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Narcissistic Gaslighters in TV Show 'Wilderness'
We explore what the tv show Wilderness gets right about narcissistic gaslighters.
We explore what the new tv show Wilderness gets right about narcissistic gaslighters. Spoilers are included.
In Wilderness, the costs of staying with a narcissistic partner are extreme because the storyline is extreme. Yet even in “regular” scenarios such as marriage and childrearing without all the murder, we know that people sacrifice numerous years, even decades into partners who betray them, violate them continuously, and raise children with people who lead double lives. The sacrifices when it comes to being with a gaslighting narcissistic partner are immense: they take a toll on your mental health, finances, and can change the entire course of your life-course trajectory.
We see Olivia go from trance-like states of numbness and seeming calm to absolute despair throughout the series, exhibiting different types of complex trauma reactions. As she tells her husband, “You know, there’s a funny side to this somewhere. Me, stuck inside these four walls. Unable to work. Keeping house like some relic of the 50s.” While he’s prowling around, she’s kept compliant and dormant. One might argue that she had every ability to leave the relationship, but it is far harder than it seems when a narcissistic manipulator is involved, as we see when her husband tries to blackmail her into staying.