Monday, March 18, 2024

How I'm detoxing from gaslighting by questioning others instead of myself

Hello my dear friends of this blog on how I lost 100 pounds without gastric bypass or weight loss drugs. During this month, my weight loss challenge has been March Un-Madness. What do I mean by that? I'm working to end the madness in my brain from constant parental humiliation, exploitation, narcissistic abuse, neglect, manipulation, parentification and gaslighting about the true nature of those things. What does that have to do with weight loss, seemingly nothing but realistically everything. 

A large part of how I gained weight in the first place, I'm realized,  has as much to do with toxic shame and total lack of self-care, as it does with overeating or even food in general. Toxic shame stemmed from believed wrong messages about myself, my purpose, my motivation and my actions. I was indoctrinated, by narcissistic parents and people who were called my step-parents, into believing that I was bad, naughty, selfish, self-centered, dangerous, wicked, sinful and always, always in the wrong. 

And I was a good student. I internalized these sick teachings to the point that I perpetuated them within myself. I furthered my own "education" if you will, gaslighting myself into believing that I was not only responsible for others' happiness, I was the source of their unhappiness. This created not just suicidal thoughts but a daily, ongoing, state of mental and emotional suicide. This false narrative was killing me one moment at a time.

I have lived essentially my entire life in this slow death, save for the past few months. What changed is that I accepted that these things were done to me. I stopped making excuses for the perpetrators. I stopped telling their version of events (which I have learned is called the shared fantasy) and I started believing my own version. 

And that that's when the stitched up pack of lies that they'd woven into my memory, began to unravel. This brainwashing or gaslighting, began to reveal itself everywhere. The more I realized how many lies I'd been led to believe, the more I questioned and the more I question, the more lies I uncover.

And let me segue here for a moment. Realize is an interesting and appropriate word. Realize, a verb, to fully understand a fact, to make real. And not even, understanding fact as in juxtaposed with opinion. My realizations were separating real, true fact from lie, from that believed or shared fantasy I'd previously subscribed to. 

So where does that leave me if everything I'd believed to be true was essentially being shown to be false? What do you do when you see that your entire life with someone was a lie? It's like Sherlock Holmes famously said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true. Because it is utterly impossible that one person, namely, an innocent child who is trying with all energy to be the best she can be, could be the source of everyone's problems. It is flatly impossible that one person can be entirely in the wrong. 

Having said that, even as I write this, the flying monkeys are saying "you're exaggerating. They never did that. Or if they did, it wasn't that bad." And maybe it wasn't all the time. But it was consistent enough to make a kid think everyone would be better off with her dead. And inconsistent and mixed messages of love-hate, good-bad, etc., are almost worse. This is the narcissistic abuse that kept me coming back for more. Because maybe I would finally find a way to please, if I just kept trying harder. 

So we've eliminated the impossible and what remains must be the truth despite how improbable I found it. In this case, I would say that what remains in my brain, my version of events, SEEMS improbable because there were so many loud parental voices saying otherwise. They didn't share anything except a dedicated effort to sabotage me in their own individual ways.  

Sabotage? That's a strong word. But yep, I'll die on that hill. It was that bad. They emotionally gang-banged me, all four of them. They weren't even working together.  Each had his or her own flavor of bullying. Or at least I can't see the connection. I think this is why it so successfully effed me, because it came from all angles and in such varied and disjointed ways.  

But again, what remains? As improbable as it was, they had to be in some kind of cahoots. Or at least had some agreed-upon tactics. Some shared fantasy of me as the 4S model I've used: surrogate parent, surrogate spouse, scapegoat and staff. Because they backed each other, even the ones who weren't married. They only questioned the bizarre way each other treated me to weaponize, triangulate and themselves feel better about how they were misusing me ( the old, "well at least I don't do THAT" theme.) And you know how group-think works, "we right because we all agree we are." No thought of the devastation it was wreaking. And never has been. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that it was malicious and intentional. 

Yep, bizarre.  And bordering on unbelievable or so those who know about it have told me. Which is another weapon used against me, that kept me radio silent. The message that no one will believe you because there's no way we all could be doing it. Really?? Paranoid much, Marilisa? That's just you being "too sensitive." 

And it worked. Because I can see how unbelievable it looks and I can hear how unbelievable it sounds. Even the experts, say they've rarely to never seen a case of narcissistic abuse from all four parental figures. Even to me, it sounds like paranoia. But then I am the one who's messed in the head. Where I hear judgement and skepticism, I think what people are actually saying is "just wow that really sucks." I think it's like my son said, "you have people now, in your life, who believe you and who have your best intentions at heart. I know you don't believe in yourself, so let us believe for you." 

So again, I ask, where does the discovery of this web of lies leave me? Well, what do you do when you catch someone in a lie? First, examine motive. Was it done to hurt or protect? We've established that lies were told to keep me in an unhealthy place of abuse. Next, ask self, if one lie was told, how many other things were lies? 

And that's what brings me to the point, rather roundabout LOL, of this post.  Once I began to accept the improbable, that the things that occurred were real and intentional narcissistic abuse, and armed with the loving support I now have,  I'm having to going back and question every bad thing I've believed about myself. I'm reexamining everything that was said and done that felt wrong. And even the things that didn't. Cuz we all know Marilisa ain't very good at recognizing pain and abuse. As one counselor said, "girl, you have a SCARY high pain tolerance." 

I'm filtering everything through the strainer of truth. And what is trapped, what won't fit, is the lies. I'm reevaluating every experience in light of this new awareness of narcissistic abuse. And what I'm discovering is that it's not rocket science. What they did makes perfect sense given their natures. Of course, they made it my fault. They would not accept responsibility. Of course they enslaved me. They are lazy and self-centered. Of course they gaslit me. They wanted to preserve this good thing that they had going on. Simple, really, when you look at it without the smoke and mirrors. 

Thanks for reading. I'll post more on this. 

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