So, Elementary fandom has talked about gaslighting before, and how it is used in abusive relationships. We’ve seen Irene/Moriarty do this to Sherlock in Elementary, and the same pattern appears in the newly-aired Sherlock with Sherlock and John. This article defines how gaslighting takes several distinct forms most of which can been seen paralleled with Elementary and BBC Sherlock. (Also, if anyone with psychiatric background could weigh in on this, that’d be great.)
1-4: Compartmentalising: Irene fakes her own death, then makes a sudden reappearance a year later, after Sherlock has moved on and formed healthy relationships with other people (Elementary).
Sherlock fakes his own death, makes a sudden reappearance two years later after John has moved on and formed healthy relationships with people (BBC)
5&6 - Denial, Blaming/Deflection, Chronic Invalidation: Sherlock deduces that Irene is working for Moriarty (or at least, not held captive by him as she stated) and thinks she’s lying to him - he gets angry. Irene placates him, saying it’s because he is “seeing things that aren’t there”. (Elementary)
John’s angry at Sherlock for not contacting him for the last two years; Sherlock doesn’t apologise and dismisses John’s anger, explaining that it was because Sherlock didn’t trust him. (BBC)
7&8 Domination: Irene tries to make Sherlock take back his words - when he doesn’t, she replies with “You lied before! You don’t want to come with me, so you’re inventing an excuse not to!”. Then she walks out of Sherlock’s life and makes him think he’s cause of it because in her eyes, he is the just as bad as Moriarty. (Elementary)
John’s angry that Sherlock acts irresponsibly and the bomb is about to go off. Sherlock defuses the bomb in the tube train, but lets John believe that they’re both going to die. Sherlock fakes vulnerability, apologises to John and uses the now-or-never-scenario to make John accept his apology. (BBC)
9&10 Minimalisation: Irene waltzes back into Sherlock’s life, reveals her true identity, and calls Sherlock’s trauma at her death a game. “You’re a game I’ll win every time.” (Elementary)
Sherlock reveals that the bomb had an off switch, and laughs at John’s trauma and fear when he thinks he’s about to die. “Your face, your face! Totally had you!” (BBC)
The most important thing about this, though, is that Elementary portrays it as an abusive relationship and recognises that Moriarty/Sherlock is not in any way a healthy relationship. Meanwhile BBC Sherlock does the complete opposite, which is all kinds of fucked up.
I’m going to get hate for this
this is a really cool post!!!! i love cool interesting thought provoking comparisons!!!
omigod I just realized. john is a VETERAN. he was an army doctor, he served in afghanistan. the series starts off with john in intense therapy to help him cope with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. and Sherlock pulls out a fucking BOMB, makes john think he’s going to die AGAIN (“use your imagination” “I don’t have to”), and then fucking LAUGHS at him??!? like what the fuck moffat. it’s only been two years, this shit could make him relapse. but you know probably not since he’s just sooo in not-gay love with Sherlock. fucking hell can this show get any more fucked up how do people still enjoy this
I haven’t wanted to say anything about this because I know so many people are so excited about series three, but this scene is the reason I may stop watching Sherlock, full stop. If this is how they’re going to start writing the relationship between John and Sherlock they might as well just had Sherlock run off into the sunset and replace him with Irene or Moriarty in which case there would at least be some intrigue and will they won’t they redeem mixed in with the abuse.
The most disturbing thing for me is that the biggest killer of service people who’ve served in the Middle East is suicide. A crime related fact Sherlock should know, although the idea he might delete the fact is even more disturbing. The highest cause of death is very, incredibly, explicitly, clearly suicide, the statistics aren’t even close. This means something about the effect of trauma and survivor’s guilt for service people. More specifically there were and are clear signs of psychological trauma, self destructive behaviors, and an eating disorder in John. He clearly is triggered by events in which his service based personality (I’m not referring to service as in military service here, but rather tendencies to do things for other people’s welfare) and psychology are triggered by feelings of uselessness, ineffectiveness, and not being able to help. By being reduced as a person. I could go into the fandom theories, with a firm foundation based on the hints of interaction we see between Harry and John, that Harry and John grew up in a home with an abusive alcoholic parent who neglected them. This is a lot of words without much implication until you look at someone who knows John, is meant to care about him.
John is meant to be loved by Sherlock, however you define love, having Sherlock make vulnerable and emotionally exploit John, his John, who struggles with a history of self-destructive behaviors and suicidal ideation who likely has a history of abuse and neglect and defines his personal value by his ability to help and aid other people, by being physically, mentally, and emotionally vulnerable. By taking someone who responds to high stress by taking care of other people’s needs over his own in order to leverage out an acceptance of apology. Especially in the light that John was increasingly showing signs of forgiving Sherlock in his own time. If nothing else I’m sold on the gaslighting by Sherlock deliberately refusing to listen to John’s very good concerns and safety measures while secretly taking those safety measures. There is no reason to talk down to John about calling the police and then secretly call the police except to gain dominance and create a feeling of vulnerability and lack of importance in John. There is no other reason to say your ideas aren’t important, your concerns for safety are unimportant, if you have reasonable concerns they will be completely subsumed by what I consider convenient, and surprise I lied to you - I’m always in control of everything you have no rights except forcing John into a traumatic emotional experience in which his previous traumatic experiences would force him to capitulate.
That exploitation is really, really, really, really, really, not okay. That’s not a way to love anyone or anything ever. That is way beyond not understanding social cues or what’s okay. That is deliberate manipulation, and if I drop down into dark!thursday land for a second, it wasn’t even necessary manipulation. John was forgiving him already. And if I get a single message about Sherlock being damaged, or having PTSD, or being really super sad, or missing his friend, well so does John and all he did was nourish and care for Sherlock with fairness and tenderness. Having a pretty little face is no excuse. Wanting to be friends right now is no excuse. I If John has any reason to shout he’s not gay it’s to avoid the same abusive patterns that he likely watched his parents and his sister enact. After all, how is Sherlock any different than his sister? Addicted to something exciting that he abandoned his partner to indulge in and then reemerges to leave token socialization without caring for the welfare of the people she’s communicating with. Saints preserve.
[image description: GIF set from the due South episode “Witness.” Fraser is prison book monitor and talks with Ray.]
FRASER: Afternoon, gentlemen. I happen to have a complete 11-volume set of The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant. Any takers?
VECCHIO: Yeah, right here…Benny, what are you doing in here?
VECCHIO: What did you steal?[…]
VECCHIO: Excuse me?
FRASER: Milk. Duds.
VECCHIO: Milk Duds. What did the judge give you, an hour and a half?
FRASER: Oh, I almost forgot. Here. This is for you. A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. It’s missing a couple of pages but seeing as the whole thing is basically one long run-on sentence, I don’t think you’ll mind.
VECCHIO: Is it funny?
FRASER: Oh, it’s hilarious. If you like that kind of thing.
2/2 for seascribe: “the conversation about Fraser stealing the Milk Duds.”
NOPE. ME NEITHER.
I LOVE THIS SCENE. And why do I find it so funny that Fraser wants him to read Proust? I don’t even know, but it’s hilarious.
when night is falling (1995), show me love (1998), better than chocolate (1999), the secret diaries of miss anne lister (2010), fire (1996), bound (1996), bye bye blondie (2011), d.e.b.s. (2004), room in rome (2010), gray matters (2006), puccini for beginners (2006), the incredibly true adventure of two girls in love (1995), the four faced liar (2010), desert hearts (1985), spider lilies (2007)
concussion (2013), imagine me & you (2005), nina’s heavenly delights (2006), yes or no (2012), itty bitty titty committee (2007), but i’m a cheerleader (1999), saving face (2004), elena undone (2010), if these walls could talk 2 (2000), love my life (2006), tipping the velvet (2002), girl play (2004), fingersmith (2005), kiss me (2011), i can’t think straight (2008)
Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.
Fetishes, on their own, aren’t harmful, wrong, or shameful things. Whatever floats your boat is fine—as long as it harms no one. The important element to fetishes that don’t harm people, though, is that they all involve a degree of performance and the ability to move in and out of fetish space. If you have a thing for people wearing ostrich-feather tails, your partner is free to prance around the house in hot pants and a tail as often as she likes; and when she’s not into it, she can put the tail away.
Racial fetishes, however, are based on objectifying someone because of her race, which isn’t something she can control. An Asian woman can’t choose to take her Asianness off for the day, a Black woman can’t decide to not be Black while she walks down the street. These are lived, inhabited identities that cannot be turned on and off; there is no safeword for race. You live these identities throughout your life, experiencing the good and bad things associated with them, interacting with your community through and around this identity.
Someone who says he (and it is usually a he) ‘prefers’ women of a specific race isn’t exercising a preference based on orientation or experience. He’s viewing certain kinds of women as dateable material on the basis of racial discrimination; and it’s telling that most men with racial ‘preferences’—which are really racial fetishes—use very racist, stereotypical descriptions when talking about why they ‘prefer’ women of specific races. Asian women are meek, say, or Latinas are fiery, or Black women are exotic and know how to deliver in bed.
Why I am not here for race players and racial fetishizers.
“The important element to fetishes that don’t harm people, though, is that they all involve a degree of performance and the ability to move in and out of fetish space.”
This is the English word I want to get tattooed on my wrist. It means “to keep breathing even though the water rises all around you.” English is such a mystical exotic language. They can fit so much meaning into so small a word.
…because it’s not a word, it’s an acronym, for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. …Also I’m pretty sure that even when used as a verb, or anything other than a noun, it still doesn’t mean what you think it means. From the way you worded your post it sounds like you’re a non-native English speaker (and I don’t really care if you are or aren’t), and it sounds like you’re about to do what a lot of US citizens like to do and tattoo Japanese or Chinese words on our bodies without knowing what they really mean-which, I may note, is an incredibly stupid thing to do. So please, save yourself from being ridiculed and don’t get this tattooed on your arm. .
Oh man, you’re right next to it. It’s right in front of you. You’re so close.
I have the last final of my career in a couple of hours WHICH MEANS next time you see me I’ll have a MS in Criminalistic Science. This is me right now:
I suffer from pathological overconfidence I can’T HELP IT.
Either way: wish me luck!
Who has two thumbs and just passed her exam?
edited by kaydee falls
fandom: Sleepy Hollow
characters: Abbie Mills (+Ichabod Crane, Jenny Mills, Katrina Crane)
music: “Level Up”, by Vienna Teng
summary: You have been waiting long enough. An Abbie vid.
disclaimer: not mine, no profit, don’t sue.
warnings: violence, horror, a couple of rapid cuts.
notes: Created as part of the Aims Vid Album, a collaborative vidding project based around Vienna Teng’s new album.
so good! ABBIEEEEEEEE