Second Chance to Live

Sharing Hope in the Face of Adversity — One Piece at a Time

Having an Invisible Disability – The Consequence of Denying Reality—Part 2

Posted by Second Chance to Live on August 21, 2007

Welcome back to Second Chance to Live. Yesterday I introduced the concept of consequences for denying my reality. Today I am going to share what I have learned. For many years I was encouraged to buy into a belief system that would not or could not consider the possibility that the injury to my brain contributed to the difficulties I encountered when interacting with some people and social situations. Consequently I was frequently criticized for my inability to “get along” with people without factoring in the damage to my brain.

The sad reality created by a lack of acceptance — concerning my invisible disability — resulted in my being blamed, shamed and in many instances made to be the scapegoat for matters that were out of my control.

Because I believed that I created my sad reality for many years, I lived in a state of guilt and shame. I did not believe that I merely made mistakes, but that I was a mistake. I had an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and spent much of my time saying I am sorry. My 6th grade English teacher had me write out I am sorry 500 times in his attempt to get me to stop saying I was sorry. My exercise in writing those words did not help to rid me of my sense of shame.

Consequently, I continued to assume the position of a scapegoat because I was led to believe that I was responsible for the restlessness, irritability and discontent in my world.

I continued to believe that I was responsible for people, places and things even though they were out of my control until I reached an emotional bottom when the relationship with my fiancée ended in 1991. In response to the break up I started to look for solutions. As I looked for solutions precious answers were revealed to me. I found that when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired I was willing to be honest with myself.

I had no idea — at the time — how much good would come from the ashes of my pain.

As I was honest with myself my ability to change the way I related to myself changed forever. My ability to love and respect myself began when I was able to come out of hiding. (Please read my post, Who am I) Although shame and guilt left me accusing or defending myself for many years, as I began to accept the child that God loved unconditionally, I was been able to find and integrate parts of myself that I previously discarded in the process of protecting my wounded child.

Over time I have grown in my ability to accept myself and live an empowered life as a man with an invisible disability. My circumstances are not meant to keep me down, but to build me up. Because I know that with everything there is a learning curve I have determined to live life on life’s terms.

Please read my post, The Art of Change

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3 Responses to “Having an Invisible Disability – The Consequence of Denying Reality—Part 2”

  1. tim said

    I appreciate your insight on the existential ramifications of disability. I think society as a whole has developed unhealthily in regard to the way it stigmatizes and scapegoats people who don’t confirm to its arbitrary definition of what is acceptable. Additionally, I think it’s important to note that, as I understand it, your own change began with a spiritual awakening. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Janette said

    I stumbled upon your blog and I’m impressed that you have so much insight. I have just started reading your entries and hopefully I’ll appreciate the depth and magnitude of your difficulties better. I find it very difficult to share such personal material with other people but you have given me hope. I have dealt with various issues regarding disability and I find that society is not kind to those whom they consider not normal and healthy. I’m not sure how it can become better.


  3. Judy Reid said

    The more I read, the more amazed I am by how well you know yourself and your limitations. I can identify with so much of what you have written in one way or another. Sometimes no one is as blind as those who have eyes and no one is as deaf as those who have ears that hear. I am truly honored to have met you through your posts. I know that you can continue to trust your instincts as well-honed as they are.


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