Over the years of cleansing and purifying myself of stagnant emotions, I have discovered an enormous well of anger inside of my organs.
If I hadn’t discovered this and began clearing it all out, I honestly believe I would be extremely sick by now. My organs would be shutting down from the sheer weight and intensity of everything I have been holding onto.
I have become quite good at clearing it out, making fresh new space to breathe into. However, the root of the issue has escaped me for many years. This means that I have been trying to keep up with the speed at which it is generated. Healing, clearing, meditating experiences have been an essential part of my day in order to reset myself back to zero. Sometimes I could take it all the way, or perhaps there wasn’t enough time and it just stacks up over the course of a few days until I become really desperate for some alone time in which to reset myself.
This process has gotten very old and feels outdated. I had to summon the courage to see through to the next level. So it was important to really understand what the heck I have been so angry about.
Even in what I have written so far, it may be obvious what has made me so angry. I am being ignored!
I’m angry because I’m angry, and it’s not creating any change! It’s not being listened to.
This has actually become one of my most powerful mantras: I’m angry, because I’m angry, because I’m angry, because I’m angry! It feels amazing.
And reflecting on this whole thing today, a deeper level has become obvious. I have been chronically gaslighting myself.
For those who don’t know, gaslighting is a psychology term from an old film called “Gaslight” in which a man drove his wife “crazy” by constantly playing with the pilot light on the gas in the home. Now, it simply means causing someone to question themselves (in an abusive way).
Self-inquiry, when done with care, can of course be a very helpful thing. One of the interesting things I had to look at was asking myself how I am in denial, while not coming from a gaslighting “vibe” in doing so. If someone is in denial about their gaslighting tendencies, they may in fact desperately need a reality check, but they do NOT need more gaslighting. Gaslighting feels more like bullying, while a deeply caring reality check feels much more transparent and vulnerable. This is a critical distinction.
For example, I had to courageously take personal responsibility to admit that I am genuinely angry at myself for my own avoidant behavior. I didn’t bully myself into doing so.
When faced with an uncomfortable truth, the avoidant ego can frequently say “I’ll deal with this later”. However, avoiding responsibility can also sound like self-blaming, such as “You always make bad situations for yourself!”. This is gaslighting because it totally lacks empathy and causes the inner listener to feel “wrong” for their way of being. It is ungrounding, and depending on one’s temperament can easily result in people-pleasing. People-pleasing is an unconscious grounding strategy. When we are attempting to ground ourselves, it can become easy to disregard our true feelings and sacrifice who we really are in order to get immediate relief, and what sneakily appears in that moment to be a greater benefit.
This is exactly where the lie exists. If we are addicted to the instant gratification of other people agreeing with us, this slowly leads to a build-up of our own self-hatred. This way of thinking creates a lose/lose situation for everyone in the long run. It may take a lot of discipline to change this, but change is inevitable so we might as well do it sooner than later.
If we are to actually come from a place of genuinely standing up for ourselves when we are looking for the ways we are stuck in denial, this is a very different vibe. Asking ourselves, without an emotional charge, how could I honor my feelings better? How can I trust my intuition more? How have I been chronically distrusting myself? These questions are asked with compassion, and while it may appear to have the same agenda as “Look at what you did you little jerk!”, one is simply abusive and one is not. The energetic difference is vast.
And the unfortunate truth is, people who have experienced a lot of gaslighting at their most vulnerable age tend to be the primary gaslighters. It really does operate like a cult. Both are enslaved to one another in an unholy control dynamic.
Not to get political, but I see the tendency for self-gaslighting much more often on the “left” side. People gaslighting themselves about how “we need to do better” and “other people have it worse than I do so I’ll just keep suffering” or “you better got that shot even if you don’t want to, for the good of everyone”. Lots of twisted mind games generally aimed at guilt-tripping. It’s a state-sanctioned form of preying on the “belonging/rejection” wound. The left side tends to represent the immature and wounded feminine.
The right side of course has the inverse issue and tends to be more entangled into narcissism and self-aggrandizement. Right-side mind games tend to be more about fear of losing control/being controlled. Reacting from this fear tends to create aggression and its own version of dogmatic selfishness. Also known as the disconnected and wounded masculine.
Just to be clear, being twisted in either direction is obvious disharmony and so I’m not an advocate for ANY side. I’m an advocate for RELAXING and getting HONEST with our actual experience.
So, what does it really look like to stop gaslighting ourselves?
Firstly, unplug from anyone who is currently gaslighting you. Hard boundaries are not always necessary in life, but giving yourself a proper space to shed the identity from this deep wound is one of the cases where it is absolutely essential. If there is anyone in your life who consistently tells you that something is wrong with you, that you need to work on yourself, that you are inadequate, that you are deficient in any way…even if they are pointing at something which is technically TRUE – it all comes down to whether their WAY of sharing TEARS YOU DOWN or RESTORES YOUR CONFIDENCE.
If being around this person (or group) does not LIFT YOU UP, healthy skepticism is a very good idea. Question whether your life would be easier without being in contact. Question whether they are coming from neutrality or self-righteousness. Question whether they are coming from FEAR or GENEROSITY. It is not your job to change anyone. You don’t need to correct them the same way they have been correcting you. Facing off to see who can yell louder is the SAME game from a different angle. Make a real change by making a new decision.
Next, how is their voice still echoing in your head? How did you believe the gaslighting, internalized it and gone about living a lifestyle of correcting yourself? Where and when are you making your experience a low priority? Where are you willing to martyr yourself in order to prove what a good person you are? Where are you compromising your heart’s relaxation in order to protect someone else from their own emotions?
Gaslighting yourself makes it feel like everything is a huge task, because not only are you doing the task but you’re fighting an internal barrage of voices telling you how much you suck in the process. This will lead to you being more exhausted, more forgetful, crave more alone time, feeling like a burden to others, you feel guilty about your desires, are quite indecisive, rationalize other people’s abusive behavior, and then you become wary about letting yourself be excited about an amazing future.
This is a deep and sometimes complicated undertaking, but YOU ARE WORTH IT! If you believe you may be gaslighting yourself, please don’t go ONE MORE DAY without giving your heart some acknowledgment of what you’ve been through. Authentic apologies to our own hearts can be incredible medicine.
Wishing you the best on your journey.
Illustration by Hazel Mead