Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. Thank you. I have been thinking about some thing that I would like to share with you. As an individual living with an invisible disability, I have found myself feeling shame for my deficits and limitations when I am around people who hold me accountable for things they do not understand.
When I was in graduate school, one of my professors encouraged us to encourage the people we would work with to educate people concerning their disabilities. What he shared with us has stuck with me. As an individual living with an invisible disability, who is learning how to read social nuance, subtitles, and non-verbal communication I have found that by sharing that with people, I am empowered.
As I have mentioned, I attend non tbi support groups. Over the course of time I have been misunderstood by some individuals who have in turn gossiped and criticized who I am to other people. In a meeting last week, when it came time to share on the topic of detachment, I shared that sometimes I do not read social nuances and non verbal communication, which can lead to my overstepping peoples boundaries.
I went on to share that, if I have inadvertently overstepped peoples boundaries, they need to let me know so that I can make an amends. By making the decision to share – disclose – my awareness about my disability, I found myself empowered. I found myself empowered by shifting the responsibility onto the people who may have a problem to come to me, instead of continuing to gossip and be critical of me.
I can not correct what I do not understand. Life is filled with opportunities to learn and grow as an individual. Living with an invisible disability creates a whole different set of opportunities to learn and grow. I shared with the group that I can make an amends when people let me know if I overstepped their boundaries in some way. I went on to share that if people do not accept my amends, then I can detach.
For many years – actually about 39 years post traumatic brain injury, which occurred when I was 10 years old in 1967— I lived with an invisible disability, not knowing how my life was affected by my invisible disability. For many years, I internalized my inability to read social nuances, subtleties and non-verbal communication as there being something wrong with me. I am no longer willing to internalize what other people are unwilling to articulate.
In my process, I have come to realize something on a different level. I am responsible to other people, but not for other people. If people have issues with me and do not come to me, it is no longer my issue. I can let it go. I DO NOT have to cajole or fix them so that they will be OK with me. I can let them have their stuff. This does not take away from my responsibility to make amends to people where ever possible.
One last point. I am not making excuses for my deficits and limitations. Instead, I am and have been taking responsibility to improve my reading of social cues, subtleties and non-verbal communication.
As you read this article and questions come to mind, please send those questions to me. All questions are good question. In the event that you would like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you. You may send your question (s) or a comment by clicking on this link: Contact Page.
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