Inconsiderate people + Brain injury = Awkward situation

As I have always had manors, and am conscious how my actions affect others, I expect the same back. But in reality we are all different so it’s unrealistic to think everyone will behave in a way I approve of. Following my brain injury I can find I am rigid in my ideas, and more likely to take offence. It’s especially difficult when there are people who appear inconsiderate.

I don’t understand how people can be inconsiderate in public places

This morning I was in the dentists waiting room  filling in a short tick box form that the receptionist gave me. A mother and her young son came in, took a seat and she started completing the same form. But for a young boy, this quiet room with nothing interesting happening in it was too boring. There was a child size work desk and chair so he decided he would go sit there. The wooden chair scrapped along the laminate floor and made such a load and jarring noise. But I knew once he had settled it would be fine.

Actions of inconsiderate people

My brain injury has left me both light and noise sensitive. Being noise sensitive means I can become anxious and be in great pain if there is a loud sound that I can’t get away from. I have started to use ear plugs when I remember to take them with me. But this morning the thought hadn’t even crossed my mind.

In the waiting room the young boy was restless and so continued to scrap his chair on  the floor. I was praying I was going to be called for my appointment next, but no I wasn’t. My Dentist must have been running a little behind, which seeing as she is so thorough, didn’t surprise me. But not to worry, the form patients had been handed to complete was just 5 tick box questions. So his Mum would be finished any second and be able to find him some entertainment.

Not taking responsibility themselves and leaving it to strangers.

But she didn’t. She appeared to be using it as an excuse for why she was too busy to attend to her Son. There was an older lady in the room with us, and she grabbed a children’s book which was deliberately left to give children something to look at. Well he was delighted with this, as was I. I understand it’s tiring running after little ones all day, but that’s why I don’t have any children. I wouldn’t be able to give the energy and attention needed. But I found myself getting annoyed at this mother, who seemed to be inconsiderate of others in the room.

Once he was settled with his book, she finally finished her form. The boy was still getting encouraging looks from the lady who found him the book, so every thing was fine. But then she got called into her appointment. With the lack of attention as his mother did her best to ignore him, he started making screeching noises at the top of his lungs. I thought my head was going to explode, and had to shut my eyes to reduce the amount of input my brain was having to cope with. I didn’t feel like I could go anywhere as they might be ready to call me into my appointment at any moment. Whilst this might be how she chooses to deal with her son at home, I couldn’t get over how inconsiderate she was being. I felt like a captive audience.

Parents being inconsiderste

This went on for 10 minutes, with minimal response from the mother. Finally the Dentist was ready for me, so was about to make my escape. But even once I was in the Dentists chair I could still hear the child he was so loud. Apart from now I could imagine patients in other rooms might think he was screaming because a Dentist was torturing him.

Am I allowed to show my discomfort?

When I was trying to save my injured brain by closing my eyes, I wondered if that was acceptable.It would have been blindingly obvious that the raucous was bothering me. But I do feel that it might be seen as rude .  I don’t blame the boy, as he was fine with just knowing he had the older lady’s attention. She didn’t even have to say anything.

Usually I try to give people a polite smile wherever I go. But as I was struggling so much I’m sure my face looked less than welcoming. I couldn’t do anything about it. As a considerate person I realised that I probably made my very presence uncomfortable for others. So I’m sorry lady if I made you feel awkward, but believe me that was nothing compared to what you were doing to me.

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Unimpressed by inconsiderate people

How do you cope with inconsiderate people? Do you, like me, find it bothers you more after your brain injury?

As the pace of life speeds up, people have less time for others. But when you have a brain injury it's even harder to tolerate inconsiderate people.
If you are inconsiderate, my brain injury means you can't hold me to account for my actions.

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6 Replies to “Inconsiderate people + Brain injury = Awkward situation”

  1. I feel your pain!!! It’s that battle going on in your head, telling yourself breathe, breathe it will stop soon, they will go, something will change in a second, then part of you is saying GET OUT ! This is ridiculous, you shouldn’t have to put up with that, this is inappropriate for a brain injury. Oh I think I am going mad?
    I have had a similar incident with an ‘unhelpful’ friend, who would constantly stop me if I was out on my ‘physio’ walks, I had headphones on, sunglasses, on to appear to everybody DO NOT DISTURB ME. It took a lot of energy and convincing myself to face even going out in the early months after recovery, especially to have the courage to go out, just for a walk round the block on my own. Every time she stopped me, her conversation was inappropriate and caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I began to fear going out because of her. During that time I was constantly questioning myself, about my behaviour and thinking, is it ok to ignore that unhelpful person? Is my behaviour coming across odd? Is my thinking all mixed up?
    It was my neuro Rehablitation team that said, a brain injury can only cope with so much stimuli at a time, you have a ‘battery’ of energy everyday to use, you can choose to use it up on the stress and all that unhelpful stimulation or avoid it. Try to make anything you do more successful by avoiding the triggers that drain your battery life. It’s not always easy to do that, you can’t always avoid a crying child or ignorant people who have their own agenda and don’t consider others. But it’s the only way to save yourself and let your poorly brain recover. It gets slightly easier in time, but this is slow and uncomfortable. Just keep FACING THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY!
    The earplugs are a good idea, I will try that!

  2. have you ever felt that if something “threatens” your life you get into some sort of panic or excesive anguish / anxiety that nobody understands.. only the ones who understand the story and ++are sensitive enough, but you do not know how to explain.. your reaction because you have to rely on the other person to be able to understand and not take wrong conclusions about you, thk u

    1. I have had a few panic attacks but thankfully James has always been with me and has calmed me down. I dread to think what it would be like to go through that in a public place without him.

  3. You know, I totally get this. And I’m so glad to find someone who addresses this!

    Sometimes, where I’m at, I wonder why parents don’t train their children. After all, it’s not the children’s fault. They don’t know any better. It’s the parent’s fault, and it’s their duty to teach their children.

    Thank you for writing this!

    1. I agree, my parents would have been horrified if I disturbed others like that. I know that lady couldn’t have known why I was being so badly affected. But he wasn’t even being naughty, just craving some attention. I think he was a nice boy.

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