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.”
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?’)