I hate the expression ‘control freak’, but I suppose it’s suitable to describe me, in that when I don’t get to control my surroundings, I freak out. More than a little. Being disabled means giving up control. Even if set out not to, in the beginning, and figure out some work-around schemes to allow yourself to maintain control, there comes a point when you have to cede some or all control to other people.
I hate it.
“It must be so great to have other people do things for you.”
No. It isn’t. I might have thought so too, but let me tell you why it’s not.
You’re probably expecting some speech about how control is important to my dignity and self-sufficiency, and sure, yeah, that’s true. But what is driving me the most crazy these days is the fact that in ceding control, I somehow lose any autonomy over choice.
I’m not a very grateful person, apparently.
I, too, thought that the hardest part of having to ask other people for favours and help would be the asking. I got over that pretty quick when I realized that the real and truly hardest part would be to have to be grateful for those favours when they weren’t a) the things I asked for or b) all that helpful if they required me to re-do them myself.
I’m aware of how shitty and ungrateful this makes me sound. And yet there is a pretty big part of me that doesn’t care.
If it is frustrating when you offer to do something for someone only to have them be ungrateful and critical when you do the thing (albeit the slightly wrong thing) because it’s the thought that counts…
Try to imagine what it’s like to be the person you did the favour for, who asked for help because they literally cannot do it themselves and they now not only do not have the thing they needed, they now know for certain that they will never have the ability to have what they want or need ever again and this is their life now: helplessness and dissatisfaction and people who aren’t going to take the time to figure out what their needs are.
Gratitude feels like a pretty privileged concept to me.
I don’t have a choice to ask for help. Powerlessness has been thrust upon me. And, yes, I probably need an attitude adjustment, but I’m not there yet. Because right now it feels like it’s about respect. It feels like if people respected my right and need to get what I asked for, they’d take the time to make sure they understand the request and that we’re communicating well. That they’d acknowledge that my condition dictates that sometimes I might suffer from brain fog, which means that I might need some help and prompting to be sure that they get the info they need from me, but that I still do have opinions and needs and desires that are valid.
And if people took the time to understand that… I’d have gratitude. And satisfaction.