I have a divorce anniversary coming up. It has been some time now. There are so many things that I forget as time heals, but there is one thing that haunts me; the things that I really don't know. I was there, I lived a life, but I don't know what was real and what I thought was real. What bits and pieces I was told, maybe true, maybe not.
I have been watching the movie Gaslight over and over lately. I probably will for a little while longer. The more I look at Ingrid Bergman the more I am impressed with her eyes while she played the confused bride. I look into her eyes and that is how I know I looked.
My Mother grew really worried at one point just by looking into my haunted eyes. There was no spark. No one was home. I had Ingrid Bergman eyes. In the end Ingrid Bergman says, "If that was true, then nothing was true from the very beginning." That is how I feel. I feel as if I had to make a choice between two different realities. I actually interviewed people from my past after my divorce. This helped me get a bigger picture of what really happened. My ex liked half-truths, misinformation, isolation and triangulation. I was able to ask people what did he tell you I said OR what he told me that you said etc.
Gaslight and cognitive dissonance: Unreality Check: Cognitive Dissonance in Narcissistic Abuse
II. It's The Eyes:
My mother told me stories recently of her short career in the medical field. As part of her training she had to intern in the local insane asylum. My mom tells me there was this young woman there that she really enjoyed. They were the same age. They would have coffee and talk and were "friends." My mom had no idea why she was there. She asked politely. But every one assured my mom that yes the young woman needed to be there. One day, the young woman went so wild that she had to be sedated for her own safety. Then it passed. Then it was back to coffee and normal conversations. My mom wonders how much of this is out there? Mental health can be such a fragile thing. We wondered if this woman today could have a more stable life thinking that she probably fits the modern day diagnosis for bipolar.
I believe my ex to be bipolar. With this comes a different kind of gaslighting. My ex and I would argue over so many things that he thought or I thought I saw. They say that a group of people witnessing a crime usually see different things and remember different things. An eyewitness account is good but a recorded video of the crime is better. One of us had a better memory than the other, but my ex had me convinced that it was him. He doesn't.
Ingrid Bergman's husband had her convinced she was forgetful; hearing voices, and was loosing things and moving things. Most of my time in court through the years has been simply trying to defend myself, the history, or defining what really happened. Because my ex is a narcissist, it is double hard to find the truth. Sometimes he is lying for control and sometimes he is remembering incorrectly and believes himself totally- he could pass a lie detector test because he really remembers it incorrectly.
After so many years the confusion began to show in my eyes. Ingrid Bergman says often, "I don't know why I do the things I do, I am so tired." The reason for being so tired is simple. After years the brain waves change. My normal brain waves were beginning to adjust and conform to his brain waves. If you live with crazy long enough you in fact will become crazy. It showed in my eyes.
My divorce process was a fog. I wasn't really "home." The gals on FWW like to say go for your full share in the divorce. Fight for your rights. That's great. Awesome, but if your eyes are empty and you are in a fog, how are you suppose to function? I have different advice. Do what your lawyer says and just be happy with getting out of the fog. The fog and crazy making needs to stop at any cost. It's not always possible to get your full share when you're eyes are empty and you don't know why you do the things you do or even if you are doing or not doing anything at all. When you’re on the edge, a good lawyer can just do what he does and get you "out." Keep your eye on the prize: OUT.
III. The Good News:
"Don’t underestimate the power of recovery of these people; the fact that they have survived such extreme abuse is testament to their strength and determination. I never fail to be amazed at the resilience of the human spirit." The Effects of Gaslighting In Narcissistic Victim Syndrome
"Rebuild self-trust- As you repair your relationship with yourself, the effects of gaslighting will gradually fall away. Over time, your boundaries will heal, and you will naturally say no to emotionally abusive behavior." Repair Your Reality After Gaslighting
Healing occurs over time away from the perpetrator.
The longer that you are away from the ex, the more your brain heals. Your brain no longer has the outside influence and stress.
Your normal DNA begins to reproduce healthy brain waves. Your normal brain waves return as they regenerate. It takes time. Each day brings new clarity. It took my brain at least two years before the fog lifted. I am thankful to my friends and family for their patience. I would have to write things down and ask over and over to make sure I had things right. I answered, "I don't know" more often than I was comfortable with.
I am extremely grateful to my handyman that told me humorous stories about his twin daughters asking him for money and then asking him again and again until he caught on that he had already given them the field trip money. He told me assuredly that the fog lifts - it did for him. Until he talked to me, I hadn't even known that "foggy brain" was a thingy after being in a long-term relationship with an un-medicated person suffering from bipolar memory issues. The more I read, it apparently applied to those surviving a narcissistic relationship too.
Remember, There's lots of time. The healing shows in the eyes. The spark returns and you feel home again. Happy healing; if you can manage it, just give it time. There's lots of time. (((hugs)))
(originally posted by an FWW member)