Gaslighting: Phrase 1
“But I’m Only Trying to Do This (or That)”
We’ve already covered the fact that gaslighting is a strategy commonly employed by pricks to help them get their own way.
When a prick uses the gaslighting phrase in the heading, or a phrase that has similar meaning, he is questioning the value or accuracy of your judgment, or your capacity to assess what’s really happening. The prick will have stepped in to take control of something that is your property, or resource, or your time, but when challenged, they’ll assert that your perception wasn’t the case. After all, “I’m only trying to do this (or that).
What he’s really saying is, “Your perception of what actually happened here is inaccurate. You just can’t see what’s really happening, can you?” They’re telling you that you need to do a reality check. In truth it’s the prick who needs the reality check.
The first thing to understand about ‘But I’m only trying to do this (or that) …’ or any phrase with similar meaning, is that what they claim they were “only trying to do” is almost invariably a trivialization of what was really going on, which is to take total control. For example, I have heard a key character in my book finish playing the organ a full line of music ahead of a church congregation’s singing. He used the excuse that he was only trying to speed them up ‘a little’.
First, he was trying to speed them up a lot. But even that doesn’t fully identify what was actually going on. What he was really trying do, is to force them to race through the hymn, at a pace of his choosing. His assertion that he only wanted to speed them up ‘a little’ was merely a smoke-screen for him taking total control of the pace of the hymn singing. And that totally overstepped his authority. The fact is he was supposed to be playing for them, not dictating to them.
The second thing to note is that when a prick uses this gaslighting phrase to bypass your objections to what they’ve done, it doesn’t matter what they claim they were “only trying to do”. Even if true, which it never is, they’ve usurped your authority over something that is your person, your family, your time, or your resources. That’s your territory. They should have run it by you and let you decide. Keep them out. If you don’t, if you grant them even a little bit of power or control, they’ll escalate what they usurp, and keep on escalating until you either capitulate and let them have total control, or you end up in a position where you have to fight an all out war to stop them.
Like every evasive strategy pricks use to get away with their behaviour, this one is basic bullshit.
Until then - P.J. Cavē