GASLIGHTING: The Movie That Should Make You Shudder

Gaslighting

GASLIGHTING is a twenty minute film packed with a raw and candid look into the true-life story of a teenage girl named Brooke, played by Hannah Walters, who has suffered sexual abuse as a child. In just a short twenty minutes, her whole life unfolds. With a mother who is caught in a domestically violent relationship and rearing three other children, Brooke is often left in the care of questionable adults who use her compliance and fear to their advantage. The child welfare system continually fails her. Held silent in mental fear, she is victim blamed by teachers, her own mother and a court judge. In essence, for Brooke, there is no safe place.

If this film makes you cringe, cover your eyes, gasp or even cry then you are one of the good ones. This movie is a raw depiction about how a child protection system, justice system, parents, teachers and caregivers continually fail children who have been abused.

GASLIGHTING is a perfect example of what society must fix in order to bring about change in our world. This movie is a reminder that the planetary social construct can no longer ignore the horrors being wrought upon the most innocent of its inhabitants, our children.

Children deserve to have a safe space. Children deserve care, love and protection. GASLIGHTING will remind you of something incredibly important. That teenager you can’t stand, who you think is so horrible, is most likely in even more emotional pain. Beneath their sullen silence, the lashing out, the self-harm and inability to communicate, is a child needing someone to listen to them tell us why they are broken.

As a survivor of sexual abuse I can assure you that this ripping of innocence shatters the very core of a child. I am a firm supporter of anyone working with children being required to go through an intensive course on recognizing the signs of child abuse. GASLIGHTING should be added to the list of required viewing.

Anger is not a base emotion. Pain is. Anger is the projection of that emotion. When you see anger you are really seeing pain.

Watch GASLIGHTING here:

Gaslighting

Please support  GASLIGHTING by leaving a review or donating to the work involved in utilizing this film for global education.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

She Cannot Watch

 

She cannot watch this world with it’s lack of concern. She cannot watch humans share stories of horror before they click the channel to another station. Satiation. Satiation. Bring the brain to another dimension. Escape the images. Babies dying. Children crying. Mother’s weeping. Father’s gone flat. This is the aftermath of a planet turned cold.

This is real chemical warfare, when the DNA sitting inside of the body no longer has a voice; when it has become robotic, static and unconcerned with the burdens carried by the most innocent of her species, the children. This earth is seeping and shaking in flight, preparing to sling forward, and so she draws her sword. She straps on metal boots to stay rooted in place. She slices through aggravation and loss. She beheads egotistical diatribe and places aside ignorance with intellectual rhymes.

Everything they hear goes in one echoed ear and through the rear of the skull where everything’s gone numb; where smart has become the new dumb, because the last book read was forced in high school and current events are spread from digital non-evidence.

Opinions carry more weight these days than facts. Belief has become an actual thing as if it is valid so the cabals tally up tithes to set aside for parties with children whose eyes have gone hopeless with the knowing that nobody’s listening to their silence scream. There is hope left still inside of her; that in the depths of the crying, they will know help is coming.

No one hears them because the masses are adhered to the harmonic tone of their own voices, bounced back onto them from their blinders, and they become so tightly bound inside of their illusions that their sensibilities drown.

She will ride high on invisible steeds with chariots of good deeds, boundary lines clearly defined and fight stalwart battles, until generations of trauma have been healed. One life at a time. No child left behind. One step. One wound bandaged,  then a chance to become accustomed to the scars left from being ravaged.

You sleepers and your habits have left the vulnerable tattered. So, she waits. She watches. She listens to the clock’s tick tock as time comes in waves. There’s a storm rising. Can you hear the quiet? When it explodes, everything you know will change, and you will never again be the same.

M7

The Outhouse and a Sears Magazine

When I was a child growing up on Sam Fife’s cult compound in Alaska, we did not have electricity or plumbing. As a result, we used the bathroom in chamber pots and outhouses. We also did not have toilet paper. Our toilet paper was often a Sears magazine with anything that wasn’t “proper” for us to see torn out of it.

We would rip out a couple of pages, sitting bare butted on top of a wooden hole, softening the glossy paper with our hands so that we could wipe as gently as possible.

I also had a severe fear that a demon would rise from the pile of human manure and snatch me down into the outhouse hole.

It was here, that I would find the toy sections of the magazine, and I would see what all the of the kids outside of the compound were getting to play with. These toys were considered evil commodities for they fed the wants and desires of the flesh; to want to play and enjoy doing it. For all “play” and attention should be only on God and what he wanted for our lives.

Yet, they left those pages in the magazine for us children to have to use as toilet paper after stealing a few seconds to dream of what could be.

So I used these pages to clean my body, dropping them to float down into a mound of lime covered feces, urine and other, already melting pages.

Your face crinkles as you read this.

Gross“, you say.

Yes. The smell covers you, rancid and fuming, even with the lime to help counter it.

When we finally got toilet paper around 1981, it was rationed. Families were given toilet paper rolls based on how many people were in their family. Then the toilet paper roll itself was rationed.

One square for number one and two squares for number two.”

The rule of thumb in regards to the use of toilet paper.

We live in this society who doesn’t understand what’s it’s like to be without even the smallest of things like toilet paper and baby wipes, diapers and showers, toilets that flush and electricity; even the freedom to be exactly who we want to be if we so choose.

Toilet meditations often reveal a lot.

I’m grateful as fuck for toilet paper and toilets that flush. Not because of third world countries who don’t have them, but because I lived a third world childhood in a first world country that was and still is so focused on third world issues that the citizens of America never pay attention to the horror children endure here in their own camp.

and for the most part, they still aren’t.

I’m done dealing with humans who claim co-consciousness and oneness or follow religions that claim to be based out of love yet are the same people supporting things like hitting children. They call it discipline. I call it abuse that damages the spinal column.

Oh, that’s just science. What do they know… unless you’re dying. Then you care about science.

Yes, I’m talking directly to you.

How can anyone be love in any way while at the same time finding a reason to support hitting, neglecting or harming the most innocent and defenseless humans on the planet?

This oxymoron of take and shut down are like gnats.

I realized today in a big way, how much humans are stuck in duality; how they think they know all, and yet, if they silenced themselves to listen, if they read the voices of us survivors who have written out our experiences, they would understand how deeply they must open their minds in order to truly bring this planet to a place of peace.

They’d understand why people like me, are grateful for toilet paper, why we fight against mind control and shorten our allowance arena.

Until you’ve lived with nothing. Until you’ve carried the scars of a shattered sacrum from too many childhood spankings, memories of outhouses and dumping chamber pots into potty dump holes, working through aching bones, untreated split skin and bruises, you can’t know. You lived a life of electricity, television and secular luxuries like getting to go to grocery stores.

Until you’ve had that all stripped from you and lived wiping yourself with magazine pages holding treasures you can never have, oh, dears, you cannot know. You can only accept and ask yourself why you can’t open your mind to care.

Be grateful for toilet paper.

Growth Sometimes Comes In Small Packages

It’s been a long run with me being a parent. I was a young mother at twenty. The parenting skills I knew, I acquired from my own mother, and well, anyone who has read “Cult Child” knows that her parenting skills were sub par.

There were things I hoped I would never do; like make mistakes. No one ever told me that was okay. No one ever told me that I was a flawed human being.

My eldest son went straight into parenthood at a young age. He is a warrior child, and while his personality is… Virgo, fact based, ready to make a move and sometimes difficult, I admire the tenacity with which he figures out supporting his family.

This is where I feel I failed as a mother. I didn’t have the best of life skills in my earlier days and because of that, my eldest especially, suffered with the same.

When his little daughter was born last week, 6 weeks before time, just a mere 3.5lbs, in the ICU, but doing so well, nothing in the past mattered for me. We sprung into action. I realize that while I cannot do everything, like be a nanny, I can be the best YaYa to these beautiful grandchildren and support my family emotionally while still maintaining my own mental health boundaries.

We are growing. I am learning. My sons are teaching me that I have to let go; that I will always be mom and they will be brothers who have secrets and moments in which I am not included. That hurts sometimes, triggering me back to being a child on the cult, shunned for some infraction. Yet, I bring my critical thinking into the forefront and remember that this is not the same. This is two brothers loving each other, and they deserve that special bond.

In this experience, through help from friends and my counselor, I’m learning my place as mom; that I cannot fix everything. I cannot rescue everyone. I can support without exhausting myself. That is my responsibility to maintain.

I am thankful today for these lessons, and I take them with me, adding to my infinite growth.

Why You Shouldn’t Stand In Front Of a Runaway Train

When my eldest son was in his early teens, he loved his trick bikes and was quite good at jumping hills. We’d go out to the dirt bike jumps before the days of cemented skate parks. I was adamant about helmets, elbow pads and knee pads.

OMG, mom. I look stupid!” He’d say.

He’d put them on, but just like I changed clothes after I left the house as a teenager, he took off his uncool protective gear when he was out of my eyesight too.

Then one day he bit it. Jamming down a hill, peddling his heart out, he crashed, straight into the gravel. His arms were like mincemeat, his face scraped up, and he was injured quite seriously.

I might have said I told you so, but more, I nursed his wounds, with pillows propped under his gauze covered arms, I felt so bad for my kiddo’s pain. Now, as a father, he requires his children to wear protective gear.  Experiences like that aren’t forgotten. 

There’s a saying; something about not standing in front of someone else’s firing squad. I think on that tonight. No matter how I explained to my son about head injuries and what could happen to him if he didn’t wear protective gear, what mattered most to him was looking cool to his friends and fitting in where he felt comfortable. He still has scars from that accident.

Life experience has taught me a harsh but valuable lesson. If someone is standing in front of a train, don’t attempt to push them out of the way. I’m not talking about suicide here. I am talking about life situations.

I am an outspoken Empath. I see much. One of the difficult parts of owning this state of being is remembering that even when I can see what is coming for someone, I have to let them have their own experience.  Sometimes we have to just let the train wreck and decide whether we want to be a part of the cleanup crew.    

By the way, that doesn’t mean you should let your kids ride bikes without protective gear.

When situations arise in adult relationships sometimes it’s best to step back, float up to an observational space and assess from all perspectives. I have to accept that sharing my experiences, information, insight and perspective doesn’t guarantee someone’s protection, because they may choose to reject it or even interpret it as judgment so they don’t have to accept any truth in it.  I know this mindset because I’ve lived it.  There have been many times I placed my ethics aside, just to have what I wanted, made myself believe it was good for me, then paid dearly in the end.  

I was in an abusive relationship many years ago.  It didn’t happen right away.  There’s always the love bombing stage.  For some narcissists this can be years.  My self esteem had waned to nearly nothing, and I convinced myself that this man would be good to me, was just working on growing himself, and so I dove in.  

Months later, after being choked in an elevator, running for my life, having my head slammed repeatedly against a wall as my helpless younger, pre-teen son stood by, my then partner was finally arrested. 

I received a phone call from the assistant district attorney. 

Do you know his record?” She asked me. 

I replied that I didn’t.  

Ah, well let’s see, pimping and pandering and kidnapping.”  She read the former charges he’d been incarcerated for. 

I asked him about them when I accepted his collect call from jail. He had an explanation; an ex-girlfriend who just had it out for him and since he was a guy, he got stuck with the charges.  

Ah.” I thought.  “How messed up they did that to him.”

Need I remind you that I had been choked, beaten and exposed my child to domestic violence just weeks earlier?  This is the depth of a narcissistic mind controller. 

I went to court on his behalf,  because you see, I was the One.  He was going to change for me.  I asked the judge to grant him counseling because, well, he just had anger issues. My abuser.  I stood and pled HIS case.  

Not my case.

Not my kid’s case.

His.

He didn’t win and was incarcerated.  I was at the prison doors when he was released.  I took him back.  News flash.  He continued to abuse me until I finally left.  Fled would be a better word.  I fled. 

I sat and listened to a domestic violence counselor, who the assistant district attorney asked to call me, beg me not to be with this individual. 

They never change, girl. Not the narcissism that comes with being a pimp, ex or not.  It’s in their DNA.”

Still I didn’t listen, believing that I was the one who would be special.  There is no telling where I would be or what would have happened had I not finally gained the courage to leave and never look back. 

I ponder now on those days understanding that this time in my life was extremely indicative of how I viewed myself.  I assess my life now, and what I still must rid in order to continue growing and becoming better as a human being.   I know my worth.  I am in control of me.  I say when, where and how.   I stand on my feet.  No one will ever abuse me again.  There is only one chance to see the signs of narcissistic behavior in a potential partner, and I am a ghost. 

I must always realize where I am in this life’s journey, focusing inward and ask myself the question I am asking myself every day.

Is this situation/relationship/friendship contributing to my greater good?”

Every situation can contribute to our good if we choose the path which yields fruit. 

Born Crazy: A Video Poem

You’re crazy.”

How often have you heard this phrase thrown around, either flippantly, in jest or to victim blame someone who has overcome or is recovering from abuse?

I heard this often as a post-cult teenager and well into my adult years. While I was actually dealing with the behavioral aftermath of being an extremely abused child, instead of receiving support, caring and nurturing I was told that I was crazy. When a child is told enough times that they’re mind is insane, we begin to believe it.

This poetry piece is from my spoken word album, Dusted Shelves, which is available on Amazon in paperback and c.d. Written in 2013, it is a representation of a life by which I was conditioned to believe that I was crazy.

Some abuse survivor work is considered to be dark and oddly psychotic. This piece would fall under that theme.

**Trigger Warning for those who are sensitive to these themes**

Born Crazy

This Day Always Leaves Lumps In the Throats of Some

I am recalled to this video piece, Throat Lumps, linked below, from my poetry book, Dusted Shelves, that on days which celebrate the essence of love, my heart sits silently with the unloved; the child who has never felt a hug, the ones neglected and the humans dejected by lack of connection or touch.  Don’t fake love.  It is not something to give or take.  It is a state of being.  It is who you are in your heart which makes your character.  My tribe consists of all humans who understand the suffering of those who are triggered back to pain on days like these.

Throat Lumps

What Happens To Good, Non-Religious People When They Die?

I asked a religious man once what happens when someone is a really good person, never hurts anyone, is kind and giving, but they don’t believe in God? What happens to them when they die?

Although I knew what the answer would most likely be, based on my own knowledge of religious doctrine, I was curious to see what his answer was.

“Unfortunately,” he replied, “they cannot get into the Kingdom of Heaven, because the only way into the Kingdom is to accept Jesus into your heart.

I feel dejected nonetheless. I was swept back into the past, a little girl riddled with fear of never being good enough for a man named God, a man who watched me always, with eyes that could see every move I made.

How better to control a human, than to make them believe that there is a celestial camera on them at all times, recording, taking notes, shelving and categorizing their actions, and the records will be used after they die so that the evidence of their life can be examined for qualification to get a ticket to Heaven,

Or a damnation to hell.

There’s a grief that sweeps through me as I observe the masses, arguing and killing each other over invisible ghosts and legends, old scrolls and dust riddled stories.

As the invisible eye watches the scattering, robotic human beings, earth and rock crumble from too much drilling, children cry, praying to the sky for daddy to stop touching them and mommy to stop yelling, for a meal that isn’t mixed with clay, a pair of shoes, not being forced to fold their hands to pray or a chance to play without hearing the sounds of war.

I stand riveted, holding onto hope that maybe we’re close to the end of suffering and the beginning of loving, but then I pass a street corner where parents force their children to stand with signs telling of the end of times,

And I cry, because tears are coming in sporatic waves these days, a hovering fog whispering the screams of the depraved.

My Journey into Disbelief

I was born into this world doctrine free. My father was an agnostic lover of physics, and while my mother was raised Pentecostal Christian, she neither practiced the religion nor incorporated religion into our home. However, when my father started working on military projects which kept him away from home for sometimes weeks, my mother became open prey for a cult recruiter who so infused herself into my mother’s life that at three years old, I was forced into the extremist Christianity written about in my memoir, “Cult Child”.

As a child and into adulthood there was a constant war going on inside of me. This conflicted feeling existed naturally in me, both while living in the cult and transitioning into mainstream society as a teenager. My instinct was telling me that this Christian belief system was not authentic, but fear of a place called Hell held me inside of the belief system well into my early twenties.

While attending college in the early 90’s, I read “The Witching Hour” by Anne Rice. This book ignited something in me. There were traits in Ms. Rice’s characters which felt familiar to me; traits such as hypersensitivity and the ability to feel what others were feeling; seeing into people, and there were memories of my childhood which surfaced after reading the book. Because the cult sequestered me so far away from society, my hunger for knowledge delved me deeper into supernatural subjects.

I wavered for a while, still gripped at times by the fear of not believing in God and being sent to live with the demons in hell. I also found that I turned to Christianity when things didn’t go right in my life hoping that if I just believed more, things would change for me. When that did not happen, I explored deeper into paganism, pulling out pieces of my European historical roots. It was during this time I felt I was starting to put my fragmented existence back together.

Paganism led me to Santeria, a short study of Voodoo, Satanism and Shamanism. I curiously peeked into Mormonism and what the Muslims believed. I explored mainly for knowledge, thirsting to know all of the different paths which existed; paths I never was allowed to discover on my own. I delved into my Cherokee history and my connection to nature and the planet. I stuck my toes into Yogi and Osho, checked out the Buddha and jumped on the awakening and oneness trains. Yet, something interesting was happening to me.

I was definitely awakening. I was waking up to myself. Thirty years after being taken into a cult and losing all of my identity through an indoctrination which restricted my critical thinking, I regained my mind, deprogrammed myself and realized that I actually did not need a belief system which involved group think. In fact, to be who I am, I did not need a belief system at all.

So who am I? I am a non-believer who doesn’t worship anything or anyone. I journeyed deeply into disbelief, and what I found there was my free and clear mind. What I found inside of disbelieving was a knowing that empathy is inside of my DNA, not my belief system. For me, there is no reason to wonder where I came from or where I am going, but instead to be present inside of what I am doing right now, being mindful to the needs of others and defining my own boundaries of self love. In this space is a peace that no belief system has ever brought me.

Life Is Serious

I do so love to laugh. I love cynical, dry humor. I’m your “Running With Scissors” or “Mary and Max” type gal. Give me a dysfunction giggle any day. I get it all the way.

In the midst of laughter I feel a seriousness settled into me. I don’t have time to play around. That is not to be confused with not having time to play. I just don’t have time to waste.

There is no available brain space for saucy bullshit dramas, games or power struggles, wars with others or anything less than true seriousness in regards to life changes I have made and where I intend to go.

To know where I come from even as an adult, is to understand the totality of the word change for me.

I am engaged in news which matters to me, as parents continue to abuse and indoctrinate. I can’t turn my eyes away from the children. They linger. They will be in power when I am aged. What a thrill it would be to pass dimensions with knowing a group of them have their shit together.

I don’t feel passive.
Time is passing.
Life feels serious.

They are hurting. They own my heart.

and maybe that’s why its never fully available to give away to anyone else.