Skip to main content

Thoughts & Behaviours of Other People

Those close to you may experience some feelings of loss similar to your own and need a little time to adjust.  Generally though, other people’s awareness of, and reaction to your amputation is likely to be far less than you imagine.

Family and friends go through a grief and loss process similar to the person who has lost a limb.  It is a major change for everyone concerned and often so much time and energy is expended on taking care of the amputee that the caregiver scarcely recognises that he or she is utterly exhausted.  “Busy activity” is typical of the early adjustment period.  If busy activity continues for an extended time, it can be a form of denial on the part of family/friends because the caregiver cannot face a life that has drastically changed.  

New amputees often worry about how people will perceive them or that others will stare, ask inappropriate questions or treat you as a lesser person.  You may also be worried that if something happens such as falling over people will not help you or people will offer unwanted help.  Other adults will often seem embarrassed when socialising with you due to ignorance of amputations and what it means for the amputee: they are worried about doing and saying the ‘right’ thing and so sometimes they say nothing at all as they fear offending you.

Recognising how people react is important and you may be asked questions about your experience.  With those you already know telling them what you need and how they can help you is beneficial for everyone.

On the flip side those who try to help too much can become frustrating as you may feel that they are treating you as someone incapable of self care.  Sometimes this can become irritating because people can be very insistent.  Try not to get angry at those who are overly helpful.  It can help you to think back to a time when you thought you were being polite to someone but it was rebuffed.  Also remember that some people are naturally helpful or pushy as part of their personality and it is not due to your amputation.

If someone asks a question or makes a comment that you find inappropriate or offensive calmly point out why you were offended.  Hopefully they will understand that they were inappropriate and apologise.  If someone is really rude such as yelling insults at you, it will be upsetting but that person is just plain nasty and would have done that to anyone.