If any of your doctors display any of these traits, especially if it is more than one, please consider getting a new doctor. Facing emotional abuse from doctors, medical trauma and medical negligence can have huge effects on someone…. for years. Many doctors are genuinely kind, compassionate and caring, but unfortunately some do display negative traits.
1. They are invalidating:
If a doctor is invalidating, it may mean that they say things like "your symptoms don't affect you that much".
This can be hurtful as a condition may actually have a HUGE impact on someone's life, and hearing this from a doctor can make them feel misunderstood and unsupported. People may feel like they are not being taken seriously and this can be upsetting.
A doctor only sees a patient in their office for a relatively small amount of time, so they do not see the suffering that goes on behind closed doors and they may not understand the full impact that a persons condition has on their daily life. It is vital that you find a doctor who believes you and listens to you.
2. They blame your struggles on you:
If a doctor is blaming your struggles on you, they may say things like "You are just badly behaved", "You need to stop this, this is deliberate", "It is *insert something completely unrelated to your condition* that is causing the problem".
When a person has their struggles blamed on them, they may begin to feel like a bad person when they are not. They may worry whether it really is their fault and it can negatively influence their self-perception.
3. They refuse to refer you to the appropriate services, even though they have the ability to do so:
This can cause people to have their access denied to a specialist who would help them and can delay a much needed diagnosis.
A doctor may refuse to refer someone to a service which the person asks to be referred to, as they do not feel it is necessary, but the individual experiencing the symptoms does. This can make a person feel very frustrated and unheard - people know themselves and their body's best.
4. They refuse to order the appropriate tests:
A person may request specific tests that they feel would help them get an answer as to what condition they may have or what may be contributing to their condition but a doctor may refuse to order them.
This can leave a person feeling worried that they may not get answers and may make them feel as if they are not being listened to. This can leave someone without vital answers, which can lead to a delayed diagnosis and delayed or incorrect treatment.
5. They make threats:
If a doctor makes threats, it could sound something like "if you don't stop that, I will have to put you in a care home" or "if you don't work harder on the therapy then you are going to be disabled for the rest of your life".
This can make a person feel afraid of their doctor and not want to tell them anything and it can also make a person feel like they have to blame themselves.
6. They blame you for the treatments / management strategies not working:
This could look like a doctor saying "you're not trying hard enough to get better" or "you need to put more effort into the therapy."
Many people are desperate to get better and are trying their best. A doctor saying something like this can lower someone's self-esteem as they may feel weak for not getting better or improving when it's never their fault, and a person may start to lose hope.
You cannot fail at treatments, different things work for different people.
7. They talk over you and tell you to stop talking:
This is something that is very disrespectful, but can happen sometimes. Unfortunately it may happen more to children and to those with disabilities, as the doctor may assume that their voice is 'lesser than' when it is vital for people to be listened to.
If people do not get their voice heard then they may not be able to access the right help and support. Some doctors may feel that they always know best and may not want to hear the patient's perspective, and some doctors may hold the view that 'children should be seen and not heard'.
8. They blame the parents:
Some doctors may tell parents that it is their fault that their child is struggling, when it is really not the parents fault at all.
Parents may be told that they need to discipline their child more or set stronger boundaries, they may be told that they need to stop 'mollycoddling' their child etc. This can be upsetting and frustrating for parents, as they may doubt their own parenting and feel bad that they may have caused their child problems when they have not. Parents may feel angry about not being listened to.
9. They dismiss your concerns and are closed minded:
This could look like a doctor immediately dismissing a condition that you think you have without looking into it. It could include them saying that there is no way that you have said condition, even though you have all of the classic symptoms.
This can be frustrating and can lead to people having a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. People know themselves best and people's medical concerns should be looked into without being immediately dismissed.