Your Shopping Cart

5 Things People Living Their Normal Are Tired of Hearing

Posted by Bryan Potok, CPO on

Society has long been biased in favor of the "able-bodied", causing many people to be insensitive or hypersensitive when reacting to others’ reality—whether the person is dealing with a visible or invisible disability. 

 Man in a wheelchair irritated and tired of hearing patronizing statements.

Below are some of the things many people say that don’t do any good. 

“I could never do what you do.”  

While this might seem harmless, the person saying it intended their comment to come off as an act of commiseration. They want to show the other person that if misery loves company, they are willingly giving theirs. 

However, there is a massive problem with this. This statement assumes that people with disabilities are living a miserable life, which is not the case.

Furthermore, if the person receiving the message is genuinely feeling down, such a statement conveys that their situation is the other person’s worst-case scenario. For people dealing with mental health issues, this would only exacerbate the problem. 

Unfortunately, being self-aware is not a strong suit of many. In situations like this, it's best to try to understand how someone lives their lives.

“How do you have sex?”  

Unless they intend to make a romantic connection, another person’s intimate life is not their business. Even when they're interested, such a statement can only come off as an offensive pick-up line. 

“I wish there was a cure.”  

A lot of well-meaning people utter this statement to convey empathy. However, for those who are okay with their situation, this statement can suggest that their "normal" makes them incomplete. A lot of people are born with what non-disabled people see as "disabilities", which are already a part of someone's identity. 

“My friend, who also wears a prosthetic leg, walks without a problem…”  

This statement can stem from a person’s desire to offer help or make conversation. However, it only shows a level of ignorance. Depending on the nature of the relationship of both parties, such unsolicited comments can come off as insensitive. Two people wearing the same type of prosthetic leg components can have two completely different experiences. 

“You don’t look disabled.”   

It's common to meet prosthesis wearers that don't appear to be in pain or having a hard time. Because of this, it's easy for others to judge and assume that living with limb loss is easy. This can be especially triggering for someone who has difficulty adjusting to his/her new lifestyle but is doing his/her best to remain positive. 

This statement can also be problematic for people living with vision or hearing loss, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and mental health issues (i.e., bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia), among others.  While some people only intend to offer a compliment, this statement comes off as talking down to someone. 

Cultivate sensitivity  

Everyone wishes to be treated with kindness and respect regardless of their "normal". Together we must educate the public and teach self-awareness because, unfortunately, the drive to understand other people and to recalibrate one's attitude and responses to them is not always learned early in life.    

Let us know your thoughts about this article in the comments section below. 
Link to this page
<a href="">5 Things People Living Their Normal Are Tired of Hearing</a>

Older Post Newer Post


  • When people ask, “How did you lose your leg?” I simply smile and say, “I didn’t lose it, the orthopedic surgeon sawed it off!” It is the truth. If they inquire further I am happy to share the circumstances that brought the event about. I felt ok about it from the get go. Generally it has been people that I have regular contact with in non-formal circumstances.

    Darrel Smith on

  • So true

    Joe Purcell on

  • It took me over a year to find a job. I think it’s because I was honest on my resume and stated that I wear a prosthetic leg.

    Greita on

  • The thing that I think is most inappropriate is the number of people who are complete strangers who ask, “how did you lose your leg?” They do not know what stage in their journey an amputee has reached and whether this is something that they are ok talking about. It’s a totally insensitive question. The other thing I hate is being told, “aren’t you doing well”, as very often I feel that I am not or the way that I am told how I should feel, rather than people listening to how I feel. Many people are also very ignorant about the severity of phantom pain and are totally insensitive about the pain that an amputee can be in. People also see the para-athletes etc. and seem to think that there are no difficulties to being an amputee.

    Rachael V on

  • Let’s be fair. Disabled people say things that can be considered rude or boorish to people who have situations we don’t understand. I’m talking about LGBTQI, impoverished people, people that have experienced trauma or loss outside of our own. What to say is difficult no matter what. So let’s work on ourselves. It is quite the fashion these days to tut-tut and call people out for perpetrating minor outrages even though it isn’t very productive and most of the time engenders resentment. Rather, expect the awkwardness and be ready to gently forgive and inform.

    Len Esparza on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


Sign up for Amputee News and Offers