What it’s like to love and suffer the “love” of a gaslighter.
Source: Disconnected Fists
What it’s like to love and suffer the “love” of a gaslighter.
Source: Disconnected Fists
It is a good day to let the feelings flow
As they will, unadulterated, without shame or restraint
With no fuck or fear given to how YOU would feel about them
Knowing all too well how you would
Dismiss – Distract – Deflect ~ Connive – Contort – Convince
Me (hell, everyone we know) that I AM not real
And upon realizing you’ve lost that power
Slink away to wallow in the cowardice and shame
I will never again bear for you or shrink myself to accommodate
Yourself alone remains to delude that I AM the one who abandons and betrays
It is a good day to do the tedious work of gathering scraps of grace
The only place I find them in this chasm of separation I did not choose
Today…it is a very good day to be 2000 miles away
We all know the Venus and Mars stereotypes. Women are complex multitasking nurturers, men are singularly-focused aggressive hunter/providers.
Woman with the flu, a cramping, hemorrhaging uterus and a baby attached to her boob pushes through her daily myriad of responsibilities to take care of the family vs. male devastated by Man Cold.
Generalizations? Sure. It’s that spectrum thing again. There’s a wide range of expression of gender roles and no real “supposed to be’s.” There just IS for each of us what IS based on our unique makeup. What IS, generally speaking for the cisgender male, is a testosterone-driven drive to accomplish and conquer in order to find satisfaction and self-worth.
This is neither good nor bad, to be neither admired nor mocked (though I’ve totally indulged in misandry along with every other woman by doing just that). It’s biology and psychology. It just IS. The writers of Genesis recognized it in Adam’s curse.
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
The Woman’s complexity of curses are tied to the flesh from which she came. The Man’s curse is associated with the dirt from which he was God breathed. The curse of Man is the futility of his work. He has to toil very, very hard his entire life, be frustrated every step of the way, and then die and return to dirt as if he never existed.
Damn. So much for satisfaction. Honestly, I don’t envy a man his curse at all. It may be singular but it’s very, VERY heavy. From my observation it also makes him more vulnerable (not weak). Vulnerable to what? Despair. A Woman’s complexity and connections are her strength. When one pillar falls, there are others to compensate. When a man’s focus of satisfaction and self-worth disintegrates it more often than not turns him to denial, distraction, and destruction and a desperate grasp for control – anything but facing this reality that his desires and drives are going to be continually frustrated and in the end…utterly insignificant.
A theory I’m working on, but this might be why a lot of men keep such a tight lid on open expression of sadness and fear and are often dismissive of a women’s frequency and freer expression of the “difficult” emotions. For a man, it’s a sign of the despair and failure he’s trying so hard to outrun, so he does what he can to shut that shit DOWN. Just a theory.
Males also have a typically strong and aggressive sex drive that demands regular satisfaction. Biology. It just IS. So it is no mystery nor shock nor anything new under the sun when every single male on the planet frequently satisfies themselves in the most efficient ways without “toil” or risk of frustration or rejection in coordinating with an equally-willing Woman by taking it into their own hands, so to speak, with the help of readily available visual aids. But there is also taking it by force and through deception/coercion. Survey a group of 20 women and 19 of us can tell you the first time we were groped, harassed, or sexually violated. All of us can tell you the constant pressure we feel to be enough to satisfy a man along with everything else we’ve got going on with our bodies and brains.
Long story short – humans are ALL sexually frustrated and incredibly insecure. Being a truly satisfied human – mind, body, and soul – isn’t easy and only we as individuals are responsible for it, but most of us give up trying and settle for an endless string of cheap fixes outside ourselves to get us by, especially when life gets overwhelming. Add the handicap of having the body/brain hijacked as a child (which is the tragic case for SO many) and…well, it’s a jungle out there and there’s a lot of carnage that perpetuates with each generation. We are, as humans, truly cursed.
If my mind wasn’t hardwired for satisfaction through intimacy and connection with an actual person (one in particular after all these years) and I could be stimulated that easily with externally accessible equipment less than an arm’s length away at all times, I’d be every guy too. I honestly wish it were that simple for me. It would make my current (and possibly permanent) situation a lot easier to come to terms with.
Y’all know where I’m going with this and the only reason I am is to take away the stigma and power once and for all. There is nothing that has happened that is truly any earth shattering thing. As a matter of psychology (not morality) my husband took it farther than some and I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s where most men wish they could and plenty already are and they are your neighbor, your boss, your pastor, your brother, your son and your husband.
Everybody has done the math by now, and math was one of the reasons why I felt I had no other option than to go public. Care and provision for the family were being compromised. Because of the psychology involved (as explained in the previous post), there has been no private rational discussion possible. I’ve been desperately trying for over a year now. All he can do with me is deflect and dismiss and spin. He could barely ever talk about very minor things he’d done that hurt me, so expand that out to our current situation and…there is just no way. It is too much. He is not going to pull out of this any other way. But I have faith he can, at least to some extent, if he has nowhere left to run and no reason to. He has always been able to turn on a dime and switch out an addiction when it stops serving him. I’ve done what amounts to an intervention to make that the case. He doesn’t want to be that man, and now that it’s out of the shadows, he won’t.
This isn’t about sex. This isn’t about betrayal or a moral failure. It is about a Man, like any other, crushed under the weight of despair…except he’s not just any other man, he’s the love of my life and the father of my children and by far the most influential person in terms of shaping my spiritual life. There is no me without him. He surfaced enough the last time I saw him to be able to say the same – that there is no him without me. We are one flesh and one life. Nothing he has done or will ever do can nullify that.
I have no idea what we’re capable of being next, but I do know I’ve got to crush the Snake’s head NOW to stop the hissing lies of fear so that the Man can at least have a shot at living and we can eventually come back together as…something good, whatever that looks like, anywhere on the spectrum of possibility.
As I said before, he was there for me when I had my mental/emotional breakdown at the beginning of our journey with Four Creeks. Now I’ve got to be there for him as he broke at the end, and this, believe it or not, is what it has to look like. It’s because I’ve done the work to understand us (with professional help) that I’ve been able to figure out his language, learn not to be afraid when the most horrific things come out of him, and recognize they are a spotlight on what he feels the worst about himself that he cannot handle and therefore HAS to project on me. It is all he can do when he is consumed by fear and failure. The Curse of Man crushed him hard. As I said previously, no one could survive what we’ve been through without breaking. No one could be as isolated and vulnerable as he is right now without being utterly terrified and at rock bottom. We may process and express our humanity in vastly different ways, but I know that desperate place all too well and I cannot and will not abandon him there.
The only way to end this is to simply say out loud what is real and then let him see that the worst that is going to happen is that there are a whole lot of people who love us and nothing otherwise has changed. He has lost nothing, he will lose nothing, and he is free from here to do whatever he can and will with all pressure off from me.
There is nothing more for anyone to fear. Nothing more for anyone to hide and no reason to. There is no shame. There is no condemnation. There is only love. This is why I must finish the story and be done so we can all be free to love.
What Jimmy and I are experiencing is universally common to humanity AND ALSO personally devastating. And you know what? I GET TO TALK ABOUT MY OWN LIFE as the whole person I AM now using my own discretion alone to decide what is wise, what is good, what is beneficial, and what is love. I am a Woman who thinks, feels and now speaks without any fear. The truth has set me free and now I’m using that freedom to set other captives free. I picked up my own cross, shared in the sufferings of Jesus with countless agonized tears, kicked over a few tables in the temple because YES, I WAS ANGRY, I went all the way to that humiliating and torturous death alone, and I rise now to new life having conquered sin and death – AKA what it means to be a fucking Christian.
I had planned on writing a narrative of events from the beginning of Four Creeks to the end, but then They – The God That Definitely IS – dropped this in my lap this morning in the Facebook memories from 2 years ago and made it so much easier and beyond perfect. Jimmy and I are going out as we went in – together. We are BOTH going to tell the final chapter that was already written. We are BOTH prophets in the way of Jesus. We lived it out in front of you, gave everything to all, went all the way into death and now we’re ascending outa here. Stop standing around looking forlorn up at the sky waiting for us to come back and do some more miracles for ya. You’ve got everything you need. Get off your ass and walk the path yourself, set yourself free…or don’t. As for me and my house – we are on to life abundant.
If you are reading this you are obviously human, and as such, dear human, I have some wonderful horrible news for you – You are cursed.
The wonderful part is that none are alone in our cursedness, and through this universal suffering we are connected to all humanity in all space and time. Our curses are inherent in biology, psychology and personal experience. There is nothing new under the sun.
There are many flavors and degrees, but the truth of being human remains – we all come into this world stocked with a unique set of genetic and family-of-origin dysfunctions that constantly entice us away from loving ourselves and therefore each other.
As I said before, I’ve read and understood the bible for myself since early childhood. I’m going to unpack symbolism from the Genesis account of the creation and The Fall of Man that I’ve seen for a very long time as well as things I’m just now understanding that have great personal significance.
Here’s the base of where I’m coming from:
Here’s the bible study I was never going to get in my former tribe that I’ve had a hankering to do for a very long time –
But for Adam no suitable *MATE WITH STRENGTH TO SAVE HIM* was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Jesus would later be attributed to saying, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” I take great issue with how my evangelical tribe has twisted this to mean divorce is a sin over which God is most pissed. Jesus simply stated the reality of natural consequences – violating and splitting the sacred Oneness results in SELF-imposed isolation from each other and God, and it is devastating. That is what shame IS. We humans do it to ourselves, and because we’re wired to intimately bond, everyone suffers from the betrayal and rejection of love and connection. Jesus made it clear – we have a choice. We always have a choice to maintain the connections of love over our own self-imposed and inflicted isolated shame. There is no shame or condemnation in Whatever God There Is that Jesus was talking about. Shame and disconnection is all man-made. WE have to sever the bonds of the reality of love and walk away into selfish delusion. WE have to refuse and deny reconciliation and the redemption of love. There is an ever-present Great Deceiver and Accuser within ourselves, determined to undermine reality and convince us to trade the truth for a lie – to abandon love and connection and embrace shame and isolation and entitlement to self gratification at the expense of others.
In order to sabotage the Oneness of God/Man/Woman, why did the Snake target and appeal to the mind of Eve rather than Adam (who was right there with her)? Patriarchal religious tradition has maintained it is because of Woman’s inherent weakness and depravity, to which I call epic bullshit. She was targeted because of her strength and power, and the Deceiver knew exactly who it had to undermine and get through first. There are few things as formidable and fierce as an awake and aware Woman embracing her identity as Ezer; therefore, to deceive and numb Her instincts first (and to keep her that way) is imperative. The Deceiver/Accuser/Snake knew exactly what it was doing.
Bada bing, bada boom, the humans partook of the one thing they don’t have the capacity to handle yet are irresistibly drawn to in an attempt to achieve equality with God – the knowledge and power to judge good and evil themselves. Gender-specific curses ensued and the Sacred Oneness fractured for the now shame-filled Woman and Man.
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
And I will put enmity
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
Goddammit, a woman can’t even go to the bathroom herself much less be left alone to her own curse. She doesn’t even have the luxury of dealing with just one either. Hers are MULTIPLE and connected to everyone else’s – the snake, her children, and her husband – through her flesh.
Of course Woman herself ain’t above lying and manipulating, but have you noticed how severe a reaction you typically get from a woman who’s been betrayed and lied to? “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” an English Bro Dude poet once observed. It’s because you don’t just lie to and betray HER. You threaten EVERYTHING SHE’S CONNECTED TO.
This is a 3-part series, the second dedicated specifically to the female curse of Desire that entices Woman to hand over and deny her power and strength to be ruled over and used by Man. The final installment focuses on the brutally heavy Curse of Man that crushes the ego and the resultant toxic fallout. Both are in the context of my own marriage and are intensely personal.
I share out of my experience as a human. I share out of my experience as a Woman. I share to work out and untangle and make sense of life. I share knowing full well it is way too much and never enough and there is no shortage of people ready to tell me just how far off their mark I am at all times, and this is exceedingly valuable. I share because vulnerability does not allow me the delusion of an achievable “rightness” of thought or action one can own or impose, which is the essence of that Original Sin; making criticism, no matter how well or poorly intentioned and executed, crucial in the untangling process as I muster up the discipline to tamper down my pride to embrace the discomfort. I share because within that mess of working it out I find deeply fulfilling points of connection with others and restoration to the Great Truth of love. I share in order to identify and purge the lies and shame within myself that sabotage love and connection. I share in order to forgive myself and others. I share for anyone to take or leave whatever they can or will using whatever labels work.
Whichever labels you feel most comfortable using and wherever you fall on the sacred spectrum of humanity, thank you for sharing your time and care to read this and connect with me.
You are loved. You are wanted. You matter simply because you ARE. Beyond just existing, you are a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen and never-again-to-be-repeated-in-all-of-space-and-time dynamic miracle, endowed with immeasurable power and worth.
You are not inherently whiny and lazy because you’re not in the mood for an adult hike and are being coaxed up the next hill with Oreos…you are a very young CHILD. You don’t have a memory of this, but it’s pretty much the only one anyone else seems to remember of you at this stage, other than you cried a whole lot when you were an infant because of chronic ear infections and were a late walker.
Child, hear me now – YOU are not lazy. Your feelings are valid. You are allowed to honestly express what you like and do not like, want and do not want without judgment. You are allowed your honest emotions and their free expression.
Oh sweet girl, you belong wherever you go, whatever you do. You’ve already experienced the greatest defining, transcendent, mystical moment of belonging all by yourself, wholly independent of religious indoctrination…just you and Whatever God There Is who made Themselves real to you. I know you already feel like the outsider trying to figure out the magic formula to make people like you and accept you as one of the herd. Sweetie, you already belong. You always have. You always will. Hang in there, lovely girl. Whether it be those closest to you or the entire herd of thousands that cannot see it, it doesn’t affect your inherent worth. This is going to be the roughest part of the road throughout your life. I’m so very proud of you every step of the way.
You are allowed to fail. You absolutely MUST fail. You are going to be as careful as you know how to be on the ice for the first time and you are going to fall anyway. Even when those closest to you in authority stand over you in condemnation as you lie there in pain with the wind knocked out of you, criticizing you for not being careful enough…Girl, there is NO shame in falling. You will get back up despite being shamed and denied comfort. You are 7 and you are a badass. You’re also going to survive a terrifying hospitalization for respiratory issues around this time. Did I mention you are a badass?
You are also WICKED smart. You absolutely don’t think so and you’re going to spend these significant years and many more to come figuring out how to conform to arbitrary standards as “proof” of your abilities…but darlin’ you have no idea how brilliant and extraordinary you are. There’s a reason you are struggling to meet the arbitrary standard. You are so much more. How I wish you could see it.
Don’t rush it! Adulthood and all its excruciating disappointments will come soon enough and cloud enormous chunks of your life…but not yet, not You. Don’t be so eager to experience things for which you will never be ready. Embrace who you are NOW…a lovely, sweet dork. Oh how I wish I could go back and be you again, before tragedy and cynicism took their toll. You are so sweet. So naive. So safe. You have no idea how safe. Savor these years, sweet girl. You can’t wait to get through them, but you will one day look back on the you that you now despise with great fondness.
Oh honey, it’s a good thing you don’t yet understand how much power you wield. Though you’ve managed to clean it up on the outside, you are still very much a clueless sweet dork at heart. Without that, you could do some serious damage to both yourself and more than a few boys. As it is, there will be damage to both, but you know what? You have nothing – repeat NOTHING – to regret or reason to feel shame. Do you hear me? Nothing. You are not stupid and weak because a boy broke your heart. Most importantly, YOU are not responsible for the feelings or actions of any boy who shows interest in you, and your self worth is NOT tied up in his actions towards you, good or bad or even devastatingly tragic. I need you to understand this now.
You’ve already made a calculated decision as to the type of guidance and support you’ll give your future children based on your experiences. If only you’d see yourself worthy of that wisdom and grace even decades later. You are not a manipulative slut for being a sexual being. You are no man’s self-effacing whore. No, Woman, you most definitely are not.
If I could choose any past me to visit, it would be you. I ache to physically hold and console you. You are drowning in isolation, disappointment and shame, unable to comprehend how you descended into such chaos, betrayal and devastation. You can’t figure out what you are being punished for, what you did to deserve this. Sweet, sweet, wonderful, faithful, girl…I see you. I see you. I see you. More importantly, They see you. Your salvation is near. Hold on. I’m with you there now. Truly.
See? I told you! Oh, these are most glorious days! Such relief. Such fun. Such fulfillment. You totally think you’ve got life figured out at this point and have arrived. You totally haven’t, but you are in a crucial restorative time and are savoring every bit and taking nothing for granted. You were made for this and you know it. You’ve never felt closer to your God and your family. Sigh…enjoy this magical oasis, Mama. These are beautiful days and your miracle children will rise up and call you blessed. I’m praying for echos, ripples of you to cycle back through again. But you, now? Soak up every second. It is truly your salvation.
Holy shit. You are giving up nirvana, totally convinced you are doing the “right” and honorable thing. Full time ministry. I mean, if you follow all the rules God will bless you, right? BAM! Crohn’s disease. A church “family” whose love is most conditional. You double down on being the good, compliant girl and you are literally sick and lonelier than ever. Oh dear…what was that about being no one’s compliant whore? Lovely Woman, again, no regrets for you. You ARE doing all you know to do and with all the integrity you can muster. Don’t beat yourself up for these years or declare them wasted. They are anything but.
You think you’ve already endured the hardest things you’d ever have to face. Nope, nope, nope, nope. You are finding out just how strong you are. You are taking the biggest risk of your life and all your greatest fears and weaknesses are being challenged..and you know it is right and good…that it is God. You are simply holding on in the hope it won’t always feel like death and terror. I am so FUCKING proud of you. *This* is what everything has been leading up to your entire life. Every bit of your dorkiness, sincerity, smarts and tenacity is being put into play and utilized.
You amazing, beautiful, woman…I love you beyond words and you are worth everything. Look at you getting out of bed and keeping young humans alive and thriving day after day even though you are scared shitless and feel more lost and lonely than ever before in your 45 years of breathing, living to witness your oldest as adults beginning their own terrifying, ridiculous journey. What a fabulous gift, knowing more of what you don’t know than at any point prior! Everything you thought you knew and were taught to depend on has vanished. You don’t get any more of a clean slate than this. You are all of every girl you’ve ever been and more. You are more.
You are more.
You are more.
You are more.
You are infinitely more.
You are loved. You are wanted. You matter simply because you ARE. Beyond just existing, you are a one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen and never-again-to-be-repeated dynamic miracle, endowed with immeasurable power and worth. See ya tomorrow.
Some days are better than others. Most of today was pretty good. Tonight, I’m drowning.
When I discover I hurt someone, I become undone. I will do everything in my power to do no harm in the first place, to stay out of the way, be the good girl, and not cause anyone any trouble. So when I inevitably DO cause someone else pain, distress, discomfort (even if utterly unintentional), I will go to extremes to adjust my behavior to “fix it.” In the case of real harm inflicted by me, that’s a good thing, and I own it quickly.
If it’s a matter of someone else’s discomfort, sometimes a compromise on my part is the loving thing to do. Other times, their issue is theirs alone and I have no business owning it, and changing my behavior to appease them is wrong and unhealthy for everyone concerned. I’m getting better at distinguishing the healthy path in relationships without jumping to my default mode of losing myself to keep a false peace.
Where I’m having the hardest time right now and feeling very out of control is how I handle defensiveness and resistance from people when I show them how their actions are hurting me. Because I’m so damn sensitive myself about causing others any discomfort, when someone isn’t responsive to me and my hurt (and if I express it to them at all, that in and of itself took a tremendous amount of energy and courage to do)…
And when I am crushed I lose all sense and control.
The more significant the relationship, the more devastating it is. It doesn’t matter how well I understand the person and how they tick and which dysfunctions drive them to do what they do. When I show someone as clearly and rationally and honestly as I know how that THEY ARE hurting me and they push me off, or worse, double down on doing the thing that causes me pain or makes me afraid, this is the only way I’m capable of processing it –
That my pain is invalid and/or threatening; either way, greatly unwelcome to be expressed.
Me being hurt is the sacrifice they are willing to make for their own survival.
I DO NOT MATTER. I am not worth it. I am unloved and unlovable.
This is, of course, a total PTCS (posttraumatic church syndrome) issue. I just typed and then deleted the story behind it. It’s not worth telling at this point other than to garner some “Oh, you poor darlings.” I don’t want or need that right now. What I want and need is for the damage that was done to my psyche and soul to stop wreaking havoc in my closest relationships.
The last year of marriage has been our hardest to date, and that’s saying something if you’ve read our stories.
Jimmy and I both experienced intense abuse and hardship solidly together as a team over the last 5 years, both doing all we knew to do to survive as a family. We’re also both incredibly damaged on the other side of it and our needs in survival mode are very, very different. They do not play well together at all. Getting too close to the hurt (vulnerability) triggers him, so he avoids, self medicates, numbs and distracts himself from it. I desperately need to make sense of my pain and get as close to it as possible. Vulnerability is my salvation. To be dismissed and left alone in my greatest, deepest pain where I AM because it is too much, spirals me into crushed crazy person mode.
We’ve never been easy, but we’ve always been beautiful…until this last year. We had to separate emotionally from each other, and now physically, just to survive. This makes me so devastatingly sad and angry because I’ve always known just how beautiful we are together.
I don’t think you ever could see Us as beautiful because you couldn’t see yourself and your part of our equation that way, masking your fear and doing anything to stay one step ahead of the shrieking demons of inadequacy and failure nipping at your heels. Those goddamn demons finally overtook you this time…and I’m glad. There’s nowhere left to run and you’re going to have to fight to the death to get them the hell out of our marriage so we can get back to being beautiful together.
We had a way of being together that worked well in the context of our old life. When that died, so did our way of relating to each other.
It had to. Everything had to die.
Fight hard and die ALL THE WAY, My Love. We both have to.
New life WILL take hold. We will be beautiful together again. But we’re not going to look anything like we used to because we cannot BE anything like we used to. We are, neither of us, the same person we were just a little while ago. We are each transitioning and have to, by necessity, go it alone with Whatever God There Is in this process.
It’s OK if I go first.
I’ll be here waiting, Babe, when we’re both ready to be beautiful together again. Even at our ugliest, there is nothing and no one I’ve ever seen that compares to Us, together. You will always be the only one who matters; the only one I want and need, the only one I need to want to see and love me as deep as I go.
Hush Scary Girl, we don’t want any trouble Hush Scary Girl, we surely do not want to see Hush Scary Girl, unless you’re singin’ pretty nothings Your voice is a terrifying thing Hu…
Source: Scary Girl