Last Friday, all hell broke loose as the Grand Nagus suggested injecting disinfectant to treat coronavirus. Some tried claiming that what he said was ‘taken out of context’. Later, the Grand Nagus tried to walk it back claimed that he was just being ‘sarcastic’.
No, he wasn’t. He was being abusive. I know this from personal experience.
On October 30, 1996, my mother and I got into an argument. I told her to put down one of my possessions; she took objection to that. According to her, she owned the house and everything in it, so she could touch whatever she wanted. When I pointed out that the electronic gadget in question was something I purchased with my own money, from a paycheck that I earned at a job that I worked, she was livid.
She yanked my checkbook out of her purse*, threw it at me, and told me to go find an apartment, and not to bother coming home. At that point, my brain just shut down; what the hell was I supposed to do? I had to work that night and by the time I got off, I doubted I’d be able to find a hotel, let alone an apartment. Grabbing my bike, I headed to the college campus, went to the student union, and used the free phone to make two brief calls: one to my job that I wasn’t going in that night, and the other to my then boyfriend. I literally had no idea where else to turn.
It took my ex about an hour and a half to finally show up and meet me; he wasn’t a lot of help that night, as his attitude was pretty much “Why am I here and what am I supposed to do?” I tried bouncing ideas off of him but nothing worked. I tried to crash with who I thought was my best guy friend at the time but he blew me off, as he was far too busy playing Magic: the Gathering; I should have taken that as a sign**. I could have crashed with another friend, but I didn’t feel like being a burden. I had no idea what to do.
I was forced to go back home. I didn’t want to go anywhere near that place.
When I walked in the door, it was well after 22:00. My dad was in his recliner, reading a magazine. My mother saw me and her jaw dropped. “What the hell are you doing home?” she demanded. I steeled myself and told her I had no where to go after she had tossed me out on my ass. Dad looked up from his magazine and raised an eyebrow. For a moment, my mother was silent, then she spoke, and what she said next had me stunned.
“Oh, for God’s sake, [Silvy]! It was a joke!”
I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t respond, I was utterly flabbergasted.
It was a joke? The whole fucking thing was a joke? On what planet did that make sense?!
I don’t remember a lot afterwards; I did end up in my room, laying on my bed, wondering what had just happened. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. She had been screaming at me. She had told me to find somewhere else to stay. She had told me not to come back. How could any of this be seen as a joke?
But I had other things to worry about–that was the night my ex admitted he had cheated on me–so I shoved the incident out of my mind. Maybe I had been mistaken. Maybe it had been a joke.
It’s been two decades since that event and now I know: it wasn’t a joke. My mother had been serious. But I had called her out on it in front of my father, which meant if she didn’t take control of the narrative, she’d have to answer to him. No, Dad wasn’t abusive, but he didn’t tolerate bullshit and my mother knew it. So rather than face that, she decided to both victim blame and gaslight me.
Which is exactly what the Grand Nagus is doing. He isn’t being sarcastic. He’s trying like hell to gaslight us, and he’s trying to rewrite the narrative to make himself look better, just like every other abuser out there.
Just like my mother did almost twenty four years ago. Only this time, I can see it for what it truly is.
*My mother kept my checkbook; I was only to use it to pay bills. If I kept it for too long and spent any of my own money that she didn’t like, she’d take it away from me. For all I know, this may have been a form of financial abuse disguised as compassion but I really can’t be certain.
**At the time, I convinced myself that things were still okay between the two of us; several weeks later, he dropped by to see me and two hundred dollars that I had in my savings jar disappeared. I asked him about it, he denied it, I almost gaslit myself into believing that I had miscounted… then he brought himself a new, two hundred dollar subwoofer for his car. He also stopped coming by. Do the math; it adds up to something pretty awful.