Have you ever heard the term “gaslighting”? It is a term used to describe a severe form of pyschological abuse played out in the high conflict divorce setting. Back in 1940 and then again in 1944 there was a movie, in which a con artist sets out to make his wife doubt her own sanity and make others believe that she is insane.
Anyone who experiences this in the form of a custody battle will forever label the court system as crazy making, upside down land, or as I call it, la-la-looneyland. The person doing the gaslighting is masterful at this manipulation of their ex, court authorities, and most times, even the children. Nothing makes sense. Real evidence is ignored while false accounts of events by the manipulator are believed without any proof whatsoever. Even evidence to the contrary will be ignored. It is as if all of these educated court authorities become mind controlled zombies.
I often tell people to keep in mind that if it took you years to figure out what and who the con artist really is, you cannot expect the court authorities to see through him/her when they are only dealing with the two of you in brief, intermittent events. Most times, the manipulator’s words are believed because they seem so far fetched that even highly intelligent judges, lawyers and parenting authorities, decide that it must be true. It is just plain too crazy to be made up!
Here is an article about gaslighting and the effects of gaslighting on a target. See if you can understand why someone in the family court/custody dispute setting might appear to be an unstable person, when in reality they are the stable one.
Both versions of the movie are available on netflix, but not to watch instantly. I have linked them on the sidebar if you want to buy them. Here is the trailer from the Ingrid Bergen version.
About lifesdoorsmediationI am a mediator, Life and Divorce Coach and an Instructor of a High Conflict Divorce Program.
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