We need to talk about gaslighting because chances are you’ve experienced it. And the crazy thing? You might not even have noticed.
So what is it?
Gaslighting is a toxic process where the manipulator attempts to make you feel crazy. The goal is for you to question your thoughts and recollections.
We most often hear about gaslighting in relationships, but did you know it can also occur with your doctor or even your boss?
Yeah, that’s right – toxicity is unavoidable in most situations because there are shit people with unresolved trauma and God complexes everywhere.
So let’s talk about what I learned in therapy about how you can spot a gaslighter, and how you handle it.
Gaslighters crave control and want to feel like they’re right, even when they aren’t.
Common things a gaslighter might say include:
“You’re too sensitive.”
“You’re remembering it wrong.”
“I never said that.”
“This is why people think you’re crazy.”
If you know your partner is gaslighting you, leave. There’s no need for you to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Sure, you could try and argue your point, but gaslighters feed off of arguing – so why waste your energy?
Grab your things and go. I promise it will feel amazing. And after that, maybe take up a few therapy sessions just to protect your peace and decompress.
Meanwhile, I bet you didn’t see this coming, but sometimes medical professionals tend to dismiss those with concerns, especially if they cannot find the root cause of a patient’s pain.
I have experienced this with several now-former doctors. One of my favorite examples was when my headaches were brushed off as nothing, only for my neurologists (yes, that’s plural – I have two) to say I had high pressure and optic nerve damage as the culprit.
And to that note, here’s tidbit of life advice. Something my neurologist taught me is to document things. If you are in pain, write it down. Write down the weather outside, the food you ate that could be a trigger, or what you were doing when it happened. This is how we figured out my migraine triggers. He said this was something to do with any problem because the right doctors will love that you have given them detailed data, while the wrong ones will write you off as crazy and suffering from anxiety.
Also – why is it when docs don’t want to…oh, I don’t know – do their job, they say it’s anxiety?
I’ve been to several mental health professionals because y’all know how I believe your mind is a powerhouse that needs protecting at all costs. And not one said I had anything more than situational anxiety which reached its peak when I thought I was going to have permanent vision loss due to my papilledema and intracranial pressure.
I like to think if you had blackout headaches and daily vision loss, you too might be freaked the fuck out.
But that is neither here nor there. My only point was that several board-certified mental health professionals said I had a clean bill of health, and they wish more patients were proactive about their mental health.
In college, I remember having the worst pelvic pain. I went to the doctor and again was brushed off, this time by a different provider. Guess what? After a simple pelvic ultrasound with a new provider, a couple of things were determined, including that I had several large cysts on my ovaries. Unfortunately, I still deal with cysts, but now I have several skilled specialists assisting me and saying it’s not all in my head.
Sadly I could provide more examples, and I am not alone.
But let’s talk about what to do if you think your doc is gaslighting you:
- Cancel all upcoming appointments
- Ask for a referral to a specialist
I mean honestly, why waste your time or money seeing someone that doesn’t acknowledge you?
Lastly, I want to talk about gaslighting in the workplace.
Listen, everyone has their views on capitalism, and I’m not here to tell you one thing or another. My only hot take is that everyone should be at a job they love and that loves them back…well, as much as a job can.
Because guess what?
If you were to die tomorrow, there’s a 97% chance your job would be listed before the ink on your obituary even dried.
When you suspect being gaslit at work – do nooooot think with your emotions. Shut that shit down and think logically.
Come in every day and do your job, and then silently look for other opportunities. Remember: you spend most of your life in bed, or at work – so you should love both places.
If you take absolutely nothing away from what I told you today, let it be this…
Life is short: We are still in a global pandemic, and natural disasters seem a little too common these days. So please go where you can grow. You are a flower that will bloom regardless, but why bloom in rocks if you don’t have to? You deserve the world and that starts with basic respect. Apply this to everything in your life. Do not surround yourself with those who minimize you.