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Anna Kendrick's (of Pitch Perfect fame) recent relationship is a good case study to understand gaslighting.
Recently she was the guest on a popular podcast called Armchair Expert where she talks about her experiences. If we look at certain statements that she makes we can learn a little more about what it’s like to fall foul of this in a relationship.
Was Anna Kendrick a Gaslighting Victim?
In short, the answer is yes, Anna Kendrick was the victim of gaslighting. In a nutshell, gaslighting is when someone makes you question your reality. This can be because of a refusal to communicate or by lying to you and misrepresenting the past.
Anna Kendrick starts sharing her experiences of being in a toxic relationship roughly 28 minutes into the podcast and states that the person she was involved with was “For all intensive purposes, my husband” and that “things were happening in her house” –
She also stated:
“I talked about it with some friends, but with him, I couldn’t talk about it”.
Anna goes on to talk about how six years into the relationship it’s beginning to fall apart, and that she tells her brother “I’m living with a stranger”.
This leads us to her next statement,
“Like, I don't know what's happening, and I felt so confused and it's kind of funny now but I remember driving and being so like what is going on? – Who is this person that's living in our house and thinking, oh, maybe he has a brain tumor?”
This is a classic coping strategy, finding a rationalization of why our partner’s behavior is this way can help our minds process it – but it’s not healthy in the long run.
Anna talks more about another potential girl that her partner had feelings for but whenever she brings up talking to her partner about this it devolves into him screaming at her until she “curled up into a ball and sobbing”.
She then discusses how they tried to reconcile their relationship with therapy, and over time she realizes that her partner is ashamed of what he’s done. She also mentions that her being compassionate and loving only made his behavior worse, because this dismantles the narrative of her being an awful person.
It’s very common for victims of abusive relationships and gaslighting to believe that they are the sole reason for their partner's behavior.
In the end, she reflects that she felt shame for not leaving the relationship sooner. It took her over a year to realize that there was no getting the man she fell in love with back. She remarks that it was a very sudden change in his behavior after six years and not a “frog in boiling water situation”.
Shame, and feeling like we’re not worthy of the love we deserve, can keep us in horrendous and unhealthy relationships.
Final Thoughts on Gaslighting
Anna Kendrick's experiences will most likely strongly resonate with anyone who has ever been a victim of gaslighting over a prolonged period of time.
Gaslighting is a very tricky and emotionally abusive technique employed by people – and not always consciously.
We have all kinds of resources available to learn more – such as the different types, some examples of 37 examples of phrases that gaslighters use, and gaslighting quotes.
Finally, here are 15 ways you can turn the tables on a gaslighter in your life.