There are two phrases in particular that light my fury on fire, perhaps there are more (I’m sure there are) but for now, let’s discuss these two because maybe they’re you’re pet peeve too or perhaps you say them yourself not knowing how much damage they can cause.

1. “Someone forgot their medication.”

There’s a difference between finding a prescription bottle someone left at a hotel and sarcastically accusing someone of irrational behavior because they forgot to take a supposed prescribed medication for a mental illness they may or may not actually have. It’s the latter of these two that cause my fists to ball up. For a long time, whenever I would have a bad day Cody would ask “Did you take your medication?” as if the little while pill at bedtime would control every emotion I possess. It drove me crazy because I felt as though he expected me to have no range of emotion at all and that he put all of his hope for a “normal, happy wife” into a pill. Knowing I take medication and accusing me of forgetting it is one thing, accusing a stranger you know nothing about? That’s entirely different. That’s how stereotypes are born and bred. It puts shame not only on mental illness (because clearly we could all be controlled if we were medicated) it is also an unfair judgement of the person being accused. Before claiming someone “forgot their medication” to the person next to you under your breath, take a step back and try to figure out why the person is distraught in the first place and acknowledge that you’re not always on your best behavior in public either. Does that mean you forgot your medication too?

2. “That’s just the way I am.” or “That’s just the way he/she is.”

People can change. I’ve seen it, I’ve changed myself. It’s one thing if I insist on giving my friends a hug when they’re crying, because that is the way I am. However it’s entirely different if you excuse someones a**hole behavior under the guise “That’s just the way he/she is.” No one gets to be a butthead to other people for no reason. “That’s just the way I am” is just an excuse and when you have people excusing your own bad behavior? Whew, that’s when you know it’s gone too far and it’s time to start working on being a little nicer/more understanding/less selfish in general. Vivi likes to hit, scream and cry when she doesn’t get her way. I can’t tell other parents “Oh, that’s just the way she is.” because the other parents would cry foul and Vivi wouldn’t have any friends. However when an adult throws a fit to get their way or uses some other impolite tactic of persuasion — oftentimes their behavior is excused or begged to be reasoned with “because that’s just the way they are.”

No.

We can all do better. Don’t excuse others bad behavior and if you find yourself excusing your own with “That’s just the way I am” really think about how you’re presenting yourself. I for one do not want to associate with people who are unwilling or unable to change, expecting instead for others to bend and accept their unacceptable behavior.

Now, let’s put this into practice:

OKAY: You see a prescription bottle in the back of a taxi so you give it to the driver and say “Someone forgot their medication.”

NOT OKAY: Someone has been waiting in line at the DMV for several hours when they are told they will have to come back tomorrow with more paperwork and the person gets understandably upset. Upon witnessing the person demand to see a supervisor you lean over to your seatmate and whisper “Someone forgot their medication.”

OKAY: I will always have fair skin so there’s no use in tanning — it’s just the way I am.

NOT OKAY: Your brother is being incredibly rude and condescending to your wife, you respond with “You’ll just have to forgive him. He doesn’t understand, it’s just the way he is.”

Are there phrases that chap your hide? (Like ‘chap your hide’ or ‘nail down the details?’)

 

Comments

  1. I hate hearing “roll tide”. Hate with the fires of ….

    Seriously.

    Casey Reply:

    @Keri, Take heart, I think it bothers everyone who has ever played ‘bama or ever watched ESPN.

  2. So I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but…”gay” and “retarded.” So many people have been talking for so long about how wrong it is to say these things, which is why I’m blown away that in 2014–even among people I’d consider evolved and politically correct–these words still rear their ugly heads. (In case it isn’t obvious, I mean using “gay” in a derogatory and/or joking manner…not in polite reference to someone who is, in fact, homosexual.)

    Casey Reply:

    @sarah, Oh, I was a dinner when the ‘R’ word was dropped by someone I never would have expected. I agree with you on both.

  3. Good points, but I’d argue against “I insist on giving my friends a hug when they’re crying, because that is the way I am” falling on the okay side of the line. Some people don’t like to be hugged. I think using “that’s just the way I am” with regards to traits that the individual views as positive is just as frustrating as when it is used with “negative” characteristics. Adapt to the situation and respond to people as individuals – let that be “just the way [you] are.” (Not you, Casey, just “one.”)

    I inherited from my father a passionate hatred for the expression “free gift.” If it’s NOT free? It’s NOT A GIFT! You are not giving me a “free gift” with purchase, you are giving me two things for the price of one.

    Casey Reply:

    @KC, Oh, I totally get you on the no touching thing, which is why I specified “my friends” because if they know me well enough to cry around me they know me well enough to know there will be hugging. And I’m totally with you adapting. Fine points my fellow KC.

    Oh, and gift with purchase, yes. That’s a sneaky one.

  4. I am guilty of asking my husband if he has taken his meds. But not because he is angry or some other emotion, but because he’s too much of it. If every little thing is making him ragey, then I ask. And it took some trial and error and conversations, but he now understands that if I’m asking, he may need to take a minute and think about it. And (not) surprisingly, a lot of times the answer is no, I didn’t take it. BUT, I would never, ever, ever say it to a stranger, or probably even a good friend.

    Casey Reply:

    @mamalang, Cody has found ways to step around directly asking me, which I appreciate. Often times I’ll admit that I forgot before he has to say anything because the withdrawals with mine are so serious they hit me before any big emotional swings.

  5. When people say “I could never…” in regards to life situations people have no control over. You could and you would. For example, “i could never have a child with diabetes because I couldn’t give then shots”- (heard at work recently). yes, you could. you would. it will be hard, but stop saying never!

    Casey Reply:

    @mackenzie, Ooh, that’s a good one. I’m guilty of this one on occasion but not anymore!

  6. The “it’s just the way she is” is how I cope with an incredibly (randomly) rude coworker. It’s just too exhausting to try to correct her. I’ve known her nearly 8 years. I just let it roll off and tell myself, it’s just how she is. Sometimes.

    Maybe she forgot her medication. KIDDING!

    Casey Reply:

    @Q, LOL. Yeah, I’ve had to take a deep breath and mutter “They just don’t know any better, someday they’ll learn.”

  7. I suffer from an OCD and I *hate* it when people say, if you really wanted to, you could just quit.

    Casey Reply:

    @Antonia, Right, RIGHT. Because it’s just that easy. You’re depressed? If you really wanted to, you could just stop being sad. *flops on floor*

  8. I suffer from an OCD and I *hate* it when people say, ‘if you really wanted to, you could just quit.’ OR when people go, ‘it’s not that hard.’ really? define hard. EVERYone has different levels of hard. It sure as heck isn’t my place to judge theirs or they to judge mine

  9. When I was growing up I was on Ritalin for years. My parents frequently got angry with some behavior and would say,” Did you take your pills?” Didn’t like that. Now I take medication for my depression/bipolar/whatever and occasionally my husband will try to gently ask if I have taken my meds. I can appreciate that only because a) he doesn’t do it often b) I know he is tries to be tactful about it and c) he is genuinely concerned.
    But there have been times when he wasn’t so coy about it and fire came out my eyes because maybe I’m getting dumped on by all of my three teens at once at the same time as I’m trying to keep my toddler from bodily harm, or hey, here’s a concept– maybe I’m just human and feeling cranky.

    As far as phrases my personal unfavorite is “I just can’t handle it.” Bulls%^&. Because you can– you just don’t want to. Kind of goes along the same line as “that’s just they way they are.” It’s an excuse, you’re using it as a crutch to avoid something and really, what does that even mean? There are very few things in life we truly CAN’T do. In the context of something like “This movie is so cheesy I can’t handle it!” I’m fine with because you’re saying it in jest. But “I haven’t returned your calls for three months because I just can’t handle talking to people right now” isn’t going to fly with me.

    Casey Reply:

    @April, When I think about some of the things I’ve had to clean up or deal with as a parent, you’re damn right I don’t want to do it. But I have to. Because sick kids are terrible at self-cleaning.

  10. “Same difference.”
    WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!!!

    Casey Reply:

    @Amelia, You know, I HAVE NO IDEA.

  11. YES to every single comment above. Yes to them ALL! If you do not have a mental illness try some expletive emapthy…So much emptahy is now gone from our world. I am overly emphatic and can put myself in the shoes of anyone. I try to do this so that I do not judge harshly or unfairly and also to give myself perspecgive on situations I may have never experienced. If I catch myself doing anything unjust I will also apologize. Because that is the right thing to do. Thank you for posting this and for every single comment. I feel ya!! I hear ya!

    That to which…I know someone that says this. I have no idea why. It makes no sense and confuses me. “That to which becasue the part is in transit or something along those lines”. For serious is a sentence that was used. I mean, WHAT???

    Casey Reply:

    @REK981, So when people try to use their word of the day toilet paper and fail miserably?

  12. “It is what it is” chaps my hide! As do most of the expressions/words/etc already noted. ;)

    Casey Reply:

    @Audrey, There’s really no other way to be more infuriating than saying something is exactly what it is.

  13. “Lord willing’”. I told my cousins we would have that put on our grandma’s headstone. From the time I was small, every time we left grandma’s house she would give us a hug and say “See you at Christmas/Thanksgiving/Easter, etc LORD WILLIN’.” Thank goodness she doesn’t add “if the creek don’t rise” or the grammar police in me would really come out.

    Casey Reply:

    @Michelle, My grandpa always said “Tap ‘er light!” as a farewell. I never understood it.

  14. AMEN! Especially with the “that’s just the way I am” one. When people say that I just want to punch them in the face (which I don’t do because it’s not appropriate). I am hypoglycemic and when my sugar levels get low I get angry and irrational. Over the years I have worked really hard to 1 prevent it from dropping and 2 controlling my behavior when it is low. Because even though hypoglycemia is part of who I am it is no excuse to be a total jerk to those around me.

  15. “Kids will be kids!” in reference to some sort of lousy behavior the adult has abdicated their duty to address. Maybe it’s because, in seven years of teaching, I’ve only EVER heard people apply this phrase to kids who haven’t been taught how to behave differently. Here’s the thing: kids WILL be kids. Kids SHOULD be kids. They’re still learning and making mistakes, and that’s part of their journey – and ours as parents. Everybody who has ever had a child knows that sooner or later, there’s going to be a screaming baby or rampaging toddler out in public or a kid who slips up at school. It happens, and it’s just part of this parenting – and being human – gig. But for heaven’s sake, kids are capable of being super awesome, and using the idea that they “can’t” do better is giving them {and us} a pass that helps no one in the long haul. I want this phrase to apply to showcasing imagination and wearing a princess dress over jammies with snow boots and a fire hat on top and building a block tower SO-ooo HIGH! just to knock it over and kicking butt on that math test. THAT’S my version of kids being kids. Awesome: “He insisted on wearing his winter hat, scarf and boots to the grocery store… even though it’s July. Well, kids will be kids!” Makes me grind my teeth: “I keep getting calls from the teacher that my 10 year old hits his desk partner. I mean, really? Kids will be kids!”