I was reading an article today about something called Gaslighting – the practice of getting you to think that your internal world isn’t the real reality for you. I was interested because I have been in, on the receiving end of and probably practiced at some point in my life, coercive relationships. I’m not necessarily referring to intimate relationships. All relationships have a dynamic going on; an exchange of some kind, be it power, dependency, enabling or collaborative.
The author of the piece, Shea Emma Fett, defines gaslighting as the attempt by one person to overwrite another person’s reality. It brought to mind a conference I attended some years ago about the paranormal. There were lots of researchers busily going along defining and observing the experiences that have become defined as paranormal.
of or relating to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.
A few were also mediums like me (but somewhat in the closet). I felt a little overawed by all these studious people busily searching for some kind of evidence to (mostly) prove that the Spirit World didn’t exist. There were all sorts of presentations where the underlying assumption or the expectation was that mediums & psychics deluded themselves and others.
One or two of us were actually living in the reality that included Spirits, Angels, Elementals and various other sorts of Energy Beings so it was great to hear a little balance. And some people who believed but wanted the evidence to be conclusive without actually wanting to step too far into an alternate reality. It really was fascinating. Then my Guides took a hand. I was at this conference by a sequence of random synchronicities (if that’s not a complete contradiction in itself). Suddenly they were a speaker short & would I do a slot last thing in the day. I’d spent all day listening to people trying to define my world. Of course I would love to say something. Standing there I wondered what I’d got myself into. I opened my mouth and the Guides started to speak. I found myself rather strongly telling these people not to tell me my world couldn’t be as I described it, or to measure and define it for me or even to say it didn’t exist as a world unless they actually studied it from my side. That they needed to step into & experience my reality before commenting, extrapolating and second guessing how my world worked.
I was taking a stand. I was exercising my right to a reality that suited me. After all we only agree that certain things are ‘givens’ because we are socially conditioned to do so. I’m reminde of being the girl who was told that women were the weaker sex. That seemed to be about not being able to fight like a man, not having enough muscles & agression. Yet the women around me seemed to have plenty of muscle power – all the heavy lifting related to looking after children, men & households – and the ability to fight like hell when their children needed to be defended. We express our social conditioning in all sorts of relationships, within our families, our occupations and our wider community. Anyone who has a different reality is identified as ‘other’ and is often to be feared. Then the attempts to persuade that person to share our reality begin in ernest. The pressure is subtle as first but if they resist we can fall into gaslighting.
Or we can be on the receiving end of gaslighting. When I finally started to acknowledge that my inner reality had changed, that Energy Beings did contact me & work with me, I had to withstand coercion from other people. They liked that they could share my world. That I was predictable. That we had a shared understanding. I’m not certain that I ever had a shared understanding with some people. I know I tried to fit my reality around what they thought reality represented. I tried for lots of reason but perhaps it was only me who was trying to fit round them. Opening my mind to a revised reality for me changed the balance. I did find myself standing up for the Spirit World more and more frequently as having a place in my new reality. Some people moved out of my life, some shrugged their shoulders & accepted I’d changed and some embraced my reality by stepping into it themselves.
There is hymn in the Spiritualist Movement that starts ‘Stand up, stand up for Spirit’. Nowadays I love the idea of taking a stand. I’ve become used to the challenges to my inner reality. I’m standing up for my own Spirit – that part of me which animates this clay overcoat. Through my work to connect with and understand my own Spirit I have been put in touch with so many wonderful Spirits and Energy Beings. I don’t care if others think I’m delusional. My life has been improved beyond all recognition since I stepped into this version of reality and there really is no way I would ever wish to go back to the reality I lived the majority of my life to date in. So before you say the Spirit World isn’t there please make the effort to join me in experiencing a different reality – then make your own mind up.
Day 85 of my blogging challenge.