I remember the first time I tried to talk to my abuser about the abuse. He immediately got agitated, telling me it was my fault, retelling the story to favor himself. I was so beaten down mentally at this point, having convinced myself I was partly to blame. Changing my language when I talked about it to please him. I was only allowed to say he put his hands on me, not hit me, beat me or choked me. I was being gaslighted and didn’t know. I began to doubt my memory, believe I was crazy that I had a problem that needed to be fixed. He was denying my reality and I started to doubt how much was real.
My abuser has convinced me I was crazy, so much I went to therapy sessions because he said I needed help. I went to anger management because he said I was angry and needed help (funny how my yelling was a problem but not his violent outburst). Even after leaving him I thought I was the problem and tried to fix myself. But deep down I knew I wasn’t crazy, that my lived experiences were valid and real. After having my feelings, thoughts and memories invalidated for so long I honestly believed him and apologized for things I didn’t really do wrong. I was ashamed of behavior I didn’t remember doing and things I didn’t remember saying because it didn’t happen but he needed me to believe I was crazy.
You abuser needs you to not believe yourself, that you are crazy and not to trust your own judgement. He needs you off balanced so you are easier to manipulate, easier to control. If he can convince you that you are crazy, then it’s even easier to convince others. If he can have you seen as crazy even if you find the courage to tell someone about the abuse he has laid the grown work to discredit you. Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse, meant to have you doubting yourself and believing your abuser. Every time he says, “That never happened”, “You must be confused”, “You’re just too sensitive” or ‘I never said/did that”, he is denying your reality. He is brainwashing you, making it harder to leave.
I need you to know, NO you aren’t crazy, what is happening isn’t right and yes you need to leave. Don’t let him deny what you know is true. You know deep down you don’t deserve this and this is isn’t love.
Most importantly I want to repeat NO you are not crazy, don’t let him manipulate further.