Chesterfield woman makes film about gaslighting to raise awareness of abusive relationships

Michaela Longden.
Michaela Longden.

A Chesterfield woman is making a film about her experiences of gaslighting to raise awareness of the signs of an abusive relationship.

Michaela Longden, 30, who was born in Chesterfield and has lived in Grassmoor and Wingerworth most of her life, turned to writing as a way of expressing her thoughts and feelings after experiencing a 'very difficult relationship' with an ex-partner.

Michaela Longden.

Michaela Longden.

She has now decided to turn her notes into a short film to raise awareness about physical and emotional abusive relationships.

Gaslighting is a form of psychological and emotional abuse, usually against a partner or a loved one, over a long period of time.

"This project came from some pieces of writing that I did after a very challenging time in a very difficult relationship," Michaela said.

"I was made to believe that it was all in my head. You feel like you are losing your identification and you feel lost.

Director, Nicole Pott

Director, Nicole Pott

"I had never suffered from insomnia, anxiety or panic attacks and writing gave me a forum to figure out why I had them and what had happened to me."

She added: "One day I looked down at these random pieces of writing and scribbles and thought there is a powerful story here that needs to be told."

The film, called Gaslight, is being shot at the end of August and completed by January 2020.

It will be directed by Nicole Pott, from New Mills, and features former Hollyoaks and Emmerdale star Anthony Quinlan.

Producer, Cal OConnell

Producer, Cal OConnell

The film is fictional but some of it is based on what Michaela experienced herself.

Michaela plays the role of 'Katie', a young woman caught up in the suffocating memories of an abusive relationship.

"Based on my own experiences it is my goal to spread awareness off this form of emotional abuse," Michaela said.

"Those who fall victim to it do not recognise it is happening. A distorted reality makes them feel disorientated.

"It is really important that this film gets made."

Michaela has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for travel, locations and catering for all the volunteers involved.

To watch a trailer of the film and to make a donation, click here
What are the signs of gaslighting?

- No longer feeling like the person you used to be

- Being more anxious and less confident than you used to be

- Often wondering if you’re being too sensitive

- Feeling like everything you do is wrong

- Always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong

- Apologising often

- Having a sense that something’s wrong, but being unable to identify what it is

- Often questioning whether your response to your partner is appropriate

- Avoiding giving information to friends or family members to avoid confrontation about your partner

- Feeling isolated from friends and family

- Finding it increasingly hard to make decisions

- Feeling hopeless and taking little or no pleasure in activities you used to enjoy