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4 Stigmatizing Phrases and Why You Should Stop Using Them


It seems like today we’re much more empathetic than ever before. We’ve banned so many words and phrases from our regular vocabulary that demean or demoralize groups of people. But we still have a long way to go. Here are six stigmatizing phrases to stop using.

There are still stigmatizing phrases that many of us use without even thinking. These phrases diminish or make light of someone else’s struggle.

You may be guilty of saying one or all of these phrases, and that’s okay. But it’s time to stop.

6 Stigmatizing Phrases to Stop Using

stigmatizing phrases

№1 I’m so addicted to…

Addiction is a disease. It’s a serious problem that ruins people’s lives and can even lead to death. If it has ever touched your life, you know that drug and alcohol addiction isn’t light or funny.

So when you say something like, “I’m so addicted to this lipstick” or to your favorite television show, you may be doing more harm than you realize. If you don’t have a real addiction, don’t say you do.

Coffee and sugar are two exceptions. These are two things you may actually become addicted to on some level.

Instead of bringing up addiction, maybe just say how you feel about a certain thing. For example, “this is the best lipstick I’ve ever had.” Or “I’m really loving this color right now.”

№2 My ADD is acting up again

If you’re having trouble focusing, it’s not necessarily ADD. Saying you have ADD when you don’t diminishes the plight of people who are really struggling with this disorder.

And you may not realize you’re doing it, but it kind of comes across as though you’re making fun of ADD. Again, this mental health issue is far from funny.

Instead of saying you have a mental health disorder that you clearly don’t have, try saying something like, “I feel so frazzled today” or “I’m having a lot of trouble concentrating.” As a bonus, these phrases are true instead of being a gross exaggeration.

№3 This weather is bipolar today

Although you don’t mean any harm when you say this, there’s one major problem with this statement. It simplifies a complex mental health issue. When you say the weather is bipolar, you’re implying that it’s having mood swings. The weather isn’t capable of being moody, and bipolar disorder is about more than just being a little moody. Phrases like these can be insulting to people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

How about a simple, “Wild weather we’re having today, aren’t we?”

№4 I literally want to kill myself right now

Okay, first of all, calm down. Whatever it is you’re worrying about is going to be okay. But second, and most importantly, suicide is far from a joking matter. If you’ve ever been suicidal or know someone who has taken their own life, you would know how much pain these words can cause. Even if no one takes you seriously, just the mention of suicide could be enough to upset someone who has suffered a loss. It’s simply unnecessary.

Think of other phrases you can say instead. How about being more literal and saying something like, “I’m so upset right now.”


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