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Child abuse, gaslighting, and false memory syndrome

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Child abuse, gaslighting, and false memory syndrome

Postby ArbreMonde » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:48 pm

Writing for another member of our system (Zami) who is currently unable to write.

They are the one carrying all the trauma-related memories, and the consequences of the gaslight surrounding said traumatic events. They fight the gaslight effects every single day, to the point of sometimes regretting they had EMDR to remove some of the PTSD effects - because without the daily intrusive memories, they don't have any "proof" it really happened therefore, the "you are lying" gaslighting might be true...

Abuse runs in the family. That is something we witnessed first-hand but also second-hand (heard other family members talking about it, right before being gaslighted themselves).

All in all, we are 100% sure that the abuses from Mother, Brother, and all three Exes, are real. They lead to PTSD we had to deal with (and some we still deal with right now).

The problem is, Grandpa.

Hear me out.

Ex#3 was a manipulator and gaslighter (yes, yet another one... *sigh*) who pretended to be a medium and have premonitions and things (even though he talked about said premonitions only after the events happened, OR to order Zami around threatening them with awful "prophetised" consequences if they ever behaved in this or that way). After Grandpa died, Ex#3 started pretending that Grandpa's ghost was talking to him and apologizing for CSA towards Zami, and pushed Zami into calling Grandma to confront her about it.

Here is the trick. Grandma is a gaslighter who kept telling abuse from Mother and Brother never happened - same goes for the abuse Mother recieved from Uncles and possibly, Grandpa. So, here was Ex#3, pretending to be in a trance and repeating to Zami on the phone with Grandma, things like "stop lying, tell the truth, it's time to tell the truth". Grandma of course, kept saying that nothing happened to Zami from Grandpa (or anyone, for that matter). Starting that day, Zami started having nightmares of Grandpa abusing them. Ex#3 pretended that it was Grandpa's ghost visiting to "clear things out".

Given the gaslighting from everybody in the family, and the heavy suggestions made during WEEKS by Ex#3 about Grandpa abusing Zami, there is absolutely no way of getting to the bottom of it thanks to the help of outsiders. The only thing we can be sure about is, Zami never carried a memory of abuse from Grandpa before the heavy suggestions by Ex#3. Yet we cannot be sure there is not, somewhere inside, hidden, a very little child doing their best to be forgotten, and carrying a real memory of abuse by Grandpa. It is very unlikely, since Zami is our trauma-carrier - yet it is a possibility, given that we are all dissociated, and unable to tell for sure that everybody is accounted for. In a system, you can never be 100% sure that everybody is accounted for.

In the midst of it all, Zami (and the rest of us...) is unable to trust the memories of abuse by Grandpa, since they were heavily suggested - but unable to completely distrust it either, due to the dissociation, and heavy constant gaslight and manipulations from too many outsiders. The only thing we are sure regarding this "memory" is that: we do not know if there is a truth under it, or not.

I hope that recieving suggestions or support or other, similar, shared stories, might help Zami feeling less guilty for doubting themself on the Grandpa matter (which sounds like the more reasonable thing to do, given the context). It's not like, trusting said "memory" is going to do anything good anyway: the family is in total denial that any sort of abuse ever happened to Zami, and Grandpa is dead and six feet under, so, no justice can be given anyway even if the "Grandpa memory" turned out to be true. Yet, there is that constant need to know what really happened, just for the sake of the truth.

I hope Zami will be able to let go of the neverending interrogation and doubt. But in the same time, letting go feels like giving up to the gaslight and submitting to whatever "truth" is decided by outsiders the moment they verbalize it.

Thank you for reading through this wall of text.

-X-
Multiple system Dx autistic, depression, c-PTSD...

They/them: --Zami--
He/him: -X- or -David- | oOo van H. oOo | //Ulysses// | °Isaïa° | ((Wolf)) | {Envy} | #Uriel# | {Wrath} | .....
She/her: ~Theia~ | oOo Mrs. H. oOo | *Reyna* | ♥Lust♥ | .....

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Re: Child abuse, gaslighting, and false memory syndrome

Postby avatar123 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 11:06 pm

Sounds like your confusion is justified, there is not enough evidence to know for sure, and neither the accusation nor the denial may be reliable. In that situation, it might be best to withhold judgement until you have more to go on.

Sometimes the stress of not knowing and wondering can be as bad as the abuse would be, if it was true. So no real purpose served in subjecting yourself to that stress, if it's an alternative equivalent to abuse. You could chalk it up as just not presently knowable at this time, and leave it at that. If further information surfaces, you can always consider it again. But in the meantime you'll be more at peace with yourself, than if you were constantly worrying.

Note that's not the same thing as being gaslighted or not believed, in this case you are making your own decision based on what you know, so you are in control of it.

Also if the other abuses are known to be real, that would already be a lot for you to deal with, and the impact of adding another instance would not change that, or be all that different from what you already know, since other family members are already involved. So while it would be helpful to know conclusively, doing so wouldn't alter your circumstances all that much. That would be another reason to maybe limit worrying about this, until and unless you learn more.
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Re: Child abuse, gaslighting, and false memory syndrome

Postby ArbreMonde » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:38 am

Thank you for your wise words! They mean a lot.

--Zami--
Multiple system Dx autistic, depression, c-PTSD...

They/them: --Zami--
He/him: -X- or -David- | oOo van H. oOo | //Ulysses// | °Isaïa° | ((Wolf)) | {Envy} | #Uriel# | {Wrath} | .....
She/her: ~Theia~ | oOo Mrs. H. oOo | *Reyna* | ♥Lust♥ | .....

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Re: Child abuse, gaslighting, and false memory syndrome

Postby DaturaInnoxia » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:21 pm

Out of respect, I'm working on expressing myself in the appropriate subforums rather than just anywhere the subject is talked about.

My mother was the first person to gaslight me to try to make me think I was crazy.

I'd be abused and then she'd deny it ever happened - literally vindictively and tauntingly laughing in my face and saying I was insane; my father too if I told him how she was with me or addressed his negligence in the matter.

Along the board of my life experience, it's been helpful to cope with abuse by selecting what perspective to take (and getting away from the person).

If you think someone is gaslighting you, don't question yourself + document (ex: what they said along with anything that they think they'll use against you when it occurs so you can reference back to it, or the little changes that occur if that's the type of gaslighting you experience) + let go of the need to be 'sane' or right.

"I hope Zami will be able to let go of the neverending interrogation and doubt. But in the same time, letting go feels like giving up to the gaslight and submitting to whatever "truth" is decided by outsiders the moment they verbalize it."

It's not "submitting to whatever 'truth' is decided by outsiders the moment they verbalize it" because not only do they know somewhere inside of themselves that it's not true, but it's not worth expending your energy on.
You won't 'win' because the game isn't set up in debate, evidence or reason - or for you to have a chance at 'winning'
^ It's just a story they've locked onto with great determination.

Not only that, but it's unlikely you'd fight to prove yourself to someone who had Alzheimer's or was psychotic or a child determined to play make-believe even if you knew for certain they were wrong, so why waste your emotions and thought life on them?

When you need to reality check, find someone completely impartial (someone the gaslighter can't get to; someone who thinks rather than instantly catagorizes things they're told) and describe in a fact based (objective rather than subjective manner).
Perhaps, define gaslighting for them first from a credible source.

Oddly, it actually helped me develop skills in thinking because I was so desperate to prove that I wasn't 'crazy' back then which has also led me to be able to look at things from a variety of unique perspectives.
And when I was young, I never knew this behavior was an actual thing.

Seeing them through different perspectives is helpful too.

Instead of giving them power by thinking they're 'sadistic' or have some malicious pathology, look at the angle that it's a type of dysfunction and a cluster of a lack of skills.

A desire to control and powertrip, actually just compensates for an underlying sense of fear, powerlessness, a sense of inadequacy in their capabilities of interacting in a more healthy way and that their egos are extremely fragile (which could be quite painful in itself).

The lack of directness, is just fear of, or deficiency in, direct communication leading to passive aggression.

Projection as well; they know there's something wrong with their behavior, so it can also be an attempt to retaliate towards their own guilt that you make them feel or trying to justify their paranoia that others are like them too.

And of course, the vast majority have been abused, themselves.

They usually need to justify their behaviors in impenetrable terms - be it not having the capacity to feel and being pure logical 'machines,' sadism - or the opposite extreme of being innocent victims - and everything in between.
Mine embodies the 'innocent victim'

Just because they claim otherwise, doesn't mean they're telling the truth - they've already shown themselves to be deceitful.

It's also interesting to note, if the ability to manipulate and gaslight was taken away, they would have close to no functional interactive or interpersonal skills.
Such an inability to, and fear of, communicating directly and needing to protect one's ego so desperately that you forgo personal relationships, is actually disheartening.
Obviously improvable too, if they so desired it.

I'm thinking out loud here, and I'm not saying to insult anyone or condescend because I have just as much (symptomatically different) dysfunction.

I say it because I don't see how very much can be done overall (professionally and as a prognosis) if we continue to add descriptions that create proverbial monsters and smokescreens in abusers (which will continue to hurt the victims/survivors in the long run too).

Same goes for victims.
Our society seems to encourage the noble, suffering victim and give less attention and reward to the more proactive and empowered ones.

You can even see that perspective by looking at the mission statements of organizations that get more (and what ones get less) funding - and how they fundraise / advertise for their cause

Additionally, I would love for youth to be taught from a young age how to critically think, what 'priming' for abuse behaviors look like, what being treated in a healthy way looks like and healthy boundaries, healthy communication, etc.

Same with what healthy parenting looks like.
Many people could have done better if they knew how (at least at some point) and the impacts of generational abuse would decrease as well.

I'm also going on this tangent because the abused/survivor often sees the perpetrator as more powerful than them.
Seeing someone as sick instead, can help diffuse the extra emotional charge (the sense of powerlessness, terror, hatred, fear/stress reponse, etc.) which is better for their health and recovery as well.

However, I don't know about others, but for me, that first abuser will always have an emotional charge to them that sneaks up from time to time. I feel best when I can apply what I said.

As for false memories, I'm not sure why it's so important to fight to determine whether they're real of not - unless they risk a false accusation / defamation of character.

They come up for a reason and all emotions are a sign that some type of need(s) aren't being addressed.

I think I feel better writing off repressed memories as false anyways. :lol:
They collect information to stock pile in their souls, saying, "I will tuck this into my subconscious for later use."  ~ unknown
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