So, way, way back in late March early April time, I had an argument with a longtime RL friend and they eventually resorted to what a few people later identified as horribly textbook gaslighting. A long period of silence ensued, and while we have tentatively started talking again, I will always be on guard with them, and as a result I know I will always be a little sharper with them.
They are not exactly brilliant at recognising when they've fucked up, so I don't think they've realised that's why, but they've certainly realised that I'm a lot quicker to shut them down. I'm a mass of sharp edges socially a lot of the time anyway, so it's not that difficult to tell when I'm a bit pointier than usual.
What is becoming obvious, though, is that I'm also much more on guard with other people now, especially people who know I'm mentally ill, which is everyone, because if there's one thing this experience has taught me, it's that a lot of people's moral compasses fall apart the moment they see something that they think could give them an advantage.
Like, in building to a potentially fraught conversation, I am having to stop and go 'Okay, based on what I know about this person, do I think they're going to try and capitalise on my mental illness, or even just on my insecurities, if they think it'll give them conversational capital with which to push their own viewpoint. Do I think they'll do so aggressively or passive-aggressively, directly or indirectly, and if so, how does my response match that.
If they do, how do I respond in the moment, but also how do I then go about making sure everyone else I know is protected from the same thing happening to them.
To what extent is my assessment based in reason and provable evidence, how much of it is based on gut instinct, and how much of it is based in just paranoia, especially since it's often the case that if I can foresee something bad happen, it probably won't happen. Terrible things routinely take me by surprise.'
It's not -- really a social risk assessment I like doing. But I have undoubtedly become a lot more on edge in the last nine months or so, and for that reason, it's kind of unavoidable.
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