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new nurse /gaslighting

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by hopern84 hopern84 (Member)

1 Like; 990 Visitors; 24 Posts

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When I was in nursing school, I had classmates minimize what another said or made others feel inferior or that there thoughts and concerns weren't valid. At the time nursing being a second degree, I thought some of my classmates were petty and needed to grow up.  Then I finished school passed boards and started my first job in a city hospital where I ended up resigning after a few months because of the bullying and the toxic environment that I was in.

Fast forward to new job, the environment is better and I do like my coworkers. However I find that nurses continue to minimize and after looking up these behaviors online I found the term "gas lighting". I really want to make friends and I am trying so incredibly hard. I am really a genuinely friendly and talkative person. But once I feel like what I say is being downsized or minimized....Or I'm made to feel that I'm not important enough and that I don't have a right to give an opinion or have a voice. I become quiet and try to avoid people. I'm asking everyone on this site to please explain why is this behavior done to each other? How do I manage it? What do I do? How do I fit in.  I'm tryin so freakin hard and its killing me. 

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Persephone Paige has 15 years experience as a ADN and works as a Med-Surg.

293 Likes; 3 Followers; 1 Article; 3,102 Visitors; 558 Posts

The only way I have found to 'fit in,' is to do my work and never engage in gossip. 

There are going to be 'sickies' where ever we end up. But, I try to attract what I want by being that myself. You will find that by simply trying to be the best nurse you can be, you will attract other nurses who do the same. Birds of a feather, you know? That's how you'll 'out' the healthier people. 

If people who like to gossip find out you don't bite, eventually they'll avoid you. Same with the corner cutters... They don't like the company of people who force them to take a look at themselves. It's painful and they avoid it. People who are never happy with the new pilots, new rules, etc... are probably just never happy anyway. Do not ask others how you are doing? If you want honest feedback, go to your supervisor. Miserable people love to spread misery, if YOU are happy with the job you are doing don't let anyone steal your joy. 

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

830 Likes; 2 Followers; 6,661 Visitors; 1,935 Posts

Hope, you have to remember this is a job. I have had jobs where my coworkers became my friends, but that's not a prerequisite to the job. Also remember that that a lot of the people who are gossipy don't really have "friends" in your shop.

Do the work, keep your head up. Find other things that make you happy outside of work. Best of luck.

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1,064 Likes; 7 Followers; 21,205 Visitors; 2,676 Posts

Hope, can you give an example so that we can understand the nature of what you are experiencing?

There is disagreeing or not caring or being self-absorbed...and then there is gaslighting.

I honestly think you may be struggling with an inability to separate self from others. I wont claim this concept is easy to accept and integrate, but here it is anyway: We (almost always) have at least some power in the whole scheme of how others make us feel - - that is, how we allow others to make us feel. Or, how we allow ourselves to feel about what others do.

Are others' petty behaviors wrong/unfortunate? Yes. But the reason ^^ this is important is because we can't control or change who others choose to be or what things they do. That's not up to us. So at some point we have to stop focusing on them and how they make us feel, and start focusing on developing a healthy sense of self and a positive outlook.

In case clarification is necessary, I am not talking about situations of abuse or targeted manipulation/bullying/etc., I am talking about  a basic framework for the interpersonal interactions we all need to have every day. We all have to learn how to deal with others and (to some extent) decide how we are going to be affected by the day-to-day choices others make.

It sounds like too much of your perception of yourself is based in others' crappy behavior. You don't have to live that way or, as Persephone said, let them steal your joy.

 

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indienurse has 2 years experience as a MSN.

15 Likes; 828 Visitors; 42 Posts

Hello Hope,

I know how you feel. I started working on a SICU 7 yrs ago and I felt bullied. I started on the unit happy and excited but realized how terrible the working environment was. I still work there because I kept telling myself that "I am only here because my goal is to go to CRNA school."

 I would come home crying because older nurses would yell  the words "use your brain" or "you don't know what you're doing" . I ate it all. It was difficult for me and it made me depress. I didn't have friends on the unit and I didn't trust anyone. I emailed my manager about that situation and told him that we needed a more supportive unit. He didn't do anything. I learned that our assistant managers ruled the unit. So even though I knew what they were doing was wrong, I couldn't do anything. I decided to just do what I'm told until I get into CRNA school. 

I'm telling you this because you have to look at what your goals are. Are you at a hospital with a good pension that will make you happy after retiring? Move to different units in the hospital until you find your niche. Nursing is very flexible. 

I also believe people belittle others because they have internal problems of their own, that is how they deal. Now, I feel bad for these older nurses who feel entitled and think they know everything... I just let them get mad, and I stare at them when they yell and scream their lungs out. And the things that they've gossiped about you? Who cares? Are they paying your bills? No. Why waste your time thinking about them?

I also try to give positive vibes on the unit, I joined a unit project that helps the nurses deal with the stresses of work. Be more involved. It was not easy but the environment is better. Think about the reasons why you became a nurse, keep that in mind. If it is to help people, No matter what anyone says, your goal will always be the same and that will resonate to your coworkers overtime. 

Feel better. 

Edited by indienurse

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4 Likes; 115 Visitors; 7 Posts

It's awful that this type of behavior continues. I hope it gets better for you! What I have done is confront those whose words or behavior has hurt me. In some cases, the person was stunned and denied their involvement but actually stopped. However, if confronting the person doesn't change a thing, then use your chain of command. I would say listen to your gut if the response you get when seeking help doesn't seem enough. Keep looking for a solution because I firmly believe no one should ever have to put up with any type of bullying or condescending behavior. My rule is if that person wouldn't talk, treat, or behave in that way in front of management or higher, then they shouldn't be doing that to me.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

896 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,789 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

On 2/1/2019 at 9:49 PM, indienurse said:

Hello Hope,

I know how you feel. I started working on a SICU 7 yrs ago and I felt bullied. I started on the unit happy and excited but realized how terrible the working environment was. I still work there because I kept telling myself that "I am only here because my goal is to go to CRNA school."

 I would come home crying because older nurses would yell  the words "use your brain" or "you don't know what you're doing" . I ate it all. It was difficult for me and it made me depress. I didn't have friends on the unit and I didn't trust anyone. I emailed my manager about that situation and told him that we needed a more supportive unit. He didn't do anything. I learned that our assistant managers ruled the unit. So even though I knew what they were doing was wrong, I couldn't do anything. I decided to just do what I'm told until I get into CRNA school. 

I'm telling you this because you have to look at what your goals are. Are you at a hospital with a good pension that will make you happy after retiring? Move to different units in the hospital until you find your niche. Nursing is very flexible. 

I also believe people belittle others because they have internal problems of their own, that is how they deal. Now, I feel bad for these older nurses who feel entitled and think they know everything... I just let them get mad, and I stare at them when they yell and scream their lungs out. And the things that they've gossiped about you? Who cares? Are they paying your bills? No. Why waste your time thinking about them?

I also try to give positive vibes on the unit, I joined a unit project that helps the nurses deal with the stresses of work. Be more involved. It was not easy but the environment is better. Think about the reasons why you became a nurse, keep that in mind. If it is to help people, No matter what anyone says, your goal will always be the same and that will resonate to your coworkers overtime. 

Feel better. 

I sincerely hope you're not implying that all older nurses or only older nurses feel entitled or think they know more than they do.  Ageism is ugly.  

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN.

896 Likes; 11 Followers; 64 Articles; 168,789 Visitors; 13,721 Posts

On 1/31/2019 at 2:24 PM, hopern84 said:

When I was in nursing school, I had classmates minimize what another said or made others feel inferior or that there thoughts and concerns weren't valid. At the time nursing being a second degree, I thought some of my classmates were petty and needed to grow up.  Then I finished school passed boards and started my first job in a city hospital where I ended up resigning after a few months because of the bullying and the toxic environment that I was in.

Fast forward to new job, the environment is better and I do like my coworkers. However I find that nurses continue to minimize and after looking up these behaviors online I found the term "gas lighting". I really want to make friends and I am trying so incredibly hard. I am really a genuinely friendly and talkative person. But once I feel like what I say is being downsized or minimized....Or I'm made to feel that I'm not important enough and that I don't have a right to give an opinion or have a voice. I become quiet and try to avoid people. I'm asking everyone on this site to please explain why is this behavior done to each other? How do I manage it? What do I do? How do I fit in.  I'm tryin so freakin hard and its killing me. 

Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who said that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent?

In adulthood, it is very difficult to make friends, and it doesn't happen instantly.  Good workplace relationships is probably what you're looking for -- and some good workplace relationships have the potential to turn into friendships down the road.  It's just unrealistic to expect new colleagues to become true friends within a few months.  

Being quiet and avoiding people isn't the way to develop good working relationships.  What you do is go out of your way to be friendly to everyone.  You say you're a friendly, talkative person -- you have a leg up on this.  It's the genuinely quiet, introverted person who has the more difficult time with this.  Say hello to everyone the first time you see them that day, and introduce yourself to everyone until it's clear that they remember who you are and what your name is.  Make the first move.  Act as if you LIKE them, even if you don't.  

And, since you ARE new, I'll leave you with one final thought.  Is it indeed gaslighting, are ARE you making mountains out of molehills?  I ask this because when I was new (long before I ever heard of the term "gaslighting") I had a tendency to do just that.  A little experience, and I was able to take things more in context.  

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indienurse has 2 years experience as a MSN.

15 Likes; 828 Visitors; 42 Posts

9 hours ago, Ruby Vee said:

I sincerely hope you're not implying that all older nurses or only older nurses feel entitled or think they know more than they do.  Ageism is ugly.  

No, not at all. Sorry. I just meant that I wish some older nurses treated their young better. And then I realized that if they don't want to invest in you, they won't teach you.

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1 Like; 990 Visitors; 24 Posts

Thanks everyone for responding. It really is very helpful to see things through the eyes of others and obtain different points of view.

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hppygr8ful has 15 years experience and works as a RN - Adolescent Psych.

328 Likes; 4 Followers; 31,152 Visitors; 2,512 Posts

On 1/31/2019 at 12:24 PM, hopern84 said:

When I was in nursing school, I had classmates minimize what another said or made others feel inferior or that there thoughts and concerns weren't valid. At the time nursing being a second degree, I thought some of my classmates were petty and needed to grow up.  Then I finished school passed boards and started my first job in a city hospital where I ended up resigning after a few months because of the bullying and the toxic environment that I was in.

Fast forward to new job, the environment is better and I do like my coworkers. However I find that nurses continue to minimize and after looking up these behaviors online I found the term "gas lighting". I really want to make friends and I am trying so incredibly hard. I am really a genuinely friendly and talkative person. But once I feel like what I say is being downsized or minimized....Or I'm made to feel that I'm not important enough and that I don't have a right to give an opinion or have a voice. I become quiet and try to avoid people. I'm asking everyone on this site to please explain why is this behavior done to each other? How do I manage it? What do I do? How do I fit in.  I'm tryin so freakin hard and its killing me. 

Gaslighting is defined as manipulating (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.  Check out the 1944 film Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Berman.

What you are describing is not gaslighting but rather uncivil behavior which has become all to common in todays world.

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pebblebeach has 1 years experience and works as a CNA, nursing student.

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On 2/26/2019 at 9:33 AM, hppygr8ful said:

Gaslighting is defined as manipulating (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.  Check out the 1944 film Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Berman.

What you are describing is not gaslighting but rather uncivil behavior which has become all to common in todays world.

GREAT movie 😋

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