Dealing with Different Perceptions & Perspectives

I was reading a post earlier today over at John Shore’s blog. He received a letter which told a heart-wrenching story. It had to do with a young disabled man, his mother, and the family of some people who have spent much of their time caring for the man over the last nine years.

The letter-writer is from the family who cared for this man. Which is to say that they story is told from their perceptions and perspectives and no one else’s.

In the comments section there are people jumping in saying not to judge the mother of the disabled man for what she’s done or to assume her motives for doing so. The mother is described as an alcoholic and gambling addict who has continually neglected her son and seems to care none for him, except for the disability checks he receives. The mother decided, after her son had to be hospitalized due to failing health, to stop any sort of care that could lead to recovery, i.e. feeding tubes, fluids, & any other medication other than morphine. From the information given, it appears that this mother is an awful person. Because we have only the letter-writer’s information and perspective to go by, we cannot know the whole story.

We don’t need to.

John replied to these comments from the perspective I agree with. You can only try to assist someone from their perspective. Whether or not all of someone’s story is factually true, their perception is still true to them. So you MUST work from there. The letter-writer is the one reaching out to John for help with how to deal with the emotions they are having.

Being as I live with and love a fiance with ADHD, Asperger’s, Bipolar, Anxiety, and medical challenges, I have some experience with dealing with someone else’s perspective, regardless of how my own compares. I also have experience with living and loving a disabled person.

My fiance often is not self-aware or aware of other things and people in life. His perspective and perceptions almost always differ from mine. I can get caught up in defending my perspective and my version of truth, but no matter how many facts I seem to have on my side, I can never be helpful to my fiance if I get stubborn and insist on my perspective being the only truth of a situation.

When I get stubborn and insist on my perspective, I disregard him. I disregard his truth. I cannot help him because I cannot see where he is coming from.

When I get stubborn, the anger bubbles up. I get so mad! Why can’t he just see what I see and agree and move on?

This serves no one. I am blinded by my righteousness and that is an ugly place to be in.

What happens to him is something I don’t perfectly know. I can make observations, though…

He gets frustrated. He withdraws. He appears sad.

I imagine he feels invalidated. Like his truth doesn’t matter. Like he’s unimportant.

HOW AWFUL!

So, if we are to make any headway in a disagreement of perspectives and perceptions, then I must first be open to knowing and understanding HIS perspective.

You can read it there and don’t forget about the comments.

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