The ‘counter story’3 recovery process is especially potent when supported by the recognition and deconstruction of the cultural contributing factors of collusion, which have had a hand in undermining the protests of the wrong-doing and re-enforcement of allyship (therapist and any others.)
The meaning of reclamation can take on a new life, in a Feminist-Narrative therapeutic process, when the experience of self separates from the endemic injustices at play in the current cultural milieu. Coming to rest upon a personal narrative, beyond the despair of injustice, can invite an expanded or even altered understanding of the idea of ‘belonging’. Ideas of trust, truth and acceptance can take on new meaning and can invite a journey of discovery and exploration of an alternative freedom that does not rest on justice or the need to be accepted by parties that may be loyal/complicate to a culture of indiscriminate denigration and outing.
“Exposing the details of the injurious re-storying strategies which have been designed to isolate and weaken resistance and personhood agency, invites an empowering transport pathway back to a preferred self, beyond the story of victimhood and harm.”
I remain encouraged by the integrity of the Feminist-Narrative therapeutic at work in the therapy room, by my client experiences traversing post gaslight meaning and futures, and for that which my own insider knowledge has brought to this work. However horrific gaslighting’s calculated malicious intention, the reclamation is sweet.
Beyond enduring the negative impacts of gaslighting and the renewed resurgence from the associated existential grief, this personal experience has offered a generous ethnographic opportunity4 for a valuable close up study. Supporting my clients to rescue themselves from the effects of this form of abuse continues to remain some of my most challenging work and the personal of the experience, I believe has afforded an enhanced therapeutic efficacy. This knowledge remains a refuge for my spirit and an inspiration for addressing this complex and covert injustice.
1. those the abuser recruits to support to deepen the rewriting of stories. According to popular psychology, flying monkeys are usually unwittingly manipulated people who believe the smears about the victim although they may also be another narcissist working in tandem.
3. Counter Stories acknowledge details dismissed or disqualified by dominant discourses, to resist, address, and repair the unsupportive to preferred identity and to invite new proposals for action.
4. See David Epston for more on Narrative conversations as ethnograpy