Who has the new The Chicks album, GASLIGHTER, on repeat right now? I do. As a survivor of narcissistic/sociopathic abuse, it feels like it’s written for me. For all of us survivors.
I had never heard the term GASLIGHT until months before the end of my 3-year relationship with a narcissistic predator. Even after I read the explanation of what it meant, it still felt confusing. That's because I was still being gaslit. I was still drowning in a sea of lies and projection. Eventually, I came to understand that all of the times that he called me crazy or sick, or accused me of cheating on him, it was a manipulative way of putting me in my place. And it was the closest thing I’d get to an admission of guilt on HIS part for all of those things. He was projecting everything he was doing onto me.
It took lots of therapy for me to understand that I wasn’t at fault. I wasn’t sick. I had to undo the subconscious conditioning that had been hard-wired inside of me since he and I met that fateful day in 2014. I went from being a strong, independent, confident person to a shell of a woman who couldn’t figure out why it had all gone so pear-shaped.
To better illustrate gaslighting, here’s a specific example from a few years back when I wrote a blog post about the abuse I endured while working on a project with my ex. I spelled out how he screamed at me when I innocently didn’t think to lock the door to the dorm room in which we were staying, and then he screamed at me that the reason I did that was because I wanted men to come in. It was soul crushing, all of it. As a childhood sexual abuse survivor, he pushed the right button, for sure. Anyhow, I wrote openly about it and received this message from him before I eventually secured a restraining order against him:
You are sick Kiersten. And you were sick in Florida. And you're sick from the abuse you suffered as a child not any from me. And the blindness from your parents for their own facade all your life. Being sick does not make you bad. But it sure keeps you blind. And, you've lost the only one with the insight, guts, and the true love enough to tell you. You've surrounded yourself with only enablers. Truth needs NO validation. What happened in Florida got to anger on both sides. And you helped big time! Just as you did all along knowing each button to push, when calm loving truth showed itself, you RAN again to projection and blame....”
With love only, xxx
Do you see what he did there? He turned it all around. In no way was he calm or level headed EVER. He blew up that day just like he did down he road when the cops were called by a concerned person to our apartment for fear of my safety. And unbeknownst to me the whole time, he was the one who was wanting others to come into his bedroom. Latter I learned that he was cheating left and right with women of all ages.
I’m three years healed, now, and it’s all so clear in ways it wasn’t when I was battling the darkness of abuse. If you’re dealing with gaslighting, know that you are NOT in the wrong. You are not the problem.
You are being abused.
Many thanks to The Chicks for writing such a raw, vulnerable, brave album.
Published May 8, 2020
I am incredibly grateful to Bonnie Stevens for crafting such a wonderful write up. I'm used to press regarding my furniture company but Bonnie went a step further: she included an entire section about my other life as a medium who works with detectives around the country.
To read the full article, go to:
What an incredible time of change and heartbreak. I am, like everyone else, watching, listening, speaking out, and many times, in tears. I can't help but see this time period as the cracking open of the vault of darkness that's been with us since the beginning of time. The only way through is through and we will get to a place of more compassion in the world. I believe we have the capacity to do so.
On a personal level, I just finished editing my book, Undercover Medium, with the help of my fabulous agent, Tina Wainscott of The Seymour Literary Agency, who is currently shopping the book with major publishers. I'm excited to see what happens over the next few months! I've gotten a few clues from the kids in spirit. They've talked about the upcoming publishing deal and life span of the book. I'm grateful to be able to get my story out there, and grateful for what it means for families whose children have passed on. I'm being shown a larger picture that I didn't see when I was writing the book and it's incredibly humbling and exciting.
Speaking of editing the book...
It's a difficult process. Each time I read back through it, I'm reliving it, but because I'm in such a different place in my life and have healed the wounds that led me to be fooled by a predator, I find myself yelling at the Kiersten in my book to wake up. It's like I'm looking at it all from the outside, now.
All of the reliving has made me think quite a bit about sociopathic predators like Jeffery Epstein. We recently watched several documentaries about him. And of course, it makes me think of my ex. Recently, I've heard more tales of my ex's predatory behavior before I came into his life. As a rational person with a conscience, I can't wrap my head around how he can attempt to manipulate women and girls, many at the same time, without an ounce of compassion or remorse. Watching the documentary about Jeffery Epstein and the series, Dirty John, helped me see the similarities and the sociopath's ability to move through life taking what he/she wants through manipulation. It seems the same darkness runs like blood through their veins. The collective darkness driving these predators is pure evil.
This particular brand of evil is so good at disguising itself to look like light. Philanthropy or taking up causes to make themselves look like upstanding citizens is a common tactic. Maybe it's in the sociopath's handbook? My ex used to talk about "walking the walk" as if he was/is actually holding himself accountable for his actions. It's a great line to use publicly, but it's something a sociopath is not capable of doing. I know this because of the countless women and teenagers, business partners, and clients that have reached out to me with stories of abuse, manipulation, and stolen goods and money.
There needs to be more information out there about sociopathic predators and with karma doing it's job with Weinstein and Epstein, I believe we're opening the vault on this darkness as well. I hope my book will help shed more light on what it means to be involved with a sociopathic predator.
Thank God light is flooding the dark places of our collective. Exposing injustice, prejudice, abuse, and predatory behavior like never before. I have so much faith in humanity and I want better for generations to come, but we do have face the darkness to get there. And we'll get there.
There it was…a friend request I never thought I’d get. Was it real? I fumbled for my reading glasses just to make sure I could properly see the notification.
It WAS real. After four years of silence, she wanted to connect again. My apology letter four years prior must have touched her in some way. After all, I took all the blame for whatever I did to sink the ship that was our seven-year friendship. It was never really clear what she and the others took issue with, but it was clear they wanted nothing to do with me around the time I filmed Shark Tank in 2010.
But now she was back! Our friendship was built near the schoolyard doors, waiting for our kids to get out of kindergarten. We became lifelines for one another while our little ones laughed and played.
While I waited for some sort of personal message from her after I accepted her request, I surfed her Facebook newsfeed. It was clear she was still hanging with the same crowd that ostracized me.
It was hard to see because, one day, we were part of a clique of friends who took vacations together and made homemade pizzas on Friday nights, and the next, all six families put us out on the curb. Was it because I was starting to awaken to my intuitive gifts? Was it because I was spending more time on Mod Mom, and less time on get togethers during the Shark Tank prep? Maybe it was a combination of all of it?
I’ve learned that female friendships can be incredibly brutal, even as adults. After talking to others who endured similar pain, I realized that the silent demise is commonplace in these types of relationships. I hadn’t experienced anything like it until we moved to LA. All of my friendships prior and after have thankfully not presented with the same pattern.
In the years after being kicked to the curb, I ruminated on why it all happened, but mainly, I accepted that I was the one to blame. I had to be at fault. In my mind, the entire crew led by one funny, charismatic woman couldn’t be wrong.
It would take years before I realized it wasn’t all my fault. When I was finally out of the abusive relationship and Scott and I were back together, I recognized a pattern in me that I couldn’t see all those years ago. Because I wasn’t healed from the abuse I endured as a child when I was part of the clique, I was still people pleasing and codependent. I made myself small in order to not compete with their energy and status. They seemed bigger than life, at times. Some were actors or wannabe actors, and all were interested in talking shit about other people. I never felt comfortable with it, but I molded myself to be someone they accepted and loved.
Until they didn’t.
The friend request I received was a sign that maybe she felt sad about how everything went down. I waited patiently hoping for a message that never came. The next day, I opened Facebook to see that I was no longer her friend. It took one day for her to shun me again. Maybe she was just feeling nosy and had heard that Scott and I had separated at that time? Or maybe the Friday night crew decided to see if I would take the bait of a request, and they stood around the kitchen talking shit about what they saw on my page? I’ll never really know what happened that night, or why she decided to send that request in the first place.
Fast forward a few years to 2019…when I learned that one of the newer crew members who was part of the group when I was shunned experienced the same thing I did. She apologized to me for getting caught up in the drama of the queen bee, and for participating in my ousting. I was touched and sad. I couldn’t believe that, just a few years after I’d been kicked out of the club, it happened to her, too. Seems she became the villain that year in an all too familiar pattern. We both talked about just how much we learned and healed because of what happened. Like me, she was also a people pleaser and needed to heal codependent tendencies.
She’s an amazing woman—smart, capable, beautiful, and sensitive. She now has an authentic, caring group of friends like I do. I am blessed to have girlfriends who love me for me, support me through the good and bad, and always have my back.
Living through the heartache of friendship breakups led to revelations and healing, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. I will never again make myself small for anyone. And I will never again fall for the old Facebook request trick.
Lately, I've been noticing how much Trump's tactics remind me of what I endured during my three-year relationship with someone with antisocial personality disorder. But not only that, I'm also noticing that what I'm seeing from our President is reminiscent of details in cold cases I've worked on as a medium that involved cults and mind control.
Similar to the way TV advertisement jingles get stuck in our head, Trump is effectively using repetition with his supporters. FAKE NEWS is one such example. I hear it and see it everywhere. And this is just one of the manipulation tactics being used.
To give you a little background on how mind control works, I have to first say that ANYONE can be subject to it. Back when I first started working on cold cases with law enforcement, I was blown away by how much mind control was at play in some of the cases. All I could think was, "There's no way I could be mind controlled." I didn't understand it.
Turns out, I was very wrong.
I was heavily mind controlled during three years with a sociopathic partner. I didn't realize it was happening, but from the get go, I was conditioned to follow his lead and direction. I was love bombed to the hilt which created a sea of endorphins flooding my body. When I would push back and stand up for myself on the occasion I did something he didn't like, I would get the sharp opposite of love bombing. Anger. Silence. Or silence then anger. His behavior contradicted everything I thought I knew about him during the honeymoon period. There was no rational thinking. For an example of this, read this excerpt from my book about what happened when I didn't lock the door.
After I apologized for things he didn't like, he would love bomb me again. He would repeat over and over again the same thing: I love you then, now, and forever or TNF, for short. He constantly repeated it everywhere. Social media posts. Texts. Emails. Everywhere. I heard it so much that I believed it. It was different from your usual, "I love you," in rational, normal relationships. If he loved me that much and made sure everyone knew it, and I was upsetting him, it had to be all my fault. Always my fault. Never his.
His love bombing followed by devaluation created an addiction to the good times. I had to get back to the highs of the cycle of abuse I didn't even realize I was locked in. I became a different person—someone he was molding. By the end of it, I'd isolated myself from everyone for him even though all I could feel was a huge pit in my stomach. My intuition knew what was happening wasn't right. My addiction to him simply wanted the high.
Later, I would learn from a psych doctor that he fits the profile for antisocial personality disorder. I was confused. What?!? He loves people. He loves charming them. He's not antisocial. I wish the medical community could rename this diagnosis.
Here's what an antisocial personality disorder, otherwise known as sociopathy, looks like:
My ex fit the bill to a T.
What I've learned over the years about being receptive to manipulation by someone like him is that we are vulnerable in many ways. I was unknowingly vulnerable due to the sexual abuse I endured as a child by my uncle. My ex seemed to fit the description of my uncle to a T. See the subconscious pattern? My childhood wound wasn't healed so I simply unknowingly sought out something similar as an adult. It's called wounded attachment.
Did you know that our subconscious dictates how we operate? At about 80%. 20% of how we operate is led by the conscious. Can you believe it's that little? If you have wounds in your childhood that you know about or don't know about, those wounds are helping to determine how you react to situations and who you feel connected to. Let's say you never healed a wound from childhood that was caused by lack. Lack of food, or lack of care. Your subconscious most likely directs you to make sure your fridge is always stocked even though you know you will not go hungry. It makes sure you back the candidate you feel will not provide lack. Of course, this is subconscious so it's not something you analyze. It's just something that happens behind the scenes.
Scientific studies have shown that we're prewired to survive, to adapt to our environment, and to adapt to leaders that we trust will help us survive. Repeating Sleepy Joe Biden over and over again (even in online polls) reinforces to those with "lack" wounds that Joe won't get it done. Sleepy people don't get much done, right?
The point of all of this is that we can all be mind controlled. And many who excel at this type of manipulation are sociopaths and/or malignant narcissists. All they have to do is identify a wound, and groom/condition us. Whether it's a collective wound or a personal one, we can be controlled much easier than we all think.