This has certainly been a year of gaslighting.

Four years of a narcissistic leader means four years of being told that what we see shouldn’t be believed. It means that blame has been placed everywhere, on everyone, except on the person who is to blame.

And obviously lots of lies.

And denial.

And bullying.

And evasion and twisting words and defending indefensible behavior and yelling and projection and criticism and confusion and division.

Expecting special treatment, which only goes one way, except to those who bow to the gaslighter.

And nary a concern for anyone else.

Oh, did I mention playing victim?

But, this is not a political rant. Not today; the day after hope has been restored for our nation; the day that we can all breathe a sigh of relief to be out of the abusive relationship.

I can’t tell you how many times I have said to myself, my friends, my mother, “This feels exactly like living with my ex.”

Here’s the thing, there is a gift of having lived with my ex for oh so long and then being under the dark cloud of a narcissistic leader:

I can spot it a mile away.

And better yet, I can walk away from it rather than get sucked into the whirlwind of deceit and confusion that leaves a recipient lost and questioning herself.

The sad thing about it is seeing just how many people in this world are gaslighters.

I have had a few experiences this last year that, in the past, would have left me reeling; questioning my every word, every action, every thought.

I spent 20 years doing that. I spent what has felt like 50 years undoing that.

I’m not 100% cured. After a couple of these run-ins, I have wasted spent more time than I should rehashing the interactions. But, as I rehash, I always come to the same conclusion…

“That was bullshit.”

And I walk away.

“I thought you loved me for who I am,” leads to immediate reassurances that I do love you for who you are, that quickly turn into the reality of, actually, I don’t.

Because your behavior sucks.

Because you’re fucking gaslighting me.

“You don’t appreciate all that I do.” Oh yes, I do, and thank you thank you thank you.

But wait, you haven’t done shit, so never mind.

Having had so much experience with super-narcs has given me a leg up when dealing with what I consider to be amateur narcs.

When an encounter feels a bit hinky, I ask myself, “Can I hear these words coming out of X’s mouth? Out of our President’s mouth?”

If the answer is yes, then my answer is no.

I walk away. I walk away like I wish I’d been able to during all of those long years of mental undermining and self doubt.

I am proud of myself for being able to set boundaries. I give myself a pat on the ass each time I say, “Enough.”

I’ve cut off a few friendships this year; friendships that go way back, running the risk of losing other connected relationships. It is painful to do, but knowing that the twisting of my reality will stop is worth any other pain.

Sometimes, it’s not difficult at all; the relief is so great, so relieving, that I don’t give the relationship a second thought except to say, “Whew, dodged a bullet there.”

And that brings peace that is far greater than any loss.

And just like I have worked so very hard to no longer succumb to fucked up, detrimental, confusing, abusive behavior, our country has decided to also set a boundary.

We have decided as a collective that enough is enough.

We’ve said, “That was bullshit.”

America, give yourself a pat on the ass.

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