In the amputee community, a "faker" is an individual who pretends to be an amputee in order to elicit attention or sympathy from others. Typically this is done through the internet, although I have heard of cases of "fakers" feigning amputations at support groups. In addition to being a faker, it is not uncommon for this individual to also be a devotee.
Fakers infuriate me! They are often active on social networking sights, waiting to pounce on the sympathies of their unsuspecting prey. They will say that they are not hurting anybody, but in reality, their words and actions harm the entire amputee community.
Constantly soliciting pity by providing horrific stories of victimization casts all amputees in a bad light. Although it is sometimes easy for me to forget, many people don't personally know an amputee. Suppose their first interaction with somebody with an amputation is online. What impression will they have if that person is a faker? The perception that amputees are weak, dependent, and deserving of pity is perpetuated by the faker.
Scott and I work diligently to keep my forum and Facebook fan page devotee, wannabe, and faker free. I estimate that we allow only one out of every five membership requests into the group. I want to keep this little section of the internet safe for amputees who want and need to share very real issues.
Last week I was heartbroken to discover that I had been fooled when two active members were exposed as fakers. In reality, we were not supporting a young new amputee and his mom. We were being manipulated by a 24 year old, fully limbed, pathetic man. I became furious when his betrayals were revealed.
Living with limb loss can, at times, feel overwhelming for even the strongest of individuals. As if learning to adapt to a new body, prosthetics and societal changes isn't hard enough, amputees must also contend with these toxic subcultures. I feel fooled and frustrated when the Faker was revealed. Rest assured Scott and I will remain vigilant. Hopefully, this will not happen again.
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