Gaslighting: What Does This Look Like?

Now your just somebody that I used to know.

Gotye (A song about a narcissistic partner)

Many times in my office I hear this from women “My boyfriend/husband is/was gaslighting me.” I will respond by saying “So, he was trying to make you believe something that didn’t really happen?” Often times they will say “Well, no.” Sometimes they have looked this up and are very clear what it means. The term Gaslighting originated from the 1944 film “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In this film, the husband (who would actually be diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder) is trying to make his wife believe she is going insane. For purposes of the title, he “goes out” for the day/evening, though he is actually going into the attic and he dims the light switches in his wife’s bedroom, so that only she sees this and not the housekeepers. He also moves pictures on the wall, hides a watch that he gives to his wife, many, many other things. This is Gaslighting. Making someone believe something happened that did not. It could be the statement of a pathological liar, in which case this is a reality they believe, or it could be like Charles Boyer’s character where he is purposely setting up the stage to torment his victim.

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Martha Mitchell – Trauma Bond Survivor

“The Martha Mitchell Effect,” is a documentary you can see currently on Netflix. While watching this film, which shows her relationship to bringing down President Nixon, in the Watergate scandal, I began to glean some thoughts about her marriage as well. Martha was married to John Mitchell, appointed as Attorney General, under President Nixon. John was previously a law partner with Richard Nixon, before he became president. John and Martha were married until her death but were separated in 1973, as a result of the Watergate scandal. In fact, President Nixon, scapegoats Martha, in a David Frost interview, by saying that there would have been no Watergate, if it weren’t for Martha. As if she were the one who orchestrated the entire affair. President Nixon colluded with John Mitchell, and others in Watergate. During their cover-up, her husband ordered an ex-FBI agent to keep her silent. This involved kidnapping and violently assaulting Martha.

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On Trial With a Narcissist: No One Wins

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:7-9

If Amber Heard imagined or expected that the #METOO movement would be there to back her, or feminists, or women in general, she was sadly mistaken in this tragic turn of events. Unfortunately, the narcissist always wins, or, at least, he is empowered to continue being who he is. Her path to redemption now, will only take place if she seeks solace through healing: with psychotherapy, meditation, supportive friends and taking time to herself.

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Confessions of a Promiscuous Woman

from Artspace.com

On the heels of yesterday’s post, Confessions of a Trauma Bond Survivor, I will continue to tell Annika’s story from the other side (I am also continuing to share this in first person). Having been through this horrible ordeal with her previous lover, and going through the pain and suffering from this trauma bond, Annika began to awaken her consciousness by taking responsibility for how she got here. There are two sides to every story. No one is born a narcissist and no one is born a victim. We make interpretations from the cards that are dealt to us, along the way.

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Confessions of a Trauma Bond Survivor

The Covert Narcissist taking his mask off – in the end.

I met with a woman, I will name “Annika,” (a favorite pseudonym of mine), who told me some details about her life story with men. She gave me permission to write about her story here. I am going to write this in “first person,” as if it were a memoir. She is not a client and, I say this, so if my clients are reading this, they won’t think it is their story. I am breaking this up into different parts. I start with this aspect of her journey: coming back from being in a trauma bond after the break-up with a covert narcissist.

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I Knew a Man

I knew a man who did not know how to love a woman.

He could not love himself.

He was filled with anger and hatred for a girl in his past.

He determined this was her fault.

Then he decided it was me he was angry with, because of her.

He forgot that he loved me, or did I only imagine that he had?

He was unable to empathize with others in pain.

He would not allow himself to feel.

I loved and adored this man and gave him all that I had to give.

He never saw this because he could not believe this.

I thought that his praises and rewards and adoration were acceptance.

He was patronizing and biding his time.

I assumed that his smile and willingness and gifts were acknowledgement.

He was the good guy, and I was filling a gap.

In the end he could not say goodbye. He was unable to just walk away.

He had to find a way to make me wrong. This made it easier on him.

For so long, I searched for answers as I sat in denial.

I wanted to believe he would return. I wanted to believe I was wrong.

The thought of never seeing, touching, or being held by him was more than I could bare.

If this were true than the whole time was no more than a mirage.

I would be laughed at for being such a fool and the humiliation was more than I could take.

Deceit is a game I do not play and yet he had no qualms about playing me.

All alone I sat in wait, month by month, hoping and praying.

In darkness, I saw a shadow of light, as time went on, it became brighter.

God held my hand as I returned to walk beside him once more.

If I should falter, He stood me back up.

Once more I walked my path alone, though this time reassured.

My devotion and faith – now consistent and clear.

He will lead us together, and I will find, the person I thought that I already had.

 

Jeannine Vegh, 2021

A Secure and Healthy Relationship: What does this Look Like?

A secure and healthy relationship is what all men and women aspire to be in. How do we find these partners? What do they look like? Where are they hiding? What am I doing wrong that I seem to attract the same type of person over and over again?

First, we have to work on ourself. Birds of a feather, flock together. If you are an angry person, a secure and healthy person is not going to stick around very long. It is not unusual that you would attract drama into your life. An addict is not going to attract someone who is healthy and secure, they would not feel comfortable being with someone who is unable to function without a glass, pipe, horse race, pill, etc… A person who has lots of mental health issues – PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Personality Disorders and is not working on themselves, is not going to attract a secure and healthy relationship. Likewise, if you are insecure, immature, unhealthy – physically, avoidant, you are not going to attract a secure and healthy partner. So, what is the answer to this question? Find a really good therapist who specializes in helping you to get into a better place in your life and then you will attract that healthy partner toward you.

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Evelyn and Antonio – Staying True to Themselves 55 years in

A wonderful conversation with Evelyn about her 55 year relationship with her husband and what makes it work. The second in my series on Staying True to the Self in a Healthy Relationship.

Isabelle Huppert, She’s Not Smug

I’ve just finished watching the 2016 film “Things to Come,” and before this I had seen the movie “Elle,” a few months ago. Both were made (or released) in the same year, starring Isabelle Huppert. She has always seemed to me to be a very smug actress and yet I feel drawn to her. I find her characters deeply moving. No matter that she always seems to portray the perfect psychopath; it feels as if she is on the verge of an aneurism. Most Americans would call her characters intellectual snobs. Partly because she is not funny, unlike Woody Allen, who can make a discussion in philosophy seem like a night at a comedy club.  Also, because she is a woman and while we try to pretend we are modern here, we just can’t handle the honesty, portrayed by characters in French movies. We pretend to observe and honor freedom of speech in our constitution but only if people say what is popular for the times. In truth, there is no room for a good debate in America which is probably why the traditional “salons” of Paris never existed here. Once we made very good and intelligently written movies, now we have opted for special effects and pop culture actors who speak in slang because a cerebral film would not be considered a “date night” film.

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Loving the Narcissist: Patterns of Survivors

The Journey

Let me in, let me see what is inside

Let me feel that place where you are trying to hide.

Two wounded souls from different places in time

Coming together without a map or a rhyme.


As you suffer in silence, I fly around in the dark

and search for words to help you embark.

Stolen moments meet us half way

to carry us forward thru a whole new day.


Two lovers gather in the evening silence

Yearning to touch and find their way once more.

They seek solace in the arms of each other

Hoping to find what they are looking for.


The past sits on the edge of reason and doubt

While it waits to be soothed and coddled.

Confusion lurks and passions await

Time moves on in haste.


The bed feels empty; the mind is reprieved

By a thought or a gesture that provides some relief.

I wait and I ponder and I wonder as I wander

The roads are clear but the climb is steep.


The painting is finished but the oils have yet to dry.

The journey is in motion and there is still more to do.

The dancers step forward and take their cue

While the room lets out a sigh…


The sounds are released and they move

Two people together, aware of nothing

But the instruments guiding their way.

When you find yourself writing poetry, you might be in love with a narcissist. The Imposter Syndrome, Anxious and/or Avoidant types, Survivors of Narcissistic Parents, Empaths and Highly Sensitive People. These are the patterns of women that I see who attract the narcissistic partner. Often these are very strong professional women in very capable positions. Many times, they make more money than the partner and, in these cases, I see the male taking a more entitled role. For example, the male tends to become very lazy in the sense that he is not pulling an equal share of the weight, in the home, to compensate for his wife or partner making the higher income. This makes her life even more difficult.

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