Obviously some people react very strongly to visible disability, and what happens then can only be understood as the result of projections. It leaves the realm of real world issues and takes things into these peoples' own dream space.
As I get projected other people's innermost fears, assumptions and other reverberations quite a bit, you sure wonder how that feels.
How it feels to meet people that have strange projections
It feels completely alienating.
And through the feel of it, it becomes immediate, tangible, realistic and impossible to miss. I may choose to ignore it, or act as if nothing happened - but to become part of others' projections, that can be felt. So in case you wondered whether you could sneak that by me - in all likelihood not. Actually to be hones, there is simply no way.
So you may wonder just how apparent it is. Well, grotesquely apparent, at least 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. And it is just as easy to recognize as weird, as in the "GOOD NIGHT DING DING DING" sequence in the above/below linked Monty Python video, it is easy to recognize John Cleese's character as exhibiting a rather weird dialog. It is not hard at all. I often can feel it way before they open their mouth. I can sense it before I turn my head. It is in their eyes, a dead giveaway that yet again the strangeness of alienation and projection occurs.
This Monty Python piece here allows for an extremely precise delivery of *how* it feels when I get, yet again, into a situation where someone feels they need to unload their unreflected stereotypes on me. In this movie clip, the victim has the exact same "WHAT THE FUCK!?" arousal that I tend to get when, once more, and once more again, I get to hear the same projected nonsense as always, or better/worse, new nonsense. Despite small variations in the nonsense inflicted, the emotional feel these projections have, that is remarkably similar.
How to respond or react to such people
For you, it could be relevant to understand that for the victim in this movie - or for me in any such real life situation - there simply is no normal way of answering - simply because the dialog is that far out that no sensible, intelligible or logical reply at all can be found and (following Sherlock Holmes here) quite logically, the *illogical* and *senseless* answer then becomes the most logical and sensible answer then.
I do ask for understanding.
The difference in the worlds that we seem live in appears to be that big, that if proximity is to be brought on by the mechanism of projection, the strangest of reflections may, can and will occur.
It is utterly wrong to assume that to stereotypical ways of people that are unaware of their own coming across as tender and respectful as, say, a 40 ton truck driving over me with tyres covered with glass splinters, I would react similarly stereotypical.
Nope, that won't happen.
Some people that I routinely interact with may have the tendency to judge very negatively whatever it is I do as it is their opinion that whatever it is they suggest is right just as long as it was not my idea but theirs.
That is a predicament for disaster on an interactional and relational level, obviously, but the madness has method. And methods - these are interesting to study.
What can we learn?
At the core some people that are affected voice simultaneously contradictory expectations. And at the core of that, there is their enormous, humongous fear. And that fear then is projected on me inasmuch as I serve as suitable person to aim these projections at. Those people are supported in their quest by other people with similarly extreme fears.
Because in the face of visible disability, it can be very hard for some to manage or successfully hide their fears. Some may go into full panic mode. And that can be at the root of some serious social issues - far more than some anatomical or practical considerations that (in their pure form) are far less dramatic than they are sarcastically obvious (I mean, without need to exaggerate, I just wipe my butt with my left hand now, it's not more dramatic than that).
So we are really dealing with fear based problems that interfere with otherwise normal processing of visible disability.
So, what are conflicting expectations?
About showing myself in public. When I lock myself up (rather than going out as everyone else), wrong. When I go out and impose my inconvenienced appearance unto others (rather than sitting at home where disabled people belong), wrong. Problem: I am not Schrödinger's Wolf, I cannot be out and at home and at none of both locations at the same time. Solution: none. This requirement cannot be met so best one gets rid of the notion of there being such a requirement.
About wearing the prosthesis. When I wear the "fake arm / hand" prosthesis (rather than being 'honest' and walking around without it), wrong. When I do not wear the prosthesis but manipulate stuff using the stump thus upsetting people with its uncovered appearance (rather than wearing the prosthesis to at least halfways cover the damage), wrong. Underlying problem: any appearance of any visible disability can be upsetting. Solution: none. Get used to it.
About the internet. When I use the internet to improve the overall networking of upper extremity amputees, interact on various levels and then manage to accelerate my prosthetic situation through ample deployment of the options of Web-2.0 just as everyone else these days affords themselves (rather than signing up for a government program that is supposed to do all that for me and shutting up), wrong - only a sick person will be active! When I hope for insurance and health agencies to fix my situation by themselves and when the stuff is not delivered (instead of being proactive in a Web-2.0-world where everyone else is allowed to be proactive) - ... wrong - only a sick person will be so passive.- Problem: I have a rather loud and rather long presence in the Internet (since about 1994), and was not entirely passive on similar networks before (since 1986). People tend to forget that not my brain is not gone but just my hand. Solution: everyone else gets to blog about trivia so shallow not even a molecule could bathe in it - so do I. As I was on the web before many others were, the only thing new here, that'd be the subject matter. If you feel uncomfortable about it, you will feel uncomfortable about it no matter what.
About pain and the hand. When I sat at home in utter pain (rather than getting surgical treatment), wrong. When I got surgical treatment (rather than sitting at home), wrong. Problem: I could not at the same time wait - and not wait. I then made a move. That then was judged as wrong, obviously.
About being able to work. When I am ill and want to go to work (instead of staying home like a reasonable patient): wrong. When stay home when struck with chronic pain (instead of working like other true medical heroes): wrong. Solution: outside of that pattern of expectations that cannot be solved, the solution obviously is to reach that very specific type of health required to work. For me that meant to employ a type of therapy that would allow me to sleep (and be awake afterwards), so therefore one that wouldmake me pain free, and as the pain mainly resulted from proliferating tissue nodules whose marginal excision would not prevent recurrence, the therapy was obviously surgical excision with a safety margin. As the carpal bones are a very awkward place for amputation and later orthopedic solutions, the optimal level for fast healing and fast rehabilitation was behind the wrist.
These are contradictory patterns and these are contradictory riddles. They are also called double binds. No one can ever solve them. These expectations are founded on a lot of fear. Fear is underpinning all of these. These double binds are all highlighted by a stale absence of directional joy, of a clear confession to either one or the other way to value things, and there is no way to sensibly act on them. The only solution consists in breaking out of that cycle and in devaluing the contradictory pattern. After being wrong by definition in any of these conflicting patterns, I also have nothing to lose as I will be wrong anyway - which, as experience showed - I was before. Breaking out of a cycle of mutually paralyzing expectations then will come across as abrupt. The fear of "decisiveness" is then supplemented with the fear of "abruptness".
Projecting one's own huge fears unto others can be hard or impossible to detect by oneself. It will ultimately decide whether one can or cannot deal with visible disability. Because ultimately, I am not the sum of someone else's fears - I do not even resemble them. These are monsters created elsewhere.
Strange projection, strange demonization: sexual deviance and being locked into that situation
There are sexual deviants or people with some type of obsessive fetish linked to disability or even amputation specifically (keywords: amelotatism, acrotomophilia, paraphilia, amputee devotee, amputee fetish, stump fetish, devotee, body integrity identity disorder, BIID).There is also artwork that expresses some of these fantasies.
Void of any real empathy for disabled people, lacking realism and getting straight to the core of their fantasies, there are writers covering fetishism and devoteeism, such as Ruth Madison and others, who in part appear to be earning good money by doing so. These stories all exhibit a direct aim of the main devotee character towards sexual gratification by objectifying a disabled person - and that's it. There is minimal concern for other aspects.
I had a number of so far about ten full-on real life encounters of various depth featuring their very obvious focus on their key stimulus (stump) and a larger number of encounters on-line. Also due to me being and getting curious and investigating the issue I went about them in different ways, at times more relaxed and open, at times more curious and firm.
Yet, while I probably will always be exposed to them in a way, they may be always exposing themselves to me as well. There is no way around that either. Let that sink in for a bit before I start counting to ten. These are not just projections, these are sexual projections. All that I said above regarding projections applies here, and maybe it applies here in a peculiar and particular way.
None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me. - - Watchmen (2009) quote by movie character Rorschach
Mostly it is an obsession these people have, quite often combined with other deep psychological issues if not illness, among them the idea that they are normal (but not a disabled person that rejects them), the idea that they are more than happy to project themselves onto disabled victims, and a completely different scale of measures that they apply to non-disabled rather than disabled people.
As they usually push therapeutic suggestions far away, there is usually no way they will ever improve these issues - and that is why I am saying it is them that are locked in here with me. They can't run away, and from the way they react, they can't hide either.
Invariably and unavoidably, some of them manifest(ed) themselves in my immediate proximity and I have to say it is one of the weirder experiences for me to 'partly' feature in someone else's objectified obsession as 'must have accessory'.
Don't get me wrong here. I do not blame anyone for a preference they have. But if adult respect, trade ethics, dignity and some loving understanding walk out the door the moment the obsession-trigger becomes visible, and if all I experience are results of really strange projections that occur - then I will get curious.
These people may tag me as 'tragically disabled'. They stand out by going about it with a rare detached type of dramatic perception. They interpret some of my sharp and astute matter-of-factual criticism clearly as 'fighting' or 'frustration' (rather what it is: exposing projective nonsense to begin with), they interpret this as 'me not getting on with life' (since when is speaking up to Monty Python class bullshit a sign of ceasing life). They replace listening and empathy with their own fully deteriorated subtitles (mixing up empathy and projection). And they seem to see themselves as 'the chosen ones' that feed me the acceptance they believe is not coming from anyone else leave alone from myself.
If I was an ambivalent pattern, they'd understand that pattern extremely one sided - so in a way these amelotatistic paraphiliacs are people that continuously seem to fail some type of real life Rorschach test which is precisely why that quote (above, movie character 'Rorschach') is so spot on. Don't dare to smile. This is is not funny! Alright, it may be funny, but just for a moment. And with some really dark undertones. As much as I can re-interpret my own disability related ambivalence in any positive, negative or supportive way, they're getting it wrong. All the time. Their projective views are so absurdly in the way that it can and has become an issue.
So this feels like a weird form of demonization, it feels like a weird form of being cast in yet another strange role - and let there be no doubt this one is extremely easy to pick up. It is like John Cleese going "goood night a ding ding ding" (see video link above) - completely impossible to miss. And hard to not mention it.
The way these people perceive and process disability appears to be intrinsically different from the way normal people do that: their normal emotional and social behavior (which I'd be primarily interested in a social encounter) may be suppressed while they seem to be consumed almost entirely by trying to cope with obsessive urges. Not during their controlled every day life - but when they encounter an amputee.
That seems to be visibly in their way so normal interactions often turn out to not at all work. Only a very few of them admitted that their obsessive behavior was indeed far from normal - while all of these people's behavior quite obviously is far from normal.
They acted as raging predators or frozen mummies, did not listen or take in any other emotion than their own, and mostly were sure to establish that no one on this planet cares for amputees any more except them - so their "care" would be a gift from god. They stared at me, they stopped and stared, they stayed and stared, they came in on purpose to stare, they made it extremely clear that a full view of the disability was what they were after or at the very least there was not one single other explanation for what they were doing. They spoke up for me as if they were my legal guardian, as if I was in need for representation. They corrected my views and sentences, my opinions and choices, they belittled my attitudes - as if I required such. They constantly seemed to mislabel stuff - obviously anatomy, but also emotions, situations, meanings of encounters, facial reactions - a tell-tale sign is that many of their descriptors must have been way off. While they acted as if they were healthy adults for the rest of their lives, I experienced that direct contact with me (a visibly disabled person) somehow turned these people into at times extremely strange creatures. I don't mind people finding me attractive - but the associated 'Planet Weirdness' was not bearable. Not once did that turn out to be bearable. So I figured it'd be a really good idea to keep these people somewhere in my outer perimeter - for their own sake, but definitely for mine.
And this fixation, obsession, this type of reaction seems to start early in some of these twisted minds. One night, I attended a party with friends and we watched a soccer game. It was an outside restaurant, and there were other party and restaurant guests. A little girl aged ~ 4 years comes to see my prosthetic arm and stands in a distance, stares and stares hard. Her mother sees it and stays put. These stares go on for quite a while, the whole incident is taking place over say 20-40 minutes or so. The girl was filling whole swim basins of stare input, not glimpses but water falls. When I eyeball the girl, she gets shy and hides. When I stop eyeballing, she clonks right back into stare mode, eyes wide open. Next time she comes to stare - and she just comes to stare - I let her stare. And the third time I decide to investigate that a little and make her do stuff she may not want to. So when she was staring at me, I saw that she was entirely mesmerized and frozen and had visibly lost control. She could not control what she was doing, obviously not. Even my friends started to get a bit unnerved and restless as this was completely not called upon. The little girl was quite aware of this being inappropriate as each time I'd "catch her" by looking at her she'd wiggle, try to hide, she showed discomfort (not with staring but with being caught) and tried to disappear behind a sofa or so - only to reappear seconds later. I then looked at her eyes very directly and firm and friendly and started to move my (sound) hand with very wide motions. She stared at my eyes and completely ignored my (sound) hand, she could not let go of my eyes and I returned her stare. Then I slowly started to move the prosthetic arm. She then - without missing a beat - stared at the prosthetic arm like a cat stares at a fish that moves. I did make very wide motions when moving my prosthetic arm, to get everyone of my friends to see that she was solely staring at the prosthetic arm. She could not unglue herself at all, she stood there like a vision control robot at an exhibition, advertising target video. So my friends at one point started to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, as I then was doing wavy up-down-motions and seeing the girl's head following the agagagaga-up-down motion - that was just pure slapstick. It was really funny slap stick but for the fact that we had a little person obsessed with my arm on our hands. Then the girl started to suddenly realize that she may have tried to sneak up on me to stare at my arm but now everyone was staring at her and laughing. That came over to her as everyone was laughing more. Then, finally, she also could see the little green men. She then went to her mother, cried and obviously said that my prosthetic arm (now) frightened her - as then her mother came to tell me that "she had never seen that before and that is why she was frightened and just so you understand that was why she stared and not to take it personal". Bummer, she could have apologized and said that the situation had escalated after the mother had seen and watched her girl sneak up and stare all the time but decided to stay put herself. But she did not. Why would I not take that personal? What hole did that woman crawl out from? So I gave her the "aren't we all naughty children, deep inside?" answer saying that her little girl had stared so much that I started to toy with the situation to creatively exploit it - which I'd always do after someone stares past my daily deadline limit of some 5 minutes or so, so not to take that personal either. To the mother's accusation that I was the one to "frighten" the girl I was entirely dismissive. I mean, the more that little miss cried, the less time she spent in front of me doing more hard stares, so, well, as bad as it sounds the more the girl spends time crying the more I get to enjoy the evening, as rude as it sounds it's a fact. My friends laughed some more and the mother walked back to her bench. I have no idea what type of people these are but stares such as that do invite my satirical Punch and Judy mode, and from that moment on the mother had realized that if she did not watch her daughter's escapades I'd have probably done a full Tai Chi routine and had everyone video record the girl's stares then. I had not premeditated or planned that but it seems that this girl was suddenly overwhelmed with something she could not control, and that left her feeling deeply unsafe and not at all in control. I assume that was the reason why she cried, not because my arm was scary to her. Also, the mother obviously learned a lesson as I made it *entirely* clear that it was her, with the problem, not me. And if someone stared at me for a lot longer than polite, that I'd take that as a clear invitation to get active myself and start doing things outside of any accepted protocol. What I really did here was exploit the sudden lapse, drop, absence of control - and that is what makes these people that exhibit this type of obsession, beautifully demonstrated once again: lack of control, a desire to make me feel guilty for it and complete dishonesty about their real motives. No, girls and boys, no, I find that is not too hard to figure out.
There seem to be all kinds of varieties of amputee or amputation fetishists and I learned that these people can be quite picky in their attempt to get labeled 'correctly' while others seem unaware about what is going on with them - but the way they appeared to act towards me when they seemed to feel safe or unobserved was so astonishingly uniform that I feel it would be quite acceptable to abandon any further distinction for any practical purposes. I am not really interested in what the intricacies of their feelings and sexual fantasies provide - funnily enough, I am interested in how an encounter with another person feels like from my own perspective. And in that, and in denying me my own very independent perspective, these people markedly stand out from other encounters in distinct ways that are really easy to spot and that do not seem to require any further distinction.
What struck me most is a clear mislabeling, that seems to go from body parts to emotions. Their tags, their adjectives, range from weird to awkward, from eerie to clearly misplaced. Let me type up two examples out of many.
- A paraphiliac will typically label an amputation stump 'as erotic as a female breast' as the only tag there is to be attached to it - reality has it that a stump may appear erotic to some but it also and at the same time contains sizable embarrassment, it can be a very intimate part of a body, it hurts, it symbolizes, represents and in fact *is* pure disability, it projects phantom pain and sensations, it suffers damage at times very easily, there can be skin issues, it is that one place to check for tumor re-occurrences et cetera - and so to reduce what is at best a very complex emotional issue (a stump) to one simple erotic part shows a stunning lack of empathy.
- A paraphiliac may divide disabled people into two groups - 'good' and 'frustrated' - and act on it. 'Good' ones cater to the needs of paraphilic people, 'frustrated' are disabled people that react critical, self determined, curious, aggressive, loud, dismissive or that ignore the stares or other inappropriate advances paraphiliacs may make. In reality of course, everyone including disabled people will react in just a wide variety of ways when confronted with any paraphiliac's strange behavior - and to not accept the strange proposals of paraphiliacs is completely healthy and normal, definitely not an act of 'frustration'. When I managed to land in the 'frustrated' group of disabled people, they'd call me names of the wildest variety. Paraphiliacs that presented themselves as philantropists at first would then use offensive swear words of the most despicable kind to humiliate me. I remember one guy using terms such as "Quasimodo" to relate to an amputee and he acted really surprised when this was pointed out as entirely unacceptable. I am not kidding you, these people are beyond any acceptable norm if left alone with disabled folks. And such is the face of a really sick mind, maybe a personality disorder cum paraphilia - not the face of a normal healthy person at all. Being alone is a million times better than bearing such an individual's presence, let there be not the tiniest doubt.
Paraphilia seems to be the correct subject heading for that type of condition, and if you feel compelled to check out what may affect some if not a significant number of these people, search for 'paraphilia AND personality disorder' and if that is not enough and you want to know what could expect you, check 'relationship AND personality disorder'.
These disorders are typically linked with an utter inability to acknowledge the issue at hand, they are linked with a subsequent inability to get treatment and to benefit from such, they cannot name emotions, expressions or situations correctly - so it is probably a waste of time to suggest professional help: if that was to succeed at all they'd have to go for it themselves.
Neurology and psychiatry behind body image distortions and possible link to schizophrenia
Emotionally, I will guarantee you that amputee devotees are not healthy happy human beings. There is something deeply and fundamentally wrong in their basic labeling system. It is a matter of time until we know what in all detail it is these people suffer from - but it is necessarily a psychiatric diagnosis.
From when I first drafted this text to now, research addressed a few issues here.
- (..) "Nevertheless, these results present an intriguing potential link between body ownership disturbances and the agency abnormalities characteristic of many positive symptoms" (of schizophrenia / patients suffering from psychotic symptoms) "which may have implications for treatment. For example, yoga, which promotes body awareness, has been shown to be effective in attenuating positive and negative symptoms and increasing social functioning in schizophrenia, exceeding the beneficial effects of aerobic exercise"(..) 2011 Disturbances in Body Ownership in Schizophrenia: Evidence from the Rubber Hand Illusion and Case Study of a Spontaneous Out-of-Body Experience. PLoS ONE 6(10): e27089. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027089 - Interesting implications to that. Some people may pick these types of body awareness exercises in an attempt to address their body image disturbances. When my (right) hand was ill and when I was in severe pain, someone suggested I attend Tai Chi lessons. After the amputation I was extremely shocked to find myself at the object of most intense staring ever. To this day I was puzzled but now assuming these people maybe addressed their own body image disturbances, they just may have been unable to deal with my disability in a socially acceptable way.
Practical aspects of mental illness in devotee or amelotatist behavior
Personality disorders on top of the obsessive part may well spell out as outright abusive. In fact there was a distinct sadomasochistic feel about some of my own encounters, but one with a strange kink to it. And while they all claim to be different - in real everyday life they well may be - the 'prime target' exposure may turn them into emotionally overwhelmed and purely sexually driven deviant people unable to adequately react emotionally to what they were or are doing. Please understand correctly - I don't deny these people their own lifestyle or individuality. By all means, they should do what they have to do. But if things go right, I'm not part of it. To me they present with striking similarities and that is why I treat them all the same. And if you are a person that does not want to be in such a situation either, walk the hell out of there.
Due to their obsessive thing often combined with negative stereotypes about disabled people, I cannot say these fetishists I stumbled upon would be at all recommended for friendship or companionship. They may be interesting to get to know and to learn about their ways, that for sure. But other than that, phew.
Devotee amelotatist fetishist people have to know, themselves, whether they want to harass amputees or prefer to not do that. I am not as dumb as these people might assume. My brain will automatically deconstruct their attitudes starting from the moment after they first blink their eye in the wrong direction to the very last second. I will take in the full amount of sadistic and evil energy they bestow upon me. On more than one occasion, when I felt like I had enough, it was more than enough to use some ~5% of the ways they had treated me and treat them like that - and without exception they all ran themselves. They ran from their own mirror. Shows they aren't used to seeing themselves in a mirror - and with mirroring being a socio-neurological issue, that's exactly where their problem lies. Absence of empathy.
How to recognize? They tend to lose countenance when hitting upon a visually disabled person. And while someone loses control over both their cognitive and emotional aspects of behavior they are rather easy to spot once you have learned about that phenomenon - the ones that stiffen up, the ones that freeze up just a bit too much, the ones that cannot but stare, the ones that get nervous, the way they talk, the way they address a normal emotional issue, the discrepancy between what they say and how they say it. These subtle signs do breathe up my neck. They intrude on me. They can be striking.
Obviously, a visible disability such as arm amputation can provoke difficult or embarrassing situations in public all the time or repeatedly - dealing with these will tap the empathic and emotional potential of any bystanders any old time as there really is no rule book, no social etiquette, no Ms Manners for disability. Sometimes there is a bit of slapstick, sometimes bystanders could offer a hand - and in fact quite often, people are friendly and helpful and great. But our special friends? Really, these situations can not really be prepared and they are sometimes just hard to deal with despite fast reflexes and good humored spirits. One person in my neighborhood will switch her lights off at night and just stare at me - with a full well rooted Swiss quality iron hard genuine stare, which I once found out when closing a window. Other people may drop good manners at any weird moment, they may get suspended into a perpetual glaze stare hold cycle at any moment in time, they may repeatedly bring up disability subjects of no particular interest to anyone else, they may view a disabled person as substrate rather than human. All of that even before they open their mouth. My real and on-line encounters appear(ed) to be heavily dominated by such behavior and their attempts to direct their own projections at me. When you're in for the long haul, no question, you'll pick it up.
Now some of these people are also online, some posing as they would be disabled themselves. That may cause confusion as many support services for amputees are available online. But if you start discussing issues, look out and you can figure it out yourself: in my experience, discussing disability issues online will automatically be a relaxed and supportive discussion with someone else that also runs around with a part missing. Discussing issues online with a truly caring non-disabled person often is a non-issue as well. But as it turns out these deviants uniformly "try" to be "supportive" by reinterpreting if not denigrating my own feelings, by imposing their rather eccentric views on me (taboo subjects, really) while not accepting my own similarly eccentric views (a test you can conduct fairly rapidly using any eccentricity that comes to mind, such as other taboo subjects). They are arrogantly patronizing while not accepting a similarly arrogantly patronizing attitude from myself (that one is rather simple to try out when I want to see how much of a fair sportsman I am really dealing with). And so, such online contacts can be brought to deteriorate fairly rapidly if fair sportsmanship is not their game, upon which these people are usually quick to steer towards meeting "in person" (they for example tell you they'd want to 'clarify their points' but really they want to 'see and touch') or "switching on the video camera" (to 'better see') at which point you can safely close that particular thread, chapter or mail conversation and block the respective person, user, or member to move on. I really don't negatively judge anyone's 'preference' of disabled people per se - but in conjunction with such asymmetric behavior, there is no way I see that going anywhere. And I have not seen it other than in conjunction with asymmetric behavior. Because fundamentally, these guys enjoy what I suffer from. It does affect me - when I spent time with such individuals, any minute spent alone afterwards is an enormous relief. And that relief is a dead giveaway for the fact that something just ain't right.
At the end of the day, I found that visible disability seems to attract a relatively substantial number of people that are easy to spot as they visibly lose emotional and cognitive control, try to manipulate their way into physical proximity, they seem to be stuck inside their own projections, that believe they are the only people to care for amputees that they may believe to be otherwise discarded by society, and cannot generate even a minimal amount of empathy, they exclusively seem to enjoy what I suffer from, and that is what makes them, what is their nature. They stand out by communicating some 'I am more or less OK, you are definitely not OK - maybe unless I help you out' (rather than 'I am OK you are OK').
Last but not least, my disability is a big nuisance but it also is, self definition wise, just an issue. It is a sizable issue but that's it. It does not define me, it accompanies me. To assume that I see myself as primarily disabled would be wrong. If you define me as that and I don't, then we do have conflicting views. Because I do not see me as that. I may appear to be and even look disabled and objectively I would have to agree - but personally I do not hold that view. So for anyone to come and treat me as what I am not, to convey love or attraction over what I am not seeing myself as - that misses the point. I have no problem with other peopleŽs preferences, but if they increase the level of relevance of what I feel is unavoidably there but just about that to something they need to constantly stare at or be mesmerized by - then I will probably find a way to dodge these encounters.
Finding a good and half ways socially acceptable way to send these guys back to the outer perimeter (or, better, keep them there): that is the thing to do - unless you feel really ready for that type of interaction for any reason whatsoever. Or maybe you found a constructive way to channel their energy. If you manage that, great - because such unruly raw energy (and believe me, what I have seen was real energy) is a pity to let go to waste. But let's not get too technical here - this is a rant, not a workshop.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrotomophilia Amelotatism or acrotomophilia is also regarded as a form of abuse (Elman, R.Amy (2001). "Mainstreaming immobility". in Claire M. Renzetti, Jeffrey L. Edleson, Raquel Kennedy Bergen. Sourcebook on violence against women. SAGE. pp. 193208. ISBN 0761920056.)
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attraction_to_disability Attraction to disability spells out as a deep identity disorder touching on sexual deviance, psychiatric illness, identity disorder and more. Fetishists are not at all liberating but pile bizarre standards on top of mainstream ones, while rejecting to cooperate in further scientific investigation of the phenomenon. - The only real advantage that the fetishism community offers to the disabled are one of economic opportunity. That alone is not necessarily very bad.