Tag Archives: gaslighting

abuse spans all

Okay yeah and branching off that last post, how about this wild idea: Abusers… are… unreasonable.  They do unreasonable things.  They have unreasonable expectations.  They are unreasonable.  So I’ve got no clue what some people are on about whenever they say something like “imagine a parent getting mad at their kid for X, that doesn’t happen because that’s just ridiculous.”  Hey, real fun fact: “it’s ridiculous” has never been enough to stop humanity from doing cruel and violent things.  Holding that expectation at all is ridiculous.  And more importantly here, it begs the question: Why are you expecting abusive behavior to be reasonable?  Why are you talking like there exists any abuse where you’d look at it and say, “oh, yeah that makes sense”?

Do me a favor and pay attention to that.  If someone’s position is that real abuse is “reasonable,” that’s the kind of thing that calls a person’s entire politics into question.

You don’t owe anyone a tour of your scars.

I’ve written something like this before, and I’m going to try to say this again, hopefully better this time.

When someone is demanding proof, details, exact examples — or worse, proclaiming, without asking, the impossibility of your very life — you don’t owe it to them to put the spotlight on your most vulnerable places, to reopen your old wounds, and gut yourself just so they can see.

I understand, in reaction to the silencing and denial and absurd faith in a different world, the impulse to blurt out the truth.  To uncover the ugliness inflicted on you and hold it up to their eyes.  I know that impulse, and I decide to go with it, sometimes.  It isn’t wrong or bad to do that.  But it is dangerous, and risky.

And this is just to say: you don’t have to.

You don’t have to risk exposing yourself to worse — to being gaslit to your face instead of in generalities.

You don’t have to risk being denied autonomy over your own story and dissolved into fuel for the exact perverse ideas your lived experiences contradict.

You may have plenty of testimony to give.  And when you give it, please keep an eye on what it does to you, to cut yourself open again and again, exposing your insides to open air and the opinions of those who will declare that what you’re bleeding isn’t blood.

Please, take care of yourselves.  Take time, if you need to, to cool yourself down afterward and to plan how to manage these things beforehand.  Consider what kind of bandages work best for your spirit.

If you want them, there are multiple guides out there with tips for how to disclose trauma and abuse, with suggested questions to ask yourself and steps to remember.  Like those, I would reiterate: if someone has already proven themselves hostile to you and disinterested in listening, it is okay to distrust them.

And disclosure?  Is an act of vulnerability, and vulnerability requires trust.

It is okay not to trust people to listen right.  It is okay not to trust people not to violate your further, with reactions only a hair different from “Are you sure you aren’t overreacting (i.e. reacting incorrectly)?” and “Are you sure it was really [blank]?”

You don’t owe it to anyone to risk that.  You don’t owe a tour, or a vivisection, or an open house.  Lock them out if you want.  Build a fence.

You don’t owe your new violators the story of your old ones.


You know something I think is interesting?

Whenever I’ve watched The Truman Show with anyone — and I’ve watched it with a few different people, several of whom had some demonstrated victim-blaming tendencies — no one has ever asked why he didn’t figure it out sooner.

No one expresses bewilderment at his gullibility or admonishes him for not seeing through it all.  No one complains that what Christof was doing to him “wasn’t that bad.”  No one argues that Truman was wrong to reject his “idyllic” life.

This despite the fact that it took until Truman was a grown married man for him to break free and escape.

This despite the fact that not even a lone rule-breaker literally telling him the truth to his face was enough to make him understand.

This fabricated world he lives in, this island town of Seahaven, is the only world he’s ever known, its actors and supporters of the system the only people he’s ever known — and it’s amazing to me that people watching this movie get that.

Maybe it’s the dramatization and physicality of having a town literally encased in a giant dome, I don’t know.

But it’s interesting to me that there are viewers willing to accept this as plausible.  Not just the set and the technology, which is ridiculous, but this idea of living in a world that’s an illusion, and not being able to quite tell that it’s an illusion, and being gaslit when you try to tell anyone about your suspicions when you actually begin to notice the cracks where something doesn’t add up.

The Truman Show isn’t a reality but what is a reality is that a lot of us have our own little Seahavens, our own Christofs, our own tensions with people loyal to Christof, who will all encourage you to believe you’re not the victim, you’re the “star.”

When confronted about his exploitation, Christof claims, “He can leave at any time.”  And I guess it’s also interesting to me that whoever wrote the script for this movie knew that’s how they talk, people like him.  “He can leave at any time.”  And then when he does try to leave, Christof tries to hunt him down and would sooner kill him than let him get away.

No one I’ve ever watched this movie with has called that a plot hole or inconsistent characterization or anything.

When you see the excuses and handwaves and justifications and distractions the actors come up with to keep Truman away from the truth, in addition to the way they’ve collaborated to condition him to be afraid of risks, to be afraid of exploration, to be afraid of drowning (as someone living on an island) — I guess when you see it spelled out like that, it’s easy to see how they were able to keep him in the dark for so long.

And when you’re the pet project of someone like Christof, the denizens of Seahaven will try to do the same to you, too.


“The sub is the one who’s really in control”

[cw: kink talk, D/s talk, consent talk, rape mention, food mention]

I’ve heard this line multiple times now, so it’s getting its own post here for the next time it comes up again.

Continue reading

Patronizing Reminders and Peacemaker Gaslighting

Alternatively titled: “Mommy, where do asexuals come from?”

One of the most bizarre non-ace behaviors I’ve encountered so far is the sexual equivalent of mansplaining, which happens when some pontificating tenderfoot becomes aware of ace people and for some godforsaken reason decides to try and explain to us, unsolicited, the perspective of a non-ace person, as if we haven’t been surrounded by you people from day one.

Look at this mess.

Not only is the original post rude, presumptuous, and ignorant of context (see: allo Solas fans’ repeated refusals to make sexual content in the Solas tag more avoidable, derailing ace Solas posts with sexual comments, attacking people for ace Solas headcanons, the number of people angry about the mere existence of chastemance options, one of whom I met in person, the general anti-celibacy attitude of the fandom, etc.), BUT IT ALSO just… raises a lot of questions.

Such as: Where do you think ace-spectrum people come from?

Do you think we were transported here from another planet, for instance?  Or grew in underground pods and bloomed from the earth once we came of age?

How exactly does it come to pass that aces arrive on the internet 100% unaware of the rest of human culture outside of our recently-formed community and lacking all knowledge of the fact non-aces care about more than sex or that many people see sex as important and beautiful and “a wonderful way to express this spiritual connection that two people share” …?

Do you think ace people have isolated ourselves in self-sufficient communes for the past several centuries and are just now making contact with the outside world?

Do you think you’re the first person to tell us these things?

And, yes, just to get this out of the way: there is nothing wrong with imagining Solas had sex with Lavellan.  Duh.

I’m not aware of anyone arguing to the contrary, though, which makes this come across as a case of the Shame Clause.

Fans who interpret the Solas-Lavellan relationship as sexual (or wish it was depicted as more sexual) are not a minority and are not the ones who need protecting.

And you know what?  Given this whole situation, chiming in with “remember, sex is important to non-asexuals and there’s nothing wrong with not interpreting Solas as ace!” just comes off as gaslighting.