FA 018 Gaslighting

Feral Attraction
Episode 018 -

Intro 00:00:49

  • Defamatory / Block Lists on Twitter

    • Take care with what you say on the internet because, in some cases, you can be held accountable

      • Many countries have international agreements for jurisdiction and websites can be required to comply in the case of a criminal libel suit

    • Doxing (the act of accumulating personally identifiable documentation like addresses, work information, phone numbers, etc… with malicious intent) should never be done to settle a dispute

    • In the case of lists like the “animal rapist list” or block lists that allege potentially criminal information about you, you should report it to the website. In some cases you can speak directly to the individual to get your information removed. In certain cases, reaching out to local law enforcement might be the only option you have available, unfortunately.

    • You can also choose to be flippant and make light of it and move on; some trolls feed off of the reaction and by denying them what they desire they will end up quitting altogether. Use your judgment in this.

Topic 00:14:10

What is Gaslighting 00:14:20

  • Definition of Gaslighting

    • Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting his or her own memory, perception, and sanity

    • Originates from the 1938 play Gas Light (known as Angel Street in the United States). In the play a husband tries to convince his wife and others that she is insane by changing small elements of their environment and insisting she is incorrect, or remembering things incorrectly, or being delusional when she tries to point them out. The title originates from the gas lights in the house dimming when the husband goes into the attic to search for valuables that are rumored to be there. His wife notices the dimming lights, but the husband insists she is imagining the change and that it’s not happening at all.

    • Gaslighting has been used since the 1960s and came into popular use thanks to the 1980s book The Best Kept Secret: The Sexual Abuse of Children by Florence Rush

  • Profile of a Gaslighter

    • Sociopaths

      • A sociopath is someone who exhibits extreme antisocial mannerisms and seemingly a lack a conscience. They tend to view people as a means to an end and are often referred to as suffering from “protagonist syndrome,” where everyone else is a side character in their quest of life.

      • Sociopaths are more likely to violate social contracts, constructs, and laws.

      • They also tend to be con artists and, as such, can use their charm, charisma, and lies to disarm their victims.

    • Abusive Partners

      • Emotional Abuse

        • Transferring their own mental issues onto you

        • Calling you actually insane, causing you to become codependent on them

        • Causing you to reject your friends by lying about them, forcing codependence

      • Physical Abuse

        • Deny they’ve been violent or as violent as they have been

          • “I didn’t throw the cup at you, I threw it at the wall behind you!”

          • “You started it, it was self-defence!”

    • Cheaters

      • A lot of cheating partners will employ gaslighting to hide their tracks

      • In these cases, it can be difficult for the victim to find help, especially if they are the only ones who do not believe the gaslighter

        • "Therapists may contribute to the victim's distress through mislabeling the woman's reactions. [...] The gaslighting behaviors of the spouse provide a recipe for the so-called 'nervous breakdown' for some women [and] suicide in some of the worst situations."

          • Gass, G.Z.; Nichols, W.C. (1988). "Gaslighting: A Marital Syndrome". Journal of Contemporary Family Therapy

  • Who is vulnerable to Gaslighting

    • Those with poor memories

      • Due to age, genetics, or juggling too much and not keeping track of everything going on

    • Those who are frequent users of mind-altering substances (drugs, alcohol)

    • People who lack a good locus of self control and feel the need to be codependent versus independent

  • Signs you’re being gaslit

    • You find yourself doubting your own feelings, perceptions, and recollections of an event

    • You find yourself saying “whatever you say” frequently to settle a disagreement

      • Using “whatever you say” as a means of de-escalating a situation with the intent to bring it back up after the tensions have lessened is not the same as repeatedly allowing your partner to have their way when they are wrong

    • You find conversations frequently shift into “meta-conversations”

      • Rather than discussing an issue, the conversation shifts into being about perceptions of the issue, putting you on the defensive

        • “Why did you skip our date to go out with your other mate?”

        • “We never picked a firm date (false), and besides, why are you being so sensitive about it?”

        • (Shift) “What? I’m not being too sensitive!”

Ways to prevent / call out gaslighting 01:02:30

  • Internal Locus of Self Control

    • Trust your own judgment

    • Narrative Repair and therapy

    • Have agency for yourself

      • Be your own advocate

  • Don’t call out gaslighting where none exists

    • It is not a ‘tool’ in your arsenal of ‘getting your way’.

    • Legitimate disagreements about how something happened do occur without becoming gaslighting

      • Gaslighting requires intent to deceive / manipulate

      • A misunderstanding does not constitute gaslighting

Question(s) 01:13:10

  • When is a good time to tell a new partner that you love them? Most online sources I see agree that the man should say it first, and you should only say it if you see yourself spending the rest of your life with them. Since we're lesbians and already live with other partners, these tips aren't exactly helpful. Any advice from a non monogamous perspective?

  • Received via Telegram (name withheld)

    • Our general advice is to tell your partners the things you're afraid to tell them,  and this is in that category.

    • That should be the beginning of the conversation, not the end of it.

    • You will need to discuss with your partner what love means to you and exactly what you mean by that to make sure you're both on the same page and have matching expectations

Feedback 01:21:09

  • Hello!
    I'm a big fan of sex and relationship advice podcasts, and I've been dating a furry for the last couple years, so I started listening to your show! I actually heard about you because of the Savage Lovecast, and I've been enjoying the show so far.  
    I don't currently have a question, but I wanted to say... I think you're both very intelligent and thoughtful - I think you're doing a great job.  However, I'm a gay female and maybe it's because I'm listening from that perspective, but it often sounds like you're talking specifically to other gay males as opposed to other genders and orientations.  There's nothing really wrong with that, but it looks like your target audience is the furry community as a whole, so I thought this might be some helpful feedback for you two... It feels a little alienating sometimes.
    I hope I'm not coming off as too critical. I know much of the show is currently giving advice on different areas of relationships and a lot of that pulls from your own experiences.  I think you're both doing a great job and off to an awesome start as far as podcasts go! Also, I'd love to hear more questions answered as you receive them. :-)
    Thanks guys! Keep up the great work.

    • Thanks for the feedback! We're aware of this perception, and we'll certainly try harder to be more explicitly inclusive. Unfortunately, it is a simple fact that both Metriko and Viro happen to be gay males, and we've received questions mostly from other gay males so far, so there is a tendency for us to represent and speak to this audience a bit more than others. As I am sure you realize, very little of the advice we give applies only to the gay male experience, and it is our hope that our audience still takes something useful away from our content, even if the question asker and the answerers both happen to be of a different orientation or gender expression.

      Thanks also for letting us know you enjoy the show; we hope that continues.

Closer 01:30:10

  • Next week’s topic: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) / Cognitive Distortions

Metriko Oni

Metriko Oni is a former government environmental disaster mitigations expert with a focus on outreach, education, and policy writing. He now works with computers. He has been active in the fandom since 2013 and has been an advocate for transparent lines of communication. His interests include philosophy, media, futurism, and speculative fiction.