Woman died after ‘gaslighting’

MIRIAM Lewis found her daughter dead in their family home.

Now, the heartbroken mother has spoken out and blamed “gaslighting”paired with a “toxic relationship” as the reason her daughter decided to take her own life.

Mrs Lewis found her daughter, Natalie Lewis-Hoyle, in her bedroom shortly before Christmas last year. According to the inquest into Ms Lewis-Hoyle’s death, the 28-year-old had struggled with the ending of a relationship and an assault she had suffered a month before she died.

Mrs Lewis, who was leader of Maldon District Council until May 2017, said her daughter’s relationship went on for two-and-a-half years, and affected the whole family.

“She was a really feisty character and you wouldn’t think it would get to her but quite often the people that are controlled in relationships are women and are in fact, intelligent women, because they overthink and try to rationalise it,” she told Essex Live.

“The people that are in these relationships often don’t realise it is happening and it is made up of actions that seem insignificant at the time.

“The problem now with social media is that you can’t escape it. Even just having a dig or changing your status to single on Facebook can seem insignificant but it is just another way to make you feel off-balanced.”

Natalie Lewis-Hoyle took her own life shortly before Christmas last year while in a ‘toxic relationship’.

Mrs Lewis said her daughter was in “psychological torment” from the relationship.

“We were just shocked when it happened because she was full of life,” Mrs Lewis said.

“You could actually physically see a change in her – sometimes she would be so happy and then something would happen and she would leave the table and go outside and you would see her face drop. It was awful to watch.

“She was troubled. Everything else was on the up but for the relationship.”

Gaslighting is described by social commentator Ruth Ostrow as “a covert form of ­manipulation, intimidation or psychological abuse, sometimes called ‘ambient abuse’, where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and, quite often, their sanity. Using denial, misdirection, contradiction and mixing of the facts, it attempts to destabilise the victim’s beliefs.”

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