D L Henderson
3 min read2 days ago

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To be sure, I am not personally familiar with you or your family, and I was not anywhere near to witness events in your life. I have read some of your essays on Medium, but that doesn't come close to making me an authority on your life, nor have you invited me to be a friend or confidant. Still, you publish publicly, and sometimes I believe I should try to correct some of your thinking which might be bringing you harm or magnifying hurt, but which I am pretty sure you could also find offensive.

After reading "Oklahoma Christians..." I see your life experiences have been less than ideal, to say the least. I think that you may have repeatedly expressed suppositions that have developed from those precise traumatic experiences which drastically color some of your perceptions and then, your precipitating responses.

Now, I do have a general complaint about the many claiming PTSD. This is my understanding of PTSD:

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real disorder that develops when a person has experienced or witnessed a scary, shocking, terrifying, or dangerous event. These stressful or traumatic events usually involve a situation where someone's life has been threatened or severe injury has occurred. - https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/post-traumatic-stress-disorder.

I have two sons who served in the military and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately, they both came home without being blown up. Some soldiers, however, did not. Because of this, I resent people claiming PTSD without having been blown up at least once or twice, or having seen their friends being blown up. It seems people like to be part of a group and use the term quite loosely for personal recognition or social attention.

Maybe you do have a legitimate claim, but I mention this so you will understand my mindset. My mindset doesn't make me a gaslighter, a hypocrite, or a judgmental person. Instead, I do always try to use my good judgment.

This leads me to my understanding of the term gaslighting: Gaslight : to psychologically manipulate (a person) usually over an extended period of time so that the victim questions the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and experiences confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, and doubts concerning their own emotional or mental stability. - MerriamWebster.com

Your many brief encounters, distasteful as they might seem, do not give individuals enough time to go through the process of gaslighting, and I don't see how any group outside suicide cults could possibly coordinate with or take the time and effort it would take for gaslighting you.

I think you might be giving too much credit to a group's intelligence and capabilities for gaslighting anyone. You may be confusing simple attempts at persuasion - awkward as they may be - with psychological manipulation.

Please, consider the possibility that they are simply trying to share something important to them with you. I think most of the Christians you have encountered and have given you so much angst are not very good at communicating with anyone - not just yourself.

Finally, here's another guess which I got from reading this story: Your brother and father are trying to be polite and nervously talking to you on pins and needles. Again, I do not know any of you personally, and this, I hope, is not just another presumptuous suggestion. (You see, I'm kind of walking on those same pins and needles here.)

Maybe what I am trying to do is to be a peacemaker - you with your past and you with others who you see as unjustly judgmental. Another way I think of saying this idea is to sell you a different pair of sunglasses - not necessarily those famous rose colored glasses, but ones which don't show fractured panoramas.

Let me make one last observation (which I find to be in the realm of possibility to also be skewed). I'll put it to you in the form of a question : Would you consider that you might also be a person who is quick to pass judgment on others?

Not for nothing. It's just a passing thought.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between