The parents made little to no effort to learn ASL and often shouted at her for not following conversations.
Suffering an accident can be incredibly traumatic, for both the people involved and their loved ones as well. One needs all the support they can get after an injury but for one woman, the hurt and trauma that followed created a split within her family. Reddit user u/basketsoftough shared her story about how she lost her hearing after suffering a major accident that resulted in Traumatic brain injury (TBI). She soon learned that she was looking at a future without hearing. She urged her parents to learn ASL (American Sign Language) so they could communicate but her parents refused to make any effort. As their relationship deteriorated due to a lack of communication, she gave them an ultimatum to learn ASL.
"When I was 18 I was in an accident that resulted in me losing most of my hearing in both ears, making me deaf. I didn't qualify for cochlear implants, so being deaf was just my new reality," she wrote. It took a while for her to get back on her feet. "Obviously, this derailed my life for a while. University got pushed back, and I was depressed for a long time. Eventually, I got back out there, discovered the deaf community, learned ASL (American sign language), and at 26 I now feel very content with my life," she continued.
The accident and her loss of hearing created a wall between her and her parents. "My parents were devastated by my accident, and our relationship has never been the same. A few years ago I told them I have embraced being deaf, and I asked them if they would learn ASL, as that is now how I prefer to communicate. They said no at the time because they didn't have time to learn a new language," she wrote. "I have tried many times over the years to try to give them information on deafness and ASL, but they have shown no interest."
"We communicate now mainly by using voice-to-text on our phones, which is far from perfect, and very chaotic when multiple people are talking. Trying to keep up with conversations is exhausting, and people are constantly getting frustrated with me for not following along," she wrote, before adding that they wouldn't even do the bare minimum to include her. "Often we watch movies, but they refuse to turn the captions on because it's 'annoying,' despite the fact that it means I can't understand the movie at all."
The holidays didn't make it any easier. "This past Christmas, I once again struggled with conversations, which once again resulted in me being either ignored or yelled at," she wrote before giving them an ultimatum. "Before I went home again, I sat my parents down and told them that if they did not begin to learn ASL, I would not be visiting again for a long time. I told them I don't expect them to ever be fluent, but I need them to show effort in learning. I told them that they have continuously dismissed my needs as a deaf person, and that if they want to continue to have a meaningful relationship with me, we need to have some kind of shared language."
Her parents were very defensive. "This didn't go over well at all, as my parents accused me of wanting to cut them off, which isn't true. I just can't do any more visits where my presence feels like a burden. My brother and I have been texting since then, and he thinks I'm being hugely unfair," she explained before turning to Reddit and asking if she was wrong to give her parents an ultimatum.
Reddit users overwhelmingly sided with her. "They can't even turn on the captions? WTH???!!! No, THEY are being unfair. Also, they either can't or don't want to learn ASL. Either way, you cannot keep accommodating them when they do NOTHING to accommodate YOU. You are doing the right thing. Either they will come around or they won't. Just live your life around people who appreciate you and make you happy," wrote one user. Another user added, "Sorry to have to say this but your parents are horrible people. I honestly cannot find a different word to describe them. You are better off spending your time with people who will treat you a lot better than your parents are treating you." After reading the responses, she wrote, "I can now see that my parents are clearly being unfair."