Once upon a time there were a shiny happy fairy and she flitted from flower to flower leaving a trail of light and love wherever she went. One day she met a Prince, he was incredibly charming and all the forest folk said ‘Oh Charming is very shy and he hasn’t loved in a long time, don’t let his quietness scare you.’
And so it was the fairy and Charming came together to reside in a muggle filled land, to blend in the fairy was told. It was here that instead of love blooming, lunacy came knocking at the fairies door. Ever so quietly at first, but soon dark shadows slid under every door, filling every nook and cranny and any flowers that had once bloomed in the garden were long gone. Rot took over the home, water leaked in and nightmares extended their visiting hours to daylight also. Purposeful sleep deprivation led to panic and panic to gentle chaos.
Over time the fairy began to think she truly was mad. She seemed to forget things regularly and she couldn’t remember when she had last seen any of her fairy friends. They never seemed to visit or call anymore. She had a memory of having beautiful wings, but perhaps she’d made this up too. Where once the fairy had lived in colour now she lived in grey. Everything was heavy, she’d lost her sparkle and if there was a magical assignment she couldn’t remember what it was.
She tried to leave on more than occasion, but Charming seemed to have powerful magic and somehow staying seemed rather safer than trying to leave. It was the way he looked at her, daring her to try. Where once there was a smile, his lips curled in disgust, even his smell changed. He stood in between her and the door and she somehow knew inside was safer. That couldn’t be right could it? Why couldn't she say anything? Where was her voice in all this? Did she have a voice? When was the last time she had spoken? Losing her voice meant only one thing, Charming had called The Voice Thief to him and stripped her of words, closing her throat and stitching her lips shut tight.
The prince was merely being protective, caring and he was right, she was clearly a little unwell and he was much better at everything. Of course he could have control of what she wore, how she looked, who she talked to and her magical fortune. There, that was much better. Now if only she could remember everything. Forgetting things was getting very silly now. Charming knew a medicine man that could help; special pills would make her better. Quieter, she'd speak even less, it was unfairy like to try and battle with such a loving prince who wanted nothing but the best for his fairy. Shush now fairy, quietly now.
Night after night the fairy lay awake beside the prince, the prince who said he loved her. If he loved her why was she weighed down by the terror she felt and unable to move or speak up. By now she’d told any friends who lingered what Charming allowed to say, that everything was fine and there was nothing to be afraid of. What else could she say? She couldn't remember. Everything was upside down again and things weren't where she had left them. She also told friends it was perfectly natural that Charming collected images of other fairies, he had a special little hand device where he kept all their pictures and films. They were rather risqué and not the sorts of fairies she would normally have known, but he seemed to like them very much. So that was okay wasn’t it? That was right wasn’t it, she was the mad one and Charming was helping her get better. The fairy was special, he told her so often; the other women weren’t special so they could be looked at in that way. Of course, silly fairy, this was love.
What did it matter if she wept silently at night, tried to remember if she was who she thought she was or if she was someone else. What did it matter that the medicine man’s pills made her forget even more. This was love wasn’t it? She was helping her love. Who was she helping…? Wait...sorry, was there something to be remembered?
Soon after, she again asked if she’d really moved some ornaments around? How was it possible she forgotten to do the chores he asked of her, when had he stopped liking the supper she’d made and these clothes he wanted her to wear? She hadn't let herself go, she...she...wait...who was she, what was she doing? Charming looked very concerned at this and contacted some of her friends and relatives telling them he thought the fairy needed a little holiday. Somewhere safe. Somewhere he would have her cared for. That sounded restful the fairy thought. She laughed at the idea of feeling safe again, then immediately cried at remembering how frightened she was. Was she frightened? She was being ungrateful. She couldn’t be ungrateful as Charming would take something else away and she had so little left she didn’t want to lose anything else. She was being ungrateful again. Poor fairy. Maybe she was mad this wasn’t normal behavior. Was it?
She had no strength left; her magic was gone and she was oh so tired of forgetting and being wrong all the time. It was almost as if she had no idea who she was. Had she always looked and acted like this? She’d got very good at many things, housework, dressing the way Charming liked, or the way he liked sometimes, she didn't really see her friends and she only asked for gold when things were very desperate, for example when they needed groceries for the feasts he and his friends enjoyed. Maybe the place Charming spoke of, the people there, maybe they could help…Or perhaps she wouldn’t live for much longer, that would be restful, she thought. She was more hollow than anything now, there really was very little left and what little there was might be needed for Charming. After all this was love wasn’t it? Is it love? The fairy couldn't remember.
This darling reader’s is not love, far from it; it is a slow, aggressive unforgiving torture known as gaslighting; the grim activity where one human tries to turn another human mad. The perpetrator systematically affects the victim’s sense of reality, slowly driving them towards madness, towards ill health, pharmaceuticals, suicide attempts and death. The abuser wants to destroy the very fabrics of the other person, to remove the marrow of who they are. It’s a painful soul death, the death of a thousand questioned memories, facts and ponderings. It is cruel and quite frankly it is time it stopped.
It’s not gender neutral and unfortunately I’ve observed female friends dipping a toe in the gaslight flames, claiming bullshit such as ‘keeping men on their toes, or treating them mean keeps them keen.'
We must NEVER disrespect or treat another person without love. You might as well cut your own flesh and throw yourself against walls and down stairs. Why this tale you might ask?
Today I was catapulted into a world where I FINALLY had to write about this. HuffPost Women shared their article outlining that Donald Trump is gaslighting the world. Nope. Nopety. Nope. This has to end. As a survivor of the madness this type of abuse creates it is not okay that a terrifying business leader or worse potential world leader uses this tactic.
I’m sharing my journey with you because I want you to know you are NOT mad, nor have you ever been. You are not crazy, forgetful, deserving of this chaos in your life and this is NOT love. Oh my darlings it is so far from Love I cannot even tell you. You can leave, you must, draw all your strength in and leave. Yes it will be feel terrifying. You may feel you’ll die if you leave. You will die if you do not, if not physically your spirit and soul will be snuffed out, locked into the subconscious and you will be puppeteered for the rest of your life. No, No, No. Shit will feel dark, it’s shit. But know this it WILL get better. Everyday will be a healing. Sure you’ll hallucinate your ex. Of course you'll hit the booze, gym, sin bin and go wild in other ways AND you will think you are un-fucking-touchable.
You’ll be pleased to know that the fairy found her way again. She had to give up all her gold and fairy property as the Sheriff and his laws didn't favour the fairies situation. It was a small price to pay for her life. Her beloved Fairy Queen Mother rallied and arrived with a vessel of tattooed swashbuckling thick armed loyal supporters, who came and took no shit or prisoners, only the fairy. Plus the fairies passport as for some reason she was obsessed with not being able to get out of the country, despite not having left her prison for some time. And so it was that she learnt how to follow her joy, love deeply and live life the deepest she could.
BEACAUSE here's the deal - Healing will come from deep surrender, snot nosed face planting to the ground from which if you're anything like me, you'll cry, wail and wail some more. You'll scream at the earth...
You'll surrender without exchange, this won't be a prayer for a prayer, you won't ask it to stop in return for something. You'll simply surrender into the end, dissolve into the abyss of faith and trust that something will change, because it has to. Your light is almost out and we need your light. The world needed mine and so it was returned to me and I healed. Slowly, angrily, lovingly, messily, consistently, daily and everyday still. I healed and heal.
There will be many sleepless nights and dark dreams, many teachers, healers, fairy retreats, meltdowns, heart expansions and so much deep, deep love and support that as time drifts so to will fear and eventually colour will return, just like mine did. All the colours in fact.
One day, Friday 18th March 2016 in fact the fairy realised the fear she carried wasn’t about Charming himself, but about what he represented. Her madness. It was her fear of him convincing everyone she loved dearly she was insane and always had been. That her story of their relationship was poppycock and somehow Charming would make everyone believe him and not her. It was her fear of him taking her sanity. It was simply her fear of a grim fairy tale and nothing more. As soon as she saw this in her looking glass the fairy knew she could never again be harmed and fear disappeared in a puff of richly coloured dark smoke, along with the memories of her strange adventure with a man who might once have been charming. After all she was a Queen herself now and if she didn’t share her truth with her kingdom how would they know to share their truth? Isn’t that the power of the fairy tale? Good always wins, even in the darkest of forests and Queens always return to their power, because their power never truly leaves them, it's just a trick of the light, sometimes a gas light.