So how do I know gaslighting? I grew up with it. My most heard comments of my childhood and adulthood from my mother and sometimes my grandmother were and are Do not be a child, You are too emotional, You interpret things and That never happened. My mother’s image was a honest, loyal, direct and will always supportive person. In reality was not that. She felt not enough and she made me doubt myself and become the good daughter. Being the image of what my mom wanted me to be and not whom I really was. No surprise that in my adult years I fought with finding out who I was and what I wanted or what I felt (emotions that my mom did not approve). Because they were left behind in those years. When finally I started slowly finding me the conflicts with my mom increased. Accompanied by you are not obedient anymore, you are the worst child in the world, you never did anything for me, I know who you are and what you are now is probably a mental disease and so on. When trying to bring out comments that hurt me like I will never accept you or your lifestyle, You should have been left by your boyfriend as you are really evil, You were violent with me, I knew I should never believe in you just said that never happened. Even comments written 5 paragraphs in our conversations never happened. She did not write that. And if the subject becomes uncomfortable my mom will deviate the subject to one that can prove how I did not support her when I was 4 years old. Other childhood mantras were I never complained about your father as my mom did to me (that is how I knew from childhood everything my father did or not including sex or comments when drunk), I am not involved in your life (I am getting really angry when you do something I do not agree). I feel both angry and sad that I did not see who she was when growing up. I am sad and disappointed that I always found excuses (she does not mean everything said, respect equals obedience). My grandmother used the same technique for mending things with my father (alcoholic, violent at times) making it my fault that he was drinking or my fault for the things he did to me. Was easier with my grandmother because I could see that was not the truth. Of course I would have preferred if she protected me as I was the child, and I felt lonely, angry and abandoned at times. Same I felt with my mom.
What effects does it have? Anger for feeling abandoned, sadness, feeling unworthy of love or support and the one in charge of making my mom feeling better about herself.
Is it reversible? Yes, it is. I can see the truth and starting acknowledging the hurt and trauma that made the little child that gave up on parts of herself in order to feel loved. She does not need to be invisible anymore, now I, the adult, can see her and give her a voice. She is worthy of love. She can become whom she wants. She is free. I am free.