Thursday, December 26, 2019

FOAD Thursday: 21 "Harmless" Comments

Found in this post on The Mighty.

1. “There are so many people worse off than you.”

I heard this one a lot. One of the times I really remember was after our neighbor had died at 35 from leukemia, leaving behind an 8-year-old son. I know now that my bipolar disorder onset when I hit puberty. Back then, I was just seen as weird and hypersensitive. I was distressed because a fellow I liked didn't even know I existed. As the coroner took our neighbor's body away, my mother said to me: "there, you see, you don't have anything to be moping around about. Just think how much worse "Sandy" has it. She just lost her husband!

2. “You’re just like your mother/father.”

I think my mother may have said this to me at times, but it wasn't a real sticking point.

3. “You’re too young to be going through that.”

I heard this a lot. "You're too young to be tired all the time." "You're too young to be this sad." Turns out my thyroid was killing itself and I had a major mental illness coming on. So, I guess I wasn't.

4. “You’re pretty for a ‘big’ girl.”

When I was younger, I would get the "you have a pretty face. If you could just lose weight..." comments. Now that I'm older, people don't even bother with the "pretty face" thing. Maybe they can see by my chronic bitch face that I'd rip them a new one.

5. “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?”

My brother was always the favored child. Since he was a boy, he didn't have to do chores. He always showed more promise.

6. “I’m sorry your feelings got hurt.”

The day my father died, my mother was trying to think of a song that he liked. When I said which one she might have been thinking up she told me to stop talking. I sat there with my hand on my father's arm looking at her like "what the actual fuck?" She said, "I'm sorry you got your feelings hurt." I just muttered, "Yeah, whatever." My father was dead, and I was her verbal punching bag at that point. My phone wasn't working properly and she had left two voice mails before I realized she had called. In the second one, she informed me that my father had passed, that I needed to get to the hospice center, and followed this up with: "you're never there for me." 

7. “You need an attitude adjustment.”

Usually, this took the form of "stop looking for attention."

8. “You need to try harder.”

"Stop being so lazy."

"If you'd just try harder..."

9. “Don’t be selfish.”

Ah, yes, I'm well acquainted with this old chestnut.

10. “Are you sure you want to be [occupation]? That’s a lot of hard work.”

This one too.

11. “Everyone gets sad sometimes.”

I felt like saying, "well, 'everyone' doesn't want to kill themselves." But I didn't say it, because I didn't want to end up in the psych ward again. That place was hell, and I made a resolution that I would literally die before going back there. I've kept that resolution for the past 38 years. I have had some really bad crashes, but I will die before I ever set foot in a psych ward again.

12. “OK.”

Usually followed by "so, what do you want me to do about it?"

13. “Well, life isn’t fair.”

I'm very familiar with this gem.

14. “It’s all in your head.”

Whenever an anxiety attack would come knocking.

15. “I’m disappointed in you.”

My family was perpetually disappointed in me.

16. “You were an accident.”

I never heard this, but my mother did tell me that she never wanted children.

17. “You won’t be able to get a job if you don’t get good grades.”

I generally got Bs with a few As and the occasional C thrown in, so I didn't tend to hear this. I did hear that I wouldn't be able to get a job if employers knew that I'd ever seen a psychiatrist, so I needed to keep that shit a closely guarded secret.

18. “I don’t want to be seen with you looking like that.”

My clothing choices tended to be a source of contention.

19. “You have no idea what it’s really like to struggle.”

I know this one well.

20. “We were doing fine financially before you kids came along.”

They never said this directly, but I always felt like I was a burden.

21. “You’re so shy.”

This took the form of "you're too shy," followed by the spectacular advice that I should just be more outgoing. These days I can make small talk with clerks and such, but I never approach anyone I don't know unless I have to.


  1. My mother was always disappointed in me. I was a horrible daughter because I wouldn't bare my soul to her (who would if all you got was criticism.) I didn't like anything she liked. I was always reading instead of doing something worthwhile. No man would ever love me because I didn't wear makeup and the clothes I wore were embarrassing. Etc, etc, etc.

    1. Any time I've tried to bare my soul to my mother I ended up feeling worse. The last time I was stupid enough to do it was shortly after I had to have Trinity put to sleep. I mentioned that she was only 10 years old, and my mother gave me an impatient "well, these things happen." At that moment, I said: "that's it, never again." I should have learned my lesson when she acted the same way after I had to have Lafayette put to sleep. He was only six. I've never gotten over either of them.

  2. When I was 16, my mother's mother told me my mother never wanted to have children. My parents were married 4 years before I was born.

    1. Mine were married five years before I was born. My father always wanted kids. My mother felt pressured into having kids, although she wanted my brother more than she wanted me. I think he was kind of the "redemption child" because I was evidently too broken to ever be right. I was a "horrible baby" because I didn't sleep well. My mother's own words.


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