In which we get deep into self-esteem issues, their causes and how to really see them.
10 days ago, I had never heard the term “gaslighting” and then last week I came across it three separate times. Clearly The Universe wants me to share this with you.
Gaslighting is, basically, when a person is led to believe they are crazy by someone around them, in order that that someone can be in control of the situation. It involves a disregard for the victim’s feelings, lies about the truth, and invalidating reality.
Essentially, I think there are two forces at work here: the gaslighting that occurs on an individual level between two people or within small groups of people and which can target either sex, and the global gaslighting that targets the women in our society in general and which is inflicted upon the female half by both men and women. Both are major issues, but the global one will be harder to change. Awhile back I read The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf (which is a must-read for all women, IMO). She talks a lot about the patriarchy and how women fit into it, and how feminism is a rather one-step-forward-two-steps-back process. Only she worded it better than I did, maybe. It’s an incredible resource and knowing and understanding the patriarchy in power is, I think, the prerequisite to understanding how gaslighting works on that global level. Putting it into my own words, the collective conscious and subconscious of our culture does whatever it takes to keep the patriarchy in power because the patriarchy IS the culture. It’s almost innocent, the desire to keep things as we know them. But it is, of course, much darker than that.
Gaslighting on a global level discredits women, but you can work to stop it. How? Easy. Stop discrediting yourself. Don’t down talk your looks, personality or abilities. Just don’t. No need for modesty, own your awesome. Stop apologizing for things you shouldn’t be apologizing for. Stop pointing out all your flaws, instead point out how gorgeous you are (YES YOU ARE). Because once we stop discrediting ourselves, we won’t want to allow anyone else to do it, either. And then the Big Changes will come. How exciting!
I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, but I want you to make this one. Raise your right hand. Are you ready? Cause I’m serious. Do it. OK. Now repeat this:
I resolve to take myself seriously. I resolve to stop verbally abusing myself. I resolve to not allow anyone to gaslight me.
Now sign your name here in the comments. I’ll be checking in with you through the year.
~Worthless Women and the Men Who Made Them
~This one is coming from a very similar place, but I think it is a better article on a number of levels.
~OK, seriously, this article just came across my Facebook feed WHILE I WAS WRITING THIS. See? The Universe loves you and wants you to love yourself just as much.