spouse have ‘fallen out of love’ and are merely co-existing.
Last week I received a message via Twitter asking two questions:
Will you share where you are now on this journey? What happened as a result of your willingness to embrace change?
I agreed to answer via blog post. I addressed the first question last week – here. Below is an attempt on the second. Thanks, @BeingKwa for the ask!