Primary Lesson for Teens: Gaslighting
Technical definition - manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity
My definition - your feelings are wrong and you are mental
(Or, see my own little diagram below - apologies for my handwriting!)
Gaslighting is a very common tool in abusive relationships (romantic and otherwise) and is a very effective means of manipulation and control.
EG. 1 from MAFS: Sam strolling in like it was nothing after going MIA for 5 days and missing his honeymoon. Note that not only did he attempt to use his charm and confidence to convince Elizabeth that it was "nothing"; the performance was also for the group. He successfully roped in at least one of the men to this narrative who then colluded with him to convince Elizabeth that she was overreacting. That's a common feature of gaslighters: they convince the victim, people around them and even themselves that their version of reality is right and the other person is psycho. Note how little time it took for Elizabeth to start to doubt herself. Now imagine that she really was married to him, loved him, had kids with him etc. Imagine that she was alone and not at a dinner party and on TV.
EG. 2 from MAFS: Ines' performance the episode before. I've already been over this but the gaslighting element is: "no, I didn't launch an unreasonable, frightening and abusive tirade against you, I was stressed by the boat and you made me more stressed". And "By the way, you're just a filthy stripper" so who cares? The experts have helped her out here too by saying "she's very blunt." This is minimising. What she is at this present moment, is abusive.
Secondary Lesson for all of us: grab some rescue dogs and go live in a cabin in the hills; there is no hope for humanity.
Love, Nelly x