I think that for most of my life I was too naïve, to my detriment, I am sad to report. I had no idea the evil that can be perpetrated by those who use gossip as their tool for control and manipulation. I thought, erroneously, that since I would never spread vicious lies about others in the form of gossip that others would be equally conscientious. How wrong I was!
I personally now believe that gossip is evil, and that there are people who use gossip as a tool to destroy lives. And even if you don’t believe that there are people with evil intentions, you do know the gossip has evil consequences.
I have heard hundreds of stories now from estranged parents and I am convinced that in every story, if you scratch the surface just a bit, you discover a “Gossip.” In every story there is someone who takes a kernel of truth and twists it and distorts it and wraps it up in well-meaning and sympathetic phrases to convince the listener that their target (the victim) is a horrible, demented, emotionally disturbed individual. And heaven forbid the victim respond with anger to the slanderous things being said about them behind their back and in such a way that they never have a chance to defend themselves. That righteous anger is now used as proof of their unbalanced personality.
In my own story, my daughter and I never had any major problems in our lives that could not be solved by talking it out until this person came into our lives that changed the easy going dynamic that we had. With a smile on her face, and rational explanations she convinced my daughter that I was emotionally disturbed, unbalanced, unhinged, incapable of making choices and decisions, unable to do my job, and even a disaster as a parent. She shaped my daughter’s view point to such a degree that the end result was estrangement. In my heart I am convinced that without the interference of this evil person my daughter and I would still have a strong and close relationship.
For me it took working with a therapist to recognize the evil that had been perpetrated against me. When I thought that maybe I was as “crazy’ as they told me I was; I needed the help of my therapist to learn that no, I wasn’t crazy. I felt the way I did because of what was done to me. The clever tactics to undermine my perception of reality (gaslighting) and the shunning were two of the most obvious.
I also learned about character disturbed people, and that they enjoy causing others pain and yes they know what they are doing! But that is another blog topic.
I firmly believe that most problems; under normal situations, can be talked through and worked through. But the gossip is so intent upon being right that they make it impossible for communication to take place. They convince others to not give the victim an opportunity to clear their name. That is why the silent treatment is used. It prevents communication from happening. Communication implies hearing the other side of the story and that implies that the lies might be revealed! As long as there is no communication the lies are safe! The gossip makes sure to say whatever they must to convince their target to not give you the chance to explain your side of the story. You must be kept out of the loop at all costs. Just look at the family and friends that now join in shunning you. What have they been told to keep them from asking your point of view? And notice how the ones who do hear your side of the story are now suddenly shunned also!
Is there a Gossip behind your Estrangement?
So now, with your eyes wide open, look at your own story. Is it your child that, as an adult, has become the gossip, spreading lies and half-truths dressed up as damning evidence as to why you can’t be in their lives?
Or is the gossip someone close to your adult child, like an ex-spouse, a daughter or son in law, a mother or father in law, a friend of the family, an acquaintance, a work associate?
Take a look. Who is spreading the stories and the lies behind your back and serving it up as the truth? Who is convincing your child to believe all the worst about you?
Renate Dundys Marrello
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