Medical gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that involves manipulating someone into questioning their own instincts, perceptions, and conclusions. It’s an insidious type of victimization that takes place in isolation. The abuser usually doesn’t know they’re doing it. They might even be well-meaning. But when you continue to experience it over time and with different people, you build up trust and reliance in the person who is doing the gaslighting. This makes them much more difficult to escape from.
The gaslighter goes out of their way to make the victim question their own judgment and understanding of events around them. It might be something as innocent as misinterpreting a remark or as malicious as fabricating stories about you behind your back or simply ignoring your questions and statements when they don’t align with your agenda. If you’re being medically gaslighted around pain, you may find yourself questioning whether there’s anything wrong with you or if everyone else is seeing things differently than you are.
You may feel like no one truly understands how it feels to live with these challenges on a day-to-day basis or whether they see things exactly the same way that you do.
How Does Medical Gaslighting Start?
Medical gaslighting happens when someone tries to manipulate you into questioning the reality of your experience by triggering your insecurities and doubts about the way you experience the world. This might be done through describing your symptoms as normal or telling you that what you’re feeling is all in your head, but usually it’s done in a subtle, or indirect manner. The gaslighter might be your doctor or health practitioner.
How does gaslighting work? Well, it’s kind of a long, unethical story. So, here’s how it goes:
When someone has a health concern or symptom, they may mistake the fact that you trust them as an indication that you’re “crazy” or “close-minded.” When you’re told this by your provider, you may start to question your own sanity as well and wonder if there’s something wrong with you.
This can create a vicious cycle.
Medical gaslighting often starts in a relationship between a patient and a provider, doctor, nurse, etc. The victims often have a lot of insecurities and doubts about themselves. If you’re the victim of gaslighting, it can be hard to see these warning signs for yourself. The gaslighter will usually be someone who has managed to build up a lot of trust from others, so it can be hard to see how they’re doing the same thing to you.
Know the signs of gaslighting around pain
- You start to question your own perceptions and judgments around pain. It could be something as small as questioning whether or not your achy back really is painful or if the headache you had last night really was that bad.
- You start to question the intentions of your health care team related to pain.
- You start to question if there’s something wrong with the medication you’re on related to pain.
- You start to question your own pain tolerance and the legitimacy of your experiences related to pain.
- You start to question your sensitivity related to pain.
- This can be in regards to any symptom whether it be chronic fatigue, swelling, headaches, bloating, or brain fog for some other examples.
Things to watch out for when being gaslighted around pain
- Your health practitioner is trying to get you to question your pain by telling you that you’re “over-reacting” or that you have a “weak”/”wimpy” perception of pain.
- Your health practitioner tries to get you to question your pain by telling you that your perception of pain is wrong and that it’s normal for “people your age” to feel this pain.
- Your health practitioner tries to get you to question your pain by telling you that your perception of pain is wrong and that this is not abnormal to feel.
- Your health practitioner tries to get you to question your pain by trying to get you to question other people’s pain perception.
- Your health practitioner is trying to get you to question your pain by trying to get you to question other people’s pain tolerance.
How To Recover From Medical Gaslighting By Contacting Your Kalamazoo Chiropractor
- Don’t trust providers who gaslight and seek other care.
- Don’t let healthcare professionals medicate you at the expense of your own health and well-being unless all risks, side-effects, and benefits have been discussed and you both agree on the medication being prescribed to you.
- Don’t let people make you feel guilty about your actions or how you feel.
- Don’t let healthcare professionals make you feel that your symptoms are made up.
- Hold yourself accountable for your own happiness and well-being.
- Remember that your pain is valid and real.
- Visit a trusted Kalamazoo chiropractor who can help identify the true source of your pain.
Medical gaslighting is a problem in professional environments where trust and dependence on others is necessary. With so much power, it’s easy to misuse it.
When someone is gaslighting around pain, they’re using the trust and connection you have with your partner/spouse, your healthcare team, and your friends to manipulate you into questioning your own perceptions and judgments.
They’re emotionally manipulating, silencing, and pulling you away from your own happiness and well-being. They’re also doing a form of gaslighting where they’re blaming you for causing your own pain and misinterpreting other people’s pain and tolerance.
Medical gaslighting can be difficult to spot. It’s often done with indirect comments. It can be hard to tell if someone is gaslighting you around pain if they’re being subtle and indirect about it.