Kellyanne Conway Is Gaslighting Daughter Claudia In Abusive TikToks — And It's Not Okay

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KellyAnne Conway

Claudia Conway’s videos of Kellyanne Conway’s abuse tactics are disturbing, to say the least. 

The 16-year-old daughter of former Trump’s spokesperson Kellyanne Conway shared a series of now-deleted TikToks in the days leading to President Biden’s inauguration that has followers concerned for her safety. 

The videos appear to show Kellyanne Conway verbally and physically abusing her oldest daughter by calling her vicious names and throwing things at her. 

The pitch and tone of these videos will likely be all too familiar for many victims of emotional abuse. The name-calling. The castigation.

But follow-up videos of Claudia expressing that she feels anxious and guilty after sharing her story demonstrate the true horrors of abuse and reveal why so many victims struggle to escape their situations.

Videos of Kellyanne speaking to the police and carefully diffusing the situation exhibit some of the manipulation tactics and gaslighting abusers use to undermine their victims. 

The term “gaslighting” has been everywhere since Trump’s 2016 election. Oxford Dictionaries named it one of their most popular words in 2018

And CNN’s Anderson Cooper even created a series entitled We’ll Leave The Gaslight On For You dedicated to unveiling the lies of politicians during the Trump administration. 

But gaslighting is more than just a dishonest political tactic. Often, it happens much closer to home in our relationships with parents, partners, and friends. 

It is a carefully woven web of lies used to break down victims’ perceptions of what is real and decay their self-worth. 

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Claudia Conway’s videos reveal the horrifying ways in which one of Trump’s former associates may have laced the manipulative behavior of presidents and senators into her own parenting. 

In another video, Kellyanne can be heard mocking her daughter before quickly claiming she wasn’t when Claudia points this out. This is a small taste of how gaslighting is used to attempt to convince victims that they are not being abused. 

Kellyanne is also heard saying repeatedly, “You know what you’ve done to yourself?” as she attempts to victim-blame her young daughter who was 15 at the time these videos were taken. 

Items are thrown at Claudia’s face while she films. 

By casting blame on to Claudia for the abuse, Kellyanne appears to be trying to convince her daughter that this abuse is not happening to her, but happening because of her. 

Dr. Robin Stern, associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, says this is a common ploy for abusers to control their victims. “When somebody is undermining your reality and you simply have this feeling that there's something wrong … women more so than men, but men too, tend to point their fingers at themselves and say, ‘I did something wrong.’”

By stirring up self-doubt, abusers can wear down their victims and gain more control. 

Claudia, who suffers from OCD, says the videos were filmed while the family was isolating after tested positive for Covid-19. Her OCD manifests as an obsession with physical health and she was feeling excessively anxious at this time. 

Her mother, aware of this, is heard telling Claudia that the only reason people listen to her because they know she needs “extra help”, appearing to imply that no one will believe her daughter. 

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She also says, “If you only knew what people thought of you.” 

Creating a sense of distrust between victims and outside support is another form of insidious gaslighting that carefully distances victims from potential lifelines. It breeds self-doubt within victims and convinces them not to come forward with their story for fear of being disbelieved. 

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Videos of Kellyanne Conway talking to the police show how her daughter is being distanced from any opportunity of finding safety. 

Claudia filmed police officers visiting her home on Jan. 20 2021, the day after the videos of abuse were posted to her 1.6 million TikTok followers. 

Kellyanne Conway is seen telling police that her daughter has “been upset for weeks” after a difficult call from her school, again appearing to cast blame away from herself. 

The police advise Kellyanne to take away Claudia’s phone and remove the internet from the home. 

In the case of abuse, removing a victim’s connection to the outside world can be life-threatening. This advice also adds more blame to Claudia for posting the videos and distracts from the real issue that the videos displayed. 

Claudia had previously made a TikTok addressing her followers to say that she, “will not leave social media of her own accord,” after many followers pointed out that she could be in danger and at risk of being silenced. 

In another video, Claudia tells followers she has been struggling with anxiety since posting the videos and says, “I feel really guilty. I feel like an awful person.” 

This is a prime example of the internalized self-blame child abuse survivors often carry with them, feeling as though they owe their parents more love than they have been shown. 

It also demonstrates the effects of gaslighting, as Claudia’s attempt to come forward about her abuse is quickly overshadowed by her own doubt about the gravity of the situation. 

It is not just her mother who has been gaslighting Claudia, she has also faced criticism from some followers and media who claimed that the footage was heavily edited or that she was posting her story for attention. 

Again, this refusal to believe or at least listen to stories of abuse plays into the fear abusers instill in their victims. Abusers often convince victims that no one will listen or care when they come forward. 

By accusing a 16-year-old of editing out footage of her somehow soliciting this kind of abuse, or by suggesting she has fabricated these clips for attention, the cycle of abuse continues. Even if you don’t approve of how someone deals with their abuse it doesn’t mean the abuse isn’t happening. 

In one final plea to followers, Claudia Conway is teary-eyed and upset as she responds to these claims saying, “I’m not looking for attention, I’m really not, I’m looking for safety.” 

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Alice Kelly is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She is a generalist with an interest in lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.