Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue badg

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Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue badg

Postby cocobella » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:21 pm

Hi everyone,

Have any of you had abuse when you are parked in a disabled bay with your blue badge because you simply look or "normal".

Today I had a bad experience. I parked in a public car park with my blue badge displayed in a disabled bay. I have had my bad for nearly 2 years. When I got out my car I was rudely scowled at by a woman who was quite young. She said "do you realise you are in a disabled bay" I replied...yes and I have my badge displayed. Her response was "but you don't look disabled to me". I rudely responded well you look extremely ignorant to me and I walked off.

That rude comment today has actually ruined my day and made me feel horrible. I am finding I am getting these scowls and tuts a lot when I park in disabled spaces. My theory is because I am 28, look young and I have my makeup on which covers up my very sallow and ill looking face. When I do not have makeup on or my hair done I look horrendous and funnily enough never get a word said to me when I park in a disabled bay.

The trouble is because I look ok people instantly judge. Yet they do not know that today I am on holiday from work and had come in to town to meet my in work support adviser with access to work. They also don't know that I am on 16 meds a day, that walking is very painful with and without a stick. I won't use my stick on days I don't need it though as my hand hurts with it. They don't know that I don't have a thyroid. ...have hyperparathyroidism which has made my bones brittle and that I also have chronic dystonia. But because I am hidden behind a mask of thick makeup and have my hair done and am only walking with a limp....I simply don't deserve to be parked in the disabled bay.

It is people like this who I am now paranoid about....that they will complain that I look fine and was using MY disabled badge. It is also people with this attitude that have caused me to end up at appeal stage with dla/pip. As on my report it was written that I looked well and was of well kempt appearance. Yet the medical facts were presented in black and white. Eughh sorry guys just feeling very deflated, defensive and attacked.

Would love to hear if you have experienced similar treatment.

Merry xmas

Coco x
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby LizzieP » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:57 pm

I'm so sorry that happened to you. Unfortunately it does happen and it has happened to me. It's really not you personally that the doubting folk have a problem with, sometimes it's just that they read the Mail and think all disabled people live in wheelchairs and/or are scamming their hard earned taxes and mostly it's just ignorance of the facts. You have various choices in these circumstances - ignore them and walk away, stare them down, tell them that unless they have the necessary medical training to make a diagnosis and then become your doctor, they can keep their thoughts to themselves. I favour the 'Well you don't look rude and opinionated, but it turns out you really really are.' Try hard to remember that it's them and not you. You do not have to justify yourself. x
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby iblinkin » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:08 pm

Hi cocobella, yes this is very common and i deal with this as well as other fibro warriors. Some people think they are doing a good deed when scolding us and are either not aware or uninformed about invisible illnesses which is why it's important to keep this in mind when these type of things takes place.

I would suggest that instead of letting this hurt or upset you to maybe pause for a moment before you react (which is not easy) so you don't make yourself or your symptoms worse.

This is very important and if you can instead just smile and if possible to try to educate the person about invisible illnesses without confrontation of course!

Please keep in mind you are not alone in this crazy fibro world we live in, it just feels like it.

Please have yourself the best Christmas you can. :-)
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby natmac73 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:15 pm

Its awful I know...I get that when I use my walking stick....It makes me feel even more self consious. ..I can't be without it though! Be positive I know it's difficult. ...im waiting to get a badge! You don't have to answer to anyone but yourself x
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Polaris » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:27 pm

I've had many experiences when people have criticised me for looking able. I was on a bus once in Central London as you can't park using a blue badge in the city. I was sitting in a priority seat resting on my walking stick and in intense pain and completely unable to stand at that point, when I was slapped on the shoulder by a woman who said I should get up and give my seat to someone who needed it. With that she hopped off the bus before I had a chance to respond and disappeared leaving me in even more pain. I wrote about this issue in my letter to to the Iain Duncan Smith in 2010 but didn't get a reply. I've recently given a copy of the letter to Vox Political.
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Ren22 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:36 pm

I had a guy on a mobility scooter actually wait for me to get back to my car to have a go at me, his exact words were can you tell me what it's like yo be disabled? Unfortunately for him I was not in the best of moods and his comment just topped it off and he got my full wrath, other people were saying you tell him girl and I did make him look extremely stupid but it did upset me for the rest of the day. Any other kind of discrimination is not acceptable so this shouldn't either xx
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby macca » Mon Dec 22, 2014 6:24 pm

Hi, I know where you are coming from on this. My wife has had her blue badge from when they were orange, roughly the age of 20, she's 44 now. I remember taking her to hospital for an appointment in the early days and no sooner had we pulled into a disabled bay at the hospital a woman pulled up next to us and hurled abuse questioning if we knew it that we had to have a badge to park there? I just calmly held up the badge and said "you mean one of these then?" Clearly she looked a fool and mumbled some nonesens and I just said "you can leave now, goodbye"

The Mrs gets upset at stuff like that sometimes but I find it laughable. My own take on life is that we're only here once so I'm not prepared to take abuse from anyone. When someone brings negativity to your life just take em out of it and move on. I've even had that experience with family members and been much the better for it for sure.

The kind of abuse you're talking about though is fuelled by the selfish mugs out there. Like the guy who parked next to us in a disabled bay at Asda the other day in his 5 series Bmw but no blue badge. Clearly just wanting to be in the wider bay so less chance of door dings. Sadly genuine cases usually pay the price for wombats like that.

Maybe work on thickening up the skin and focus on the positivity in life. Easy said I know but worth the effort for sure
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby hazely » Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:08 pm

That's awful you ask her if she worked for the blue badge brigade if not mind your own business. I only got my blue badge today and not had chance to use it yet as all the disabled bays were full when I went out so i have this to come i guess.
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby dazzleship » Mon Dec 22, 2014 9:01 pm

hi cocobella

sorry you had to go through that. :hugs: I think it's terrible how ignorant some people are and yes I agree that a lot of it probably comes from people having a very narrow view of what 'disabled' means coupled with reading all about benefit cheats in rubbish newspapers like the Daily Fail.

I don't have a blue badge but I do use crutches and very occasionally a wheelchair. and each time I'm walking the few steps from my car to the wheelchair once hubby has got it all unfolded and stuff, I'm always terrified someone is going to say why do I need that if I can walk.

but can I make a wee suggestion though? although it's tempting to be rude back to these people, with the sort of "well you don't look stupid" type comments, I really don't think that should be our reactions. we shouldn't bring ourselves down to their level by being rude too.

instead we should take the opportunity to educate them. reply with something along the lines of "not every disability is visible". you don't need to justify yourself any more than that, you are the one with the illness, you know you are entitled to the badge.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't give these ignorant people any more reason to dislike people like us. if we are rude back to them, that's all they'll see.

in the meantime, please don't let this put you off using the disabled spaces in future.
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Queenie_70 » Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:34 pm

I had a similar experience when my daughter was in a wheel chair and I was told a disabled vet had priority over me, so I told them she was terminally ill and that I had as much right as anyone to the space and was willing to take the action higher, but they backed down.

I wish I had done what dazzleship has just recommended...explained the situation and left...informed, but not confrontational. I did find though that I was constantly being tagged because she looked normal, and her wheelchair was designed like a push chair.

To this day I feel sick in the stomach. I was her advocate, but I did her no favors that day....now it is my turn and my approach is entirely different. The energy needed to fight is better used for my health, an informed person is one less ignorant member of public...who knows what seeds we may sow with explanations...
"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby claudine1288 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:06 am

I'm so glad to see this topic brought up. I do not have a badge but have had fibro since 1980 (though of course it wasn't diagnosed then, doctors thought I had something like a form of lupus or Sjogren). But it is so infuriating to have friends ask me if "I feel better now" because each time they've asked me to have dinner, I've had to cancel, explaining to each one that fibro is a difficult illness which does not go away and the symptoms of which can be quite disabling at times, especially in terms of exhaustion (and evenings are dreadful.) It is so discouraging to constantly have to repeat the same thing and meet their slightly disbelieving looks, as I don't indeed "look" disabled. I usually now allude to a chronic illness with pains and fatigue, just to skip the tediousness. It seems as if in Belgium very few people are informed (except for doctors, but even they seem underinformed compared to Anglo-Saxon countries), and I try not to make too much of their, well yes, thickness. After all, if they haven't understood after so many years, when will they? Why do they thnk I spend so much time in bed, why do they think I had to quit my job teaching at uni? Thank you to all of you for being there and understanding. :( :-)
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Zia2014 » Tue Dec 23, 2014 1:11 pm

This sort of thing really worries me, as I have just applied for a blue badge and I don't use a stick (hand issues) or a chair (trying to avoid). I limit my going out to a few hours at most and a disabled space would really help me, but I know that when I get out of the car without any support and walk away people will judge and I may get comments.

Like you say dazzle, I will try to just keep it short and respond in a way that isn't rude, but I already know that sort of comment would deeply upset me regardless of what I say back.

LizzieP wrote:I favour the 'Well you don't look rude and opinionated, but it turns out you really really are.'

Having said the above, this response is brilliant! :mrgreen:
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby *Lisa* » Tue Dec 23, 2014 6:33 pm

You will find the same thing happens with a free disabled bus pass! You get on the bus with one of them and the people already on there start judging you ans whispering, looking you up and down with a confused face then you can hear them talking about you and wondering why you have the pass :roll:
As a Public Moderator & Admin of this forum my opinions/views expressed are personal and are no more valid than those of other members and not necessarily those of UKFibromyalgia...Lisa
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Chellejireh » Tue Dec 23, 2014 10:52 pm

I've had my blue badge for 12years now-became disabled very quickly,with 2 young children and a husband who couldnt cope..leaving my kids to become my carers. It has bothered me so much how people commented,stared,scowled,tutted when I parked in a disabled bay...and the effect it had on my children! I had to make them sit in the car to cool down on a number of occasions...my then 9 year old son in particular struggled with peoples judging me-on one occasion virtually shouting at a couple as to how much pain his mum was in and how he and his sister had to dress me that day. It was heartbreaking,humiliating,and I had to worry and work extra hard at explaining that not all people were so mean. It has,and does,affect them to this day.
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Re: Abuse for not looking stereotypically "disabled" - blue

Postby Gilly52 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 10:24 pm

Yes, it is awful to get bad looks and stares from able bodied people when we park in disabled bays.

I am lucky to have a blue badge and yes I use it where I can, our illness is invisible....and we certainly didn't open a door and invite it in :!: :!:
What I find in my area is so many cars parked in disabled bays.....but not displaying blue badges, generally when I look around they are young people who just want to park nearer to the shop doorway, or someone in a big expensive car, who,take advantage of the wider bay for fear of having their car knocked.

This is something that always winds me up.....sorry for the rant, everyone : :nono:

Gilly x:
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