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I Used To Be So Nice (Or: Why I Cannot Walk Away From A Battle With Lesbophobes)

As anybody who has read even a couple of my recent posts will likely already know, I have been angry lately at all of the faux allies and hetsplainers ~ very angry, in fact, but I must admit that underlying that anger is disappointment, frustration, puzzlement, and sadness.

I won’t rehash all of the drama….if anyone is interested, feel free go back through my tweets and replies to get a just a small taste of the brouhahas. I have also done several recent posts which mentioned the drama.

Anyway, someone on Twitter who also knows me in real life (and has known me for over 20 years), recently said something to the effect of being shocked that so many people were being so rude to me.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw that, because I immediately knew exactly what she meant:

In real life, I am, in fact, what most people would consider “nice”.  Meaning: I am typically polite, kind, considerate, giving, etc.; in other words, I get along well with others. (I am always direct and assertive in real life…but I am not aggressive/rude unless it becomes absolutely necessary).

But on Twitter (and to a lesser extent, on this blog), I am quite outspoken…sometimes even outright rude (which occurs, lately with shocking regularity, when I finally reach my maximum frustration tolerance level).

The problem is not just that Twitter is online interaction (meaning: versus in-person), either. I participate regularly on Facebook and LinkedIn and on other various websites/forums/etc., and I get along just fine with people on those, just like I do in real life.

No, I really think it’s specific to Twitter. Somehow, Twitter seems to bring out the worst in me. Actually, perhaps Twitter brings out the worst in everybody, based on my recent observations of various assorted brouhahas that I have NOT been involved in.

I think it’s the combination of the limited characters available to make important points, the fast paced environment, and the discontinuity in threads when multiple people are responding at the same time (which makes it difficult to follow the order of the conversation) that makes Twitter the perfect storm for misunderstandings, anger, hostility, drama, and trouble.

Combine that perfect storm of Twitter with my temperament (I am unwilling to back down — when dealing with a topic which matters to me greatly) and BOOM, it’s Armageddon.

Recently, I have been wondering whether I should just let an ongoing fight with a specific group of mean-girl lesbophobic feminists go…whether I should just walk away and let them stew in their own putrid, poisonous juices.

After all, I do actually believe in karma. People who are mean-spirited and vicious are obviously not happy people.

Also, I truly believe on-going anger and conflict is unhealthy…mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And these individuals are certainly not worth my health or my time.

So, I have been wondering:

Why am I having such a hard time letting this particular fight go? 

It’s not just my ego from being personally and viciously insulted by the ringleader, although I am sure that is indeed a part of it.

And it’s not just their shocking lesbophobia and appalling ignorance about Lesbians, although I am sure that is a HUGE part of it also. After all, utter obtuseness appears in many guises, including some very unexpected sources.

After much consideration, I think that (in addition to the above-noted factors) I am reluctant to stand down for 2 reasons:

First, I am truly horrified at the support that these individuals are getting from other straight feminists, so a big part of me wants EVERYBODY to see who these people really are. So, by calling them out and posting screencaps of their copious bigoted nonsense, I have been hoping that the proverbial aha! lightbulb would suddenly and magically appear above somebody’s head…anybody’s head! (I am afraid, though, that this wish is just a pipe dream).

Secondly, and much more importantly, I, Dirt, and the other Lesbians on Twitter who have been standing up to these individuals are all assertive, secure adults with a strong sense of self and a healthy acceptance of ourselves as Lesbians. So we can take their nastiness with a grain of salt. But: what if we were different? What if we were young dykes, just coming out, currently being rejected by family, friends, and society? What if we were vulnerable, scared, alone, confused, maybe even suicidal? What if we were struggling with self-hatred, dysphoria, and/or internalized homophobia? Would the horrid lesbophobic venom directed at us as Lesbians potentially be the last straw for someone like that? I honestly don’t know, and I sincerely hope not, but I cannot in good conscience allow these people to say such horrible, lesbophobic things without calling them out on it.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and if these individuals would say such repulsive, vile, hurtful, homophobic things to us, it is a fact that they have the capacity to do it to others.

My crusade may not do any good. I may, at some point, decide to lay down my metaphorical sword and walk away from this riDICKulous battle…

But not today.

Sword

Image: Pixabay: azboomer: Creative Commons CC0

The Price of Truth

Since Dirt and I started speaking out about Straightbians and the multiple ways in which they harm Lesbian lives, we have both received numerous emails and private messages thanking us for speaking out. 

Sadly, though, the majority of our private supporters do not have the courage to say so in public. 

As just one example, here is what one person said to me privately, versus what she later said publicly: 

Private


Public:

Well, I know that it is difficult for some Lesbians to come out of the closet, but that issue has nothing whatsoever to do with Straightbians.  (You either are, or are not, a Lesbian, and if you are, you aren’t a Straightbian…zero overlap). 

I wish I could say such a gap between private versus public behavior was limited to this one person, but, alas, it is not. 

It seems that the price for speaking the truth is too costly for most people. 

For me, truth trumps popularity.  I won’t lie in order to be popular and tell people what they WANT to hear. 

The truth is: Any woman cannot just magically “become a Lesbian”, and all the wishful thinking and denial in the world won’t change that simple fact. 

PS: You may be wondering why I am bringing this up. Well, the answer is simple: It is because I am frustrated  and burned out with fighting with straight women on Twitter over what it means to be a Lesbian, while knowing that other (real) Lesbians agree, but nonetheless won’t publicly support the (very) few of us who are willing to speak out.  

“Sexuality is Fluid”: The Great Big Hoax

NOTE: This is a follow-up to Dirt’s post, With Lesbians Like Sue Perkins, Who Needs Enemies?!

Lately, it seems that you can’t swing a cat (Public Service Announcement: PLEASE DON’T SWING CATS, PEOPLE!) without hitting an article or interview where somebody or other is saying that “Sexuality is fluid.”

You’ll notice, however, that it is always FEMALE sexuality to which these articles/interviews are referring; it’s quite unlikely that Men’s Health magazine will ever come out with an article about the best techniques for sucking dick.

Hmmmm…why is that? There are likely many reasons, but I believe that the main one is that females/Lesbians are routinely hypersexualized, and the idea of watching so-called “Lesbian” sex often appeals to straight men. However, the very same men would quite likely be freaked out by the thought of having sex with a man. Therefore, the myth that female sexuality is “fluid” is appealing and persists, while male sexuality remains “static” in the public’s mind.

It is especially disappointing to me when a famous Lesbian makes such a erroneous and damaging claim. Dirt wrote about such a situation here, in which one of my favorite comedians, Sue Perkins, who starred in the hilariously quirky Lesbian-trying-to-come-out-of-the-closet sitcom Heading Out, said in an interview that “sexuality is fluid”.

In Sue P‘s case, I think a combination of internalized homophobia and a desire to fit in with the currently in-vogue “queer” crowd, along with parroting the nonsensical storylines of Straightbians, are major driving factors in such a spurious claim. However, I don’t know her, so I can only guess as to her motivation(s).

Well, let’s all just think about the whole “sexuality is fluid” claim for a moment, shall we?

First of all, the correct term is ORIENTATION, NOT SEXUALITY. Being a Lesbian is NOT all about sex, and to reduce our entire lives, our very being, to “having sex” is both incorrect and insulting. We are always Lesbian, regardless of whether we even ever have sex.

Secondly, if orientation were really “fluid”, there would be no reason to “come out of the closet”, would there, Sue P.? Everyone would just “flow” back and forth, willy-nilly, including the very parents that you had to “come out” to, Sue! Why would anyone have to “come out” if there were no true orientation to begin with, since everyone would be “fluid”? Why are there heterosexuals and homosexuals in the world?

Think, Sue, THINK!

The (incredibly obvious!) answer here lies in the difference between Behavior Versus Orientation.

As an example of behavior versus orientation:

Anybody could have sex with anybody (Behavior), but a female having sex (or even a long-term relationship) with another female does NOT magically make her a Lesbian.

You either are a Lesbian (Orientation), or you are not.

Later-in-life Lesbians (those who initially date/marry men, before coming out later) were never straight to begin with; so their orientation is NOT “fluid”; they just did not act upon their true orientation for a variety of possible reasons (family, society, religion, internalized homophobia, peer pressure, etc.).

Here’s the thing:

Behavior is changeable. Orientation is NOT changeable.

BehaviorVsOrientation

So, whenever you see the claim that “sexuality is fluid”, I beg you to remember this formula:

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation

Behavior ≠ Orientation!!!!!!!!!!!

As for Sue Perkins, I still believe that she is hilarious and talented and I truly wish her all the best, but she really needs to stop towing the “queer” party line and start telling the truth…not just for the sake of her Lesbian fans, but, ultimately, for her own sake.

“How Very Dare You?” (How Hets Respond To Lesbians)

Amidst all of the general nonsense Dirt and I deal with on a daily basis, a recent recurrent theme I have noticed in many argumentative comments and tweets to us is:

HOW DARE WE?

How dare we speak about/as Lesbians?

How dare we say that any woman cannot magically “become a Lesbian”?

How dare we say that words like “Lesbian”, “Butch”, “Femme” etc. have actual meaning and should be used correctly?

How dare we imply that we are “experts” of any sort?

How dare we say that many are falsely calling themselves “Lesbian”?

How dare we challenge the currently in-vogue idea that everything is all about “identity”: the idea that if you simply “identify as” ________(fill in the blank: Lesbian; Butch; Femme; Hippopotamus; Whatever) you ARE ___________?

The list goes on and on and on, but I think you get the basic idea, which boils down to “How very dare you?”

I recently replied that there are about 3,468,576,823,845 STRAIGHT blogs, books, articles, TV shows, magazines, etc.; yet NOBODY ever comments such things to them: Who are YOU to talk about being straight? What would YOU know? What gives YOU the right to talk about straight people/relationships? How would YOU know about being straight? Who are YOU to say who is straight? Etc.

Nope, that never happens, and I will tell you why. Because nobody questions “straight”. First of all, straights are the HUGE majority. Secondly, straight is pretty…well…straightforward: Nobody has hijacked “straight” like “Lesbian” has been hijacked repeatedly. Nobody is falsely speaking for all straight people, implying that they are all perverts and weirdos or that it’s all “just a choice” or any other such idiocy.

Even when a Lesbian comes out later in life, she didn’t hijack straight out of privilege; in fact, it’s the opposite: she felt she had to pretend to be straight in order to please family, society, or church. She got hijacked BY straight.

Think about it: For a straight person to even question our right to speak out as/regarding Lesbians smacks of privilege.

Let me be clear: While straight people are always very welcome to read our blogs and to comment, and while we still sincerely hope that some straight people will be capable of seeing the light, Dirt and I are not writing for straight people. We hope that some straight people will understand, but we don’t actually expect them to.

Instead, we are writing to Lesbians. And we are writing as Lesbians.

We not only have the right to do so, we have the duty. 

Attention: straights and Straightbians: We DO dare.  And all your arguing, snarkiness, denial, rudeness, subtweeting, and straight privilege in the universe won’t stop us.

In summary: Suck it up, buttercup(s), because we’re not going away.

Buttercup

Image: Pixabay: CC0 Public Domain

With Friends Like That, Who Needs Enemies?

Recently, I have been seeing posts and memes on Facebook, calling for unity and/or wishing for simpler times, when videos of cats doing silly things were the most serious things you’d see on your Facebook feed.

I do understand the wishes to keep Facebook light & fun and free of politics. I wish that were the case too.

But the current administration makes that impossible; I am afraid those days are gone, perhaps forever. We are living in a new world now.

Why? Because when you realize that your cousin (or uncle, brother, aunt, sister, friend, neighbor, coworker) supports the Trump administration, an administration which actively promotes hate, intolerance, injustice, discrimination, and untruth, you realize that there is no way you can remain friends with that person.

Because with “friends” like that, who needs enemies?

Black Mirror’s San Junipero: A Happily-Ever-After Lesbian Love Story…???

!!SPOILER ALERT!!

The 4th episode of the 3rd series of Black Mirror, “San Junipero” (and if you’re unfamiliar with Black Mirror, think Twilight Zone meets the technological age) has been much-ballyhooed as a triumph over the tired, homophobic “Bury Your Gays” trope.

And, in many ways, it indeed seems to be a happy ending. After all, the 2 lead female characters (Warning: Second, and final, spoiler alert!!) ~ after back-and-forth drama ~ do end up in virtual-reality eternity together, complete with a happy end-scene montage to the tune of Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth”.

But…

There seems to always be a “but” when it comes to how Lesbian love is portrayed, and this particular portrayal has a big “but”:

Only one character (Yorkie) is a Lesbian; therefore, the relationship could never be mutual, happy, or true love. (And: Yorkie is a Lesbian whose family would not accept her, leading to tragedy…an all-to-familiar outcome for many Lesbians).

The other character, Kelly, is a bored straight woman who was married for 49 years to a man. Early in the episode, Kelly vaguely alludes to some never-acted-upon same-sex attractions over the years of her heterosexual marriage:

“They were crushes…Never acted on any of it. Never did anything. I really was in love with him.

This fleeting reference to Kelly’s unrequited same-sex flirtations led some viewers to call her “queer” or “bisexual”…but the truth is, it is clear that Kelly is oriented toward males. She married and stayed with a man for decades; plus, only a week before she meets Yorkie in San Junipero, Kelly was f**king a random man for “fun”.

The creator/writer, Charlie Brooker, explains in a spoiler interview (in reference to the same-sex relationship which is central to this story):

“in terms of the writing of it, I tried not to think of that. It’s just two souls.”

The actress who played Kelly, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, chimes in with:

“And that’s sort of the beautiful thing about the characters—in relation to their sexuality—is it’s really not about that, it’s not an issue, it’s not a problem. Obviously they all have their own relationships, how they’ve come to be in San Junipero and their own histories, but I think it’s about human beings and love and souls. And it’s not about it being a problem. That wasn’t the focus of the story and I think that’s actually really refreshing.”

Of course, all of that sounds very accepting and liberal and oh-so-very-nice, doesn’t it?

But here’s the thing: That sort of “sexuality-is-fluid, it’s not about same-sex love, we’re all just people, it’s just two souls” rhetoric is completely dismissive and erasing of real Lesbians. Note that they cannot even say the word “Lesbian”; instead they both refer to us and our love as “that!

For Lesbians, our love is not just about “two sexless souls”; our orientation is not “fluid”; and furthermore, we deserve to BE the actual focus of a story.

But it’s not just the hetsplaining and (seemingly) benign ignorance of the creator/writer and the actress that  I had a problem with in this episode.

My MAIN problem is, as usual, the Lesbian was just expected to accept, even embrace, shoddy treatment from a Straightbian, as if we are somehow LUCKY to be graced by their presence.

I am referring to the scene that decisively showed Kelly’s true colors and her arrogant straight privilege: the scene in which she abusively slapped Yorkie in the face, then condescendingly lectured her:

You can’t begin to imagine. You can’t know the bond, the commitment, the boredom, the yearning, the laughter, the love of it. The fucking love.
You just cannot know! Everything we sacrificed.
The years I gave him. The years he gave me.
Did you think to ask? Did it occur to you to ask? We had a daughter. Alison.
Always difficult, always beautiful. Died at 39 years old, bless her heart.
And Richard and I, we felt that heartbreak as one.
You think you’re the only person ever suffered, go fuck yourself…I pitied you, and that’s the truth.I pitied you. Now you give me some sales pitch about how fucking peachy forever could be… You wanna spend forever somewhere nothing matters? End up like Wes? All those lost fucks at the Quagmire trying anything to feel something, go ahead. But I’m out. I’m gone.

(Gagging loudly).

Kelly obviously didn’t remember (or care) that she was the one who refused to talk about serious topics, opting on insisting on a “good time”, instead of forming a real connection. Kelly obviously thinks that Lesbian Yorkie couldn’t possibly fathom the “depth” of her heterosexual marriage. She admits she married Yorkie out of PITY…not love…or even friendship. Furthermore, Kelly is quick to dismiss and disparage the people in the Quagmire (a new-wave, punk-rock sort of “anything-goes” club) as “lost fucks” even though she herself visited there for recreational f**king! Hypocritical much, Kelly?

Many viewers discussed in reviews and in online discussions about how “touching” the above scene was, because they perceived it to show “depth” to Kelly’s character.

Um…no.

What this specific scene showed was NOT true “depth”…at all. Instead, what it showed was Kelly’s complete disrespect and disdain for someone who had been nothing but kind and loving toward her. It showed the writer’s casual and callous dismissal of Lesbian feelings in favor of the alleged fabled “bond” of a heterosexual union. It showed the underlying nastiness lurking below Kelly’s seemingly fun and free-spirited facade. It showed outright physical and emotional abuse. It showed Kelly’s true heterosexual orientation and straight privilege. It showed an utter lack of understanding of, and a complete lack of respect for, not only the Lesbian lover who Kelly purported to care about, but also for Lesbians in general. And there is absolutely zero acknowledgement of, or empathy for, the tragic and HOMOPHOBIC circumstances that ruined Yorkie’s life.

Instead of discussing the very real dilemma Kelly was facing in a way that would have shown respect for the woman she allegedly cared about, Kelly’s character was shown to lash out physically and verbally in a very mean-spirited, immature, unattractive, narcissistic, selfish, straight-privileged, and egocentric manner.

And instead of handing Kelly her ass on a platter as she should have done, the Lesbian character, Yorkie, ends up apologizing, as if she had anything whatsoever to apologize for.

Furthermore, despite Kelly offering no apology to Yorkie (nor did any scenes afterward indicate any real soul-searching on the part of Kelly), the audience is magically supposed to believe that Kelly suddenly decides to show up in San Junipero for a happily-ever-after eternity with Yorkie and we are supposed buy into the concept that Yorkie should be happy to get Kelly back.

The sad truth is that Kelly would be f**king a man within a month, and Yorkie would get her Lesbian heart broken.

This is not the happy ending Lesbians deserve. Instead, San Junipero turns out to be just another slap in the face. 

brokenhearts

#PicsArt #FreeToEdit

Social Media: The New Playground For Pyros-When Gaslighting Goes Viral

 

Have you ever had a friend, partner, family member, coworker, or even an acquaintance do/say something stunningly mean, but when confronted about it, the person suddenly completely denies, minimizes, redirects, distracts, deletes the evidence, calls you a liar, tries to make you feel like you are “crazy”, and/or otherwise attempts to invalidate your perfectly legitimate outrage?

If so, welcome to the dark, twisted, manipulative, maddening, bizarre world of gaslighting.

The effects of being gaslighted can range the gamut from simple, but utter, puzzlement if it is a unexpected situation by a Twitter acquaintance all the way to devastating, destabilizing self-doubt if it is done on an ongoing basis by a loved one.

The term gaslighting was named for the 1944 Ingrid Bergman/Charles Boyer movie, Gaslight, in which a diabolical man manipulates his wife into doubting her own sanity.

2016-18-12-15-57-43

The term now is used to refer to an insiduous form of psychological manipulation in which the gaslighter attempts to confuse and disorient by twisting facts and clouding reality.

As evidenced by the movie, gaslighters have been around since the “good old days”, but now social media has exponentially increased their visibility and reach, allowing gaslighting to even happen on a hit-and-run basis from internet acquaintances.

Gaslighting examples might include:

**Your partner makes a derogatory comment about you while you are present. When you confront her about it, she denies that it ever happened, says you misunderstood, says you are always “too sensitive”, and/or blames you for the situation. As a result, you begin to doubt your own perception, and you may even end up apologizing when there is nothing to apologize for.

**You can never do anything right, according to your mother. She belittles your weight, your hair, your clothes, your books, your choice of career or partner, even the color of your shoes. When you tell her how a specific demeaning comment makes you feel, she denies ever saying anything of the sort (even though you heard her say it yourself). She starts crying, saying that you are ungrateful and selfish and always “misunderstand”.  You end up feeling guilty that you could have possibly blamed your poor little old mother and vow to keep your mouth shut next time.

**A Twitter acquaintance suddenly attacks you (or an ally)…seemingly out-of-the-blue. Horrid name-calling and complete rudeness ensues from the gaslighter. When confronted, however, the gaslighter vehemently (and very treacly-sweetly) denies ever saying anything nasty at all, and, in the meantime, the gaslighter has deleted all of the offending tweets. The gaslighter then garners sympathy from unwitting outsiders (who never saw the offending deleted tweets) by saying: 1). that you are inexplicably lying about her; 2). that she would never-ever-EVER do such a thing, because she is such a nice person and everyone should know that; and 3). that she often deletes her tweets (although you can’t help but notice that she did not delete any of her tweets…except for the ones in which she looks bad).

**Your best friend flirts in an obvious and inappropriate manner with your partner. When you confront her about it, she says that you imagined it, that you are always so unreasonable and possessive, and that you are always so insecure and needy. You end up apologizing for the “misunderstanding” because, after all, you tell yourself, friends are forever. Right? (Then why do you feel like you just got run over by a Mack truck)?

This kind of dynamic can play out in endless scenarios; the above examples are just a few of the possibilities.

Regardless of the players or the topic, however, the underlying factors are always the same and involve some or all of the following:

1). The gaslighter will not take responsibility for her own actions nor admit any fault.

2). Instead of taking responsibility for her own actions, the gaslighter manipulates the gaslightee and the situation in order to destabilize the gaslightee’s sense of reality and to twist the facts.

3). Gaslighting techniques might include (but are not limited to) denying, minimizing, lying, insulting, demeaning, destroying evidence, twisting facts, bringing others in for support, and/or manipulating people, the situation, and/or the physical environment to support their contorted version of events.

4). The end result is typically the gaslightee feeling guilty, bad, confused, self-doubting, and/or unsettled. The gaslightee often questions herself and her perceptions of events. The gaslightee will often end up apologizing, even when she did nothing wrong. The gaslightee’s feelings after such an incident are somewhat akin to a bad hangover, although much more long-lasting and damaging.

5). Often, others who are naive to gaslighting tactics will jump on the bandwagon in support of the gaslighter, rather than understanding that they are only pawns in an intricate game of deception. Some may be intentionally brought into the situation by the gaslighter, for the dual purposes of gaining support as well as to further make the gaslightee doubt her own perceptions.

6). Gaslighters are typically charming and well-liked by acquaintances and the general public who have not had the misfortune of being their target, yet. They are usually articulate and friendly to strangers/acquaintances, which also helps them succeed in looking credible and gaining support, contributing further to the gaslightee questioning herself.

So, what can you do when faced with gaslighting? Here are a few suggestions:

1). Read The Gaslight Effect by Robin Stern, Ph.D. (and read it immediately if you are in a romantic relationship where gaslighting is happening). Dr. Stern’s book thoroughly covers the topic and gives many practical and insightful suggestions. As Dr. Stern says here in regard to the gaslight effect in long-term relationships:

“Gaslighting is the systematic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality, by telling them that what they are experiencing isn’t so – and, the gradual giving up on the part of the other person. Gaslighting takes two – one person who needs to be in control to maintain his sense of self, and the other, who needs the relationship to maintain her sense of self and is willing to acquiesce. The Gaslight Effect happens when you find yourself second guessing your own reality, confused and uncertain of what you think, because you have allowed another to define reality and tell you what you think — and who you are. Gaslighting can be maddening in the early stages and soul destroying when it fully takes hold.”

2). Trust your own intuition and observations. If you have seen something with your own eyes or heard it with your own ears, and someone is telling you that you are wrong, realize that you are not the “crazy” one in this situation.

3). State your truth, then disengage from the gaslighter as quickly as possible. You aren’t going to “win” a battle with a gaslighter, because she will never admit she is wrong nor acknowledge your legitimate concerns. Stick up for yourself, assertively but briefly, then move on.

4). Be aware of this behavior, so you will know how to recognize it quickly in the future and act before becoming close to a gaslighter.

5). If you see this behavior in someone you do not HAVE to interact with, avoid that person at all costs, no matter how “sweet” and “friendly” she may seem. A good analogy is a cobra in a bunny suit; the bunny suit looks fluffy and happy and safe, but make no mistake, the cobra inside is coiled and waiting to strike.

6). If you see the behavior in someone who you do currently still have to interact with, stay on guard. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of well-being.

7). Keep a private journal in a safe place, and/or talk to a trusted friend or therapist, in order to maintain your own sense of reality and self-esteem. Write down exactly what happens, as specifically and in as much details as possible. Refer back to your notes frequently. Look for patterns of behavior.

8). If the altercation occurs via email, letter, or online, consider keeping physical evidence of the event ~ for your own sense of reality ~ not as a way to argue or engage with the gaslighter. (Keep the email or letter, or screencap the nastiness if it happens on social media, and email yourself a copy).

9). Minimize your contact with the gaslighter, and keep interactions neutral whenever possible.

10). Consider your part in the interactions. As Dr. Stern says, it takes two to engage in the dance of gaslighting. If there are ways you can protect yourself or change the outcome of feeling disempowered, do so.

11). Seek mental health or legal or other professional advice if needed (please see **Notes**, below).

12). Above all, take care of yourself and don’t let anyone’s manipulations crush your sense of self or confuse your sense of reality.

In summary, I wanted to bring up a well-known Maya Angelou quote:

“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”

When you see serious gaslighting behavior, please don’t just write it off as “a fluke” or excuse it by saying “She was just having a bad day”.

Of course, everyone can be grumpy and say things we don’t mean, but the critical difference to consider is that most people are capable of analyzing our own actions, taking responsibility, respecting the other person’s feelings, apologizing when necessary, and learning important lessons when altercations happen.

Note that a gaslighter does none of these healthy behaviors, but rather, a gaslighter makes the situation even worse by engaging in the gaslighting behaviors listed above.

You cannot get blood from a turnip, and you cannot get reason nor empathy from a gaslighter.

So, when a gaslighter shows you who she is…please believe her…the first time.

**Notes**:

1). I am using “she” for this post for simplicity’s sake, but please note that gaslighters and gaslightees can either be male or female.

2). As always, please be aware of this standard disclaimer: Nothing I write is ever intended to be professional advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for the advice of a professional. Please take appropriate precautions, and always seek professional help regarding any/all mental health issues/needs.