Armor

Like many of you, I have been sitting at home binge watching show after show, searching for something to take up the enormous amount of time I am spending in the four walls of my apartment. One of the things I saw recently that I really connected to is the movie Bombshell, the story of four dynamic women in the broadcasting industry dealing with harassment. If you have seen it, I’m sure we probably had many of the same feelings with outrage and anger topping that list. But for me, there was a feeling that arose from me that was unexpected and unusual, envy.

Believe me, I know. But let me explain.

I am most assuredly not envious of the harassment that was endured by each of them and I certainly don’t want to ever have that experience. What I do envy, however, is to have someone fight for me; to have someone not only hear the struggles I have or am enduring, but to join me in the battle and be a champion for me so I might actually win the battle.

Instead, like many strong, independent women, I am left to fight alone solidifying feelings of isolation and failure that have already permeated every inch of my being.

I have recently separated from a job where I was gaslighted and the more I tried to reach out and find someone to help me address the situation, the worse the situation became.

For those unfamiliar with the term “gaslighting,” it happens when an individual or team of individuals manipulate and obfuscate to make the target feel off balance and ultimately, humiliate the target to the degree that they are emotionally crushed.

Having been raised to be a strong, independent woman, I fought back. I presented evidence of what I had done, kept records of the harassment I endured, and reached out to those who I thought would have been able to help only to learn that I was an insignificant pawn in a game I was completely unprepared to play let alone win.

At 54 years old, it seems ridiculous to say, but as I watchedBombshell, I found myself yearning for someone to fight for me like the team that these ladies had fighting for them. I have spent my entire life fighting to move an inch forward only to be kicked back 10 feet and I find myself wondering what I did in some past life that I am being punished for now and how much longer I will have to endure the punishment?

There are some of you who are probably saying things like, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” or “God will never give you more than you can handle,” and while I appreciate your thoughts, I cannot find a place in my heart that agrees with you.

I know that I am an extraordinarily strong individual. I have not only been through a tremendous amount but have overcome more than I ever thought possible. As I’ve said over and over again, my faith has allowed me to lean on God’s strength to become the woman I am today and I am thankful for the lessons I’ve learned. And yes, I know that I am not truly fighting alone during these battles I have encountered. God is always with me and leading the way into battle. I get that, I really do. But this last experience has punctured my armor in such a way I am at a loss for how to rebound. Not only am I questioning what my work capabilities actually are, but I find myself questioning my value as an individual and this infuriates me because I know this is a result of the gaslighting which leads me back to this circular argument in my mind of why didn’t I see this happening, how did I allow this to happen, what is it about me that makes me a target, and how in the world can I get that target off my back?

I wish I could say I’ve found the answers to these questions, but I haven’t. I am instead starting over yet again, hoping to find a way forward that won’t leave me more battered in the end. If any of you have any suggestions as to how to accomplish this- how to repair my shattered armor and become stronger – I am waiting with bated breath for your answers.

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