Gaslighting is a nefarious strategy that is impossible to counter without mountains of contextual evidence that makes most people’s eyes roll back in their heads. No one cares more about the truth than the person being subjected to its constant destruction, but the problem remains the total data overload needed to repel such an attack. The only real defense is patience and silence. Neither are among my strong suits, but I am learning to cultivate both. Less is certainly more in my case.
I have so many words at my disposal, but responding with all the data I command has yet to be a winning tactic, no matter the challenge I’m trying to overcome on behalf of my son. This paradigm makes my life infinitely more difficult because I am battling both a disinformation campaign as well as a family legal system seemingly immune to the truth. The harder I push back the less I’m understood, yet not pushing back at all would lead to complete disaster. The veritable definition of a Catch-22. Stuck between an illogical ex and an immovable court.
While I waited to see the shape of things still to come, I trusted the truth of my relationship with my son and the things he’s already shared with me. I initially thought he needed a therapist to determine if Match.com Boyfriend is just a Basic Bro or something far more malignant, but I’ve come to see that as one more change that is unnecessary at this point. I had to remove the filter of my own experiences as it related to the “white lies” this guy has told and the enormous whoppers my ex felt compelled to spread about me far and wide. His lack of common sense and intuition are almost forgivable compared to the informed betrayal of his new roommate.
As long as duder doesn’t give my son a reason to feel uncomfortable or afraid, I’m willing to let the disrespect and disruption go. The only time I give him a second thought is when O pantomimes his ill-informed banter. He’ll never mean more than that to my son if this the methodology he chooses to follow. Calls himself a Teacher, but I’ll be damned if I can find a single thing he’s taught my son that is faintly admirable or factually correct. Mostly, it’s been a nightmare of deprogramming when he’s back at my house. Easier now that we are on the 50-50 parenting schedule where O thrives but still not easy.
Of course, just as I made the decision I thought was best for my son and decided to let it go, I was overruled on therapy by the Parenting Consultant on the very day a Hennepin County Sheriff woke me up to serve Match.com Boyfriend’s temporary Harassment Restraining Order against me based on allusions and lies. I am again on the defensive when I’ve been wronged at every turn. I have no doubt this nuisance complaint will be roundly rejected by the judge, but not without going the trouble of securing legal representation and going to court to fight it. This attempt to “officially” craft a narrative where I’m the “out-of-control” ex-husband is bound to fail, but even if I win, the consequences for lying are nil unless I can convince the Ramsey County DA to prosecute for perjury, so there’s no telling if this is the end of it.
So now I’m back to waiting for several third-parties to tell me what happens next. Fucking brutal.