We often encounter people who might unintentionally or intentionally hurt us with their words. People are willing to say harsh words to hurt because of negligence, ignorance, or simply a pure urge to belittle someone.
As someone with pectus excavatum deformity, I have been in situations where I did not feel comfortable being in my skin due to someone's reckless comment. Such moments taught me my true worth and my self-confidence.
Today, those rude comments mean nothing to me. Those words can ruin someone's day or life if they have low self-esteem and are prone to get hurt by someone's comments about their appearance.
5 SITUATIONS AND COMMENTS THAT OFFEND
Concerning this topic, I'll share some crucial situations that should be known for sure that they can offend someone who has pectus excavatum deformity. If you have this deformity, please try your best to ignore those who make it awkward for you to be around them.
If any of the following situations are familiar, and you recognize someone who did this to you, please ignore them. People can say whatever they want, but please don't take it personally as it doesn't speak about you, but about them!
STARING AT THE DEFORMITY
Our biggest fear is the strange and unpleasant stares of people who may not have seen anyone with such a deformity before. Something that can hurt and make most of us uncomfortable is, the uncontrollable staring directly into the hole of our chest.
Even if those individuals are completely unaware of what they are doing and have no malicious intent, it seems uncultured and creates an awkward atmosphere.
It is impossible to forbid people to stare at us, especially where it is unavoidable to show your body, such as on the beach or pool. If you know someone with pectus deformity, please try to avoid the abrupt and uncontrolled glances in the chest cavity. That will avoid unpleasant moments for you and the person with the deformity.
Be someone who makes everyone around you feel more comfortable and creates a safe atmosphere where everyone feels free in their bodies. Knowing that your body is the focus of everyone's attention is unsettling. It can upset people, especially if they are weak and lack self-confidence.
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU AND YOUR CHEST!?
When we come across those who have never encountered someone with pectus excavatum and have no idea what to expect, we might expect a weird and eruptive reaction. However, while such emotions in their hearts may be natural, they are not the same in the eyes of the person with the deformity.
In these instances, a person may feel odd or as if something is wrong with them as if they are different from everyone else.
For young individuals, teens, or anyone more fragile in general, these comments or questions can intensify and become a life problem.
There are many more polite ways to inquire about something you don't understand or haven't seen. However, you may only come to seem as rude if you ask impolite, irresponsible, and blunt questions such as:
- What is that to you?
- Why do you have a hole in your chest?
- What happened to you?
These are just some of the questions that people with breast deformities face daily. So, for those lucky enough not to have this difficulty, please be cautious and consider your question before asking it.
Of course, this does not eliminate the possibility of asking questions, but there is undoubtedly a better way. And yet we must know that everything is normal and there is a solution for every problem.
This chest deformity means nothing and does not describe us as individuals. We're all much more than our physical appearance. These questions may sometimes come with good intentions, and we should be aware of that.
For those who are frequently confronted with such inquiries and are uncomfortable answering them, I urge that you consider and find a method to respond appropriately and politely without saying anything.
There is information on the internet about ways to communicate and deal with anything. Please, be clever, and use those tips! You don't have to prove and defend yourself, especially your looks, to anyone!
I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW HARD IT IS FOR YOU
This phrase certainly has many forms and nuances. It is always uncomfortable to hear this if you have pectus excavatum. It may sound like sympathy and compassion initially, but the outcome is not the best.
It can make the patients feel even heavier feelings and think that maybe their problem is even bigger than it seemed to them up to that point.
Maybe, they were on acceptable terms with the circumstance up to that point and then asked whether they saw their situation realistically after those hurtful statements. As a result of those conclusions, I advise you to exercise carefulness and awareness while using words with others.
Every situation has its weight, and, understandably, no one can feel the weight of another's burden. Still, it may only make us more cautious in our communication. However, most of us should remember that not everyone understands how to convey their emotions effectively through words.
I CAN NOTICE YOUR SUNKEN CHEST AND FLARED RIBS THROUGH YOUR CLOTHES
This is, without a doubt, next on the list of embarrassing and hurtful comments.
- Hey, I see you have a deformity.
- Hey, I can see your deformity through your t-shirt, etc.
Remember that everyone who has this chest malformation is aware of their appearance. People know their deformity will be visible regardless of how hard someone tries to hide it. We are fully aware of our flaws. Many people with pectus excavatum try to hide their imperfections by wearing loose, comfortable clothing.
However, hiding it is sometimes impossible, especially if you have a terrible case of flared ribs. These comments will only make you both feel uncomfortable. These offensive comments are part of an ignorant, insensitive interaction I've never appreciated.
I recommend you surround yourself with people who make you happy and ignore the opinions of those who are unimportant to you.
DON'T BE ASHAMED AND GET PROFESSIONAL HELP!
Often such conclusions may come from good intentions. Still, you must be aware that anyone with a visible deformity knows they should seek help. Such comments about a person with a physical deformity, no matter how serious, can cause fear and shame. This can even make them feel that they are not responsible for their condition.
Everyone wants the best for themselves, and everyone is aware that they need to find a solution to their problem. Therefore it's not always essential to emphasize and force it. At the same time, in such or similar phrases, we can find a potential presence of gaslighting, which makes every person close to communication.
Even if the patient thinks of opening up to you, this can only deter them from their attempt. You can leave a poor impression because of your reckless words. However, we are still talking about general empathy and ethical behavior. Indecent judgments can only disturb the peace of the other, and that is certainly not desirable.
COMMENTING ON APPEARANCE CAN BE RUDE
Commenting on someone's appearance or condition is arguably the most ignorant thing a person can do. In that sense, I think that all humanity should strive to gain a better collective culture and respect for one another, not based on physical appearance.
Let this chapter be a message for greater awareness from all of us with pectus excavatum or any other deformity who suffer from being judged, watched, and criticized by others.
DON'T COMMENT UNLESS YOU'RE WILLING TO HELP
We must understand that everyone with an issue, whether visible or internal, is probably aware of their situation. We're not supposed to chitchat with them and ask inappropriate questions out of curiosity without the purpose of helping.
People with sunken chests can't always change something for the better immediately, even if they want to. Be patient, and respectful, and be there to encourage and calm people, not the other way around.
SET AN EXAMPLE
Set an example of how you should and want someone to treat you. At least try to share a good message with the world. Of course, you should not uncompromisingly tolerate abusive words that might hurt you. Set a limit and boundaries, and always try to remember your actual values, even if it is difficult at the moment.
You can’t avoid all interactions with biting people in your life. You can only learn how to deal with them. When you experience this, try to undervalue their rude comments in your mind. Skip the interactions if you know you’ll be offended by a specific individual or their words. Most importantly, set your boundaries!
It’s easy to become irritated when someone is harsh to you, especially if they make personal remarks about you and your deformation. However, you can choose how to respond to their comments and how they affect you.
The way you handle yourself will show confidence and openness. It will show impolite people how much of a different and self-respected person you are. Maintain a healthy posture by keeping your head up, shoulders back, and chest out.
Thank you for reading!