Not everybody thinks about their words before speaking. They just blurt things out. Those thoughtless comments can do a surprising amount of damage.
Some thoughtless comments are listed below…
- “You’re just like *insert disliked person here*” Often a person tells you how crazy, bad, stupid, etc. that person is prior to telling you that you’re just like him or her. Even if you love that person, the person telling you that you’re just like someone they think is crazy, bad, stupid, etc. hurts!
- On the opposite side of the same coin… “Why can’t you be more like *insert person’s name here*?” This can make you feel not good enough.
- “*insert someone’s name here* has it worse than you do.” This can make you feel guilty, ashamed or just plain wrong for being upset in the first place.
- “You’ve always had it so easy!” “You’re spoiled!” “You’ve never had to work hard for anything!” Really? I seriously don’t think there is one person who has ever lived that hasn’t struggled in some way, shape or form. This can make you feel like you should be ashamed of yourself if you’re struggling with something or if you’re given something.
- “You’re depressed? What do you have to be depressed about?!” (or anxious or have PTSD) or, “Think happy thoughts.” So many people think mental disorders are only about a person not thinking positively enough, not appreciating what they have or some other simple solution. While yes, you can think wrong thoughts & make yourself depressed or anxious, many people have actual physical problems with their brain causing depression, anxiety & even PTSD. No amount of “thinking positive” can fix those problems!
- “It’s all in your head!” regarding mental illness. Well, technically it is! It’s in the name- mental illness. People that say this often mean you’re imagining the symptoms & need just to get over whatever is causing those symptoms.
- “Don’t be so selfish!” Narcissists in particular love this one. Thinking of your needs & having boundaries isn’t selfish. Neither is prioritizing yourself over demanding self centered people. “Don’t be selfish” coming from a narcissist is nothing more than projection. If someone you don’t think is a narcissist says it, it could be a red flag. Pay attention to what this person says & does to determine if the person is a narcissist or if they’re actually right & you are being selfish somehow.
- “You’re so shy/quiet!” This shaming statement can make you feel wrong or broken for being an introvert. People fail to realize the world needs talkers & listeners. If everyone talked a lot, who would listen?! Everyone would be too busy talking to listen to each other!
- “But that’s your MOTHER!” (or father or whichever random relative you’ve gone no contact with) People say this like we’ll respond by saying, “OH! I hadn’t thought about that! You’re right! I’ll go fix everything right now!” We *know* this is our mother or whoever. In fact that reason is precisely why they have hurt us to the point they have. Obviously we care more about those close to us than total strangers. No contact was a very painful decision to come to, & this comment can make us feel ashamed & wrong for choosing that option.
- “Are you sure you want to do that? I mean, it’s a lot of work..” This could be about anything- painting your home, going back to college, changing careers or starting a family. In any case, it comes across as if the person saying it doesn’t think you’re capable of doing that task. Hopefully it’s said without malicious intent & only with concern for you. Sometimes though, it’s said with malice in order to instill doubts in you & make you feel incapable.
- After someone has died.. “You should be glad she’s not in pain anymore.” Really? Ok, we’re all glad that someone’s suffering has ended when they died. If we’re both Christians, we’re also glad we’ll see them again one day in Heaven. However, how about letting us have some time of grieving because we miss that special person? Grief is normal when you lose someone you love & no one should shame you for it!
Of course there are plenty more thoughtless statements but these are just some examples.
When people say such nonsense, I find it useful to remind yourself that not everyone is compassionate. Some people are also simply thoughtless. No, they aren’t deliberately mean spirited- they just don’t think that much about how their words affect other people. Others may be having a bad day & were too preoccupied to consider what they were saying at that specific time. And, some people are narcissists. They simply enjoy hurting you as much as possible or they’re so self-absorbed, they don’t even think of how what they say will affect you.
In any case, what people say isn’t your fault or a reflection on you. Also, you can’t count on people to be validating at all times. You have to learn to validate yourself. It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself!