reflections, self discover, self esteem, self love

Gaslighting Ourselves

At the beginning of the month, I was excited to have an appointment with an ophthalmologist in the area. I see you showing that puzzled look. Who, really, gets excited by their eye appointment? It wasn’t actually the appointment with the ophthalmologist that excited me (no offense nice ophthamologist), but the chance to have my eyes checked and new glasses ordered. I knew that my prescription probably needed an upgrade and I was looking forward to changing my look and having the opportunity for some fun new glasses (well, and the idea of seeing a bit better was certainly nice as well).

My appointment went well and I saw the optometrist before seeing the ophthalmologist. I came home with my new prescription and immediately put in my Zenni order, which came in under a week to Israel. Wow! I put one of the pairs on and felt…a bit sick. Ok I thought, I just need to adjust to the higher prescription. I just need to give myself some time. I went to watch a movie with the kids, but things weren’t getting better. I closed one eye, and all seemed to be going ok. I closed the other eye and …..hmmmmm…that didn’t seem to be quite right.

In retrospect, I realize that what I did next was to gaslight myself. And, now, it makes me wonder how often we do this to ourselves.

In talking to myself, I said, “Clearly, I just have to get used to it.” And then, “Oh shoot. It took me 3 months to get the appointment. What am I going to do now? How did I screw this up?” And then I thought “Those are expensive glasses. I’ll just have to deal and get used to them.” And I kept ignoring the nausea, deciding that the professionals obviously knew better than did I, and that I was clearly just going to have to suck it up and wear the glasses.

Why was my first reaction to assume that I had done something wrong? Why was I telling myself to suck it up?

The next morning when I woke up and I was dreading putting the glasses on, I realized that I wasn’t helping anyone. None of my rationales for ignoring myself made sense. It might be a pain, and it might require some effort, but I had the right to figure out what was wrong and to stop gaslighting myself.

I checked my last prescription on file against this one and realized that there was a +5 on this new prescription, where I had always had a -5. And I realized that I wasn’t crazy or having trouble adjusting or wasting money.

Someone else had made a mistake.

While making the first appointment had taken three months, I was actually lucky enough to grab another cancellation this time (thank you COVID chaos) for the next day! When I got to their office, the optometrist immediately realized the mistake and brought the ophthalmologist in to figure out what to do. They were really apologetic and wrote a letter for me to give to Zenni, to see if it would help.

Returning home, I wrote a note to Zenni explaining the situation. Since it wasn’t their fault, I wasn’t sure I was going to get anywhere. Within fifteen minutes of writing the note, Zenni offered me a chance to reorder all three pair of glasses with the right prescription for free! I was shocked and thrilled!

And today, less than one month after the entire situation started, I have my brand new, correct glasses from Zenni.

I feel great that the situation corrected itself so quickly and that all the players involved were so helpful.

But I am left thinking about that first evening and wondering why my immediate reaction was to gaslight myself. How often do we do this, assuming that something that goes wrong must be our fault and that we may just have to live with things as they are? Is this something that women do more than men? That one generation does more than another? I don’t know.

We have the right and responsibility to ourselves to recognize when something is wrong – and that we didn’t create the situation that made it wrong. And we have the right to love ourselves enough to make it right.

Lesson learned on the way to getting cute new glasses this month.

2 thoughts on “Gaslighting Ourselves

  1. Can’t believe how many times we all have done this. Somehow, I think women are more apt to
    gaslight than men. We just assume it must have been our fault. So glad your situation was resolved
    so easily.

  2. I love this! Thanks for putting something I always do into words. I think the gaslighting comes from not trusting ourselves, number one, but another component for me is I just want to be done with the “adulting” and move on, I don’t want the chaos of re-booking an appointment, re-ordering, etc. So it is easier to ignore. Which is NOT the definition of self-care.

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