Blame Game

When there is great pain, a great loss, or a great misunderstanding, there is a great temptation to blame.  There is also a great tendency for those on the sidelines to get in the action.  Many are driven by their own unsettled hurt experiences to join in. And it can have a snowball effect. Soon, the ones who’d rather not see a problem are now feeling pressure or faced with their own marginalization if they don’t get into the blame.  Maybe this is the whole dynamic of bullying.

I made a decision to become a teacher 28 years ago.  In part due to this understanding that sometimes school is the only place a person feels secure to be themselves and also this equal understanding that school for many is the worst place. I had had many years of feeling school to be the refuge but I remembered well the few years that school years were the nightmare.  This blog is less about bullying and its effects and more about traumatic brain injuries, a topic where the blame game often becomes more important than the survivor.  It is written mostly for me.  Written from a place that has now become my refuge- total solitude.

A hope is that people reading it might have more awareness leading to more empathy toward the struggles of the autistic boy next door, the returning soldier up the street or your own mother that you visit in a nursing home. Blaming the nursery school teacher, the president’s cabinet, or the nursing home’s administration may have a place. I don’t know much about those things. But I do know that the autistic student, the brain injured soldier, and a stroke victim need your humanity and acceptance of where they stand today without emphasis on what they could become tomorrow.  They need this more than a bumper sticker, a great sermon, or a nice pin. Their battles of the mind may be far different than yours and their playing field far less level and much more wobbly. They may not be able to speak their mind or not capable.  Your idea of courage may not need be spoken much less be heard by a brain injured person. We might strive to assume less and be braver ourselves to see less convenient truths to put on hold the blame game and hold the other’s hand.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Blame Game

  1. Jhon R.! Yes you were right reading BB’s post was helpful to the self-esteem and well. I think your writing is too technical and more the asgergery guy. Clever but clueless as to what makes for an interesting read. it is intellectual but maybe you could write in a more personable way. Listen, I’ve got nothing against asbergery, they threw that label at me too and I like asberger people more than most people, but you are not writing a textbook you are blogging. Why don’t you just tell how your day is going and stuff like that. I won’t see you for awhile. I found a neuropsych but the offices are big triggers for me. G. has tried by making appts for me, but she fallsinto that I need a timeline. A timeline of what? Like BB says so I can live up to this potential that she knows I have in me. She talks down to me and why because I’m frustrating her as if I do it on purpose. Does she really think that I chose this life? If you don’t mind I don’t want no record of me anywhere but I’ll be using your site to get some feelings out like BB does. he shares his frustration he keeps it real. today I want to tell you how it sucked to study for the exam to pass the tests needed to keep my credential in MI. I flew there and paid all the fees and took the test. I got the results back and I failed, but I looked closer at the result. It seems that Ionly took half the test that I had prepared for. Ten it occurred to me that when I handed the test in that the proctor scanned my work and looked at me several times. She asked me if I was sure that I was finished. Feeling that I had aced the thing I said in a confident way. Yes sure as i’m going to get. And her eyes must have been speaking something or her body language or her tone of voice and I kept wondering why she asked me a few times if I was finished and didn’t ask other test takers. And you know how they scale these tests. Well my score on the first half had those four asterix’s that means you got most or all correct. And then I saw all these other codes on the bottom of the test result. J or K and answer missing or incomplete. And I saw that my scaled score for the test was one point away from passing. If I just gave a definition of what syntax meant or answered 1/10th of the second part I would have passed. And when I saw the title of the part that got the J’s or K’s, I realized that I should have wondered why they didn’t ask these things. IThe test was probably laid out exactly as the study guide was that I paid good money for. How could I forget to answer half the exam. But what really is frustrating is that the proctor tried to clue me in, but I missed the communication. I couldn’t understand the context. I believe that anybody without a brain injury would have picked up her cues and said “let me check it out. thanks a lot” Instead I leave thinking I aced and relieved that I remembered where I parked the car. Now here is where the docs would say hat there is nothing wrong with my memory. I remember what the lady said when handed in the exam and how I responded. the exact words and I even remember the exact spot still today where I parked the car. it is that lag time that you talk about. And sensory overload. I think that I could even tell you how many people were left in the room when I left and how all the commotion and fuss about cell phones seemed ridiculous. I even talked to a few other teachers and I remember walking away thinking that was a good chat and I’m having a great day. But I wonder what cues flew over my head in those conversations. Yes Jhon. It’s these experiences that I’d like you to wrie about in your blog. Just tell how it sucks to live with an invisible injury and give some personal anectdotes- you have so many. That way you might help someone who is new to this stuff. Hope you don’t take my comment as too blunt and too “East Coast” for you. Luka and I know that this name ending in an “A” sounds like a girl’s name to you. But I’m not from India or latin America. I live on the second floor. And don’t ask me what happened. There is too many times that I can’t remember that I heard “only a concussion, you can go home now.” That is if I even bothered to go in. My neoro is from eastern Europe I think. I hope he can see beyond the good act. That is my instinct. I’m not real confident and with this vertigo, a new symptom, I don’t even want to do an mri. How can I get the motivation to care, and see a person who handles finance. Gr thinks that I don’t want to get better. And she is threatening to leave. She shows no respect and she works with old folks with dementia and stuff. At least, she does pull that nothing adds up with you crap anymore, but she makes clear that if I don’t follow the appt. schedules she has had enough. Pulling that tough love crap. But I’d be in trouble without her- probably need assistant living. nuf said. L.

    1. Luka, Thank you for responding. You are my first comment and it made a lot of sense to me. I mean the importance of TBI folks just to say what it is like. Our unique experience and we usually find that there are many similiarities. So the lag time gets you too? I’d say that your PTSD fits into that example and your need at keeping a running account on so many things going on. But I think you were in a very comfortable and one that is predictable. I agree with you is was more physical than psychological that you missed the proctor’s attempt at helping you. My experience of life is very fragmented. I bought a motorbike a few years back and my friend tells me how much fun I had with that thing and don’t I miss it with the weather changing and I can say yes I did enjoy that bike, but the feeling of enjoying it seems foriegn. i mean talking about it doesn’t get me thinking that I want another even though it would be excellent and inexpensive transportation to my volunteer place and there was something that helped me while riding. The wind and the fresh air. But if she hadn’t mentioned it, I could go a lifetime never thinking about it again. When I see a bike on the street, I seldom even think of it. Memory is a very complex thing. I remember most facts about my life, but i can’t assign meaning to much after my coma time. It was as if life stopped then. You will never have a doubter in me. I believe 100 percent that you put hours into studying and bought a plane ticket and due to your injured brain, you didn’t think why is what I studied for only half here. And you missed pages right in front of you. And I have had similar experiences. Forgetting all my passions and interest and goals. Only to have my friend from before the coma say that I dissed him by not even going to his wedding and disappearing for 20 years. And my family has felt much of the same and ex-girlfriends etc. So much grief about so much lost time and then getting blamed for it. And feeling as if nobody will tell you the truth about your condition or situation and everyone is speaking a foreign language. Finally, after so many years, I’m learning to say could you repeat that or talk more slowly or tell me what you meant, rather than trying to make sense of it later. So much communication leading to misunderstand and on my end frustration because I am aware that something is amiss and has been for twenty five plus years. I missed out. Without a feeling memory or one that connects days, weeks and years, how does one get meaning. The thing is that on some level each person feels this to some extent, but the difference for a brain injured person, is something that makes us feel like total actors, constantly reinventing self. I don’t believe in my case that it is some personality disorder, or bipolar. The one that comes closest is asbergers or high functioning autism, but that falls short too. My sister sends me clips of asbergers from youtube. And my last girlfriend would say “oh honey that’s your autism”. My brain injury has no concept of time. I feel as if I am 25 years old. I wake up to tears on most days- grieving a one person or another that I cared about. And as I write this I think of the gentle acceptance the last girlfriend gave me and how I disappeared on her and she was so patient and so kind to me. And I miss her, and people say well some people were meant to only play a small time in one’s life and others were to remain etc. But those things do not apply to the brain injured. I don’t think so. But my companion I have now is also a blessing, but I feel like a burden. I never want to be a burden due to this problem. Peace.

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