Last night, a friend emailed me a wonderful article entitled Why Women Aren’t Crazy. It made me reflect on how I quiet down in a group, how I defer to others to make decisions, and how NONE of those things are the embodiment of witchyness.
Part of being a witch is embracing strength and our own individuality, not letting someone else dictate how we think or feel. So when I read this article and found myself nodding along in places, it broke my heart to realize that in some ways this meant I am not embracing witchyness as fully as I want to be. So here is my confession, and my promise to keep vigilant to making sure I am a whole person who isn’t afraid to speak.
Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.
These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.
When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”
That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.
When we’re told we’re weak, frail, emotional creatures, we stop being emotional – because maybe that’s the only thing that’s true of that statement, and the only thing we can change so that we can be strong again. So we become “emotionally mute”, afraid to so much as hint at the possibility of having emotions of any kind, despite women supposedly being the Keepers of Emotions™. I’ve spent many years hiding my emotions because I thought I would be stronger; turns out that just fed my depression, because I was denying and dismissing parts of myself.
I can also absolutely relate to the “forget it” act of dismissing myself. “Forget it, [what I think doesn’t matter],” and going on to make someone else’s idea/emotions more important than my own. With gaslighting, I’m told that my feelings are contradictory and my fears are irrational, therefore I should shut up and let someone else dictate what I should feel. After a long time, this makes you feel small, then you stop letting yourself be who you are, emotions and all.
This is anathema to the point of Luminous Emporium, and it hurts that I can relate so much to it right now. But relating to it, realizing that it’s a problem, means I am on my way to a solution. Understanding the problem is the right first step. Taking back my Witchyness is the second. I am a full and complete being, and I am in control of I do and how I feel. It will take practice to own my emotions, but I’m on the path, and that’s exactly where I need to be.