This is what gaslighting looks like.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDEqO3Rj-55/

TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE.

I saw this image a few days ago and WOW it hit me so hard. This is how my shitty, manipulative, narcissist parents talked to me for my entire childhood, whenever I told her I didn’t want to go on auditions, or he made me cry with his relentless bullying: you’re always twisting things, you’re so dramatic, stop feeling sorry for yourself, don’t be so sensitive. The piece of shit who was my father loved to frustrate me until I began to cry. Then he’d holler “Okay, cut!” like I was on the set, before he unloaded mocking laughter at me. He was such a fucking bully to me, and I never deserved it.

I know how it feels to have a huge black hole in your heart where your parent’s love ought to be.

It’s like they made a choice, at some point in my childhood, that I would not get the unconditional love they gave my brother and sister. Nothing I did was good enough for the man who was my father, and the only thing my mother cared about was how many auditions I booked. What did I care about? What did I like? How did I feel about … anything? It just didn’t matter, and it was probably stupid.

I didn’t understand it, and it hurt so much. And whenever I tried to talk to them about it (no child should have to figure out how to express to their parents that they feel unloved), the gaslighting would come out: you’re always twisting things, you’re so dramatic, stop feeling sorry for yourself, don’t be so sensitive.

I was painfully aware of how much my dad didn’t like me, because he made no effort to hide it.

After literally years — I’m talking decades — of trying to talk with them, trying to meet them somewhere in the middle of “that never happened” and “this absolutely happened and this is how it made me feel”, I made the incredibly difficult choice to end contact with my abusers a few years ago.

It sucks, and it hurts, all the time. But having no parents is better than having my parents. And that also sucks.

Over forty years after I became aware of it, it still hurts like it all just happened. I know how it feels to have a huge black hole in your heart where a parent’s love ought to be. I know what it’s like to have nobody to call when something cool happens, or when something awful happens and you need mom and dad to make it better. (I am so grateful for my Star Trek family. Without them, I very likely would have ended up a statistic.)

But I also know that I never did anything wrong. I know that it’s not my fault. I didn’t deserve it. I was ALWAYS enough. He hates me because he hates himself. I have to remind myself about that more often than anyone should have to, but I know what’s real, and I know that I’m not twisting things, being dramatic, feeling sorry for myself, or being too sensitive.

If you recognize any of this gaslighting from your own life, I want you to know that I see you. I believe you. I’m so sorry. I know how it feels. I know how it makes us feel crazy. I know how it makes us question our own lived experience, how it makes us doubt what we know to be true, because it happened to us.

I am here to tell you that you are enough. That WE are enough. It’s not us. It was never us. It was always them.

Wizard. Time Lord. Fake geek girl. On a good day I am charming as fuck.