He curls half-atop Master’s leg, half on the edge of the bed, with the night light shining out a reassuring orange glow, like the street lamps at – his other home. There is a solid, secure arm around his waist and a light finger touching points up his arm. This game always brings him back, when the bad memories come in the dark. Master’s warmth and the familiar hands on him.
Ellis rests his head on Master’s shoulder, his bare arms moved over like a code to be read. After a moment, Master pauses on a mark.
“Rule one,” Ellis says without prompting. “I didn’t listen after a nightmare.”
The nightmares still happen, much less now, and never when he’s with Master. He has them when he’s away, but there’s nothing he can do about them then.
The finger trails on, between burns on a winding path to his elbow. On the tip of the bone it rests for a moment.
“Rule eight. I didn’t tell you what happened while you were gone.”
If the nightmares weren’t real, there would be some other explanation. He knew what Nic thought it would be. What Iz and Rozen and Felicity thought. But it doesn’t make sense. They don’t know Master like he does.
The gentle finger brushes briefly over one mark, rule six, and comes to rest on another. “Rule nine. I flinched.”
Many of the marks are for flinching, or not leaning in, or holding stiffly in a hug instead of hugging back. Even with the other people who hug him, it feels wrong now, not to melt into them obediently and nuzzle into their neck to make them happy. He catches himself doing it.
The dry pad of Master’s finger chafes over a mark near his wrist and Ellis knows it by heart. “Rule two. I asked to go outside.”
A mistake he had only made once.
“Rule five. I talked in my sleep.”
He remembers the pain.
There’s never anything more to add for rule six.
The touch stops and sits over a mark on his spine.
Always and only—
It didn’t feel as good and simple and true as it used to.
He wished he could remember how the nightmares started. He knows they started before Master came, in the week Nic was away. He had at least one, maybe more, whenever that was. He had more when he was in the cupboard, and lots in the first few months as he learned to be good and control himself with the rules. But he couldn’t remember how he had started having them. What had he done to make it begin to happen? They didn’t make much sense but they were so hard to pick through when they were so…overwhelming.
But he’s heard Rozen wonder about them aloud, and he can use that.
“May I ask a question, please, Master?”
Master is so generous. Ellis already feels guilty for what he’s about to ask.
“Master, how…do I leave here, to hurt people? People outside the house?”
There’s a heavy pause as Master looks down at him, cool blue eyes soaking in all of Ellis’s pale, withdrawn expression. No guilt-trip is needed; he’s already on one, wondering how he could be so ungrateful to the man who had protected him and others from him.
“I don’t pretend to know how it works,” Master replies eventually. “That’s why it took us so long to find a solution. Locking you up, tying you down, blindfolding you – all of those things were to see if that would work, but they did not. The rules didn’t work either, without the marks.”
He remembers that well. There were so many horrible things about his first few weeks with Master, taking him from locked up tight to freely roaming the house as he grew more controllable. The more he gave in, the safer he was, and the fewer people got hurt.
That’s the way it’s always worked. Whether it is him who hurts others, or someone else who hurts people because Ellis is bad, the result is the same. His nightmares are real people; he’s known for sure that ever since he saw Nic’s scars. The nightmares are real people getting hurt, and they get hurt less if he is good.
Rozen thinks it’s Master, in the nightmares. But Master has never been violent without reason. Master wouldn’t need the excuse of a fictional transgression to hurt Ellis. If he wanted to, he could just do it. Nobody could stop him.
It’s a sign of his love that he doesn’t abuse that power.
“Thank you, Master,” Ellis says softly. “I’m…thinking too much.”
Fingers comb through his hair and Ellis instinctively relaxes. He’s not in trouble for his impertinent question. “Not to worry, sweet thing. Just rest. You have permission to sleep.”
Oh, it’s been a day or two since he had that. Ellis smiles to show his gratitude, resting his head down on Master’s shoulder and releasing all tension from his body.
have u ever been in so much emotional pain to the point where ur chest starts to hurt and it feels hard to breathe because ur brain is in so much agony to the point where it manifests that pain into physicality to cope with how much it hurts
"It's likely that you've heard the word “gaslighting” before. It's been used in clinical and therapeutic settings for decades to describe a distinct form of psychological manipulation, but has seen a stark rise in usage outside the health-care arena in recent years. In 2018, Oxford Dictionaries named gaslighting one of its most popular words of the year, and since then, the word has seen a steady increase as a search term on Google.
But according to psychotherapists, its rise in usage is also marked by a rise in incorrect usage, which is contributing to confusion about what gaslighting actually means. According to Robin Stern, PhD, co-founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of The Gaslight Effect, gaslighting is “the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them, or their feelings.”
A recent example of a widely consumed misuse of the word gaslighting came when Bachelorette star Katie Thurston offered her definition of the word while describing how she believed contestant Grep Grippo treated her during their onscreen relationship. “Gaslighting is when you try to make someone else feel like it’s their fault,” Thurston said during a taped special following the show's finale episode on August 9."
Belos DEFINITELY takes advantage of his mask to gaslight Hunter... Only saving his physical abuse, his ‘nasty side’ for when he’s wearing the mask, only scarring Hunter when he’s transformed by the curse. So that when Belos DOES remove the mask and present himself as a kindly old man, Hunter is conditioned to see this visage as his elderly uncle who loves and cares for him!
There’s a reason for the dissonance the viewer feels between masked Belos, and unmasked Belos... And he definitely weaponize that against Hunter- With the ‘Emperor’ practically being a completely different person... Which causes Hunter to dissociate Belos from the abuse he inflicts, and makes it easier for the kid to excuse his uncle, because that’s not really him...
That’s just the evil masked monster- Hunter is conditioned to feel safe and relieved when the mask is off, and conversely be terrified and subservient when Belos’ face is exposed. It’s like an on/off switch that Belos can flip at any moment, and allows him to be downright contradictory in his actions;
Because Hunter practically sees the abuser and his uncle as two different people, and the mask just cements these separate images in his head, each exclusive to a person- There is no crossover between the two, and I imagine Belos takes great care to keep these ‘personas’ separate from one another, so it’s even harder for Hunter to make that connection between them as one and the same.
THE DISABLED DOCTORS NOT BELIEVED BY THEIR COLLEAGUES - BBC ARTICLE
This article is harrowing. This is the experience of a doctor with a chronic illness, how, how the HELL are we supposed to, how the hell are we supposed to get treatment and be treated seriously when this is what actual members of the medical community come up against?
This is how they think of us.
I told him I couldn't do schoolwork, feel the cold, or understand a book. He suggested I go on walks if I was stressed.
This breakdown in communication, in which patient and doctor seem to live in different worlds, is well-documented by disabled people. Many feel they have to translate their experience, because disability and medical structures seem incompatible.
"I remember, even as a med student, having the vocabulary to explain what I was going through but feeling like I had hit a brick wall," she says. "I actually didn't know how to describe it."
"If I said the word 'pain' [colleagues] took it as coded language for 'I'm lazy' and 'I can't do my work'.
"They would challenge my reality," she says, something which led her to conceal her symptoms. "I felt like everything I shared was going to be weaponized against me. They would say 'you walked two days ago so why can't you walk today?' Almost like they caught me in a lie.
"The baseline understanding of what it means to be disabled is not there."
Disabled people make up about 20% of the population in the UK and US but only 2% of British and American doctors.
”It's completely baffling to me how we can expect patients to respect us when we won't even believe what they're telling us.”
..medical experts often perceive disabled patients as incapable, unreliable, and emotionally unstable, leading clinicians to "downgrade the credibility" of what disabled patients say.
"I wish medical students were taught to be open to information disabled patients provide," she says. "It's okay for a medical student or doctor to admit that they don't have the answer. That's so much more helpful than gaslighting the patient."
As a disability activist who's proud of being disabled, there's a vocabulary of identity that I can't use with doctors,
With a disabled doctor I wouldn't have to explain so much because we're speaking the same language," they say. "My care outcomes would be so much better because I would be understood."
Don't engage abusers. They thrive off of argument and making you flustered. You will not convince them to see your side. You will not convince them to consider the possibility that they could possibly be wrong.
[Video description: The intro to Drake's "Know Yourself" used as audio, with the two captions, "I held him while he cried bc he felt bad for r4p1ng me" ... "I held HIM while HE cried bc he felt bad for R4P1NG ME"]
We have to talk about why this happens, because the exact same thing happened to me, and then happened again and again.
A certain kind of man, who often lurks on alternative scenes or maintains a "misfit," not-like-the-other-guys image, has a grand love affair with a particular fact: While many men still feel unable to cry because it is emasculating, demeaning, or otherwise beneath them, many women advocate for men being free to cry. This certain man understands that women feel rewarded when their male partner cries in front of them, because it means that their partner feels like they can be vulnerable with them. That's how a relationship should be. That's why it's rewarding.
This certain man will use this to manipulate his partner at every turn. The "sensitive guy" is just a mask for an abusive, destructive demon.
So, when a woman confronts this man about something he did that hurt her, he will break down and throw the blame back in her face: Now, he is the one who is hurting, he is the one who is in need of comfort. Unfortunately, as above, women will freely give him such comfort, because she feels blessed to have a man that will cry in front of her, but she also feels horrible for apparently being the reason that he is crying.
My first boyfriend did this exact thing to me-- He even admitted that he heard me saying, "No, stop," and then proceeded to sob apologies between stuttering, "It just felt so good, I don't know what's wrong with me." And I held him and cooed comforting words to him because I was honored that he felt like he could cry in front of me, but I felt like I belonged in hell for making him cry.
My next boyfriend used this to stop me from talking about my experiences with the first one. I worked up the courage to tell him what had happened to me, and he started wailing, tears rolling down his face. I was confused, and I told him I really appreciated his empathy, and he said, "No, no, it's just-- Please don't talk about what you've done with other men. I can't bare the thought of you in bed with someone else. It makes me sick to think about it. Please, stop."
I know I should have felt offended, to say the least. It wasn't like I was gushing on about how great sex was with another guy-- I was trying to inform him of a traumatizing experience that would impact our relationship in obvious ways. He still sexualized it, and viewed it as something to be jealous of, and when he shut me up about it using his tears, I ate it up. I comforted him and told him how sorry I was for bringing it up. It took me years to realize how wrong and backwards that was, even after I learned that that man had a rape fantasy... which would explain why he was jealous.
Yes, men need to learn that it's okay to cry. We need to be so far removed from that facet of masculinity that it is absurd to think about; it should become another old, historical norm that modern people can't believe was ever common. Men need to be able to express themselves in a natural, nondestructive way. The issue here is that, as we try to move towards that, we have an ugly dichotomy of men: The man who gives in to masculinity, views crying as feminine and therefore beneath him, inadvertently demonstrating that he views females as beneath him; and a man who sees that women are trying to extend their empathy to men, and takes full, unabashed advantage of them for it.
I learned recently, while researching gaslighting, that there is a second type called 'Emotional gaslighting'. This is when your abusers deny the reality of your feelings. 'You're too sensitive', 'It wasn't that bad', 'You're just faking it for attention', 'Stop acting like you're hurt' 'Come on, it didn't hurt you' 'You're overreacting!' 'You're fine, stop exaggerating', these phrases deny your own feelings to you. They communicate to you that not only the abuser doesn't believe you're experiencing pain, they're demanding you to pretend that you aren't. They're asking you to deny your reality and to pretend it's not real.
This will make you feel like you're not allowed to feel your own emotions, and you'll end up questioning if any of your emotion is real or are you faking it? Are you justified in feeling what you do? Are your feelings of pain and terror really just an exaggeration that doesn't have a basis in reality? Are you making up your own suffering? Is all this pain in your head only?
This, again, will cause you to feel like you're going insane, and doubt your every reaction to any event, you'll try to see if thru someone else's eyes you would be perceived as 'reasonable' for having a reaction that you do, and it will drive you insane trying to figure out what are the 'correct' responses while all you feel is shame, anxiety, pain and desperation.
This illusion falls apart when you realize that all 'correct' responses are only those convenient to your abuser, and that somehow, your every positive and obedient reaction to them is 'correct', while justified upset and pain at their abuse is 'wrong and forbidden'. So somehow you've been reacting to everything right, except the abuse. Somehow, your every thought and feeling needs to be convenient to them or it's wrong. That's how you know it's only a self-serving game they're playing, and all your emotions were correct all along, as there's no way for you to 'feel' wrong. All your pain is still their fault, and not your fault for 'feeling it', and things are exactly as bad as you feel them. Your feelings are a reflection of reality that is happening to you, if there was no cause of you feeling upset and pained, you would not be feeling it.