Monthly Archives: April 2012

Ain’t Manipulatin’: People with Disabilities and the “Manipulation Myth”

Hello, readers,

If you noticed incorrect grammar in this post’s title, you should have. I never use incorrect grammar. I react to it the way Adrian Monk reacts to a lack of symmetry or cleanliness–as in, it’s not acceptable. Unless, of course, I’m dead serious about something, and right now, I am. What am I dead serious about? The manipulation myth.

I’d like to begin with a shout-out to fellow disability advocate and inspiration Kathie Snow, whose article “What’s a Behavior?” on disabilityisnatural.com inspired this post. In “What’s a Behavior?”, Kathie addresses something I’ve talked about before on this blog–the fact that when a child WITHOUT a disability displays “inappropriate” emotions, particularly anger, in any way, it’s normal. It’s a kid being a kid. But when a kid WITH a disability does the same thing, it’s suddenly a “behavior” that needs to be curbed and controlled. Written down in a “behavior plan” and monitored and punished ad nauseum, despite the fact the kid may be trying to communicate the only way he or she knows how. And I know the argument–some of those “behaviors,” like rocking, twirling, hand flapping, and so on, are “embarrassing.” Well, get over it. If you haven’t taught that child how to communicate otherwise–or given him or her a way to, such as through assistive technology–then you are the one with the “behavior problem.” And of course, some of these “behaviors,” such as biting, are harmful because they are self-injurous. Those should actually be curbed–but not without delving into the real cause, instead of saying, “It’s just the disability; they all do it.”

That’s disturbing enough. But this post is going to focus on a “behavior” children and adults with disabilities are accused of all the time, and that is arguably more harmful than the rest: manipulation.

If you have a child or other loved one with a disability, or know someone, you’ve probably heard this myth–and if not, someday, I’m sure you will hear it, because it’s disgustingly prevalent. You know, the one that goes:

“Of course Benjamin doesn’t want to cooperate at therapy. He’s manipulating you.” Then, in an aside–“You know, children with disabilities learn to manipulate at a very young age.” Or,

“Yes, Mrs. Anderson, I know Chris seems upset. But he’s doing that to manipulate so he won’t have to go to X therapy.” (Without even considering WHY Chris doesn’t want to go, IF he needs to, or IF that’s why he’s upset in the first place). Or,

“Grace claims she can’t do things to get sympathy and manipulate teachers into not making her do her work.”

Now, those of you who’ve been reading this blog know what a big proponent I am of children and adults with disabilities being treated like everyone else. And if we’re going to treat them like everyone else, we do need to acknowledge that yes, most people with disabilities are capable of some level of manipulation and might choose to use it. Manipulation itself is not what I have a problem with, because we all do it. What I have a problem with is the “manipulation argument” being used every time a person with a disability expresses negative emotion or won’t “comply.” I have a problem with the general population doing everything it can to control people with disabilities, humiliate them, dumb them down, and then accuse them of manipulation, noncompliance, and aggression when they–gasp!–fight back. And I have a major problem with “manipulation” being used as a pat answer, rather than others, who claim to care for, even love, the person with a disability, probing for real answers to why they’re doing what they’re doing. Of course, sometimes the people who really do love that person can go a little overboard, for fear that person really will become manipulative otherwise. And let me tell you from personal experience: no one likes a manipulator. But in other cases–come on. Drop the M word.

Let’s take a look at the actual definition of “manipulation,” shall we? My computer dictionary defines it as, “to control or influence somebody or something in an ingenious or devious way.” Another definition is, “to change or present something in a way that is false but personally advantageous.” In other words, to lie for one’s own gain. Synonyms for “manipulate” include “control,” “influence,” “sway,” “exploit,” and “capitalize on.”

Hey, wait a minute.

Take a look at those definitions and synonyms for me. A good look. I’ll wait.

Okay, I guess you’re back. If you took a good look, and used your critical thinking skills, I’m sure you noticed something those definitions and synonyms all have in common. Here it is: you’ve got to be smart to manipulate!

Did you catch that? Manipulation is something you have to be smart to do–yet people with disabilities are constantly accused of being stupid! Double standard much?

Here’s another problem: the idea that people with disabilities “learn to manipulate at a very young age.” Well, excuse me, but if they’re so stupid in every other way, where and how are they learning their scheming skills? This rationale lowers the capacity of people with disabilities to think and learn, to the point that anything they learn, especially manipulation, is comparable to an animal instinct.  Something’s rotten here, and it’s not Denmark.

“But Chick,” you say, “what about the people with disabilities who are smart? We can still say they’re manipulative, right?”

No, you can’t. Because (1), everyone with a disability is smart, just in different ways. And (2), manipulation is something you darn well better prove before you accuse someone–anyone–of doing it. And besides that, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Controlling, exploiting, influencing, capitalizing? Lying for one’s own gain? That’s actually what the general population does, much too often, to the very people they accuse of trying to manipulate THEM!

But the most important thing to remember about the manipulation myth is, it hurts. It can knock down a person with a disability’s confidence in his or her own emotions and right to express them. I used to get so frustrated with math that it made me cry–and was accused of manipulating to get out of doing math. In fact, I was accused of crying to manipulate people–when I didn’t have a conscious desire or thought of manipulating–so often that I lost confidence in my own right to shed tears. I lost confidence in my ability to express much of anything unless it was “I’m always happy,” to be honest.

Parents, don’t let your kids go through that. Loved ones of adults with disabilities, don’t you dare let them end up in that boat, either. Yes, manipulation exists. And yes, all people, those with disabilities included, do it. But I’ll say it again: because this argument is so hurtful, loaded, and overused, you darn well better have good evidence before you charge anyone. And not just random evidence either, like, “Well, she manipulated me one time, so manipulation must be what she’s doing all the time.” Probe. Think. Determine what the real issue might be. Make Adrian Monk proud. 🙂 And make yourself proud, because in doing so, you will not have taken the easy way out.

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They’ve Got your Number: Keeping People with Disabilities from Becoming Walking, Talking Statistics

Hi, readers,

Statistics.

We’ve all seen them. We’ve worked with them. Some of us have even taken classes based on them and how to interpret them (to those of you who did, you are brave souls and part of me wonders if you’re a little crazy). Some are just advertising gimmicks and, as far as anyone knows, haven’t been proven. You know, the ones like, “Nine out of ten doctors recommend X medicine” or “Nine out of ten dentists prefer Y toothbrush.” (Seriously, the medical and dental community can’t be that cohesive; otherwise, we wouldn’t have Mystery Diagnosis). Some of them are disturbing, like the statistics your doctor actually gives you about how smoking causes one out of five strokes or how eating certain foods is X percent likely to cause cancer (but did you notice those foods change every few months?)

And then, there are the statistics related to people. The ones that we get because someone went out and tallied real numbers of those who actually fell victim to a certain tragedy. Yes, cancer is one, but I’m also thinking about drunk driving, all-terrain vehicle accidents, homelessness, and so forth. Or those beautiful statistics about how minority groups and students from low SES backgrounds are ruining state test scores. (You do hear the sarcasm there, right?) The fact that those numbers paint being part of a minority group, or low SES, as a tragedy is in itself baloney.

And then we have–you knew it was coming–statistics about people with disabilities. Some of these have changed a lot over the past several decades, but I’d like to propose that they haven’t changed nearly enough, and are therefore keeping people with disabilities in a box more than any other minority group. For example, did you know that, as of 2005-2006:

  • 1/2 to 2/3 of all people with all types of disabilities work only in part-time jobs, where they earn a median wage of $7.30 an hour (barely above minimum)
  • No more than 20% of people with disabilities are considered to have achieved independent adult status (that is, competitive employment, connection to positive social groups, and residency of their choice) after being out of high school for OVER 5 YEARS. Think about that. That means, at minimum, 80% of people with disabilities 18 and up do not have any kind of recognized adult status or may only have partial adult status, and are treated accordingly.
  • Only 31% of students with disabilities have been enrolled in any kind of college program (which unfortunately includes college-level special ed), and at the time of William L. Heward’s findings (he wrote the book Teaching Exceptional Children, where these statistics come from), only 19% were currently enrolled. When one considers that 77 PERCENT of students with disabilities included postsecondary education as a goal for their post high school transition plans, this is inexcusable. IDEA and other disability-related education laws make a big deal out of listening to what young adults with disabilities want when they transition out of high school. My question, when faced with this statistic, is: WHO IS LISTENING?
  • For the few students with disabilities who do attend “real college” and obtain at least one four-year degree, the employment rate is an abysmal 50.3%.
  • Three times as many people with disabilities as without them live in poverty, with annual income rates of $15,000 or less. That’s TRIPLE the poverty rate for those without disabilities, folks. Huge–too huge.
  • In 1967, about 195,000 people with disabilities lived in institutions. Circa 2006, that number has shrunk to about 40,000. But if you ask me, that’s 40,000 too many.

I don’t have to tell you what I think of these statistics; the numbers themselves scream “abysmal.” But what’s worse is that, even though we’ve made a lot of positive changes over the years, people with disabilities are still in imminent danger of becoming walking, talking statistics. I mean, a 50.3% employment rate for people with disabilities who graduate with four-year degrees? We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. And don’t argue with me about, “That’s what transition plans are for.” As I said, is anyone really listening to what the students themselves are saying about these “brilliant” plans?

So the question becomes, what are we going to do about it? (If you don’t want to do anything about it, you need to quit reading this right now and go back to surfing YouTube or whatever it was you were doing). I think there are a few things we can all do.

  • Listen. LISTEN. LISTEN. If you are a parent, a general ed or special ed teacher, a vocational counselor, or whatever, and you’re interacting with a young adult who’s about to “transition to adulthood,” don’t stop with asking them what they want. LISTEN–and then do everything you have to do to make it happen. If that person has physical disabilities, but wants to relocate to a new city? Quit freaking out about needed modifications and LISTEN. If that person has PTSD or gets panic attacks, yet would like to have a job that requires a lot of time in the public sector? Turn off your “can’t” switch, be proud of them for wanting to overcome, and LISTEN. Even if the person you’re working with has an intellectual disability and wants to be a lawyer? Okay, so maybe graduating summa cum laude from Harvard won’t happen. But don’t shoot down that dream. Applaud them for it and help them find a viable way to get into the law arena, perhaps as a paralegal. And LISTEN. Are you getting the message? If not, I can’t help you. Go back to YouTube.
  • Presume COMPETENCE. This is huge, especially for job coaches, vocational counselors, and others who work primarily in employment and housing opportunities for people with disabilities. Too often, the person with a disability does not participate fully in his or her own job interview and employment experience. Instead, the coach or counselor goes to the prospective employer and says something like, “I have a worker who might be good for you, but they have a disability, so…” The person proceeds to list all the negatives–the stuff that person can’t do or needs help with. And then the prospective employee looks incompetent. Who wants to hire someone who, from the outset, is made to look like a needy drain on a business? Nobody, that’s who. So why don’t we let the person with a disability come to his or her own interviews and have control over where and when he or she applies for jobs? And for goodness sakes, people, why don’t we focus on the positives and make them look COMPETENT? Because they ARE COMPETENT. Now, if you are a job coach or voc. counselor, understand that I am not knocking your job. What I am saying is that, as a whole, this industry could do a lot better than it has done.
  • Shoot for maximum independence, and don’t let things stagnate. In other words, if a person with a disability is told that he or she “needs” a group home right now, but could move into an apartment “later,” get some definite times and dates, as much as possible, for when that is. DO NOT let anyone suck you or your loved one with a disability into the “not ready” trap, and push for people to do their jobs.
  • Recognize that people with disabilities have been inundated with contrived, fake situations. Fake employment in a sheltered workshop where they do “fake” work. Fake friends–as in, “My friends are the volunteers from X program, because they take care of me.” (Heck, my mom still tries to take care of me, but she’s not my friend, either–at least anymore than a parent should be to her adult child). Fake homes–institutions and yes, even group homes, where other people control when they get up, when they sleep, what they eat, what they wear, and what they read, watch, listen to, and do with their time. If you wouldn’t want someone exerting that kind of control over you, why is it acceptable for a person with a disability? And let me just point out here: “fake work” and “fake friends” and “fake homes” don’t have to mean the examples I gave. “Fake” versions of these things are essentially anything that is below the person with a disability’s true level of intelligence, strength, and independence.

Would you want your loved one to become another cancer, drunk driving, stroke, or school dropout statistic? Of course not.

Then why have we continued letting people with disabilities live their lives as statistics, reporting dissatisfaction with their quality of life and saying that they don’t feel “useful or important?”

If that doesn’t hit you where it hurts, get your head and heart examined.

Come on, everybody…I’m getting bored with the numbers game. Let’s end it.

“It’s All Your Fault”: Blaming the Victim and Why it Must Stop–Now

Hi, readers,

You thought I’d disappeared, didn’t you? Well, I admit, these past few weeks have been beyond hectic. I’ve been neck deep in final projects to close out my first year of my second Master’s degree (whew, what a mouthful), have been keeping up a tough exercise regimen, and taking iron for sheer exhaustion. But here I am, and I have a new post. It sort of goes along with the victim mentality post from Good Friday, but this focuses on a new angle of that: blaming the victim.

My armchair psychologist is coming out again. I probably don’t have to give you a definition of that, because it’s just what it sounds like. And because blaming the victim is what it sounds like, you’d think people would know better than to do it. But blaming the victim happens constantly, especially in Disability World, and especially to children with disabilities. And often, the people around the person with a disability–including loving families, friends, teachers, and others–don’t even realize when they’re casting blame.

See, that’s where blaming the victim gets tricky. It sounds like a nasty, abusive thing to do. And in some cases, such as emotionally destructive relationships, it is. (Think manipulative mother-in-law, as in Ginny L. Yttrup’s beautiful book Lost and Found. Or the husband or wife who tells his or her spouse, “I wouldn’t be this way if you ____,” which makes the innocent spouse basically think he or she is a terrible person). But often, and I think especially where disability is concerned, blaming the victim has its roots in love which unfortunately gets expressed as frustration or anger. I’ll give you an illustrative example.

Let’s say that Elinor is a child with a physical disability. This physical disability makes it very difficult for her to participate in P.E. Worse than that, her teachers don’t seem to want to make the effort to modify P.E. so that it’s meaningful for her. Instead, what they tend to do is send her out in the hall to practice skills like hitting a T-ball off a cone or balancing a ball on an oversized tennis net, while everyone else plays real games. Or the teacher makes a big deal of “letting” Elinor be the referee or scorekeeper, which translates into, “Just stand there.” Elinor hates P.E., grows to hate physical activity of any kind (because it’s all about “practice” and “moving better”) and shuts down where that is concerned. She does have physical activities she likes, but no one seems interested in probing into what these are. (I’m lifting this example straight from my own unfortunate gym experience, by the way).

Here’s where it gets tricky. Elinor’s parents want her to be physically active, and know that she needs to, arguably more than most kids do. So naturally, they don’t want to exempt her from gym class. They know she’s in a bad situation and feel terrible about that, because they love their daughter. And pushing the teachers has done nothing. Once Elinor is older (and yes, physically active, because as an adult, she’s been allowed to pursue fitness her way), she asks her parents why her school-age P.E. experience turned out like it did. And the answer she gets is,

“It wasn’t all the school’s fault. You were very stubborn.”

Same scenario if the kid has another type of disability. “Alex, I know you don’t like doing reading worksheets. But you need to be more appreciative of Ms. Smith because she’s trying to help you overcome dyslexia.” Or even–worst-case scenario–“If you’d just shape up and walk/talk/act better, you’d be a lot happier.”

Now, I am not for one second denying that kids can be stubborn, act out, or just plain annoy adults. Nor am I advocating that kids with disabilities disrespect authority or refuse to do what they’re asked. Kids with disabilities, remember, are no different, at their core, than kids without disabilities, and we wouldn’t let kids without disabilities act that way. In writing this post, I’m basically saying three things:

  1. Yes, kids are stubborn, have bad attitudes, or act out. And yes, if they’re contributing to a problem between them and the school, that needs to be addressed. But:
  2. Children with disabilities are, as we know, children first. So, just like kids without disabilities, we shouldn’t be shocked when they exhibit–well, childish behavior. They may be trying to tell the adults in their lives something, in the only way they know how. If that way is inappropriate, see #1. But even so, LISTEN. And then:
  3. Stop blaming the victim. Recognize that in many cases, children and young adults with disabilities may be in a situation that’s not the ideal for them when they do act out (as in the P.E. example). Of course, exempting the kid from P.E. may not be a good answer, for the reasons I gave in the example. But rather than blaming the victim, a better solution would be to stop blaming altogether. Instead, go to the school, the caregiver, or whoever is in charge of the situation at hand, and push. In other words, Make these people do their jobs! The local gym teacher thinks it’s acceptable for your child to be shuffled out in the hall all the time or made scorekeeper? No way. You tell them, “Think outside the box. You’re one of the biggest proponents of activity and healthy lifestyles in this school. Let’s work together to make that happen in a meaningful way for my kid.” Your child’s classroom teacher constantly scolds him when his adaptive equipment jams, his computer’s battery dies, or whatever? Your child may be causing these malfunctions by not taking care of the equipment, and again, see #1. But if not, you tell the teacher, “I understand this is frustrating. I don’t want Daniel’s learning to be slowed down because of malfunctions either. But obviously, scolding him isn’t helping. What else can we do?” A lunchroom monitor complains because your child, who is learning to self-feed, makes a mess in the lunchroom? You say, “I understand you don’t want to clean up extra messes, but rather than get upset with Meg, what about adding cleanup to the feeding lessons? What about letting her clean up after lunch with a buddy?”

Also, please remember: There are two sides to every story. But the more you blame the victim, the less the person trusts you. And trust is huge when it comes to people with disabilities, because of the great amount of things they are trusting you with (which sometimes amounts to their entire lives). That person–especially if he or she is a child–may start to believe, “I can’t tell the truth about how I feel because it always ends up as my fault.” So examine your own attitudes. Outside of necessary discipline (NOT punishment, folks) are you blaming the victim? And if so, what can you do instead?

Victims Anonymous: A Mentality that can Suck the Life from People with Disabilities

Hello, readers,

Happy Good Friday. As Holy Week winds down, Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection is on the mind of everyone I encounter, including my own mind. And as I started to write this post, it occurred to me: Jesus Christ chose to be a victim so I didn’t have to be one. (Thank You, Lord, for the insight).

That’s significant. Why? Because I believe a lot of people, but especially people with disabilities, are suffering from the victim mentality. The one that says, “I’m disabled, so I’ll never be able to do what others can.” The one that says, “I’m disabled, so I’m not worth anything.” The one that says, “I’m disabled, so I’m not meant to do or be anything or anyone significant.”

That part of victim mentality, I’m well-acquainted with. Why? Because I’ve lived it. Unconsciously, but yes. I’m also familiar with it because often, this part of victim mentality is thrust upon people with disabilities. That is, others tell us we’re not worth anything, and won’t be anything, or show it by their actions. And because, if you hear something enough times, it becomes true, we believe it. In that situation, we don’t make ourselves the victims. We absorb what we’re around, and if that’s condescension or cruelty, we’re going to notice. As Beth Moore says in her book Get Out of that Pit, you can get thrown in. Someone can throw you into a pit without your having done anything to deserve it. And don’t try telling me that kind of pit is any easier to get out of just because it’s “not your fault.”

I’m going to keep borrowing from Beth, because I think her pit analogy does such a great job of explaining what I want to say. (Beth, if you’re reading this, thanks so much. I have such appreciation for you, your knowledge, and yes, your tough love).

So, as we know, often, people with disabilities get thrown into the pit of being a victim. But sometimes, we slip in. We knew it was there. We tried to avoid it. Or maybe we misstepped, and all of a sudden, we were down there without knowing or remembering how we let the situation go this far. We didn’t mean to become or act like victims. But maybe–like me–we just listened to the lies too long and accepted that role. Maybe we trusted someone we thought was a friend or ally, and they made us feel like a victim by being “nicey-nice.” You know–that person who constantly points out what we can’t do, will never be able to do, and are incompetent at–all while smiling and patting our shoulders. The person who does things for us we can do for ourselves, but we give in to them because it’s easier to give in than argue. (Parents, guardians, therapists…I’m looking at you. Do you have a person with a disability in your life, who you know can do certain things, but you do it for them, anyway? Heads up–you are victimizing them).

Or, as Beth also says, you can jump into the pit. You know it’s there, you know it’s a bad idea, but, with full knowledge and deliberate consent (the Catholic church’s descriptor for mortal sin, which I think also works here), you jump in. Maybe it starts off innocently. Maybe it’s the kid raised to believe and say, “I can’t; I’m special” (see December’s archives for more on the ICISS syndrome). Maybe it’s the adult with a disability who has this attitude: “I have a disability. Therefore, I am entitled to privileges, services, and breaks others don’t get.” Note here that I am NOT talking about services people legitimately need, like transportation, modifications at school, or even exemptions from things that could be dangerous or are just not possible, at that moment, for that person to do. I AM talking about the kid who says, “I’ll use my disability to make people feel sorry for me so I won’t have to do my schoolwork.” The teenager who says, “I don’t really need this modification, but I’ll insist on it anyway.” And–Lord help us–the adult who says, “If I don’t get everything I want, when and how I want it, I’ll claim disability discrimination and sue everybody’s stinking pants off!” Those people are the ones who jumped.

I went for a checkup yesterday (down 16 pounds, ticker’s great, and generally healthy, though I’m still hopelessly short). I told my doctor about my recent work with disability issues, and he told me a story. A friend of his has a very agile cat. It does everything a cat would normally do. But, the cat has three legs. My doctor looked at his friend and commented on this, and his friend said, “Oh, that’s not a three-legged cat. That’s a cat with three legs.”

See the difference?

My doctor explained something I think is important when considering the victim mentality. “Cats don’t get any benefits from having three legs,” he said. “Humans get benefits from having disabilities, and sometimes that’s a very bad thing.” Why is that a bad thing? Because some of us are using the victim mentality to get out of living real life.

In John chapter five, Jesus comes across a man at the pool of Bethesda. This man had been unable to walk from birth, and had been sitting for years, waiting for someone to carry him to the pool when the angel of the Lord stirred the waters, so that he could be healed. Well, Jesus shows up, and he asks this guy, “Do you want to get well?”

That probably seems like a “duh” question. If it were any of us, we think, we’d say, “Sure! Heal me, please!” But it’s been pointed out, by more than one Biblical scholar, that this guy had been riding the victim train for a long time. Why else do you think he was waiting to be carried down to the pool? Or why he hadn’t asked to be carried down sooner? Believe me, I’m sure many people around him would’ve done it. But maybe he was comfortable being a victim. So until Jesus actually asked, “do you want healing,” he hadn’t needed to face that realtiy, and face the challenge to change.

The challenge to change is always hard. Anything, even the victim mentality, can get comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that we–including yours truly–wonder what we’d do without it. Would people still love us, care for us, and pay us any attention if we weren’t victims? Can we live as anything else? I know how that feels. I also know that, if you’ve been thrown into the victim mentality because of what others have done or said, or not done or said, it can be twice as difficult to shake. You might make up your mind to quit being the victim, but those people are still around. You may need to stand up to them. They may still have some control over you (this is especially true for children struggling against the attitudes of parents, guardians, teachers, therapists, doctors, or peers. Children may need extra help breaking the victim mold because they don’t have the same options for physically “getting out” that adults have).

Let me give a few cautions at this point. Let’s lay down what being a victim is, and what it’s not.

BEING A VICTIM IS NOT:

  1. Accepting services or modifications you actually need, even if that means staying in a self-contained classroom or other “sheltered” environment. Sometimes, that is honestly a person’s choice, and in that case, it should be respected.
  2. Having days or moments where you say or think, “Having a disability sucks” or where you doubt your worth because of it. If we never had bad days, we’d all be God, and that would be frightening.
  3. Asking for help with something you cannot do
  4. Expressing frustration, sadness, anger or regret through tears, yelling, etc.
  5. Accepting that there are some things you’re not able to do (such as a person who’s blind and skydiving)–YET

BEING A VICTIM IS:

  1. Using your disability to manipulate others, capitalize on sevices or modifications you don’t need, or get pity
  2. Staying in a mode that says, “My disability makes me unworthy of anything, including significance and a real life”
  3. Bringing up your disability every chance you get and talking incessantly about how awful and unfair it is
  4. Demanding, either vocally or otherwise, that people do things for you that you can do yourself
  5. Allowing yourself to be controlled, railroaded, or bullied because it’s easier to give in than argue, EVEN IF the other person is not actually acting like a bully (this includes letting someone do something you can do, allowing yourself or a person with a disability close to you to be “placed” somewhere you don’t want to be, allowing others to tell you what you can and can’t do when you know better). That other person might honestly think he or she is doing what’s best for you, but that’s when it’s time to be loving, but firm, and say, “No. That’s not your call.”

(Special Note: If the person succumbing to victim mentality in your life is a child, again, they need extra help. Be as patient, loving, and encouraging as possible while helping them shake the mentality. Yelling, shaming, etc. will not do anything, except drive the victim mentality in deeper. Actually, that goes for teenagers and adults, too).

Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” Jesus is a gentleman. He won’t force what you don’t want. But today, even if you’re not a Christian, consider His question in light of disability issues. “Do you want to get well?” And then be brave enough to say yes.