The Bachelorette Needs a Dictionary to Understand Gaslighting
I am a huge guilty pleasure fan of the Bachelor/Bachelorette series, for reasons myself I cannot explain. But even with the changing of guards from Chris Harrison to new hostesses, I was willing to continue watching the show, especially because I was super fond of Katie Thurston and wanted to see her fall in love. That is, until I lost respect for her definitively on the night sweet dad Michael A. left to be with his son. And then blatantly suggesting that Greg was gaslighting her?
Girl, let me tell you a thing or two about your wrongful use of the word.
Here’s a blog for anyone who needs to be caught up to speed: What’s Your Gaslighting Story? (Or order my new emotional abuse novel, Beat Me with Your Words)
People who have been deeply emotional abused and suffered gaslighting on the daily—and who have healed from the experience—can all attest that Greg was not gaslighting her. Those recently out of said situations are still hurt and vulnerable, and so I don’t blame them for quickly associating negative communication with the term, but that’s not what he did—at least not in my opinion, and that of other investigative articles, including Greg’s Not “Emotional,” He’s Emotionally Manipulative.
Did Greg handle his communication in the best way? No, he didn’t.
In retrospect, I am sure he himself can point out ways he could have expressed himself differently, but before I even knew Katie was calling it “gaslighting,” I felt sorry for Greg. I was shocked when I heard the accusations, because watching those scenes, not for one second did the red flags rise for me. Here was a man looking for some kind of validation in the moment, and she just sat there and gave him nothing. “I love looking at you” is the stupidest thing she could have said—talk about not knowing how to communicate.
How would you respond to someone saying something so vain in lieu of even a hug or sweet kiss on the cheek, or something like, “you mean the world to me,” which is vague, but still a loving acknowledgment?
Truth is, Katie didn’t handle her communication in the best way either.
But it wasn’t just that moment; just this guy. I was appalled at her the week before when Michael A. approached her about leaving because of his son. As a parent, I 100% respect what he needed to do, and would have expected anyone who truly loved that man would have not sat there coldly as if she was the victim. That little boy needed his daddy, and that should have been the only consideration in that moment. And her coldness to him at the Men Tell All? That was a clear indicator that something was off in her journey.
Her reaction to Greg’s breakdown was just as cold and unfeeling. Yes, she was hurt, and deeply so. These men laving no doubt stirred up insecurities, and with her past, and being in such a vulnerable state with love on the line, I absolutely feel for her as a woman. I am not here to bash Katie as a person—just her hypocrisy in communication skills. How she can stand there and say Greg was emotionally manipulative when she herself was driven to claim victimhood is unbelievable.
For anyone out there who felt triggered and that Greg was gaslighting her, I honor your opinion, even if I don’t agree with it. But let’s not let our own past experiences or the ease of labelling condemn someone as an emotionally abusive person when we have so little information.
We are so quick to label men and assume they are monsters; and while Greg could definitely use some emotional maturity, that does not equate to manipulation and abuse.
Take a closer look at his body language; the pain communicated on his face; his composure when being attacked live on television (with a relentless venom that was unnecessary). Perhaps, there is something deeper behind the scenes that we didn't see, and there is more to her side of the story, or something left unseen. But from what was seen, that's not enough for a conviction. I truly wish Katie only the best in her life, her love with Blake, and her future journey; I just hope she can eventually see how she might have jumped to conclusions a little too quickly under a very emotional scenario.
Not every bad conversation is emotional abuse.
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