I have been subjected to gaslighting by my loved ones, unknowingly. I don’t think a lot people realize when they are gaslighting others. Maybe the victims also do not know. I wouldn’t have known about this if I didn’t have this habit of reading up on new things. Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse. It is an act of manipulating a person by forcing them to question their thoughts, memories and basically all the events that occur around them. When taken to extreme, the victim can end up questioning their own sanity. This can occur in any form of relationships, whether they are friends, couples, siblings, parents etc. The most common form of gaslighting is actually known to be found between couples. Partners can gaslight each other thinking it is love and without knowing that it is actually a manipulation. Some of the common signs that can show that you are facing this form of emotional abuse are
If you feel a lot more anxious and way less confident than you used to be
If you do not enjoy the activities you earlier used to
If you think everything you do is wrong
If you say sorry a lot
If you constantly make excuses for someone else’s behavior
If you lie or deny topics to avoid confrontation
Doubting everything you do
Always feeling that something is wrong
The most common one I have done from this is made excuse for someone else’s behavior. We should never have to justify someone’s basic incapacity. If someone you love (not just your partner, anyone) cannot do basic things and in exchanges makes you feel guilty for expecting them then that is wrong. It is a form of gaslighting if it becomes a constant behavior. We often make excuses, whether to others or to ourself, and justify their behavior to make the relationship work. That is not right. The long term effects of this can be damaging for the victim. It has been observed that people who knowingly gaslight are narcissists. They cannot think about anything and anyone beyond themselves and also have no empathy.
The way out of this abuse, just like any other abuse, is to first realize that it is happening and then moving away from the person. We must choose ourself, keep our happiness at top. Loving someone should not have to coincide with hurting your ownself. Self love is a key to battling abuse as when you love yourself only then can you objectively see if someone else is abusing you, in anyway.
I have been a lover of this show called QUEER EYE since FOREVER and it gives me so many feels when I see it! Today, all day we binged QUEER EYE while working and my love for this show has somehow increased which I didn’t know was a possibility. I continuously have this huge smile or happy tears when I am watching this show, I do “YASS GIRL” so many times I could give you a headache. Not even kidding. This show embraces learning and positivity in such an endearing way, you cannot help but feel so good.
They cover people’s struggles and show how one can learn so much from it. We must accept each part of ourselves, the good, the bad and the ugly. It makes us who we are. Oh and we are all so stunning! No matter how much the society or your own family has dragged you down, or your own thoughts are your demons, you deserve happiness. In abundance. Just look for it with open arms and most importantly, learn to show yourself love. One of the best parts about the show (as per me) is how they pick common people, like you and me, and make us the star of our lives and the show. Well, it’s so obvious really. We are the rockstars and heroes of our own lives and we deserve that attention and happiness. If you use movie as a metaphor for your life, be the badass main lead and pamper yourself for being so amazing. Yes, we falter. That is what makes this movie a hit, how you get over it and do better from there on. How you enjoy the ups and survive the downs. Rememeber that if you are experiencing the down, it’s not the end, hold on tight as the happiness will come to you.
You don’t need to do something extraordinary to deserve the happiness and love. Your struggles are defined by you and so are your victories. The best and the most relevant validation you can receive is from your ownself. Be a winner in your eyes. I wish we all had friends in our lives like those five superheros on the show which showed us how we are amazing and made us love ourselves in such a beautiful manner. The entire process is heart warming and to watch people win against their inner struggles is the kind of content that is the need of the hour in these tough times. Ah, I cannot stop fangirling over the show. If there is one thing you need to start watching is this show. Thank me later for the recommendation 🙂
If you had to choose a movie to describe your life, which would it be? Mine would be a mix of Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani, Dead Poets Society and Inside Out.
Is there something termed as “too much empathy?” I personally thought no term such as this exists, but when I checked on it I was surprised that it does exist. First things first, why did I check on this at all? There are some people I, sometimes, find myself unable to step in shoes of. I mean I cannot imagine doing what they do or what they have done. Looks like, I should not have to. So empathy means understanding what other person is going through and being able to gauge what they need and also be able to understand why they need it. It can be a gut that tells you or your understanding of that person. We, as humans, want to be understood without having to explain. Empathy is not agreeing to people who are wrong but just understanding when people feel discomfort to express and just respect that. It can be an actual challenge when the other person is struggling to articulate and feel it is a pressure to explain and that is when most empathy might be needed.
There is a term called as “empathetic reactivity” and it essentially means “when too much empathy is bad”. It is also be termed as “toxic empathy”. When we are empathizing, we are taking on other person’s feelings and when it is so excessive that we feel them as our feelings that is where we need to step back and check ourselves. Such stream of emotions can lead empathizer to hopelessness and depression. Another prominent and known problem here is when you empathize with everyone, you could end up feeling drained and having no time for your problems.
Although I know world needs more people who empathize, there are also good folks who are doing overtime here and this is just for them to take a break and concentrate on their ownself.
I am sure I have penned on similar topic earlier as well as this is one of the constant struggles I face and even something I am sensitive about.
Isn’t it weird that even though we know we are loved by our closed ones but we still need to feel loved? I am not entirely sure, if it is a want or a need. I am hoping I am not alone that struggles with this. Yes, it is amazing to have people who love you, knowing that they love you. It is a blessing. However, it’s only human nature to expect that feeling to be validated once in a while.
I don’t think it is the big fat gestures that do the deed, it is the genuine admission of love when least expected, it is making someone feel like they are a part of your life, involving them in those small things you do, sharing mundane thoughts that cross your head with them. It’s all this for me. People who yearn to feel loved always make others feel loved, isn’t it? However, the major disbalance occurs when the person who does this is taken for granted and there is nothing from the other side. People want you to believe that they love you and yet there will be no effort from their end towards the same, it is really hard to stick around then. You just need to hang on to the words that there is love. It is only when there is a revolt that they will rush to prove that they love you too, that is neither fair nor is it love. It is just the need for that person to continue showering love on you that is making you do this.
If you genuinely consider this human need to feel loved, it also stems from lack of self love. I don’t think this is true entirely, but to major extent it does seem correct. It is said that if you love yourself, you will not need others to show you love. While I agree that we can be happy if we love ourselves, I would still say we need other humans, their love and support. Self love is important as it is the only thing which will push you to know when must you step up and leave. It is that love for your own being which will help you place yourself over others.
It is so bitter to have to choose to either love yourself or love someone else as the two cannot coexist due to lack of efforts from the other side and if you are facing that choice between yourself and someone, are you loved by that someone and do you love yourself if you choose to stay?
I have been reading Murakami’s books this month and if there is something that sticks to me significantly from his books is the way the characters talk to each other. The conversations are so stimulating, enlightening, deep and they tell us about what a person feels. You connect with character, empathize and understand it. I know it is fiction but won’t having those conversations with people we love really help us? We will be able to understand them and isn’t that what eventually each of us wants? To be understood. I am not saying what you talk needs to be dark or deep, it can be quirky, humorous, something you saw, something you read, something that stayed with you. A conversation where you share a piece of yourself with someone. Conversations can be about something that gives you sleepless nights or that one gesture you saw in a movie that you absolutely loved.
Not everyone can talk with clarity of feelings and thoughts, I know that. There are so many layers to this topic. There are people who don’t understand what they feel or their own thoughts, there are people who don’t care about their thoughts and just follow the herd, there are people who want to talk but are not good at it and there are also people who understand, can talk and want to do it but they don’t have anyone to talk to. This is so layered and I am pretty sure I have not covered it completely. Hah! How then should we expect to have these meaningful and stimulating conversations? I thought about my reason for not making these honest conversations as frequently, it is fear of being misunderstood or laughed at. I have shown love to people who are not kind, helped people who ended up belittling me and both of these were people I tried to have good conversations with. Weirds me out how when I thought of what has hurt me, these two instances came to my mind. In all honesty, I thought I had gotten over this and did not care about these people but writing this piece tells me that maybe the hurt is still there.
That brings me to my next point, writing is also a conversation. One that we have with ourself. It can reveal things which we have sub conciously burried, not necessarily sad thoughts, happy ones too. We must pen down our thoughts and spend time with them. Honest conversations can make you as happy, full and light at the same time as witnessing the golden hour on a mountain top. You will be left with a memory to revisit. I will end this with a quote I absolutely love.
Night air, good conversation, and a sky full of stars can heal almost any wound. ~ Beau Taplin
When someone is anxious, in distress, worried or just down, our first instinct is to want to help them. While the intention is noble, if we do it in the wrong way we might just be ruining it further. I am someone who is still learning how exactly can we help others or even ourselves in the correct way when having a bad mental health day or a week, because it is not the same for all. The entire internet is filled with slogans, videos, tweets telling you what you SHOULD do to fix what you feel. Even writing that sentence seemed wrong on so many levels. I could understand placing a “should” when you are talking of a black and white situation. Mental health is not black and white. It is big blob of grey or maybe blue (haha, get it?). Not all humans react to mental health help in same way, which is why we have professionals. These professionals have said we don’t know everything about our brain yet and mental health is evolving everyday. Yet, there are some people around us who will say “snap yourself out of it”. I suggest you snap them out of your life, for sometime atleast. While snapping out might have worked for some, it might not work on others. Nothing ever has to be “SHOULD”, even more so when you are not at your full capacity. Making it compulsory by adding a should we might just be adding to the stress. Hence, the title. I heard it on a random podcast and it is now my favorite line ever!!
Our body and mind don’t have to work the same way daily, ask yourself what you are capable of doing, on such days especially, and do not push it. Your mind is asking for a day off, allow it. It’s that time you need to show yourself some love. Do what works for you, whether it is as lame as watching garbage tv or as profound as journaling.
You do you!
PS: Watching garbage tv is the best! 10/10 I recommend.