There is a psychological term called “perspecticide” It’s defined as “the abuse-related incapacity to know what you know.” If you grew up in a home filled with shame and abuse, criticism and judgment, your perspective is going to be something you have to work hard to shape and find. Most of my healing work has centered on not just learning to trust that my perspective is important and that my observations are solid and trustworthy, but to uncover exactly WHAT my perspective is in any given moment.
Abused people learn well how to defer to others. They are trained in their relationships that it is safer to “delete” what you know and allow a controlling person to simply guide perception. It’s often safer that way. Over time, though, this constant erasure of what you know to be real and true affects you deeply. It creates suffering and pain.
I have an example of what I know now to be gaslighting. My ex said something insensitive, and after so many events of his not understanding, my heart sank. I could never relate to this person, this cruelty. My eyes started to well with tears. No drama, I just went into the next room, quietly sank into a chair, and started to softly cry. My response was met with his walking into the room angrily, jumping on one of the kids’ beach ball toys and popping it in the process, and cruelly mocking me for crying. I turned into numb stone, not believing my eyes.
Afterward, we processed this event in therapy. He denied mocking me. Then he sort of admitted to mocking me. Then he denied that he mocked me. This was gaslighting, the denial of my reality.
The therapist colluded with his abuse when he wrote to me that the reason my then-husband was unable to admit his mocking because I could not accept his intention was not to mock me. I was not even concerned with his intentions. I just wanted him to have a care that he had been cruel to me. That therapist later sided with my husband, leaving me wondering if I was the one who really was crazy, and what was I missing? It educated me quickly about therapists and how they can’t all be trusted. In fact, the therapist even gaslighted me when I told him I didn’t feel safe with him and his response was, “oh, all my clients say they feel safe with me. That’s something I pride myself on.” So manipulative and dismissive. A psychologist later told me that therapists are never supposed to side with the abuser. This therapist was either ignorant, or had a personality disorder. It happens.
Gaslighting is perspecticide because it tells a lie about what is really happening. My ex and his family have this cold perfectionism around their family that is pretty hard to argue with. But they are cruel. They are definitely not the first ones you’d call if you had cancer. In fact, you’d avoid calling them because they would try to hurt you. That is the kind of people they are. They don’t match their perfect picture they present. A man who pretends to be Mr. Dad but undermines his ex’s parenting or works to financially cripple her to the detriment of his children is gaslighting. When he cries poor but only works part time or has the support of his family, he is gaslighting. Gaslighting is just manipulative lying.
As adults, we can more readily step back and see what is happening. But when your child’s perspective, especially their perspective regarding another parent, is messed with, that’s abuse, stealthy and cruel. Fucktards only regard their own perspective. They will place their manipulations on a child without any thought to how it ultimately affects that child.
So how do you heal your own perspective after abuse, and help validate your children? First of all, coming out of the fog and waking up is going to motivate you to change. Reading and obsessing over the labels of an abuser will help, but I am convinced that until you recognize your status as victim, healing is going to be stuck. Coming out of denial means recognizing that gaslighting is ABUSE. Perspecticide is ABUSE. Until you acknowledge reality, you are still being gaslighted. You may not even know that’s abuse.
You need a therapist, a good one, someone who has been there and knows how to get out, someone who is well versed in complex trauma.
From there, my beloved therapist gave me what are called “trigger sheets”, which allow you to write what happened, how you responded, how you felt, and options for alternative responses. The recording of data about yourself involves self-awareness and cognitive restructuring. The facts are there. You wrote them down. You can’t lump onto another person’s warped lies about what happened. You use your triggers to learn how to not distort the truth, or doubt that what is happening is real.
One other part of healing from this is called betrayal trauma. If you grew up in an abusive household, abuse was normalized for you and often you just don’t know you are being abused. This is carried into adulthood and makes you more vulnerable to predators who gaslight and destroy your perception. You’ve been well trained to defer to others, to negate yourself. So you simply have to re-train yourself, educate yourself about what is normal and healthful.
Bitches lose their edge when they can’t tell the truth. First of all, you have to find the truth and then validate the hell out of yourself. Your voice does matter. What you saw/felt/experienced is real. Write it down. Tell a friend.Keep chipping away at the shame messages abusers put on you. AND GO TO THERAPY.
The path from “betrayed” to “bitch” is strewn with roses and pearls, of sweet wisdom and reclaiming your own perspective. No one puts Baby in betrayal.