Getting help from friends.

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lindtoholic

New Member
So, this is a similar topic to what I was discussing in the relationships forum, but it branches out into friendships and I was just wondering how is best to really deal with the whole deaf vs. hearing predicament that I know others have been in.

To put it simply, though my friends are aware of what the problems are about me being deaf, they know very little about its implications. In fact, as shown in my other thread, my friends tend to believe that any problem I have should be dealt with by my parents, appropriate staff members and/or my boyfriend. This shouldn't be the case though, and I regretfully admit that I had overlooked this being the case for my boyfriend - largely because he never really expressed his problems with the entire scenario, but also because I should have been more aware.

In any case... I need them to start being there to assist me if I need it. I don't want it to be the case where they drop everything to help, because frankly that won't be necessary. But what I do need is people to be aware that just because others are out drinking and having no problems, it doesn't necessarily mean I will. The problem here though is timing.

I have known this particular group of friends for two years now since joining university. Many of them are reasonably apathetic towards any problems I may have because they don't really know how to deal with it, or generally are the type to keep themselves to themselves and not concern themselves with other people's problems - and that's probably one of the biggest issues. Whenever confronted with having to deal with someone else's problems, a lot of people I know shy away and turn their backs on me in an instant, because they want nothing to do about it. And since this does, in part, mean people also need to share some responsibility for assisting me, I'm very worried that people will refuse to do this and I will be left on my own. Or, if not that, they'll continue to argue that it's not their place to do x, y or z, and that the person who should be responsible for this is my boyfriend.

The whole fact of the matter is... I want a boyfriend. I do not want a carer. I would like, and appreciate it, if my friendship group could therefore accommodate my "disability" (I put it in quotations because 7/10 times it is not a disability, but there are still instances where it can be an issue) and actually provide support for me.

Should I perhaps write up a note on Facebook and tag the key people in it? I'm not sure if it would look as though I'm naming people to "charge" them with my care, but I think it would help if specific people could be made aware of the issues and make some sort of arrangement to cover me when out in situations that might be of difficulty to me.
 

Bottesini

Old Deaf Ranter
Premium Member
You shouldn't expect your friends to assist you. They aren't going to be your friends for long if that's the case.

It is really important to be self reliant. Maybe there is a disability service at your university that can assist you in finding out how to do that.
 

CSign

New Member
You shouldn't expect your friends to assist you. They aren't going to be your friends for long if that's the case.

It is really important to be self reliant. Maybe there is a disability service at your university that can assist you in finding out how to do that.
That's a good suggestion Bott.

I don't think putting a blast on FB is a good idea, it might create more issues.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
I'm most self reliant in any case, but it's more when I run into issues that require the assistance of another - take, for example, when I am at a festival again. I intend on putting precautions in place (disabled camping) but I do need assistance from others when it's more of a demanding situation.

What I am speaking of is probably more to do with sight actually. If, for example, I am in a nightclub, and I don't hear that people are moving away many do not think to try and attract my attention. I also cannot see very well in the dark, and having difficulty with hearing means I cannot judge where people are, but often by the time I realise I need help everyone has gone. This is not something I can do alone - the only option I have is eye surgery, but I cannot receive that until at least the age of 25 for reasons regarding the fact I am still undergoing physical changes, and by then I would be out of university too.
 

CSign

New Member
I don't know what type of situations you are referring to, but maybe you need to "speak up" a bit more... Let people know you didn't understand something, or remind them to get your attention before they start talking to you. I think being a strong advocate for yourself will serve you well.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
Also, I think people are misinterpreting my question...

I have already made arrangements with the disability service at my university. I can have a notetaker if I require, and I receive funding for any equipment I may need to help me in my education - this is not the issue at all.

My issue is with social problems. My friends are not accustomed to having to look out for someone, because all of them are able to hear what the plans are. If we're in a situation where it's loud music everywhere, and people agree to move on, chances are I won't hear it. But they rarely remember that I need someone to point me in the right direction when this happens, and many of them forget I even have hearing aids. I just need a way in which I can try and get them to realise where I have problems - like I am saying right now - without trying to make it sound as though I am chaining them to me. I just need a way of saying: this is my problem, I sometimes need help with X, can you help me if Y is not around?

The last point is the biggest issue. At the moment, everyone believe my boyfriend (Y) is responsible for me. Every. single. time. But this means that whenever I need assistance getting through somewhere dark, or someone to tell me what's going on, people will automatically get him to do it. Or tell me to go to him - by the time I've tried to say no, it's not his responsibility, I have asked you, they've already gone. It shouldn't always fall down to my boyfriend to help me if I have a problem, and no matter how often I turn to someone to ask for help from THEM, this is the same response I get. Go to your boyfriend.
 
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CSign

New Member
I'm most self reliant in any case, but it's more when I run into issues that require the assistance of another - take, for example, when I am at a festival again. I intend on putting precautions in place (disabled camping) but I do need assistance from others when it's more of a demanding situation.

What I am speaking of is probably more to do with sight actually. If, for example, I am in a nightclub, and I don't hear that people are moving away many do not think to try and attract my attention. I also cannot see very well in the dark, and having difficulty with hearing means I cannot judge where people are, but often by the time I realise I need help everyone has gone. This is not something I can do alone - the only option I have is eye surgery, but I cannot receive that until at least the age of 25 for reasons regarding the fact I am still undergoing physical changes, and by then I would be out of university too.
Have you told your friends that situations like this are challenging? If they are aware it's a challenge for you, I see no reason they can't tap you on the shoulder and motion/tell you that they are leaving...
 

lindtoholic

New Member
Have you told your friends that situations like this are challenging? If they are aware it's a challenge for you, I see no reason they can't tap you on the shoulder and motion/tell you that they are leaving...
I have done so, countless times. But again... they shrug it off onto my boyfriend. I don't want him to be the one to have to do this all the time. It's a minor inconvenience, sure... but this is something anyone could help with, surely?
 

naisho

Forum Disorders M.D.,Ph.D
Maybe you could find friends that have similar backgrounds as you.

I've seen and personally experienced trying to fit the hearing world mold as a deaf person, but it just doesn't work in some situations. The only worse matter is if someone is forcing you to be hearing, rather you try your hand at it and learn that it doesn't work for you.

Back in college, I used to go to clubs with my hearing friends. In the end, they were a chore because 95% of the event is just keeping your eyes open looking for what is going to happen and keep an eye on my friends in case there was something up.
I met many acquaintances, but never fully understood what many were saying. It was like trying to assume and guess what they were trying to say to me in a room full of distractions and noises that no current technology on earth, no matter the best hearing aid or cochlear implant, would be able to let you converse in the club as a normal person would. If I was to hope for normal conversations, I'd need to be outside and not many people are willing to step out for a normal chitchat.

The between worlds you are in does not let success come easily, but finding friends who have had a similar experience know precisely what you are going through.

In regards to the boyfriend; has it occurred to you that he might like to be your 'carer'? It all is dependent on his personality but I've yet to understand how he feels about it.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
That's exactly it. Exactly my problem. They don't appreciate that and though people claim they do, it's not the same. Just as I don't know how it is to be hearing. But no one seems to grasp that from what I have said, and it is difficult.

I am sadly the only person in my university with a hearing impairment of any kind, so there's no chance I would be able to get someone who understands my plight in my area - hence why I joined the forum, I need to speak to people with this experience. It's difficult for me to really cope without gaining experience from others. In any case, before it was not so much an issue... but now I want to be doing things like the others, and spending time with others as I would normally be able to if I was able to hear normally, and I'm limited. I just need a way to reach out to those friends I do have and explain.

As for my boyfriend... he doesn't like it any more. He'll still do it, but he dislikes being identified as my carer. He dislikes being solely responsible for me. He doesn't appreciate others defining what he should do simply because he is labelled 'my boyfriend'. I can somewhat understand his point now.
 

naisho

Forum Disorders M.D.,Ph.D
My experience and witnessing other friends, and seeing people post on this matter on this forum for six years, there are few 'hearing' friends willing to make the jump to understand your world. Most seem to prefer the comfort of their own realm. They don't want to make the challenge to accommodate you because they don't have the patience, or the ambition to help you out. I'm not sure if the boyfriend feels the same way, but there are subtle hints you are giving in your replies that makes me think it might not be going well with him either.

Know the saying: "you can lead a horse to the water, but you can't make it drink"?
Whether your friends want to accustom you or not is completely up to them. I'm sure you have tried to make them, or hope they understand, but it's their chess move now and you can only wait in response. I do not blame my hearing friends who I've parted ways with either, I chalk it up to a "difference of cultures" even though we are of the same hearing culture, initially.

Does the university offer BSL courses?
If it does, perhaps you can try to take it with the boyfriend. You would be able to discover if he's your real keeper or not if he's willing to make the challenge to understand your world. You need to let him make his own choices and see how he reacts to them while in reflection to you. I hate to be blunt in this aspect, but if he isn't willing to want to understand you, I don't think the future is a happy and blissfully in love type - there will be problems in the relationship and/or marriage.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
Yeah, that is all very true. I do think I need to make a few things clearer though - as I say, many do forget I have a problem because I "manage" so well. I have been "managing" for years now, but never sought help... only until I realised I could lose something that means the world to me, which is my boyfriend. I think the biggest issue we have is not so much that he isn't willing to accommodate it - he is, and has done for four years - but more the reactions of others. As I say, he doesn't like people to tell him what he should be doing as my boyfriend, but I do feel he needs people to step up and be prepared to do something else to help me so that it doesn't always fall down to him. My parents have also said this, and have warned him about that - and the fact that I may well need someone to step up on my behalf and point out the problems. He has the advantage there of experiencing what it's like to have to contend with it on his own. What I would really like to do is get to the point where the deafness is accepted, and there are methods we can take to get around it.

Regarding BSL, I don't actually use it. Since I do wear hearing aids, I haven't yet had any issue with other aspects of my deafness aside from balance, and obviously just being able to hear. He has been interested in learning about the problems I face though and in the past asked me many questions (hence why he is almost my safe base, as he knows more about my problem than anyone else). The university would most likely only put on such a course through enough demand.

I do think he wants to understand... but he needs to have some of the pressure relieved. After speaking to another friend of mine, when I pointed out my problems with my group of friends her response was simple: this is something her friends would do for anyone in their group, not just someone who was deaf. And I think that's the issue... my friends are accustomed to seeing me as my boyfriend's responsibility and not having to extend the same response towards me as they might to someone else as they believe that he will always be there to ensure I'm alright. But that's what I want to stop.
 

naisho

Forum Disorders M.D.,Ph.D
Hm, okay, so it's your group of friends you want to focus on first, rather than the boyfriend.

So in your group of coexisting friends, the boyfriend is a mutual member of the group. The problem with this group is that they treat you second rate and push the honors all on the boyfriend, who is the second part of a different problem, that he hates being told what to do as in having to tell you what to do next.

The source of this issue seems to be primarily caused by your main group of friends, which you have told them what you need as a friend, correct?
If you have done so, you have tried being assertive with them already. There are no alternative or back doors to get hearing people to understand your world perfectly. These type of matters take certain personalities for one to understand, and secondly, needs time to happen. Sometimes it can take years.

As for the boyfriend, is he being passive and letting them continue to treat him as your carer?
He should be able to stand up for you and tell them that you are also their friend, and that they can notify you themselves. Why let them continue to treat the two of you as second class if you don't deserve it.

I understand in regards to the BSL course availability. That sucks.
It was my intention that it is not just the signs that you would learn in the course, but ideally there are also cultural differences between deaf and hearing and how they cope with it, that can be learned as well, assuming the instructor teaches it.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
Yeah, that's it. But hm, I guess that is true. I'll see what I can do to get them to start realising what they ideally need to just be ready to do - nothing too extreme, and is simply what I would do for them, but I do think the big issue would be getting my boyfriend to speak out. He's quite withdrawn about most things and avoids conflict at all times (so confronting any of our issues is also met with disdain at his end). But in any case, good point.

Ah, I see. Yeah, that would potentially have been useful, but unfortunately there isn't much (available to me that I can see) which would cater for that. However, I am being referred to the local hearing department, so maybe they would be able to assist.
 

naisho

Forum Disorders M.D.,Ph.D
There are several UK'ers here who have probably been in your situation(s), can hear but not the best, might have problems with hearing people, and some of them have learned BSL.

Here in the states we have what we call DPHH as in Deaf Professional Happy Hour in many cities. Every month where students learning ASL, hearing people, college students, children of deaf people, parents of deaf people, deaf signers, recently learning ASL deaf people, hard of hearing and oral speaking deaf people all come and check it out.

Some of them make friends there because of the similar backgrounds. I don't know if there's an equivalent in the UK, perhaps someone better suited for this can explain or bring them to light.
 

lindtoholic

New Member
I've certainly not heard of that, but that does sound quite useful... if not someone on here, then I'm sure I can get directed to something by someone at the hearing department if necessary.

I'm going to try and talk about things with my boyfriend tonight (the full story is up on the relationships forum - I have no link available now, but it's one of the most recent topics) about this all and get something sorted/resolved. It's a bit messy, but I hope that the insights I've been given both here, and on that other thread, will help us get through it.
 

KristinaB

Emotional Mess
Premium Member
I too have had those types of issues, and I am working to be more assertive. I have been quite blunt when out with others. I do have some older friends who knew me before I lost all the hearing who can't seem to understand that I can no longer hear. My thought there is, if there were really a good and true friend, they would make more of an effort. I have one who just really does not seem to get it, so when I emailed them, it turns out it's not her with the problem, it's her husband.

Also wanted to add, that your friends are not there to help you in these little instances. You should have some way of handling it totally.
 
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lindtoholic

New Member
The little instances are fine to be honest, I can makedo alone usually easily on my own. It's just when it's slightly bigger and more potentially disconcerting for me that I need some support from friends, and I need them (most importantly) to understand. Or at least, try to understand. Some are just not willing or believe they know it all already.
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
You shouldn't expect your friends to assist you. They aren't going to be your friends for long if that's the case.

It is really important to be self reliant. Maybe there is a disability service at your university that can assist you in finding out how to do that.
Couldn't have said it better, Botti....I'm super independent myself, and as I become older, know it's gonna be very hard to have to depend on any help...I don't knowingly put myself in a position where I have to depend upon others....and "friends" are friends to a certain degree, they are not responsible for anyone's care-taking...they may volunteer once in a while, but when it becomes constant, they get tired of that fast!...

I would do and go places where I knew I could handle things myself...if I wanted a "care-taker"...I'd move to a nursing home....
 

lindtoholic

New Member
Hm, yeah. I don't want round the clock care either - it's why I'm not interested in a carer. I just... I want my friends to actually think about including me a bit more proactively than they already do. A lot of the time they just speak over me, not really realising they aren't directing their speech towards me, and no matter how hard I try to get involved just brush it off. Sometimes I do need that added effort from my friends - I just don't know how best to request it in a way that will make them want to still hang out with me, y'know?

I realise I probably phrased my entire first message wrong. But the point is, I just need a way to get the message across to my friends that I do need a bit of extra effort every now and again. And yeah, sure, sometimes there are things I can't do alone and would need someone to step up... but as you say, when someone has to do it all the time, they grow tired of it. That's exactly where my boyfriend is now - he's tired of being the one to help, but most importantly, being the only one who is willing to do something. I can't stand by and just let him be the one to do that.

So... no, I don't want my friends to be there constantly. If I did, I'd file a case for a carer and/or dog to help. What I want is some way of bridging the gap between my hearing friends and me, and making them understand my problems that I may have.
 
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