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OPINION - Carine Knapen

Tolerance in this world has long been lost. People are terribly intolerant. All that matters is their own "me, myself and I". There is no longer any patience, understanding of the other person's situation, respect and courtesy. The axe of judgement and condemnation is brought out at every turn and almost literally chops off your head.

Admiration can within seconds turn into indifference or, in the worst of cases, blind hatred.

A lot of people suffer from such strong, deep-seated frustrations and insecurities that all kinds of phenomena and syndromes occur the more and more often, faster and harsher. It seems like the world is full of psychopaths and normality is turning into an abnormality or has become the rule rather than the exception.

Today, I am going to focus for a moment on manterruption and gaslighting of which I myself, lately, have been the object on several occasions.

Manterruption is the phenomenon where men systematically interrupt women when they speak, belittle them and speak or walk all over them, make them feel inferior in word and deed and simultaneously impose their will and power.

Gaslighting, in turn, is a form of psychological manipulation in which the perpetrator, consciously or unconsciously, aims to mentally distress the victim (opponent) by sowing doubt in the victim's own common sense and by systematically twisting certain events he/she has caused in such a way that the other person comes out of it as the great culprit, liar or fantasist.

An example :

Upon advice of a FB friend, I consulted a doctor in Antwerp, specialized in ortho molecular medicine and - emphasized by him " single and looking for a partner ". That's a 90-minute drive for me each time ( and another 90 minutes back ) but I was willing to do it because he claimed he could help me.

At the first consultation, the man expressed his admiration for my person. " I have great admiration for you, you are a VIP, you have done a lot for people so now I also want to do something for you; in principle I don't accept new patients but for you I will make an exception ". Really ? Thank you very much.

Three sessions later, I was already 537 euros poorer. The first session 300 euros, the second 137 euros and the third 100 euros. Not to mention the blood analysis bill that has yet to arrive in the mail and whose results I don't know.

The man does not report the consultations to my health service. Last Monday, I asked him why. Because, he is 65 and already retired. " I only receive something like a 1,500 euro pension every month, so I continue to work " he said. However, I shouldn't worry because " what you would basically get back from the medical insurance has already been deducted from what you pay me ".

Oh, really? But there's no trace of all those consultations at the health service insurance company, so actually I'm paying you in black. That makes it a very expensive joke.


About the fact that he talks all the time about himself, his hobbies, interests, boat , house and 4x4 in France, ex-girlfriend, procedures with the Order of Medicine at every single consultation and that, every time he asks a question (which is done with the intention of obtaining relevant information, right? ) he doesn't let me speak, as well as the fact that I had already asked him several times not to interrupt me, we did not talk again on Monday because it was not relevant or not at that moment anyway.

He gave me a new appointment on Friday at 11.30 a.m., like the week before, stressing both times that he doesn't usually work on Fridays but making an exception for me, just to make it clear what an incredible favor he was giving me on a day off, even though I didn't ask for it, just like all the treatments he decided on without any consultation or prior consultation. He did not suggest in advance to do this or that, did not give me a choice. This and that was what I needed to get back on the slats. Okay, fine,do it. I asked questions while he was doing a treatment. What is this ? What is it for ? Why are you drawing blood ? What do you inject into the bottle and why? How often do I have to do this ?

Last Thursday morning, a little before 8am, I noticed the doctor had sent me a text message during the previous night, at 1.46am, saying " I saw in the book that you actually have an appointment on Thursday at 11.30am, because ... actually I don't work on Fridays."

At 7h56 I replied " ow, Thursday is not possible, we did have an appointment on Friday, cancel the appointment then ".

At 9h35 he wrote " I will cancel today and keep tomorrow because it stands double; tomorrow I will go to the shooting club afterwards, if you have time you can come along ".

So I was not mistaken, there was indeed an appointment on Friday. Nothing double, there was never any mention of Thursday. I decided not to say anything about it and responded with " ok ".

If he would have left it at that, I would have been at his practice on Friday punctually at 11h30, but it turned out differently;

Thursday at 13h51 he sent another message saying that we had actually agreed to meet on Thursday and he doesn't work on Friday.

I am not a slave to my phone so I didn't see that message until the next morning.

Friday at 6.54am I replied " I see you sent back a message than you are not working Friday so I won't come so you can enjoy your day off. Is Monday okay then because you also gave me an appointment even though that day is 1 May, public holiday. Please let me know in time, thank you"

For me, it was a done deal. Appointment was off. I put my phone aside and went out to do something else.

At noon, I noticed that he had sent yet another long text message at 10.51 am via whatsapp with lots of capital letters and exclamation marks to emphasize his words. I did have to come that day or else the ozone therapy would have to be started all over again. " So, even if it is a bit later come on down, then the road is a bit more free and no rush hour now ", he wrote.

At that time, I had not seen the 6 other text messages he had sent between 10.51am and 12pm.

I replicate with " I only see your message now, it's already noon, what now ?

He responded with " come on down, I'll move the shooting club to 3pm ".

I decided to take the road to Antwerp after all and sent " on my way ".

While driving, 2 new text messages arrived via SMS. In the first one he asked "when do you think you will be there? Then I can move my appointment at the Kontich shooting club" (how so? He had already moved it to 3pm) and immediately afterwards a second message "cancellations on the day itself are always charged" (what ? He knew I was on my way and had said earlier that I should come and that it wouldn't be a problem if I was a bit late? )

At that moment, my eye also catched 6 previous text messages he had sent between 10.51 a.m. and 12 p.m. in which he had gone completely mad because I had not responded to his text message of 10.51 a.m.

I decided not to respond to all those messages and called him from my car to clear the air because this was really getting out of hand.

At the time, I was near Leuven, just before the exit to the Brussels ring road, so there was room for an enlightening conversation.

When he picked up the phone he was rather calm. Initially he did not make an issue of it when I said that, because of the traffic jam, I expected to be with him only around 2 pm. It did become an issue when I announced that I had to leave back by 5pm at the latest because I still had a hairdresser's appointment. He became livid. Suddenly it was a problem that I would arrive at 2pm because he reportedly had a meeting with someone at the shooting club at 2pm, he had already phoned that person to move their appointment to 2.30pm but we wouldn't be able to make that either because he needed at least half an hour for the ozone therapy ( which isn't right, it doesn't take 15 minutes ), he cancelled our appointment, I had to call him back next Tuesday for a new series of appointments and start all over again, he has a life and I shouldn't think he would make exceptions for me ... and ... and....

I got my ass kicked terribly, it went too far. Because he kept going on and on, I suddenly had enough and said " cancel everything, I'm not coming anymore".

I do not accept tot be rushed in such way. Not good for my health. I need to avoid stress to the maximum. I left the exit on the highly and started driving towards Brussels, for a day of shopping prior to my visit to the hairdresser.

Moments later, he called back. Out of politeness, picked up the phone He started bullying me again. I tried to tell him three times that I would not let him treat me this way and that he was the one who had caused the whole mess with his messages, but he interrupted me repeatedly and continued to rage. I said " stop", " stop", " stop " about 10x but he didn't hear me. I hang up.

He called me again. Out of politeness, I picked up again. The first thing he said whilst shouting was " you are going to listen to your doctor, did you get that! You must come here". Is that so? I don't have to do anything at all and especially not when it's done that way. I hang up the phone. He recalled me twice more, I didn't answer. What followed was another string of text messages from his hand that I did not open until this morning. I did see the first sentences appear on my screen and they did not announce anything good. They were all of the same tenor. He put himself in a victim's role. I had to pay for the consultation because I had not kept the appointment and I am this and that, in short he made no mistake and I all the more. Gaslighting of the highest order. And with that he continued until evening.

What is it with all these men who try to subject women to their will, constantly interrupting them when they try to say something or answer a question they have asked ?

What is it with all those men who never take responsibility for their own behavior, behave like a bully and then also become seething with anger when you don't do what they want ?

The doctor in question is certainly not a alone standing case. I have experienced it before. Recently with yet another man ( also from the medical field ) with whom I had an appointment.

I had set aside double the usual time for the drive to Meise.The traffic was packed. I called him in advance to tell him that I would be 10 minutes late (I always inform) and on arrival I apologized for the delay, but the man spent the first 15 minutes ranting at me, extremely irritated, because I had wasted his time. He had not listened to my phone message. He had better things to do. And my apologies didn't matter. It was only when I stood up with the words that I didn't put up with his behavior that he bounded in and said " okay, we started on the wrong foot here, let's start again with clean slate, sand over it ". During the conversation, he too constantly interrupted me. I couldn't get anything said and had to ask several times to let me speak. He did what I asked but I could see his words hanging behind his lips. My replies to his questions did not interest him at all. Towards the end of the consultation he began again about me being late. When I asked him why he brought it up again, although he had said sand over over it " , it was no inspiration for him to stop. He escorted me out and continued to ramble all the way on the pavement of the street.

Must women accept the above described behavior of men in a certain position ? No, certainly not. They are all highly frustrated beings who know only one way to bend people to their will or worse, subjugate them and that is by asserting the power they think they have but is in reality an illusion.

By the way, the same applies to men who are confronted with such evil behavior by women ( because of course they exist too ).

Saddling others with guilt ( or attempted guilt ) for one's own behavior is not okay, nor is taking out one's own frustrations on others.

There exists still such a thing as good decency, and all those who don't know what that is, can pick the first tree they see and kick it ( proverbially, that is, because trees deserve better too ).

If you are confronted with someone who tries to manipulate you psychologically, stay dignified but don't get caught out. Draw a line to where it is permissible for you and stand your ground. Put aside, those who don't respect that boundary. You do not a lose a thing when you leave these types for what they are.

Instead, you gain all the more in self-love, self-respect and self-confidence.

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