Gaslighting is when someone tries to make you change your mind by demeaning your point of view.
Gaslighting is an aggressive, rude way to persuade the person to change her mind.
For example, you raised a concern about some issues at the workplace. The co-worker or a manager responded with sarcasm marking you feel belittled. Reluctantly, you abandoned your concern to stop this passive-aggressive belittling attack. They might have said: “It is all right, sweetie. It is all in your head.”
People feel powerless and depressed after someone gaslights them. Gaslighting may have a long-term effect on a person’s mental health.
Gaslighting can happen anywhere, including in a healthcare setting. What is medical gaslighting?
Some patients feel like they experienced gaslighting at the doctor’s office. For example, a patient complained of pain in the back. The doctor examined the area and said it was all in the patient’s head. That is an example of medical gaslighting.
Is this gaslighting or reassurance?
One of the essential jobs of a doctor is to provide reassurance to patients.
Sometimes the doctor has to tell the patient that the health issue is not serious. A qualified GP, for example, would say: “I appreciate your concern. I understand that the issue causes you pain. However, the good news is that this will pass soon and is not be a serious problem. There will be no long-term effect on your health.”
Patients should not jump to conclusions about medical gaslighting. There may have been just a poor attempt by the doctor to give reassurance.