FROM MY HEART TO YOURS
THE DANGER OF GASLIGHTING
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation where seeds of doubt are covertly planted to cause someone to question their memory, perception or judgment. It destabilizes the victim. The term actually comes from a thriller called “Gaslight” (1944) staring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, where the husband makes the wife think she is crazy and that her concerns were not valid and that it was all in her head.
Gaslighting is destructive and harmful. As a young girl, a friend of mine brought to her parent’s attention that she had just been inappropriately touched by a young man. They responded with, “Well, boys will be boys.” She dealt with the effects of this “downplayed” incident for many years until she finally got the counseling and healing that she needed.
The American story for people of color is one of being gaslighted. They have continually told us stories of police brutality, unfair treatment and systemic disadvantages. For the most part, the white community has ignored and minimized their voice. Then when the world came to a stop because of COVID, we witnessed five or more episodes of the truth before our eyes. Many white Americans, including myself, woke up and took note.
I just completed a book titled “It’s Not All in Your Head” about my own experience as the spouse, of a pastor, who was gaslighted in regard to my concerns over a particular woman in our congregation. It had intensely negative effects on me and our marriage in a difficult season of my life. The book discusses the danger of transference directed towards pastors. If you want to know more about transference within the church, which involves intense emotions coming from unresolved memories and feelings from the past and are projected to someone in the present, you’ll have to get the book to know the rest of the story. The book will be available within the next few weeks.