I am overwhelmed with so many emotions in reading this, relief, anger, sadness, shame, sorrow and even joy. I have never experienced such a complicated mix of emotions.
Mostly though, reading this gives validation that I am not crazy. Someone with some power and authority is finally listening and speaking out and doing something about the harm that has been done with no spin in faulting depositors or a “perfect storm”.
I would liken the feeling to the one you might have after going to Doctors for years trying to get a diagnosis on what is wrong. Because nothing is found or diagnosed time after time and physician after physican, you begin to think, is this only in my head. In fact, the doctors you are seeing are giving you that message.
Finally, a specialist is able to diagnose the condition and even though it is serious, at least you know and others have acknowledged, it isn’t all in your head.
Perhaps this is the beginning of a healthier tomorrow.
By “guest” – used with permission. Spacing and emphasis are mine.
The statement “Mostly though, reading this gives validation that I am not crazy.” is one of the most telling sentences in this post.
Because this is what happens to people when they’ve been gaslighted. Gaslighting is a term derived from a tactic used in the 1944 play “Gaslight” where “Gregory” attempts to systematically drive his wife “Paula” mad in order to get her institutionalized. His means of attack is to turn down the gaslights in the house and when Paula comments that it’s getting darker he tells her she’s seeing things. After Paula’s heard this a number of times she starts to suspect that she’s slowly going mad.
The primary mechanism in gaslighting is the repeated denial of reality and convincing the target that what their senses are clearly telling them is incorrect. The resulting disconnect between the target’s senses and their understanding of the world around them results in a disorientation that causes them to question their judgement, powers of observation, and eventually their own sanity.
I think this is exactly the impact that language from various church authorities have had on membership in general and the depositors in particular.
Such things as
- Refusing to discuss or publicly address what happened,
- Minimizing what happened “It’s God’s money anyway, why are you mad?”
or stating that
- ABC District didn’t do this “someone else did“,
- the people that did this did so “with no intent whatsoever to have the project fail“,
- there was “nothing they could do“, or
- this was a simple business failure, nothing more
- telling people that restructuring had nothing to do with CEF
are all a form of gaslighting in that authority figures one should be able to trust implicitly are denying reality to its face to people whose experience tells them otherwise.
In this case the ASC’s Notice of Hearing has provided confirmation to “guest” that they’ve been right all along and the notion that “nobody did anything wrong” can be fully and completely discounted.
If things go as I expect the time is coming when people’s ongoing attempts to deny and deflect responsibility for what they did or failed to do will be shown for what it is. When people are compelled to give account to the Lord’s left-hand authority in the form of the ASC and the representative action, no amount of wishful talking is going to get the bad actors off the hook.
Maybe, in time, when the ASC and the related legal proceedings are done, the truth will be known, the church will publicly address it and repent of her actions, and everyone affected by this can start healing.
I’ve included citations from Wikipedia and Encyclopaedia Brittanica for extra information ,along with a rather powerful meme I came across while researching this article.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.
Instances may range from the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred up to the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. The term owes its origin to the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play Gas Light and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations. The term has been used in clinical and research literature, as well as in political commentary.
Encyclopaedia Brittanica writes about gaslighting’s effects:
Gaslighting, an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.
As part of the process, the victim’s self-esteem is severely damaged, and he becomes additionally dependent on the gaslighter for emotional support and validation. In some cases the intended (and achieved) result is to rob the victim of his sanity.