Every single day, on Instagram, my DMs get flooded with unsolicited sales pitches.
People (usually not actual “people,” more like automated marketing ‘bots) trying to sell me SEO services or web design services or whatever else.
Normally I just delete this stuff.
But this week? I got a message that stopped me in my tracks.
It was a message from a fitness trainer and weight loss expert. Who happens to be a white man.
He wrote to me and explained that he could help a “busy professional” like myself to achieve her “dream body.”
This is offensive on so many levels.
Firstly, I did not ask for his advice.
Secondly, who the hell are YOU to insinuate that body is not good enough? My body is not a prize for men to admire or criticize or comment upon.
Thirdly, I literally wrote a bestselling book and gave a Tedx Talk on why dieting and weight-loss obsession is so harmful to women’s health, and how to love your body right now, just as you are. If this man had spent 15 seconds reading my IG bio or skimming my content, he would know this.
I wrote him back and asked, “Are you joking?” I also sent him an audio message explaining why his message was so hurtful and inappropriate.
Did he give a sincere apology and then leave me alone?
No he did not.
Instead, he backpedaled and insisted I had “misunderstood” him. Yuck. He told me: “You are beautiful and I think you know that.” Cringe. He insisted that he was merely “trying to help” me with his “expertise.” Vomit.
When I reminded him that I never asked for his “expertise,” his tone turned vicious and he said, and I quote:
“I feel bad for you and or anyone you teach Susan. Get help.”
I then replied with 5 hysterically laughing emojis because…LOL. Please.
Ladies, I am bringing this to your attention because this is a classic example of gaslighting.
People (especially men) do this all the time.
He tells you something that is not appropriate, incorrect, or a flat out lie. You stand up for yourself and you say no, or that’s not true or that hurt me. Then he tells you that you’re crazy, you’re overreacting, you’re too emotional, or I never said that.
He’s so insistent and confident that you begin to doubt your own memory.
He is flicking the lights in the house, on and off, on and off, and when you say are the lights flickering? He says, nope, you are just imagining things.
If you sense you are being gaslighted, stay true to yourself. Trust your instincts. Hold firm. And stand up for yourself.
Don’t let him convince you that you are a crazy, unreasonable woman because you are most certainly not.
And I highly recommend sending crying-laughing emojis to idiots and then blocking them. Try it. Ahhhhh. It feels so good. A refreshing glass of fuck-off-onade. Nothin tastes better on a Sunday.
PS. Question of the day: Have you ever been gaslighted by a boyfriend or girlfriend? By someone at work? Online? How did you handle it? If you could go back in time and do-over the situation, what would you do differently?