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    Anyone else have this problem?

    Of people (mostly extended family, friends of the family types) speaking to you and/or about you like you’re an absolute child?

    “That is so awesome, Billy! I could never write a book!”

    “I heard you moved a toe. That is awesome.” (I’m not kidding)

    “You can do press-ups from your chair? That’s great.”

    “You can do your own transfers? Wow.”

    Every menial task, I feel like I’m being petted on the head like a five year-old (and I know I’ve read here about some of you literally being petted, luckily I don’t have that problem). But I’m not five, I’m twenty-seven.

    When I say speaking about me, I mean right in front of me, like you do with a kid like they’re not even in the room because they’re not paying any attention to what’s going on. It’s not like they’re sharing private information, it’s just the whole tone of everything. Even my writing mentor/cheerleader person, who actually does speak directly to me like a normal adult, when our meetings are over and if my dad’s in the room, she’ll say to him, “He’s such a smart young man.”

    It drives me crazy. I know these people love me and are trying to accentuate all positives, but I’m not in the acute stage anymore, I’m four years out and it seems like this is what it will be like for the rest of my life.

    Now that I think about it, I’m sure this is not a new topic here. I’m sure it has been discussed. But I literally have no one to vent to about this kind of thing--I don’t have a shrink (maybe I should get one)--and I know there are people here who know exactly what I’m talking about.
    Last edited by They Might Be SCI Giants; 21 Mar 2008, 1:38 PM.

    #2
    This rarely happens to me but when it does I just chalk it up to human nature.

    People often can't grasp what you live with, they feel uncomfortable and feel the need to be encouraging or say something, anything.

    I'd rather people were impressed by me than not but if it really bothers you just laugh and ask them not to patronise you. They may feel slightly awkward but they won't do it again.
    C5/6 incomplete

    "I assume you all have guns and crack....."

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      #3
      I wouldn't say any of those are menial tasks. I would be ecstatic if I could do any of those things and most people can't actually write books.
      I could understand if their tone of voice bothers you but like The Rhino said, human nature.

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        #4
        Yeah, I definitely chalk it up to human nature and I do understand people are very uncomfortable. I'm also uncomfortable around the same people and always figured the discomfort originated from me, a vibe I was putting out.

        But the weird thing is, some people are not at all uncomfortable and we communicate in the exact same way as before my injury.

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          #5
          Originally posted by They Might Be SCI Giants
          Of people (mostly extended family, friends of the family types) speaking to you and/or about you like you’re an absolute child?
          Total strangers will sometimes do this. For some reason, it seems to happen most regularly when I fly. I'll transfer into my seat and the flight attendant will say, "You do that so well!" As though I just performed some spectacular double handspring, backflip dismount or something. The only time my family makes comments like that is when they are teasing me about how other people sometimes talk.

          Every menial task, I feel like I’m being petted on the head like a five year-old
          Physical therapists tend to do this alot, which I always hated. They really are trained to be cheerleaders though, so at least that makes sense. Like you say though, you're not in rehab. You've been doing this for a few years. People need to stop.

          I’m sure this is not a new topic here. I’m sure it has been discussed. But I literally have no one to vent to about this kind of thing--I don’t have a shrink (maybe I should get one)--and I know there are people here who know exactly what I’m talking about.
          Have you not told your friends and family how annoying this is? Keeping this to yourself isn't doing you any good. It's not fair that you should have to put up with it and it's not fair to your loved ones for you not to give them the opportunity to change their behavior.

          C.

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            #6
            Originally posted by They Might Be SCI Giants
            Yeah, I definitely chalk it up to human nature and I do understand people are very uncomfortable. I'm also uncomfortable around the same people and always figured the discomfort originated from me, a vibe I was putting out.

            But the weird thing is, some people are not at all uncomfortable and we communicate in the exact same way as before my injury.
            Those are the true friends.
            Stupidity ain't illegal, but it sure is inconvenient.


            Help me support the 2010 Bike MS.

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              #7
              Originally posted by They Might Be SCI Giants
              Of people (mostly extended family, friends of the family types) speaking to you and/or about you like you’re an absolute child?

              “That is so awesome, Billy! I could never write a book!”

              “I heard you moved a toe. That is awesome.” (I’m not kidding)

              “You can do press-ups from your chair? That’s great.”

              “You can do your own transfers? Wow.”

              Hold on! I'm not familiar with your situation, They Might Be SCI Giants, but moving a toe is awesome for lots of sci people, isn't it?

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                #8
                The only time I have been condescended to is by sales people, who often want to give my change to whoever I am with, or who start talking too loudly, just in case I have hearing loss too (they seem to think the whole body is non-functional). I just say "excuse me, that is MY change" or "I do not have a hearing loss" to get them to stop.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mimin
                  I wouldn't say any of those are menial tasks. I would be ecstatic if I could do any of those things and most people can't actually write books.
                  I could understand if their tone of voice bothers you but like The Rhino said, human nature.
                  Originally posted by keps
                  Hold on! I'm not familiar with your situation, They Might Be SCI Giants, but moving a toe is awesome for lots of sci people, isn't it?
                  First, I want apologize if it came across this way, but I did not mean to diminish anyone’s ability or inability to do anything. Believe me, I actually do feel very fortunate for the functionality I did retain--this website has helped me with that. The toe thing was quite a while ago, I quickly realized it was really my inducing a mini spasm. I do have touch sensation all the down, I can feel them (toes and spasms) and they spasm, especially in bed. So that’s what was going on. Actually, even if it had been a true wiggle, I’d almost rather not tell everyone because I know what the reaction is. Anyway, those were just the first few examples that popped in my head

                  Originally posted by Tiger Racing
                  Have you not told your friends and family how annoying this is? Keeping this to yourself isn't doing you any good. It's not fair that you should have to put up with it and it's not fair to your loved ones for you not to give them the opportunity to change their behavior.
                  Honestly, it doesn’t happen enough to make a fuss over and I probably overstated it in my OP, but you know exactly how I feel, I can tell from your post.

                  These are people I rarely see, a few times a year at the most. And the word patronize was used earlier, but I wouldn’t call it that. Patronizing (to me) implies some sort of negative intent, or at least smugness. These people are more like the physical therapists you mentioned. They knew in the beginning I needed encouragement (although, just like you I never liked being spoken to that way). They just haven’t moved past that. It’s okay though, they‘re unbelievably upbeat folks, I’ll let them give their obligatory encouragement. The last thing I want is to come off as a sour puss because I'm sure I have in the past.

                  It's just ironic because the weirdness in the room is amplified when it happens, probably making them think I need even more encouragement, lol.

                  Originally posted by WheelieMike
                  Those are the true friends.
                  Yeah, and most people my own age do speak to me normally, even when I can feel their discomfort. And I have one aunt I've always been cool with--we share similar tastes in many things. Our conversations have never changed, even when we discuss my physical problems or whatever, it's just normal conversation, just... different from the other folks. I don't know, maybe I'm weird, I don't find very many people who are on the same wavelength as me, if that makes any sense, even before my injury.
                  Last edited by They Might Be SCI Giants; 21 Mar 2008, 9:11 PM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I would be half tempted to give these people a taste of their own medicine. "Oh, you mowed the lawn today, Uncle Jerry? At your age? Wow, what a trooper you are! And that Aunt Matilda! Still baking even though she needs glasses to read her cookbooks!"

                    That's got to be seriously annoying dude. I guess it's an extension of that "I don't know you well enough so I'll just be overly nice" attitude that some people have. I worked for a woman like that and it's amazing how after awhile all the faux kindness can lead you to want to punch someone in the face.

                    Like you said, the people closest to you are going to focus more on real stuff. Maybe mention this type of stuff the AB people in your life who understand where you're coming from. It couldn't hurt to get the word out.

                    It sounds like most of the people who treat you that way aren't that important in your life anyway. I'd worry more about people you see more often, like your writing coach. If he/she keeps acting that way, I'd bring it up. No need to be a dick, just be real. Even to the other, less important people.. if it bothers you, bring it up to them as well (perhaps sarcastically as I suggested above ).

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                      #11
                      My Mother used to do this to me all the time and it didn't bother me at all. I'm happy that she is proud of what I can do. It does take time to learn this new way of life.

                      She does it to Andy now, lol. He's not used to it at all and doesn't know what to think of it. I remember the first time he came down she thanked him for coming to see me. We joked about it saying, "thank you for coming to see my poor crippled daughter." She meant well. My sweet Mother.
                      T-5 incomplete

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                        #12
                        I think I heard it on Dr. Phil. We teach people how to treat us. [you teach people how to treat you.]

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Jason C
                          I would be half tempted to give these people a taste of their own medicine. "Oh, you mowed the lawn today, Uncle Jerry? At your age? Wow, what a trooper you are! And that Aunt Matilda! Still baking even though she needs glasses to read her cookbooks!"
                          "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
                          Winston Churchill

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Jason C
                            I would be half tempted to give these people a taste of their own medicine. "Oh, you mowed the lawn today, Uncle Jerry? At your age? Wow, what a trooper you are! And that Aunt Matilda! Still baking even though she needs glasses to read her cookbooks!"

                            That's got to be seriously annoying dude. I guess it's an extension of that "I don't know you well enough so I'll just be overly nice" attitude that some people have. I worked for a woman like that and it's amazing how after awhile all the faux kindness can lead you to want to punch someone in the face.
                            Ah, thanks for putting a smile on my face, Jason. You have no idea how many times I've had thoughts exactly like that--turning it around on them. It's good to know I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

                            As for some of you mentioning strangers... I really don't get out that often, but the one I always hear, like when I back my chair into the doctor's office, the nurses always say, "Wow, you drive that so well, I can't even back my car in like that."

                            And I want to say, "Yeah? I bet you could if you spent 16 hours a day in your car." Or, "Try walking backwards into the room, I think you'd make it in just fine."

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                              #15
                              Did you ever see the movie Murderball? Your perspective is also mentioned in the flick. Zupan got irritated when someone complimented him on getting out, shopping, driving etc.. And he responded something to the effect of, " where else would I be.... stuck in my home?"

                              In the movie Zupan gets annoyed when people (ABs) question his independence.

                              In the film he also got pissed when the ABs were surprised that he was in a sexual relationship, and that he could actually have sex!!!!

                              The patronizing circumstances that were portrayed in the movie- were very succinct and to the point.

                              Your not alone.......

                              And I thank you for the feedback..... as a therapist I too have been guilty of giving props for newfound movements and abilities. I hope I am not one of those as you have described. My intent has never been to be patronizing. I feel I get excited because I know that in many circumstances new found movement and abilities is a result of hard work.

                              I can totally see your perspective and will keep this in mind in the future.
                              Take Care,
                              Pam OTR/L

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