Anyone aware of the psychological term, “gas-lighting?” This is a common practice used by deceptive partners to control—actively or passive aggressively—a “situation,” which usually means the actual person, in order to cover their tracks so they don’t get caught at some hidden behavior or stealthy agenda and/or to get their partner to doubt her-Self and question what she sees or knows.
He can dismiss or discount what she feels by flat-out lying to her, say one thing then do another, discharge violent or semi-violent episodes around her, deny definite words spoken or behavior she saw him do and much more until the tortured partner can’t relax in herself or in the relationship. If the woman protests she’s often criticized as “too sensitive” “hostile” “crazy” “ranting” etc. The problem is that the ‘victim’ begins to believe him. I say ‘him’ as this behavior is profoundly lopsided when it comes to gender.
The difficulty with lies, especially multi-layered long term secrets, is that all her perceptions and feelings are dubious to her, not just the ones related to the lies. She ceases to trust herself in most interactions of life—until the miserable truth is discovered. By then it’s a long road back.
A second pitfall is the ‘victim’ might begin minor acting out due to the ‘weight’ of the unknown burden she’s unconsciously carrying. Even some couples-counselors won’t see this as his deep acting poison within her surfacing but will believe much of the responsibility for the rupture is the woman’s because his actions are hidden.
Another grave issue is that secrets can cause illness on a cellular level manifesting in chronic illness. Both for the one in control as well as the duped. Recently, there’s more research being done on the bodily harm of secrets & lies, something 12-steppers have known for years: You’re only as sick as your secrets. Carl Jung wrote: “The possession of secrets acts like a psychic poison…”
There’s a big difference between privacy and secrets. Secrets are based in fear and have a foundation of shame. Privacy is more an act of choosing personal boundaries, and those are rarely hurtful to another. We all need privacy for our mental health but secrets are poisonous from the biological to the psychological. Addicts traffic in the realm of secrets as well as philanderers, abusive families, child molesters and lots more.
One major tool of the trade is gas-lighting. If you can get a person to doubt their Self, their spirit, you can manipulate and exploit them as needed. This is particularly horrible when used on children since they’re hardwired to trust.
And isn’t addiction about filling an emotional crater of emptiness, about feeling devoid in one’s true power coupled with the deluded belief that this perverted control they gain through con games and secrets is their power? I guess they get to feel “full”—for a minute.
See the polarity between power and control: more power!!!*
*photo credit: Francesco Pirrone