Based in New York, Spiritualundertones is a blog by Sarah Almengor. Her posts reflect spirituality, relationships, and everyday life through her personal musings, photography and acquired wisdom.

gas·light

ˈɡaslīt/

verb

manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Have you ever been a victim of gaslighting? What was your experience like? I’m so relieved I’ve gotten to the place where I can call it out and not allow my sanity to be jeopardized. I can now recognize when the perpetrator is trying to play mind games with me; when they don’t get the reaction they are looking for, it triggers them. Isn’t it ironic that when you are being psychologically manipulated by the abuser, often times the end result is you (the victim) showcasing some form of abuse as a defense mechanism?

{Stay with me here}: Actions beget reactions. Obviously the manner in which you react to certain things matter, but nevertheless, reactions are (in themselves) not wrong. Certain actions beget (or “bring out”) certain reactions. Every action has a reaction. Witnessing injustice can “bring out” anger. Is anger wrong? It’s an emotion. Emotions in themselves are not wrong. What is there to say, then, when an instigator pushes someone over the edge and the victim finally “explodes”? Is it the victim’s fault for literally reacting to the initial action? Especially if the initial action was one of abuse? Can we really, truly sit here and expect a sufferer of physical mistreatment to not one day become fed up with being smacked around, and fight back? Can we really, truly expect a victim of verbal abuse to not one day have had it “up to here” and start (in retaliation, for lack of a better word) lashing out hurtful things to their abuser? Every action has a reaction. While of course I would never condone or get behind abuse of any kind, that is not the point I am trying to make.

Here it is (buckle up): Actions need to be accounted for. Having said that, ownership of purposeful abuse needs to be taken. While fighting violence with violence is not the answer, neither is denying the fact that YOU (the abuser) had a part to play in the escalation process prior to the reaction (are you with me)? What is escalation? By definition: “an increase in the intensity or seriousness of something; an intensification”. An increase in the intensity, not “going from 0 to 100 in 3 seconds”. No, an increase in intensity. For an abuser to condemn a victim’s reaction to THEIR (the abuser’s) actions, is the equivalent to lighting a bomb, watching the flame crawl down the wick, and blaming the bomb for exploding. What did you think was going to happen?

Probably the worst part about being gaslighted is when the instigator denies being abusive. For those of you who are enduring mental mistreatment or have survived it, I know you agree with me when I say: just because we may not have physical beatings, doesn’t mean that we haven’t taken a blow or two to the psyche. In a lot of ways one could say that psychological abuse is worse simply because it doesn’t leave visible evidence. I suppose the only correlation is that both are forms of harmful abuse that can leave a soul battered and unrecognizable; have you ever considered what it’s like to be battered…but in the mind? Emotional bruises, a wounded heart, a crushed and diminished spirit. If you can escape quickly enough, there is healing and restoration.

The question is: are we willing to be renovated?

Golden Calf

Vow To Self