The Dark Truth about Gaslighting, Cheating & Emotional Abuse

The Elephant

September 8, 2020

Raven Hughes  |  Contribution: 975

Raven Hughes is Chicago born and LA living, this songwriter/poet/writer keeps her words grounded, yet romantic. She is full of reflection and wisdom and typically writes about… Read full bio

Got gaslighting on your mind? Check these out next: 
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I was Gaslighted (& it was the Best thing to Ever Happen to Me).

I was numb.

Since the #metoo movement started, I’ve begun remembering so many instances when I was played that I didn’t even register at the time.

My chest burns, like when you have acid reflux. One of you talked about being manipulated, gaslighted, cheated on, and lied to. My own past stories began echoing through all the veins in my body until the whole house shook. One of you checked in with me because you had seen him out; he reminded you of me; I can’t seem to escape him.

I have always been the type to call someone a friend. Even if we’d only met a couple of times, they were a friend if I liked them. I am different now.

Being a victim can really make you wonder what you did wrong sometimes. I know now that I love too much—for too long.

Isn’t that what we all do? We all love them too much. We fall for the handsome black hole dangling a carrot in front of our face. We go toward it with wonder and shock as we realize every step is atop eggshells. These emotionally manipulative people have a way of being so convincing.

They show their best face as much as possible so that when they are busted with their double life, you can’t even believe it. They always have a good explanation for everything. The dark side is so secretive most of their closest friends don’t even see it. But, if you leave them or call them out, they will act like they don’t know what happened (or worse, say crazy stuff about you).

Then I think about how bad some of these #metoo stories are, and I try to minimize my pain. Push it back down, I beg myself. These feelings aren’t allowed. I know, from childhood, I am only loved when I am happy. Push it down.

We believe because we trust and love. And maybe behind every narcissist is an optimistic person with a dream of curing their abandonment issues. But, without fail, when you look on their phone, this is the kind of person who has voicemails, texts, and emails from about 10 other people.

Or maybe they will randomly message (to check-in and see how we’re doing in quarantine). Or a mutual coworker will catch them on Tinder, and they’ll say it was deleted years before; it must be trapped in the system. And we will believe it.

My hurt is so deep and so vast and expansive—it is coming up. It’s coming up so fast, that bitter acid in my chest. The feeling of an elephant standing on my stomach and the pressure exploding behind my eyes in my head. So many women are coming forward about their abusers, and the men are being forced to see the pain they have caused. But the emotional abuser, the cheater, is probably just fine—they’re living their best life.

We have been hurt so badly, but we would still be the one forgiving them and saying, “Hi,” when we run into one another. How can we stay mad at someone who is so “nice” on the exterior? And then we are left wondering, “How can one man juggle so much?”

The truth is that they will most likely get away with this forever. They are unassuming and nonthreatening.

The tears won’t stop. They will continue to explode from our eyes—hard and fast with all the pressure of our pain beneath them.

Personally, my tears are for all of us; we all know this type of man, the one who never tells the truth—not even once. My tears are for the sad truth that our only thought on the abuse and betrayal is, “At least he didn’t rape me.”

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