Over the past few years I have noticed that I have a pity trigger that I am quite ashamed of. I’m not sure how I got it or what it stems from psychologically, but I really want to be able to move away from it.
When ever I see a person with disabilities or special needs, especially of the mental/developmental variety, I automatically have a pity response feeling. My physical reaction is to smile at them and make them feel noticed/welcome(?), but I have come to realize I would not do that normally for anyone else. This leads me to believe I have some sort of pity bias when it comes to persons with disabilities.
Is this something I can fix? All I want to do is to acknowledge/treat them as normal people (which I try to do), but I cannot seem to fix my immediate emotional response when I see them. My first guess for a path to changing this would be to just spend even more time with persons with disabilities so I can, for lack of a better term, ‘normalize’ how I view them. Is that the way to go?
Any guidance or help would be greatly appreciated. I want to remove this mental stigma I have and start viewing persons with disabilities how they deserve to be.
Hi Dani, depending on who you may work with to help you with your goals, it could still be worth some interest doing some exploration into where this reaction may come from. Are there people close to you in your life that have had disabilities or special needs? What part of you feels touched when you are with someone that has these needs? As you continue this self-exploration, it may be a consideration of whether this needs to be changed or fixed, or whether something to accept about yourself. Hope this helps.