What do people say to offend you without even knowing it? — Reeve Connect
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What do people say to offend you without even knowing it?

trevorsendeavor Moderator Posts: 38 Moderator
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edited April 2020 in Relationships
This thought has occurred to me while I was out at a bar the other night listening to a friends band, and I know I have seen people voice opinions about certain phrases that can often be taken the wrong way by someone who uses a wheelchair. I notice this happens the most a social setting and its usually easy to brush it off and not think anything of it. The one that has really come to bother me is when someone says, "It's good to see you out." Or some variation that infers that I never leave the house. Don't get me wrong, I can understand why someone might say that but coming from my perspective, it's a bit offensive. I am thinking...Am I not allowed to go out? I take care of myself and do most things independently just like everyone else. I leave the house when I need to and do my routine that I need to do just like every other person. No one tells me that at the grocery store...

It takes a lot to offend me and I never get upset because I know everyone has good intentions, it's just funny to hear some of the things people will say without realizing how they come off. So I guess my question is - Have you ever experienced situations like this? Has someone ever tried to be nice but just come off ignorant or uneducated? How do you handle situations like that? 


  • BrookeU
    BrookeU Moderator Posts: 175 Moderator
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    Hey, @trevorsendeavor! Something that bothers my brother (who I hope will join this online community soon) is more what people don’t say to him...when people talk about him to me or whoever he is with. By this I mean when people should be asking him the question or addressing him but instead ask me...as if he’s a child and I’m his mother or something. I remember when we were younger, a little girl asked me, “Can he talk?” instead of asking him or just saying hi to see if he could talk without overtly asking. My response was, “Why don’t you ask him?” She was young, so that’s forgivable, but I hope she learned from it so she doesn’t become one of those adults who doesn’t talk directly to my brother.
  • Sterlion
    Sterlion Moderator Posts: 109 Moderator
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    Hey @trevorsendeavor, I use to feel the same way you felt when someone whom I never met would say to me "You're such an inspiration".  I would think you don't even no me or know what I've done. All they would see is me living my life in a wheelchair.

    I've come to find out that them seeing me like I said living my life is what is inspiring to them. Some people might know someone who isn't even in a wheelchair but who might be going through some things and they aren't allowing themselves to live because of that. So them seeing me with a physical limitation but still doing things and going places that an able bodied person would inspires them.

    I also don't get offended easily but there are somethings people do or say that makes me question how naive I was pre-injury. An example being, saying "I'll break your neck" as a threat. I would not wish this on my worst enemy so to hear others say it, in most times as an exaggeration is something that grinds my gears. 

  • Monica.T
    Monica.T Member Posts: 105 ✭✭
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    "Look on the bright side, it could be worse, he could be dead."  I hear that so often I could scream (or cuss).
  • trevorsendeavor
    trevorsendeavor Moderator Posts: 38 Moderator
    10 Comments 5 Awesomes 5 Likes Name Dropper
    @BrookeU I got that a little bit at the beginning when I was still very new to the injury and people would ask my parents things. They would say, "he's right there you can ask him yourself." for some things. I can see where that would be frustrating for sure. How old is your brother, if you don't mind me asking?
  • trevorsendeavor
    trevorsendeavor Moderator Posts: 38 Moderator
    10 Comments 5 Awesomes 5 Likes Name Dropper
    @Sterlion Oh, I can definitely relate to the "you're an inspiration" comment. I used to really hate it but it honestly does not bother me anymore. Most of the people that I hear say that know me personally and truly mean it as a compliment. When a stranger in public tells calls me an inspiration I just think there are much worse things I could be called. I think what a lot of those people don't understand is when we are going out to do things, we are trying to live a normal life just like them. They see us doing things outside what they may see as "limitations" and maybe the shock value inspires them. If someone seeing me just trying to do normal things inspires them, thats alright with me. 
  • BrookeU
    BrookeU Moderator Posts: 175 Moderator
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    @trevorsendeavor, my brother is 24 and older than me! Definitely at an age where he can answer for himself.
  • Mnichols23
    Mnichols23 Moderator Posts: 43 Moderator
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    It’s not what people say, it’s their actions. When people are uncomfortable I can tell in their body language. I often get upset because it’s just because of my chair that makes people uncomfortable. Many people don’t look past the chair 
  • 619Drake
    619Drake Member Posts: 19
    10 Comments 5 Likes Name Dropper Photogenic
    Two of my biggest pet peeves:
    1. When I am out dining with my wife and the waiter hands her the bill. That would never happen if I wasn't in my chair.
    2. People who try to help without asking permission. Example, when I am alone and transferring into my car someone will try and grab the wheelchair to "help". I usually tell them that it is easier for me to do it than it is to explain "how to" to them.
    It also used to bother me when people would ask "Can I help?", assuming I was unable to do it myself. Later I realized I am not the only disabled person out there. What if the next person they ask "Can I help?" really COULD use their help. If I had been rude, they might stop asking and that next disabled person wouldn't get any help. Now my response is "I've got a good system going and don't need the help, but I do appreciate you asking." 
  • Crucker
    Crucker Moderator Posts: 87 Moderator
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    619Drake, I did a radio show once where a guy in a chair from New York called in and told how he got from Long Island to Manhattan every day via the subway to go to work as an accountant. He was adept at bouncing himself up and down the stairs to the subway. One day he had bounced down maybe two steps when Mr. Helpful grabbed the chair from behind, saying "Here, let me help you." Both men and the chair went tumbling down two flights of stairs; the chair was bent out of shape, the chair user, furious. Mr. Helpful, oblivious to what he had just done, began helping the chair user up, saying, "Boy, I bet you're glad I came along!" He wasn't being ironic.