I just read a blogpost on "Gaslighting".
Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser tries to make their target think they are crazy, their reactions on abnormal, or wrong, or... in some way completely invalidate the other person.
The blog is not superbly written, and there are a few things I really didn't like about it. (The biggest being that he seemed to think that it was only a problem done to women, and that he could tell other women what their problem was.)
There was one line that really struck me, "That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking."
Here it is in a little more context:
"These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.
When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”
That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking."
That is what emotional abuse does to a person. They can't express what is going on, and when they try to express it (especially to the person that is already abusing them), they are told to forget about it, and in order to forget about that kind of violation to their own psychological boundaries, they forget about themselves. We dismiss ourselves. I dismissed myself.
After years of being told to dismiss my own emotions, experiences, myself, I didn't need anyone else to do it for me. I told MYSELF I was crazy. I told myself I was too sensitive, overreacting, nuts, I deserved it, to just forget it, it wasn't important, I wasn't important, etc.
I believed it for a long time, but it just wasn't true.
I still have a hard time knowing if my reactions are "too much". The most valuable tool I have found is to think about how I would react if someone was doing or saying (...) to my sister, my friend, to those that I really love, how would I react? I believe I deserve the same love (and boundaries) I want for those that I care about most.
I wouldn't want my sister to take abuse, so I won't take abuse.