I was in an accident recently and naturally I discussed the idea of suing the company with my hearing family. Then at a wedding where my family, my partner and our interpreter were, some family friends and my mother started a conversation between each other, and the interpreter relayed to my partner what they were saying.
It became clear that they were criticising my decision to sue for compensation. My partner had to interject three times before they stopped talking, they seemed so determined to exclude him and to ignore what he had to say. I still feel hurt and betrayed by this especially as my family have always told me they would never discuss me in my presence without involving me. I don’t want to get paranoid, but I’d welcome your advice on how to deal with something like this in future.
This is a tough one – and you know what? Families rarely change. Even hearing people will tell you this and for deaf people it is doubly so as we often can’t get support elsewhere. Could you sit down with your parents (or the one you get on best with) and explain exactly how it was for you? Naturally your parents may be offended and upset and try to excuse their behaviour.
I suggest an assertion technique (‘Broken Record’) where you quietly and patiently let the other person finish and then you simply repeat what you have just said (“I’m really not happy that you felt it was OK to discuss us – in front of us – with other people”). If they try again to justify themselves, simply wait and then repeat yourself again.
Believe me, it works. If they storm out of the room, stay where you are for a few minutes and then make a cup of tea for everyone. Only by refusing to remain a child in the family, can you regain your power as an adult.