never married, over forty, a little bitter


Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception…the term comes from the 1944 movie Gaslight starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. Wikipedia

When I relocated to this new city, I moved into an apartment with a roommate.  There were many things I liked about her, but eventually I had to get my own place because I felt like she was “gaslighting” me.  If I complained about parking difficulties or the temperature of my room, for instance, she would deny that there were any problems and act as if my experiences were all in my head.  I don’t believe she did this out of maliciousness but because she didn’t want to bother with addressing the issues.

I didn’t have enough of a community here to provide ballast from these interactions, so I felt I had to move for my own self-protection.

For those women struggling in the dating world or with creating a life as a childfree or childless woman, be aware of this old technique.

graveyards and ghost towns

This week I’m reading a book called Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot.  The book discusses “our societal neglect of the rituals and purposes of exits” (p. 8).  I relate to the author in her introduction:

I am sure that one of the reasons that the topic fascinates me is because I have known such moments, and they stand as signposts of courage and treachery in my life, those moments when I said to myself– after months of deliberation, indecision, and ambivalence— “I’m out of here.” (p. 5)

One of the interviewees in the book discusses author William Bridges’s conception of a “cemetery” versus a “ghost town” (p. 68).  A cemetery is for the dead and buried; we go there to pay homage and lay flowers on graves.  A ghost town is a place that used to be vibrant but has become inexplicably vacant.

I found this concept fascinating and can relate it to many stages of my life.  Years ago, shifts in a social dance scene caused it to become a ghost town for me; it is now a graveyard.  The same could be said of my former city of residence.  Additionally, I feel that my pursuit of motherhood has moved from ghost town to cemetery, and although I don’t want to admit it, perhaps my pursuit of marriage as well.

My best friend and travel partner is moving away from our current city in a month, and given my growing feeling of disconnection from some of the scenes I have been involved with here, this place, too, may become a ghost town.