This is part 1 of a series of posts I’m going to be writing on the topic of gaslighting (& my personal experiences with it).
[Content Note: discussion of emotional/verbal/psychological abuse from a mother.]
I had this stuffed animal when I was young that I slept with every night, that I even vaguely remember playing with. It was this teddy-bear-sized yellow thing that I believe was supposed to be a “chick” (baby rooster, probably, judging by the bow-tie sewn around his neck, very odd stuffed animal honestly), there was a little tag on the animal which said “chick”, but I, as a young kid who didn’t know how to read, called it (her? I don’t think I thought of the toy as a he but whether or not I gave it a gender I am unsure) by a name that clearly implied I had misinterpreted which type of bird it was. Lol.
I called my stuffed animal Baby Ducky.
And last night, while at a local atheist meetup, a man mentioned how his 16-year-old son is still very emotionally attached to his stuffed animals, and how he told his wife that they can never get rid of those, he knows it would crush his son. I mentioned how I was pretty upset when my mom told me I was too old to sleep with my stuffed animal.
What I didn’t mention though, was that my mom was my abuser. What I didn’t mention was that last night, for the first time in a surprising number of years, I remembered the fact that I had actually used that stuffed toy to sop up my tears on multiple occasions. I remember crying in my bedroom in the house we moved into in 4th grade, so I must’ve been no younger than 10 or so, lying in my bed, using that stuffed animal as a very poor excuse for comfort, and also using it much like people would normally use a tissue in these situations. Using it for both purposes.