I’ve posted about this before, and will probably post about it again.
On my bad days, the days the depression hits so hard, the thoughts go through my mind of “How could I have been so gullible? How could I have not seen what was happening?”
The thing is, that’s what makes gas-lighting so damned powerful. It’s nothing huge, nothing particular you can point at and say “There, THAT is gas-lighting.” So, when the person doing it asks you for a specific example of the behavior, you are at a loss to point out where the problem is. And if you can’t pin-point a specific behavior, well….then it must be all in your head.
And worse, it gets your mind so warped that you actually defend the person’s actions to other people that love you. I can’t tell you how many people over the length of the time I was with him that tried to make me see exactly what he was doing. The problem is, I needed to get away. I needed to have time where I wasn’t taking care of anyone else but myself, and maybe the dog, so that I could actually figure things out.
And even then, it still took me four months to finally admit it to myself and to others that what I was experiencing was abuse, and that I needed to change my life. Yes, I still excused him after I asked him for a divorce. I still was convinced that I was divorcing him because I was the bad one, I was the failure. Hell, I was going to still pay “my share” of the bills (a choice no one but me was in support of)
But none of this is about recovery.
I don’t expect to be recovered from this immediately. Oh, there are days when I get frustrated and angry that it’s taking so long to recover, rebuild, and restrengthen myself. But, the reality is that it took 20 years to destroy me. I can’t expect it to take 20 months to fix me.
It’s taking hard work on my part. Part of that is this blog. Part of it is getting back into therapy. Part of it is just learning to be patient with myself again.
I used to be – at least for some point in my life – a very patient person. I could wait for things, not need immediate gratification. But, somewhere in all of that, I lost that ability. His need for everything to happen RIGHT NOW made it very difficult for me to try to maintain a more patient outlook.
And the anxiety is the worst part of it. The fear and physical responses that take WEEKS to recover from.