Gaslighting at work

Minding the Workplace

Gaslighting is a form of deliberate manipulation intended to disorient, confuse, and frighten those on the receiving end. Many discussions about gaslighting occur in reference to personal relationships, often in the context of domestic or partner abuse. However, gaslighting can occur in other settings as well, including workplaces. In fact, I predict that we’ll be hearing a lot more about gaslighting at work during the years to come, and I’d like to survey that waterfront.

Despite growing awareness of the term and its underlying behaviors, the idea of gaslighting is so rooted in pop psychology that there are no “official” definitions from more authoritative psychological sources. Indeed, the best definition that I’ve found comes from Wikipedia, a distinctly non-academic source:

…a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or members of a group, hoping to make targets question their own memory, perception…

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I wrote about one of the worst periods I’ve ever had in part 1. Today I write about the time birth control almost killed me – not really, but it could have!

Context: Birth control was recommended as a treatment for dysmenorrhea

Okay, the story. I went to Marie Stopes in Sandton to get a depo shot (Google it. Don’t use it, it’s poison) from people who’s answer to, “What are the side effects?” was “It depends, everyone reacts differently.” In retrospect I should’ve walked out after that. I got the shot anyway and it was the beginning of my second-worst nightmare.

I took only one dose and I had a bottomless period for 3 months, which is how long it takes for the poison to exit your system.

I had a swollen face for three months.

I had a bottomless period for three months.

I had almost no sex for three months.

I was depressed, moody, craving escape in the form of a mental breakdown (a different story about emotional abuse) and it was hell for three months.

On the fourth month it was not a bottomless period anymore, YAY right? Wrong! It was 15 days long with two rest days in between.

I saw three doctors who told me to “wait it out” and that it will “regulate itself” or maybe I should “Give it another try” – FRAUDS!

Doctor number 4 made the bleeding stop. Then I had to take the pill. I didn’t want to. The depo experience traumatised me and I did not want to take another birth control, but it was the only way to fix my cycle immediately.

What am I doing now? I’m on the pill. My skin is popping. My period is regular, shmegular and light as fuck. 

I feel like my body is mine again.


This is about sadness.

I spent two days sleeping and crying over a pain that will never go away. I can’t feel whole, I can’t feel like one complete version of me. I feel like there’s nothing, like I’m nothing but I’m here. I don’t get it. I only feel like myself when I’m crying.

It’s not fair.

Menstruating SUCKS! (Part 1)

Hi, welcome to 2017. This year I will say again that I’m going to write more for my blog because I say that every winter, it’s another winter and I’m here… writing. 

When my period first started – I was going on 13 I think – I was very poor and had to use tissue paper sometimes. It embarrasses me to say it to other people but that’s what happened. So from the beginning, before the cramps and the drama, my period came as another reminder that I was a near destitute member of society and I’ve hated it ever since.

There are plenty stories to tell but I will share the most recent one: the worst of bleedweek.

It was day two of the bleed and my period had given me no signs that some shit was going down. I felt brave enough to go to work kante ha ke itse! It was a set up…

An hour after changing my diaper pad – you know the ones – I stood up and felt my vagina turn into the Victoria Falls. But a young ho wore a diaper so she wasn’t stressed. Then a young ho returned to her seat to discover that her period had painted the chair red.

Not even a diaper can stop a uterus on a mission!


Of course I had to go home so that I could fold myself into a whiny, emotional mess but this bitch called uterus was not done yet. I was almost home when I felt a tickle on my inner thighs. The crippling pains were replaced by a violent flood of menstrual blood which was spilling into my shoes.


Pure penis and Dirty Hos

Before I begin, I have a question for you. Do you identify as a

  1. Loving, nurturing, sweet [wife-able] person, or
  2. A cold-hearted fucking machine?

I ask this seemingly unnecessary question because women are always forced to be one or the other. To be a [wife-able] woman, or to be sexually satisfied. I wish I had the vocab and insight to explain how this is oppressive, but I don’t. I’ll only tell you my experience of it.

A lot of times people say to me, “You’re such a guy.” in reference to my approach to love and sex relationships. I don’t like this, it’s not a compliment. The “guyness” they’ve identified in me is closer to being manipulative than carefree, so I’m usually offended by that observation.

  1. I do not like to be approached, I usually make the first move.

I do this because when a man approaches me first, I worry that he’s putting on an act to feel on my yams. [We] have been socialised into believing that men have to trick women to sleeping with them. That is something I eliminate by making the first move. I’d rather catch him off guard (men don’t usually expect women to make the first move) and ensure that we are honest with each other about what we want.

I receive one of two reactions:

  • “Okay, cool. Do you wanna get some ice cream?”

This is someone who would’ve had the conversation with me anyway, not be a sneaky fake boyfriend creeping around me for the yams.

  • “OMG, you’re ho. I’ll take the sex but ew girl, you gross.”

Pretty self-explanatory. But I wonder, does his penis not deserve better than an ew, ho-girl?

Why would you do sex with a dirty person when your pure, God-given penile gift to women deserves so much better?

Why would any self respecting man want to have sex with someone who… wants to have sex too?


Pad Drive Curator: @TembisaPadDrive

Location: Tembisa, City of Tshwane


Tembisa Pad Drive on Facebook

tembisapaddrive on Instagram

The Tembisa Pad Drive collects pads to give to underprivileged girls while also sharing education on health wellness specific to bleed week. Lebogang and Boitumelo took it upon themselves to do what the government isn’t – to award young girls their right to go through their period with dignity – by giving them free pads.

“…no one must regret being born female.”

Twice a year, the Tembisa Pad Drive hosts young girls in the community for a discussion on challenges faced by the girl-child to offer them advice and motivation to strive for a better future for themselves. The objectives are simple, among others they want to:

  • Help young girls improve their self-concept
  • Educate them on the importance of self-care
  • Give the girls comprehensive sex education

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You know the saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I wouldn’t say they are punished per se, but they have challenges. They don’t have enough pads, they can’t travel as far and as often as they would like to and they don’t have a consistent list of donors. Thus, your help would be greatly appreciated!

Contact them via these details and give some pads, money or more pads and more money.

073 607 8885 / 071 035 0346

Drop off points (Please don’t show up unannounced)

  • 894/30 Mashemong section, Dorado Street, Tembisa,1632 (Next to Tembisa station)
  • Unit 0308 Myer’s Place, 72 Trevenna, Robert Sobukwe Street, Sunnyside, 0002 (Next to DTI)

Pad Drive curator: @RedWings_CT


Location: University of Cape Town Lower Campus, Cape Town


The Red Wings Project: Cape Town 

The Red Wings Project is run by students who aim to use their knowledge, experience, skills and privilege to benefit young individuals in a meaningful way. The project aims to create a sustainable future for young individuals in the Cape Peninsula, who are gifted but disempowered through poverty.
Our aim is to promote dignity and combat absenteeism.
The Red Wings Project Cape Town aims to assist school learners in disadvantaged communities by:
  • Instilling self-worth and self-love
  • Guiding learners through puberty and menstruation
  • And by collecting and providing free sanitary care

The Red Wings Project launch at Matthew Goniwe High School

“We aren’t merely a pad drive, we are a sisterhood programme. On our monthly visit, we host workshops where we discuss topics such as menstruation and puberty, post-matric options, gender and sex, to name a few. We aim to bridge the gap in whatever way we can between ourselves and the school learners we are working with. The schools which we are working with are Langa High School and Mathew Goniwe High School, where we are providing sanitary pads for approximately 1100 young females.”