An anonymous, personal reflection on the experience of sexual exploitation in childhood. The reflection also draws in the biblical story of Amnon’s rape of Tamar (2 Samuel 13). On the one hand this is a declaration reminiscent of #MeToo but it is also an expression of defiant and articulate silence and a reminder that there isn’t a single, let […]
“I feel like there’s nothing I can do! I feel trapped!”
Day after day, week after week, I sit across from people – women, mostly – who cry these words out as they describe the oppressive conditions they live under.
We hear an ever-increasing number of voices being raised against domestic violence and domestic abuse. And that’s wonderful!
“S’about time!” I say!
What I don’t hear anyone talking about is “Domestic Oppression.” In fact, when I mention domestic oppression, I get looks of confusion and cognitive dissonance from people.
Thankfully, in doing a Google search this morning, I was encouraged to discover that one of my blog posts from four years ago finally moved into second place!
Are you KIDDING ME?!
Sorry. But this is ridiculous! How is it that the seedbed of domestic abuse isn’t part of the conversation about domestic abuse?
Okay. Let me take a deep breath and see if we can get on the same page here…
Let’s start with the working definition of domestic oppression from an upcoming book about domestic oppression that I am collaborating on (If you use this, give proper credit, please?):
Domestic Oppression: Domestic oppression is an ongoing pattern of intimidating and domineering behavior employed by one family member to control one or more other family members. A superior/inferior, hierarchical power differential is established, maintained, and increased more and more as time goes on.
Let’s talk a little about the perpetrators thereof:
Domestic oppressors systematically tyrannize, intimidate, threaten, emotionally coerce, dehumanize, objectify, demean, degrade, manipulate, and bully at least one other person within the family home—usually their spouse. This closely matches the description of terrorism.
Domestic oppressors (DOs) fall somewhere along a spectrum of emotional predation, ranging from harmful exploitation on the less dangerous end to the Dark Triad on the other. On the low end are those whose default is to objectify others and use them as resources to get their needs met.
On the other end are those who are a great danger to others, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, soul-ly, or a combination of any or all of these.
This morning, I (again) sat across from a woman who gave detailed descriptions of a “head-of-household” using intimidation, manipulation, coercion, demeaning, degrading, bullying, and finally low-grade violence [physical aggression without striking or kicking] to dominate and control the members of his family.
The chief targets of this behavior are his several daughters, some of whom are grown yet still living at home because of the oppressive “Covering Theology” the family has fallen for.
After she left, I was alerted to a news story from the NY Times that mega-church pastor and Word of Faith preacher Creflo Dollar was arrested after he choked and punched his 15-year-old daughter.
When you read the news story, you can see the tendrils of the domestic oppression in this family system. Again, domestic oppression is the seedbed for domestic violence!
“Dollar’s 19-year-old daughter corroborated most of her sister’s story, but Dollar disputed it, telling a sheriff’s deputy he was trying to restrain her when she became disrespectful. When she began to hit back, he wrestled her to the floor and spanked her, according to the police report.” (emphasis added)
The story goes on to describe what, in my experience, is an entitled oppressor enforcing his supposed power and authority over a weaker family member and resorting to violence in order to prove his right to dominate.
So, let’s start speaking and speaking well about domestic oppression, shall we?
Oh, and just so we don’t forget to get God’s opinion about all this, God speaks about oppression 84 times in Scripture (the equivalent of how many times He speaks about sexual impurity, fornication, and adultery).
Jesus Himself said, ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send the oppressed away in liberty”” (Luke 4:18 NET)
OPPRESSION IS A BIG DEAL TO GOD AND HE’S AGAINST IT! And it absolutely is not to be happening in “Christian” churches and “Christian” families.
More on this will be forthcoming soon, I promise! There is a lot more that needs to be discussed – especially in and by the church.
Please be in prayer for these families I mentioned, including Mr. Dollar’s. God wants the oppressed rescued and the oppressors redeemed.
And He has a whole lot of justice stacking up against these evildoers if they do not repent (“Woe to you…).
Soli Deo Gloria
“I don’t want to hurt anymore!!”
The following is by a young woman who has been healing in the gentle and steady redemptive relationships of God’s people.
Dry. Parched. Lifeless.
The wild animals blazed through my delicate branches, stripping me of my bark. The wind came and went and my base toppled over. The blazing sun came out. With my roots exposed my soil dried out and my leaves withered, my branches dried. I was without hope. My pot was cracked. My branches on the ground. I wept. Cried out for help, but no aid came. For days, months, years I laid there. I withdrew inside and lay there. Lifeless.
One day, the Master of the garden came. He saw my broken leaves, my scarred flesh, and my exposed roots. He wept. He then scooped my little, broken body, that was so close to death and planted me by the stream. He nourished my roots, surrounding the soil around my roots with rich food. He propped me upright. Patiently he waited. He continued to tend to my needs, coaxing my mangled and pain-stricken self, to come out of hiding.
Flickers. No longer alone and neglected – hope flickered. Dare I hope? Dare I begin to trust? Time. I need time.
Time is what He gave me. Faithfully tending to my unresponsive arms, roots, and soil.
One day, without realizing it, a bud sprang forth. How? When? Where? Did this truly come from my dead self? The Master of the garden saw this and delighted in my new growth. He continued to care for me. Reviving me gradually with His tender care.
As time went on, new buds and shoots continued to appear. I could hardly recognize myself! I had new life! I had the hope of a future! I could barely believe it!
The Master of the garden saw this and was pleased, there was life in this little tree. But, now that there was life it was the appropriate season to begin shaping and molding. He painfully pruned the branches that were overburdensome and sucking the nutrients away from the parts of me that needed nutrients. My pain was difficult, my trust in the Master wavered. Why would He coax me out of my hiding from the pain and hurt and mend that brokenness, only to hurt me Himself?
Little did I know, He knew better than I and had a plan. As time went on He continued to prune me. I grew and grew. And I no longer feared His shaping tools.
Foreign and new to me, buds formed on my branches. Flowers bloomed and fragrant aromas filled the garden. He was delighted!
Fruit! Fresh, sweet fruit! My once barren branches THRIVED under the Master’s hand. All along He saw the beautiful and majestic tree I was designed to be and the fruit that I would bare!
And, fully in keeping with 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, God is mightly using her to bring this same comfort to others so deeply wounded.
Abuse and betrayal occur in relationships; healing and hope are found in Redemptive Relationships rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Abuse and betrayal are redeemable. After all; God brought redemption into the world through abuse and betrayal.
Soli Deo Gloria!
“You need to trust me and allow me to lead you. I expect unconditional support of the leadership of this church in all ministry environments.”
What?! Are you KIDDING me?!
This is cult-talk, not Christian Church talk.
This is bullying, not leading.
This is oppression, not Christian servant-leadership.
This HAS to stop!
If you are in leadership in the church and this is your attitude, you need to get on your face and repent, begging God to change your heart and protect you from His due punishment for oppressors (Malachi 3:5; see also Psalm 94:20, Jeremiah 25:34; Zechariah 9:8; et.al.).
In fact, God has something to say about oppression and oppressors 84 times in Scripture…it is SO not okay with Him!
Jesus gave us His example of leadership (see the story of Jesus washing the disciples feet, for example, in John 13, especially John 13:14, 15, 17).
In fact, Jesus admonishes His disciples (that includes you, pastor),
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” ~ Matthew 20:25-28
If you think your position in the church entitles you to “lord it over” (bully and oppress) those you are there to serve, better go back to Bible school – if you ever went.
You are there to serve, NOT to be served. You are to gently lead from in front, not drive from behind (that’s the role of the butcher!).
Also, there seems to be a great deal of confusion about what authority is and what it isn’t.
Other than Jesus Himself, NO ONE has any authority. Let me say that again…
“Other than Jesus Himself, NO ONE has any authority.”
- Jesus: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18b)
- Paul: “And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the church as head over all things.” (Ephesians 1:22)
- Paul again: “For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1b)
Bottom line is this: NO one “has” any authority; they simply exercise the authority God in Christ has assigned TO A POSITION, NOT A PERSON.
Example: If you get elected mayor, you will exercise the AUTHORITY OF THE POSITION of mayor until you are no longer mayor. Once you are no longer mayor, YOU NO LONGER EXERCISE THE AUTHORITY of the position of mayor.
If you serve as a pastor or other elder, your exercise the authority of that POSITION, and it DOES NOT belong to you!
Oh, and this nonsense about “spiritual authority?” Go back and read Matthew 28:18 and Ephesians 1:22 – again.
And before you take Titus 3:1 out of context (“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.”), this was part of Paul’s instructions to Titus on teaching the people in his congregation about how to treat THOSE OUTSIDE the church.
Also, your limited scholarship in dealing with Hebrews 13:17 needs to be repented of and you need to seek to understand what is meant, not just what is being said. It requires more than a “letter of the law” approach based on English translation:
- Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (KJV)
- Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (NASB)
- Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (NIV)
- The word often translated “obey” is πείθω (peithō), and it means (among other things) “to suffer one’s self to be persuaded, yield to persuasion, to be convinced.”
- In the very next verse, the same word is translated either “convinced” or “sure”, depending on translation (“Pray for us. We are sure…”NIV; “Pray for us, for we are sure…” ESV; “Pray for us, for we are sure…” NASB)
- Even the go-to translation (KJV) for many hyper-headship and other oppressive authoritarians renders that same word in the next verse as “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience…”
- Some of the variants of this word are translated “But the ruling priests and the elders persuaded (epeisan | ἔπεισαν the crowds …” in Matthew 27:20; “And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will bribe (peisomen | πείσομεν ) him…” Matthew 28:14; and “He also told this parable to some who were confident (pepoithotas | πεποιθότας) in themselves…” Luke 18:19).
It seems quite clear that the idea of “obeying spiritual leaders” is not consistent with what God’s Word actually teaches, doesn’t it?
For those of you who think that a pastor or husband or father IS the authority or HAS authority, you have been deceived. Throw that off. Not only is that a man-made construct, it is oppressive at base.
Christ’s leadership was a servant-leadership.
It was self-sacrificial, not self-serving ( “…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28).
It was for the good of us, not for the good of Him (Ephesians 5:25), and He had a passionate desire for God’s best for us, even if it cost Him everything (Philippians 2:3-11).
Pastor? Elder? STOP IT AND BE WARNED!
“Weep and wail, you shepherds; roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock. For your time to be slaughtered has come; you will fall like the best of the rams.” Jeremiah 25:34
“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.'” Ezekiel 34:10
“The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence [opression] His soul hates.” Psalm 11:5 (emphasis added)
For those who agree with God on the exact nature and character of their wrong, He provides forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). It requires a contrite heart to be truly repentant and confessing (Psalm 21:7; Isaiah 66:2).
Serve others as you have been commanded, or relinquish the position you are not entitled to because of your oppression. He will not long tolerate His sheep being oppressed.
Soli Deo Gloria
Love is probably the most sought-after and least understood aspect of the human experience. We long for it, we hunger for it, we actually need it, and yet those things are at the very root of our inability to Love God’s Way.
The most famous passage in all of Scripture regarding love is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a: “Love is patient, love is kind, and it is not envious. Love does not brag; it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, and it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Nice thoughts; great words; lovely sentiments. You’ve seen them on greeting cards, plaques on the wall, even hundreds of times on Facebook. What do they mean, and who are they for?
The Greek word for “love” in this passage of Scripture is agapē. It does not refer to brotherly love, familial love, or even romantic love. Agapē is unique and quite distinctive from our usual understanding and use of the word “love.”
Agapē is rooted in the very nature and character of God (1 John 4:8, 16b). Agapē is self-sacrificial (see Philippians 2:5-8). The verb form of this word means to love, highly value, honor, greatly esteem, manifest lavish concern for, be faithful towards, to delight in, and to emphasize the importance and value of another.
AGAPĒ EQUALS GIVE
To love God’s way is to give; there is no “take” in love (although there is a “receive” aspect to it which we will discuss in a moment).
- John 3:16: “For this is the way God loved [agapaō, the verb form of agapē] the world: He gave [abandoned and delivered up for] His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
- Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved [agapaō], me and gave Himself for me.”
- Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love [agapaō] your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.”
To “love” someone with any expectation at all of anything coming back in return is NOT love – it is a business deal, not relationship. Quid pro quo (this for that) is not love because it is not sacrificial; it is self-serving and self-seeking. This is not how God has loved us and not how we are to love others.
Jesus emphatically establishes a brand new economy for relationships for all those who are His true disciples (more than just followers). Three times in John 13:34-35, He uses the same words to express His command to them (and to us): “I give you a new commandment – to love one another [agapaō]. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”
As we have discussed in other lessons, repetition in Scripture is a device used to add emphasis to what is being said. Since they did not have exclamation marks, didn’t italicize or use all upper case for words, and didn’t have a way to bold the letters, they used repetition. Repeating something once meant it was highly significant; repeating twice (saying it three times) was like using all upper-case letters AND underlining-italicizing-bolding and adding several exclamation marks!!!
Loving God’s Way cannot be faked, pretended, or counterfeited for long because loving like God loves (even with our human limitations) is about much more than just behavior. To agapaō someone is to have a higher regard for them than you do for yourself (Philippians 2:3-4), to have a passionate desire for God’s best for them, even at great expense or sacrifice to yourself. This is something that happens on a heart level, not just with a bunch of words and some temporary actions.
His Word includes the commands to “love one another, just as I have loved you.” How has He loved us? “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life” (From Romans 5:5-6, 8, 10).
So, when we read that we are to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” (Mark 12:31a) these words take on a significantly powerful meaning. They are commanded by God in the Old Testament and retaught by Jesus in the New.
When we give to another with the expectation of receiving something in return, we have just dehumanized and objectified that individual. They have now gone from being regarded in our hearts as a fellow image-bearer of God to a resource for us to have our needs met by. Again, that is not relationship; that is using.
In a marriage, this can be an especially easy trap to fall in to. Most people get married because of what needs are being met or what emotions they experience being connected to that other person. That is not a Biblical or a Christian model. To “love another” is to passionately desire God’s best for them, not for you.
Another important idea to hold fast to is the idea that the “one another’s” are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to love them first and love them best. It is from a solid “one anothering” love that the Body of Christ is able to love the lost.
One more thing: We are also instructed to love our enemies with the same love we love our fellow believers. This is an even more difficult kind of love. If you read Luke 6:35, you will find that Jesus explains what that love looks like with these instructions: “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
Matthew has a different quote from Jesus along these same lines (5:43-47): “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they?”
Paul picks up this theme in Romans, Chapter 5 (verses 6, 8, and 10), and gives us the baseline for us to love others – even our enemies:
- “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Verse 6)
- But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Verse 8)
- For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? (Verse 10)
So, let us not forget that, just as God has loved us in Christ, so we are to love others – also in Christ, just as God has loved us. His love is not conditional, and neither should ours be.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day
by Jared C. Wilson
(NOTE: This is the kind of thing I have been praying for – no, BEGGING for – to see happen in the church for a VERY long time. His word-picture about the 3 doors parallels what I have often said: “When it comes to abuse, there is no ‘Switzerland’ – you either side with the abuser or the abused; there is no third choice.”)
Jason Meyer, pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, gave a powerful and important sermon this past Sunday.
In it, he defined things like “hyper-headship”:
Hyper-headship is a satanic distortion of male leadership, but it can fly under the radar of discernment because it is disguised as strong male leadership. Make no mistake—it is harsh, oppressive, and controlling. In other words, hyper-headship becomes a breeding ground for domestic abuse.
Meyer also addressed the issue of domestic abuse, highlighting three lessons in particular they had learned:
- Not all abuse cases are the same, even though they may share certain things in common. If you have seen one abuse case, you have seen one abuse case.
- We need to distinguish between two types of marital sinfulness: normative sinfulness and abusive sinfulness.
- There are spectrums and varieties of domestic abuse. A good working definition of domestic abuse is “a godless pattern of abusive behavior among spouses involving physical, psychological, and/or emotional means to exert and obtain power and control over a spouse for the achievement of selfish ends” (John Henderson).
Calling it a “draw-a-line-in-the-sand kind of moment” for the church, Meyer read a statement from the elders about domestic abuse:
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.
The statement goes on to give information about whom to contact when abuse is occurring.
Meyer addressed abusers:
If you are an abuser, I call you right now to repent and bear fruit in keeping with repentance. The only hope is on the other side of repentance—getting out of denial so you can own your sin. That is the only hope because if you confess it as sin, there is a sacrifice for sin. There is no sacrifice for denial.
He addressed victims:
If you are being abused, the bulletin gives information on next steps. Please let us help. God hates abuse, and so do we. We are committed to help. If you have come to us for help before and have been disappointed, please give us another chance. We believe that the tide of awareness has risen on all three campuses and that positive changes are happening.
And he addressed children:
If you are a child and have seen one of your parents abuse the other, it is not right, and it is not your fault. You are not to blame. We want to get you help as well. You may think telling someone will tear your family apart, but it may be the only thing that can bring your family back together. If you are a child and you are being abused, let us help. Don’t walk this road alone. Tell someone. Please tell the children’s pastor or your youth pastor or a Sunday school worker.
He then closed with an address to men in particular:
Men of Bethlehem, let me address you. I will lay it on the line. At first glance, it looks like there are three possible doors the men of this church can take.
- Door 1: side with the abusersm
- Door 2: take no side, or
- Door 3: side with the abused and stand up to the abusers.
If you are tempted to open Door 2, please know that it is a slide that just takes you to the same place as Door 1. Doing nothing is doing something: it is looking the other way so the abusers can do their thing without worrying who is watching. Saying nothing is saying something—it’s saying, “Go ahead, we don’t care enough to do anything.”
For some resources on abuse, see Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s resources:
- Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault
- Rid of My Disgrace: Small Group Discussion Guide
- Is It My Fault? Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence
- God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies (forthcoming in September)
- Edward Welch, Living with an Angry Spouse: Help for Victims of Abuse
- David Powlison, Recovering from Child Abuse: Healing and Hope for Victims
- John Henderson, Abuse: Finding Hope in Christ
- Deepak Reju, On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church
- Paul Tripp, David Powlison, Ed Welch, Domestic Abuse: How to Help
- Diane Langberg, Bringing Christ to Abused Women: Learning to See and Respond
“That’s not what I said and not how I meant what I said!”
This piece on “Gaslighting” is the first in a series about the oppressive manipulations tactics many of the folks I counsel experience on a regular basis.
What we will discuss in this series happens in homes, churches, businesses, friendships – all kinds of environments where hurt people hurt other people.
I pray you will find it useful.
Gaslighting is a sophisticated manipulation tactic employing a specific kind of lying that people with certain character and personality defects use to create doubt in the minds of others.
The goal is to make the target person doubt their own judgment and perceptions, and to create doubt in the minds of others about the believability of the targeted person.
Here’s where the term comes from, how it works, and what to be on the alert for.
In the classic suspense thriller, Gaslight (MGM, 1944), Paula (Ingrid Bergman) marries the villainous Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), not realizing that he is the one who murdered her aunt and is now searching for her missing jewels.
To cover up his treachery, he tries to persuade Paula that she is going mad, so he can search the attic for the jewels without her interference.
He plants missing objects on her person in order to make her believe that she has no recollection of reality.
He tries to isolate her, not allowing her to have visitors or to leave the house.
He tries to make her think she is losing her mind by making subtle changes in her environment, including slowly and steadily dimming the flame on a gas lamp.
If this sounds somehow familiar, you have probably encountered the form of psychological abuse known as “Gaslighting.”
Essentially, it describes methods of manipulation that are designed to make the victim lose their grip on the truth or doubt their perception of reality, in order to gain power and control over them.
Effective gaslighting can be accomplished in several different ways.
Sometimes, a person can assert something with such an apparent intensity of conviction that the other person begins to doubt their own perspective – like someone stealing something that belongs to you and being so unwaveringly insistent that it really belongs to them that you give up.
Other times, vigorous and unwavering denial coupled with a display of righteous indignation can accomplish the same task – like being aggressive toward you and, when you stand up for yourself, vehemently accusing you of being abusive.
Bringing up historical facts that seem largely accurate but contain minute, hard-to-prove distortions and using them to “prove” they are right – like rewording things you or they said so that there are too many little lies to try and fight that you don’t know where to begin.
Gaslighting is particularly effective when coupled with other tactics such as shaming and guilting.
Anything that aids in getting another person to doubt their judgment and back down will work for the gaslighter. One of the scary parts of Gaslighting is that, oftentimes, the gaslighter seems to believe that what they are saying is true.
Gaslighting can be a terrifying experience. It can quickly put you on the defensive, manipulate you in to trying to justify your own actions or behaviors, when what you started out to do was challenge someone else’s wrong behavior.
A gaslighter’s prevarications may be presented so convincingly and with such conviction, that you not only doubt your own memories and sense of judgment, you also start to fear that other’s (who don’t know the truth and don’t see things from your perspective) will become persuaded to believe the gaslighter instead of you.
This leaves you feeling even more trapped, more confused, more powerless, and feeds a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
What To Do
- ALWAYS keep yourself (and any children) safe FIRST!
- Avoid arguing the “facts” with the gaslighter – they will not surrender to your view of things unless it serves their purpose (we will discuss this more when we look at “Assenting in Order to Manipulate”).
- Remember that you are not responsible for the other person’s feelings or behaviors
- Keep a journal (if you can do so safely) of these kinds of conversations when they occur. You will find the running record a powerful tool in reassuring yourself that you aren’t the crazy one.
- Consider recording (again, if you can do so SAFELY) some of the interactions.
- Have safe and perceptive people with whom you can discuss these things. A dialog with a trusted counselor, pastor, family member, or friend so they are aware of what you are dealing with can be very helpful.
- Do the healthy best-practices you need to do to get out from under this kind of oppressive behavior. Calmly refuse to accept it, and absent yourself from the conversation when it starts.
There will be more coming in the days ahead.
Soli Deo Gloria