I often wonder why I am so obsessed with things that happened twenty years ago. I recently hit upon the idea that the action of the Government of the District of Columbia, my former employer, and even my psychiatrists in denying my perceptions of reality is itself a form of abuse, specifically, a form of gaslighting, perhaps.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. It may simply be that the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. Gaslighting had a colloquial origin explained below, but the term has also been used in clinical and research literature.
The D.C. government, my former employer, and my psychiatrists may not have intended to inflict abuse, but to some degree, the mere denial that I was subjected to abuse is itself a form of abuse. To deny that what one perceives is real is abusive -- it is an assault on one's identity, one's perceptions and one's lived experience.