Pride is a characteristic that enables individuals to elevate their circumstances. For this reason I admire prideful individuals. But at the same time, often there is a darkness that comes with it. I’ve learned that many prideful individuals value their image above sincerity. There seems to be a fear that the admittance of any of their hurtful behavior will crumble their persona entirely and that they will lose the respect of others. “Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target's belief.” - wikipedia
I’ve been exposed to my fair share of gaslighting. I believe the intention of most of the gaslighting I’ve been exposed to was not malice but rather the preservation of pride. It’s easy to say “surround yourself with people who elevate you” but sometimes we have to live/deal with bosses, coworkes and family members who challenge us. More often than not, the desire to call “bullshit” is not a desire worth fulfilling. So what do we do?
Really I’m not sure, what do I do? Smile and nod and let them think they have me fooled. That seems like the kindest choice. People don’t change unless they want to change. And it’s a waist of my energy to try and fix something that seems to be working okay for them.
But I’m a shitty liar. It’s so hard for me to look at someone in the eye and smile who has fooled and hurt me many times. Also suppressing my feelings causes me to lash out in moments of weakness. Still it’s impossible to have a sane conversation with an individual that values their pride above reason.
Everyone has different values. My self-respect comes from my transparency and sincerity, but it’s not my place to put that on someone who doesn’t want those things for themselves. How do you cope with people that challenge you?
Photo by: @denisekellerofficial