Who knew two little words could be such daggers? If you are Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing you may understand what I mean. When you are struggling to understand as it is… doing the impossibly hard job of lip-reading, asking for repetition, getting frustrated… then the other person tells you “Never Mind”… it feels like a dagger.
Why can a simple phrase hurt so much? Especially from the mouth of someone you care about, a friend, a parent, a child, a sibling, a husband, a wife, girlfriend, boyfriend… does the list need to go on?
To someone like myself who is deaf, who’s family doesn’t sign, or doesn’t sign that great… who lip-reads 99% of the time when around family and friends… to me it says, “You aren’t worth it,” “You won’t understand anyways,” “I’m too frustrated with trying to get you to understand,” “I just don’t care anymore”. I know this isn’t what they are trying to get across to me… but that is what I feel, what I hear when I see those two ominous words… NEVER MIND…
I’m trying, I’m struggling, and yes, I know it isn’t easy for you either… but I’m giving 110% here to try and understand, can’t you give me that little extra, just by rephrasing, or writing it down, so I don’t feel so left out, so isolated among you?
This is why never mind huts… because it makes me feel stupid, because it makes me feel left out, because it makes me feel worthless… it may not be your intention, but that is what happens.
My wonderful partner has stopped using the phrase as much… we have had countless conversations about why it hurts, what her intentions are… and I have come to understand part of why she uses the phrase occasionally. She said it is because what she was saying wasn’t actually important… what she was saying didn’t make sense, and she feels stupid when having to repeat a phrase, a word, a sentence that wasn’t important to begin with… this I understand. We have come up with a code word… Llama… to mean just what she was saying… so if it wasn’t important, or if it didn’t make sense, she can just say Llama… but occasionally, I’m starting to feel like Llama is just another way to say “Never Mind, its not worth it”. Although both “Llama” and “never mind” are thankfully rare occurrences in my home now, she has learned to sign, and it improves on a regular basis… and I… I am learning to hear, listen and comprehend again.
But I still don’t think she quite understands where I am coming from, Never Mind still hurts, even if it wasn’t important, it is still something she said… something that came out of her mouth. Never Mind is a common occurrence at work… I hear it at least 2x every day… from my co-worker, from clients… and it still is as if I were stabbed with a dagger of words every time it is said… is this what they think?
this is why never mind hurts so much, it may not make any logical sense to you, it may not be your intention when saying it to someone who is deaf, Deaf or Hard of Hearing… but that is how it feels… as if we aren’t worth it, as if we are stupid, as if we are less, as if you don’t care…