Fake Tears: How to Gaslight, 101

timthumb“Gaslighting” has to be the most overused word of 2016, a close second to the decades-long overuse of “unprecedented.” Most recently, it has become the flippant argument du jour of everyone who has an issue debating legitimate arguments with their opponent. Nonetheless, the term (and subsequent concept) has its merits. And now, that concept is no longer a theoretical idea, but front and center in the Oval Office, uttered in person and on Twitter by Donald Trump, himself.

“Daddy!” Felicity (9) wailed at me through tears.

“Stop your fake tears and act your age!” I loudly ordered, not caring what she was crying about, but just wanting peace and quiet.

Felicity’s crying deepened, the corners of her lips becoming more curled as I threw away any sense of dignity she may have thought she possessed at the moment. Turning on her heels, she swiftly bounded up the stairs and disappeared down the 35-foot hallway to her room.

For a brief few seconds, I breathed a sigh of satisfaction. I had rectified the situation and brought peace to my lair. Then, realization hit me that I had crushed my daughter. Climbing the stairs, I began to hear the faint and muffled sobs of a broken little girl. The crying became louder as I headed toward her room. Recognizing my footsteps, Felicity lifted her head from her bed and threw her voice into the hall, “Go away!”

“No. I came to apologize. I’m very sorry for disrespecting you downstairs. I want to know why you’re crying.”

Sitting down on her bed and putting my arm around her, we began a small conversation that had no earth-shattering ramifications, but I was taking advantage of the opportunity to love her. It didn’t matter if I felt that her tears were unwarranted. That was how she was expressing herself at the moment and, if I wanted to teach her a lesson in what I saw as a better way to approach life, I could do it in a calm manner, without the use of humiliation.


  1. StevoR says

    Well writ and spot on. A President who gaslights and adopts the worst mannerisms of trolls in his so-called “arguments”* yet somehow keeps getting away with it – deplorable indeed.

    “Gaslighting” has to be the most overused word of 2016, a close second to the decades-long overuse of “unprecedented.”

    Well, the most overused printable words about 2016 anyhow. I suspect a couple of obscenities (not sure if swearing is allowed here or not so won’t use them now) have actually been uttered more frequently especially about Trump’s new show that actually deplorably is our new reality.

    * Arguments here in the colloquial loose sense of the word though NOT the logical sense because too often Trump simply offers no actual reasoned argument to suppor this position at all, justmisdorection, offtopic bluster and gas-lighting insults.

  2. brucegee1962 says

    For bullies and tyrants, emotions like empathy and compassion will always be impenetrable mysteries, understandable only as signs of weakness. The same thing could also be said of cartoon villains. We always knew he was the first, and it is becoming increasingly clear that he is the second — the only thing to wonder now is whether he will turn out to be the third as well.

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