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Gaslighting in a Case of Elder Abuse

  • College of Mental Health Counseling


This is a personal acccount and an partial history.
Gaslighting in aCase ofElder Abuse
Gaslighting in aCase ofElder Abuse
by Daniel Keeran, MSW
Usually for financial or psychological gain, gaslighting occurs when there is an effort to
manipulate the person, on this case an elder or senior age 72, to think there is something
wrong with his mind or that he is becoming mentally unstable. Elders are especially
vulnerable and medical professional can easily become unknowing participants.
It is normal to repeat the conflict of the parental marriage. For example, I witnessed my
mother being mean to my father, and so I resented her. Partly perhaps, in order to cope he
would go for long walks. I directed this resentment to my wife and wanted to destroy her.
One night after drinking two beers, I went to bed and turned off the lights. Earlier in the day I
had agreed to initiate conversation five times during the day and had not done so even
once. In the dark, she came up the stairs and began making accusations and insults and
then came beside me in the bed. She reached forward, turned on the lamp, and then picked
up the heavy tiffany lamp and toppled over the bedside table. I shouted, “What are you
doing!” and then quickly picked up the table and replaced the shelves and contents that had
fallen out. I then climbed back into bed.
Then she jumped on top of me with a grin and began to take off the sheet. I had shorts on. I
punched her twice on her left cheek and she only grinned. Then she stood beside me with
her arms extended out to her sides. I hugged her and tried to move past her to go into the
washroom. She blocked my path, grabbed my privates, and we struggled physically. It was
then that I thought she had been drinking too much, and I thought she was ruining our
family with alcohol, so I wanted her out of the house and kicked her down to the first landing
which was about four steps.
We have been living as single people, living separately in the same house. We have
separate bedrooms and watch the evening news until bedtime at about 8 p.m. I prepare my
own meals, and she is welcome to any food in the fridge. Her life is about organizing
homeschooling for the grandchildren and doing childcare.
My life is writing and expressing what is important to me and things I think about. Something
I realized lately is that people live longer who have positive thoughts about people.
Part of the way I cope is by trying to understand why people have certain behaviours. I think
my spouse struggles with chronic negativity, and this has also been true of her three
siblings, (all estranged from her; she is second of four, with an older sister, a younger
brother, and a younger sister) and her father who had explosive anger and verbalized
extreme self-deprecation while her mother gave rejecting messages, communicating that
she never wanted children. I tend to excuse my wife by seeing her as a victim of genetic
inheritance and parental modeling. In this way, I have more self support to let go of anger
although it can come out at times as described above.
After I went to police and reported the above incident, police arrested her, and she now
seeks revenge by sending me harassing negative emails and by seeking scans of my brain
that showed no abnormalities, asking me if I have thought I may be demon-possessed and
whether I would be open to exorcism, and saying the doctor has stated to her that the
dementia testing nurse, who did not know the brain scans were normal, reported that testing
showed frontal lobe abnormalities.
I may call police today, not to make charges but to document the gaslighting, so that a
history is written.
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