The Silent Suffering of Caregivers: Understanding the Impact of Ghosting and Gaslighting – PART 2

Caregivers who experience ghosting and gaslighting can experience a range of negative emotions and psychological effects. These may include feelings of betrayal, confusion, anxiety, and depression. In some cases, caregivers may develop trauma symptoms, such as hypervigilance, flashbacks, and avoidance behaviours.

The stigma and silence surrounding abuse in caregiving relationships can exacerbate these effects and prevent caregivers from seeking help or support.

Identifying Ghosting and Gaslighting in the Care Industry

These can take many forms in the care industry. Ghosting may occur when a care recipient or their family suddenly stops responding to a caregiver’s calls, texts, or emails, without providing any explanation or warning. And…

Gaslighting may occur when a care recipient or their family undermines a caregiver’s perception of reality, such as by denying events that occurred or accusing the caregiver of being forgetful or incompetent.

The Importance of Breaking the Cycle of Abuse in Caregiving Relationships

Perpetuating cycles of abuse can harm both caregivers and care recipients in the long term. Caregivers who experience abuse may become disengaged or burnt out, leading to reduced quality of care or even neglect. Care recipients, on the other hand, may suffer from emotional and psychological distress, as well as physical harm from neglect or mistreatment.

To break the cycle of abuse, caregivers, care recipients, families, and organizations must work together. 

From Silence to Empowerment: Strategies for Caregivers to Break Free from Abuse

For caregivers who experience abuse, it is essential to prioritize their mental health and well-being. Coping mechanisms can include seeking social support from friends and family, and practising self-care activities like exercise or meditation. Building resilience and self-efficacy can also help but accessing the appropriate tools may need guidance and consistent action.

Creating a Culture of Empowerment and Transparency in the Care Industry

To create a culture of empowerment and transparency in the care industry, all stakeholders must be on the same page. Caregivers can promote clear communication and honesty with care recipients and families, set boundaries around expectations and limitations, and seek support when needed.

Care recipients and families can also support caregivers by acknowledging their efforts and contributions, providing feedback and constructive criticism, and holding themselves accountable for their own behaviour.

Mental Health Support for Caregivers

There is no doubt that access to help is ambiguous and confusing at best. As a self-employed carer affiliated with an organization or working privately, it would make sense to prioritise mental health support. These may be self-initiated or group-orientated but either way should include wellness initiatives, or activity hubs to facilitate interactions between carers and provide a source of comfort and encouragement in a non-judgmental environment.

Breaking the silence around ghosting and gaslighting in the care industry can have several benefits.  For the caregiver, it may result in improved work conditions, protection of their own autonomy, and strengthened professional relationships between colleagues through open communication and mutual respect.

As individuals, we are responsible for our own state of mind and need to focus on what we can control, how we respond to things we cannot control and actively connect with others who can validate our experiences and help us move through workplace drama.

So what does that look like…

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