What is it like to be deaf? It ranges from no different from anyone else, to being extremely frustrating and isolating. I live in a hearing world. My spouse is hearing, my family is hearing, I was mainstreamed in school. But I'm losing more hearing, and it is becoming harder and harder to function with lipreading alone. No one around me really signs. My husband is starting to learn more so that my stress will go down.
What bothers me most is that while my family acknowledges that I cannot hear, they don't take any steps to involve me in conversations that are not one on one. During family gatherings, I'm very excluded. As a result, I hate going. I get overly anxious before going in, because my lack of participation often translates as an unwillingness to be friendly and my inability to understand what is being said is often considered stupidity. It's especially hard dealing with my mother. She's overly solicitious in front of non-family members, but reverts to not looking at me when she speaks when she's alone with me or with my side of the family. She also over enunciates when I tell her repeatedly I cannot understand her and gets rather pissy when I give her a pen and paper to write down what she's saying. I honestly don't understand why it's preferable to her to repeat something as many as 15 times and deal with the feelings of anger and resentment that causes, instead of merely writing it down. Then again, she enjoys feeling angry over things that could be different. She's very passive aggressive in her relationships and it just makes everyone very resentful towards her. My mother in law, who is not a very nice person at all, has done more for me by taking sign language classes than my own family has. It's not fun feeling like you're not worth the time it takes to communicate with you.