Tribal Gaslighting ?? / The Lies That Bind … and Strangle

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The closest thing to validation I’ve ever received from a Family member or their extended group of acquaintances (the tribe, if you will) was from Sister. One day she called me and described how she’d witnessed, first hand, Mother shamelessly, repeatedly lying about any small thing, undercutting the parental authority of her husband in regards to their adopted daughter and in spite of confronting her on these untruths. Sister tells me it occurred to her then, “Now I know how Tarraccas must feel.”

And that was it.

I was a little suspicious of her motivations for telling me this but I appreciated that Sister connected a couple dots, attempted to understand and relate to my experience. But she couldn’t know how I felt because Mother wasn’t lying about her. She lies about me. And in spite of almost bonding over this briefly shared awareness, Sister believed those lies. Everyone in the tribe does. It’s more of a cult that way.

They just can’t believe, even with first-hand evidence, that Mother could or would hurt anyone, especially not one of her own children. Perish the thought! Which only leaves me. I must’ve misunderstood or I’m just too sensitive or too angry or too something — they never ask because they apparently don’t care what I actually think or how I really feel. That’s all bullshit. In any case, I need to forgive, forget and get with the program and that’s all there is to it.

[P]eople do not like disrupting the status quo, and if they get information that doesn’t compute with their experience of a person – it’s destabilizing, and it’s easier to doubt your reality then to possibly have to face a new one. Treat this as a wakeup call – don’t take your vulnerabilities to people who do this to you any longer, find more humane listeners who receive your difficult words with compassion.

For anyone who finds themselves betrayed by one’s tribe, those who we trusted to have our back only for them to stab us in it: these are not your people. Find a new tribe.

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Escaped Hippie Gamete, Art Geek, Sci-Fantasy Nerd, Political Junkie and Code Monkey.

2 thoughts on “Tribal Gaslighting ?? / The Lies That Bind … and Strangle”

  1. I’m not even sure how I came across this blog…some bitter google search.
    Just sad that I’ve finished every post on your batshit crazy dysfunctional family. But glad I read it before the holidays!
    Hope you write more – lots of wisdom and really funny

    1. Thank you for the kinds words, Linda.

      I too found blogs like mine, desperately plugging search engines with what I managed to put into words, looking for answers. They helped me. I’m glad what I have to say here helped validate your experience as well, as unfortunate as that experience may be.

      In addition to some of the resources I’ve linked to in my entries there are online support groups. I would recommend checking out the moderated groups on Reddit if you haven’t already done so. Sometimes we just need to know that we’re not as alone as we might feel … esp. during the holiday season.

      All the best to you. ☺️

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