I know hate is a strong word, but sometimes I just want to hate. I didn’t hate my brother, but I hated his disability at times.
I usually like to start all my blog posts with a story of experience or memory to relate to my readers. However, I don’t have a distinct memory of a time in my life that stands out to showcase my hate for the disability. I think this Emotion stays buried, because there is no sense to stay in such a negative headspace. We can’t change it, so I learned very early how to work through the things that came with the disability.
What could one possibly hate about a disability itself? Does this make me love my brother less? NO. Does this make me a bad person? NO. Does this make me not see the value and blessings my brother brought to our family, because he had a disability? NO. Would I change who my brother is? NO.
I was hesitant to write about this emotion, because it is such a controversial subject when talking among parents who are raising a child with a disability. However, these emotions a siblings develops throughout their life are real and sometimes can be raw. Has my brother impacted me for the better, due to him having a disability? 100%! But, I still hate the fact he had to have a disability.
I hated that God made him different and me “normal”.
I hated that when I talked about my brother, I felt I had to talk about his disability.
I hated the excuses (of why we couldn’t do something) that came with having a brother with a disability.
I hated the impulse behaviors that occurred that seemed out of left field.
I hated I didn’t always have the answers on how to help make it better for him.
I hated that my parents had worries, fears, and exhaustion that no one could solve.
I hated that my brother faced challenges that sometimes led to disappointment.
I hated that my family had to make sacrifices every day because of his disability.
I hated that everything in our lives focused around his disability, rather than his abilities.
Growing up I just hated that he was different. Little did I know that hate would only be a cycle of emotions that would be replaced with love and blessings as I grew up. Siblings need time to feel their emotions. They can hate the disability and the challenges that come with it.. Because just like parents, the siblings must make sacrifices, and in that moment they can hate it. Just because we at times hate the disability, doesn’t mean we don’t love our sibling.
If after reading this, you thinking to yourself “Who is this girl”? How could she feel this way? Understand my life everyday and my career are impacted by people with disabilities. I became a Special Education teacher, so I could change the future for those with disabilities. I started a non-profit organization, called Puzzle Pieces, to support and empower people with disabilities. . So did the “hate” change my love or how I view people with disabilities? NO. The disability itself changed my life, and I wouldn’t change it or my brother for the world! The hate never got in my way of the love I had and the blessings that came, because my brother had a disability.
Parents Takeaway: I have said it in every blog about each emotion and I will say it again, never dismiss these emotions. Relate and have conversations about your emotions (it will be a bond you will share). Comfort them in knowing it’s okay to hate the disability and give them space and understanding until they can work through acceptance. Embracing the fact it won’t change, and we can let it empower us or we can let it destroy us. A great activity to do together would be a Hate/Love chart. Be honest in the families’ emotions. List things you hate about the circumstances and list things you Love about it. You can’t help how one feels , but try very early in life to recognize and be reminded of the love that fuels a family when your child has a disability. The love definitely outweighs, but in those trying moments as a kid we can’t help but feel the hate creep in from time to time.
Teacher Takeaway: When a sibling is cycling through the hate emotion, it can affect so much. Grades, outbursts, negative attitude, social isolation, lack of motivation, etc. If you were to notice these within a student who has a sibling with a disability , take time to listen and engage. Just because their parents might be “Parent Advocate of the Year” for their sibling with a disability, doesn’t mean your student without the disability is in the same space. Connect, Listen, and Be Aware.
Community Member Takeaway: Be careful to judge. Don’t always be looking for how the siblings connect or react to one other. Never assume siblings should be nurturing, patient, understanding, and advocating all the days of their life. Let them be kids first, and a sibling to someone with a disability second. Never question their love for their sibling, just because they didn’t wear a certain color on a Disability Awareness day to celebrate and honor, or run to help their parents in public when they witnessed their sibling being upset. They celebrate and honor everyday in ways you might not see. Be aware that not all siblings are the same as they process emotions about their sibling with a disability, and that is okay. It doesn’t make them less than.