Written by Cathy Grant
So, continuing with the parts of my eBook Common Sense a Disabled Woman’s Perspective, here are points 4, 5, and 6.
Enjoy, and as always, your feedback is welcome.
#4: Be Honest
This one might seem to be a no brainer but you would be surprised (or not if you have a disability) to know how many times I have been lied to.
People have lied to get out of a situation they have found uncomfortable, or when they have been confronted with the truth (see paperwork above) and are trying to get out of a commitment. People have also lied to me when they thought that I could not take hearing the truth, or that I could not understand it.
This never works in the long run folks. Finally, I also had staff lie because they’ve made a mistake on shift and do not want to take responsibility for their actions, which is really stupid because its fairly easy, by process of elimination, who to figure out who did what.
Being honest on the other hand, while potentially painful in the short term, leads to much better results over the long term.
The consequences of a mistake can be dealt with; often quicker than if they were left. If I know what was going on, then I am not making up reasons for what occurred in my head (often the reasons are far more extreme than what actually occurred). As well I’m much more forgiving to a staff who owns up to their actions right away.
I might be pissed, I might swear (at you or life in general) but I’m going to fire you on the spot; something I have done to staff to did lie to me and thought they got away with it.
Finally, honesty will be easier on the person tempted to lie. They do not have to remember which lies were told when and to whom. Being honest means only having to remember one story, something that everyone can do.
#5 If you don’t know ask.
I don’t know how many times I’ve asked a staff person in the middle of tearing my house apart “What are you doing?”
“Looking for X,” would be the normal reply (usually with a few choice swear words added by this time, but I try to not swear)”
“It’s in Y,” I would say knowing because that’s where the last staff who was on shift left it.
“Oh,” would be the normal reply. (sometimes followed by more swearing but not always many staff are too embarrassed to speak again.)
This is perhaps the best example of that ‘I’m not mentally handicapped’ theme I was talking about earlier. People just somehow assume that because I’m in a wheelchair I don’t
know where everything is. I take pride in my home and just because I can’t personally clean it doesn’t mean I haven’t help organize it. Now it true that if I’ve not used something for 10 years I might not know where it is; but then I think practically everyone would have problems with that one.
But it’s just not about finding things in my home. Some people never think to ask how spicy I like my food, or choose my clothing for me. This last one is personally irksome because some female friends/staff seem to think I’m their personal ‘dress me up Cathy’ doll. (Yet another reason why I like male staff)
#6: Don’t be afraid to say ‘sorry’
Like lying, I find it amazing just how many people are afraid of the word ‘sorry’. The pat answer as to why this is the case if that it’s a fear of taking responsibility, or there is the fear of being sued. I’m not convinced of this entirely; I think it had more to do with the person’s fear of looking vulnerable and ‘human’ in front of a person with a disability.
It’s like they fear people with disabilities are made out of glass, and if we see them in a moment of weakness we’ll shatter. Or they’re afraid of a big emotional reaction/outburst on our part because something didn’t go exactly as planned. Now I admit that sometimes happens, but I’ve seen that response happen just as much in the non-disabled world as it does with me.
Risk using the ‘S’ word. We do need to hear when others been wrong as much as anyone else dose.
One caveat: to all those ‘experts’ out there regarding sorry. It doesn’t help to say sorry when you have intentionally lied to me or have gone against my wishes.
If you want me to believe you then MEAN IT! And meaning it entails fixing the lie and making it right. If you’re not doing that, then I don’t want to hear your hollow sorries.