Gaslighting – A message to Women from a Man: You are not “crazy”

12 Jan

I seldom write a column that purely features another’s post, but today is an exception.  I came across the following Huffington Post article and it resonated so well with me that I have to share it with you.  It is called:

A message to women from a man:  You are not “crazy”

A few excerpts follow below…  I am intrigued by the article for a couple of reasons:  1. The author (from his name and photograph) does not seem to be of Western descent which makes his candid (and true) observations even more relevant and powerful based on traditional views of women outside of the west; and 2. I have no idea why it would take another male to tell me that I was never crazy (or why I ever believed that I was crazy when males I loved needed a scapegoat for their bad behavior.)

Here’s an excerpt from Yashir Ali’s post:

A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.

WOW – OMG – holy crap!!!  And I say that in all honesty!

I do not have a litany of male relationships in my past on which to draw (my father, a 23 year marriage that ended in divorce, a 5 year relationship, dates here and there) – but all of them (and I’ll include my mother here) – told me that I was overly sensitive, irrational, and crazy should I ever address or question what my heart told me was bad behavior.  The statement above confirms what I always thought but never dared to speak:  emotional manipulation is about the sender and their need to cover for bad behavior.  It really has nothing to do with the receiver!

What is it in “our” (at least my) female DNA that reduces and diminishes powerful business women (like me) to a whimpering mess when a significant male in our personal lives repeatedly tells us we are crazy?  Why do we believe things about our person as being true just because someone we love spews vitriol at us?  We are forces to be reckoned with and have taken our places aside men in the professional world – and thrived! – yet we are reduced to tears (and accept the treatment) in our personal life by males who we would easily challenge (or report for abusive behavior) if we met them in business.

Why do we so readily give away our power, override our intuition, and accept lies from people when we fall in love?  More and more I believe in the adage:

Love IS blind!

Another excerpt:

And the act of gaslighting does not simply affect women who are not quite sure of themselves. Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.

Why?

Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis. It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

It’s a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it. We continue to burden women because they don’t refuse our burdens as easily. It’s the ultimate cowardice.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: It renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

Do me a favor, read the article here,

A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not “Crazy”

and let me know what YOU think.

I feel relieved to know that I am not alone with the emotional manipulation of my past, however, it pains me to know that it may be so prevalent that it might be an epidemic!

I wonder if we attract dysfunctional people into our lives… and whether there is hope for the future.  I can only speak for myself but I know that I am hypersensitive to anyone who walks, acts or in anyway resembles my exes.

What do you think?

Carol

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5 Responses to “Gaslighting – A message to Women from a Man: You are not “crazy””

  1. Johne515 Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

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  2. FrauTech Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Thanks for posting this article here so I could catch it. Boy I really know all about that whole bit on it being easier for men to unload their emotional burdens on other women. See that all the time at work. Their fellow males will mock them but because I won’t I’m also expected to be extra sensitive towards their pain. I seem to not have the right to be aloof or uncaring like all my male colleagues!

    • Carol Dekkers Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      Thank you for your comment! It is amazing how many double standards exist in the supposedly gender-neutral engineering industry (and any male-dominated industry). I appreciate your insights and comments… thank you for reading the posts!
      Carol

  3. Megan James Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    thank you for sharing this intriguing topic, just the type that always fascinates me! i appreciate your insights, and i’m going to read the original article later tonight.

    • Carol Dekkers Friday, January 13, 2012 at 10:30 am #

      Megan,

      Thanks for reading and commenting! There are so many people who were raised to listen to others that we often listen (and absorb) things that are harmful to us. That’s part of why I love the original article – even if it speaks the mind of one in a million!

      Carol

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