Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes.
Some impact every facet of someone’s life, others are more specific.
They are all difficult to deal with – for everyone involved.
What happens, though, when one person’s attempt to help is another person’s insult?
This was the problem facing a Redditor and Original Poster (OP) who came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for advice.
“AITA for bringing up my girlfriend’s insecurities after she brought up mine?”
They began with context.
“Without going too heavy on the medical mumbo jumbo talk, basically, I’m physically disabled wherein, my left leg kind of drags( not as bad as when I was a kid though) and is significantly weaker than the other, and my left arm just kind of dangles most of the time.”
“I’m able to do about 95% of the things able-bodied people can do though.”
“I’m 27, my girlfriend is 26, we live together.”
Then got into the specifics of the issue.
“This fight started over her buying those thick Coors Light cans that I just can’t open, they’re too big around, and she knows that.”
“So, we’re sitting on the roof of our apartment, drinking, and, I had to keep asking her to open these for me since I can’t get a good enough grip on it to then twist the top off.”
Everything seemed okay until…
“I don’t know what the issue was, but she says ‘You can start opening these yourself’.”
“That cut pretty deep, especially because I thought it was well-known what the issue is.”
“I then send to her, ‘You’re right, things could be a lot worse, I could be stuck with a big ass like you’.”
“She’s let it be known to me that she’s not a fan of her big rear end, and doesn’t even like it when her friends play it off as a ‘bootay’ or ‘thick’. “
The girlfriend tried to explain her side.
“Her side is that she was trying to help motivate me, and I opted for a low blow”
“This was Monday, and it’s been an uncomfortable week”
Unsure of whether he’d overreacted, OP brought the issue to Reddit for an insight.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: ESH
Both parties were called out by some.
“ESH. Both of you sound immature and hateful. She definitely started it with a sh*tty comment but you could’ve calmly asked her what her problem was instead of taking things even lower.”~CandidNumber
While others tried to see his perspective.
“Aw I think this is a little rough, he lashed out after his physical disability was disregarded and treated like a problem.”
“I agree that his comment was super unkind but he was probably shocked thoughtless after being told to open the cans when his arm is right there in front of her so she sort of can’t forget why he was asking her to do it, you know?”
“There definitely should have been apologies all the way around afterward tho”~WildEyedinmyMisery
The relationship itself came into question.
“I agree with ESH but her much more so for being ableist.”
“The thing is, people in the comments are talking about being the bigger person and taking the higher ground but I think it’s less that and more how they communicate with each other.”
“Two people who supposedly love each other should not be trying to tear each other down and see who can hurt whom the most, they’re supposed to be a team and each other’s biggest supporters.”
“So in this instance, it should have been about sticking to specifically responding to what she said – calling her out for trying to act like she can “motivate” OP out of a disability and where that is coming from.”
“Maybe she’s just cruel, in which case, better to move on than to stay in an unhealthy relationship and let all kinds of resentment build up until you’re both miserable.”
“Edit: removed a horrible pun that was super not intended” ~ devil-woman
Some decided to view this as a teachable moment.
“Your GF’s comment makes her an asshole.”
“Guess what, though? Someone being an asshole to you doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole back.”
“Yes, in those moments when we get angry or defensive, it can be hard not to lash back, but that is exactly what you need to train yourself not to do.”
“Don’t lash back.”
“It would have been more appropriate to just directly say, ‘You have to know that I am physically unable to open these myself, right? I find it downright offensive that you don’t seem to know that.’ ” ~GreekAmericanDom
Though, the ruling was not unanimous.
“You know what, I 100% see her actions here as ableist.”
“My husband has physical disabilities, there are lots of things he can’t do or has to do differently.”
“I have, on the odd occasion, forgotten that because I’m able bodied and a moron, and I immediately apologise and ask if I can help.”
“I would never dream of trying to ‘encourage’ him to be any different to how he is.”
“It makes me so angry when other people we know say things like ‘you probably could if you tried though’ – like, yeah I’m sure he could just un-disable himself, if only we’d though of that!! /s. “
“Your gf can learn to be better, she just has to be willing.”
“I am still learning, but I want to be better for my husband, (and the rest of society that I interact with).”
“I hope she sees this as an opportunity to grow and support you! If not, there are plenty more fish in the sea.”
“You are worth being treated with love and acceptance exactly as you are.”
“(Physically, that is – if you’re secretly a total a**hole, then maybe you don’t deserve it, but that’s another story, and she still shouldn’t use your body against you even if your personality sucks).”~SaffahDaniels
Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all difficult in their own ways.
It can be even harder when someone you care about makes you feel bad because of it.
A little patience would’ve gone a long way here, on both sides.
Remember to be patient with the people around you, we’re all working hard in our own ways.