Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group of people makes someone question their own sanity, worth, perception of reality, or memories. People experiencing it often feel confused, anxious, and unable to trust themselves.
Many women across the globe witness gaslighting every day. Sadly, gaslighting doesn’t leave any visible wounds and hence, our society accepts it as a normal form of behavior. Though gaslighting may not be leaving visible wounds, it does cause extreme pain like any physical abuse.
Gaslighting may cause people to distrust themselves and feel scared, vulnerable, and unworthy. Gaslighting often develops gradually, making it difficult for a person to detect and that’s the reason why it is increasing at such a rampant pace.
Before we discuss how English Vinglish is a perfect example of a woman’s journey to overcome gaslighting in the marriage, here are some examples that show what gaslighting includes:
“Stop being oversensitive! It is normal!” “You never remember things accurately,” or “are you sure? You have a bad memory.” “I never said so! You keep making things up to blame me for your mistakes!” “This is just a figment of your imagination. I don’t need to answer your ridiculous questions.” ”Who will trust you? People will call you irrational or crazy if you tell them how your loving husband abuses you”!
While many Bollywood films have explored physical and emotional abuse but Gauri Shinde’s ‘English Vinglish’ focuses on the most prevalent kind of emotional abuse in our marriages.
In the movie, Sridevi plays the character of Shashi, a homemaker who also runs a small laddoo business. Even though her husband, Satish, is a well-educated, romantic, and charming person, there are hidden behavioral aspects in his character. Our society fails to understand how a man who doesn’t hit his wife or doesn’t shout at her can abuse her!
As per various sources, there are gaslighters who are always ‘nice’ to their victims but are as dangerous as abusers who directly intimidate their victims.
Though Satish did not hit or shout at his wife, he still managed to make her feel unworthy. From cracking constant jokes on her inability to communicate in English to making her feel less, Satish filled this warm, funny, and compassionate character with self-doubts. She is made to believe that she doesn’t deserve respect and love. She becomes so tired of being a constant embarrassment to her family that she signs up for English-speaking classes.
During the process of learning the English language, she also learns an important lesson about valuing herself. She starts appreciating her culinary skills, her intelligence, her laddoo business, her beauty, her open-mindedness, and her passion.
As there are millions of women who are victims of gaslighting, we hope they would soon understand their value and decide to take a stand against it. Each one of us deserves a life of dignity and respect, irrespective of our flaws!