Author Topic: Derogatory terms about mental illness  (Read 10294 times)

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Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2013, 10:02:19 AM »
IMO and IME the word "psycho" is a very offensive slur.


I agree, and especially in the capacity it was used.


While the word Psycho isn't offensive as other words and applied to a person with no issues, is actually commonplace.  However applying this word to a person who is bipolar is offensive.  Your friend was angry and used a slur to further express her anger.  That is not okay or polite in my book.  I would have said, "While I understand it's frustrating, but she is the one dealing with an illness that is very heartbreaking.  Calling her psycho is offensive to me."  Then bean dip and offer a solution or something.  I would be blunt.   

TurtleDove

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2013, 10:12:23 AM »
While the word Psycho isn't offensive as other words and applied to a person with no issues, is actually commonplace.  However applying this word to a person who is bipolar is offensive.  Your friend was angry and used a slur to further express her anger.  That is not okay or polite in my book.  I would have said, "While I understand it's frustrating, but she is the one dealing with an illness that is very heartbreaking.  Calling her psycho is offensive to me."  Then bean dip and offer a solution or something.  I would be blunt.   

I see this a bit differently.  The friend wasn't calling the person "psycho" because she is bipolar.  She was referring to her as "psycho" because her behavior was way out of line.  I don't think that's the same thing at all.  The way I read it, it wasn't a slam against people who are bipolar.  It was a labeling of behavior that I think we all agree is abnormal.

Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2013, 10:22:53 AM »
While the word Psycho isn't offensive as other words and applied to a person with no issues, is actually commonplace.  However applying this word to a person who is bipolar is offensive.  Your friend was angry and used a slur to further express her anger.  That is not okay or polite in my book.  I would have said, "While I understand it's frustrating, but she is the one dealing with an illness that is very heartbreaking.  Calling her psycho is offensive to me."  Then bean dip and offer a solution or something.  I would be blunt.   

I see this a bit differently.  The friend wasn't calling the person "psycho" because she is bipolar.  She was referring to her as "psycho" because her behavior was way out of line.  I don't think that's the same thing at all.  The way I read it, it wasn't a slam against people who are bipolar.  It was a labeling of behavior that I think we all agree is abnormal.


If she never disclosed that the neighbor is bipolar, then I would be inclined to see it that way.  But the neighbor did disclose her diagnosis AND used that term.  I think it's a slam against bipolar people and their issues.


Quote
n describing the situation, the venter not only described the offending behavior and shared the neighbor's mental health diagnosis, she also called the neighbor a derogatory term used to refer to one with a mental illness. 



Sharnita

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2013, 10:27:41 AM »
It sounds like the neighbor is being forced to deal withit as well - against her will.

Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #34 on: March 19, 2013, 10:31:28 AM »
It sounds like the neighbor is being forced to deal withit as well - against her will.


Yep but it doesn't give her a right to call her a name.

TurtleDove

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #35 on: March 19, 2013, 10:40:30 AM »
If she never disclosed that the neighbor is bipolar, then I would be inclined to see it that way.  But the neighbor did disclose her diagnosis AND used that term.  I think it's a slam against bipolar people and their issues.


I know bipolar people who in no way act "psycho" (either because they are properly medicated or addressing it in other ways).  I still see this as the friend addressing the behavior, not the diagnosis.  There really is no defending the behavior, although the bipolar diagnosis might help explain why it is happening.

Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2013, 10:44:35 AM »
If she never disclosed that the neighbor is bipolar, then I would be inclined to see it that way.  But the neighbor did disclose her diagnosis AND used that term.  I think it's a slam against bipolar people and their issues.


I know bipolar people who in no way act "psycho" (either because they are properly medicated or addressing it in other ways).  I still see this as the friend addressing the behavior, not the diagnosis.  There really is no defending the behavior, although the bipolar diagnosis might help explain why it is happening.


I liken it to a child.  A child acts out.  A person looks at the child and says, "spoiled!" to a friend. In reality the child is Autistic and having a small meltdown which the mother handles quickly and efficiently.  If the person didn't know the child was autistic, then I can see that term being used.  But if the person does know the child is Autistic, it's a slur.   The word spoiled itself is a common word as well.


But it's alright, we will simply just see this differently. 

citadelle

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #37 on: March 19, 2013, 10:47:57 AM »
If she never disclosed that the neighbor is bipolar, then I would be inclined to see it that way.  But the neighbor did disclose her diagnosis AND used that term.  I think it's a slam against bipolar people and their issues.


I know bipolar people who in no way act "psycho" (either because they are properly medicated or addressing it in other ways).  I still see this as the friend addressing the behavior, not the diagnosis.  There really is no defending the behavior, although the bipolar diagnosis might help explain why it is happening.


I liken it to a child.  A child acts out.  A person looks at the child and says, "spoiled!" to a friend. In reality the child is Autistic and having a small meltdown which the mother handles quickly and efficiently.  If the person didn't know the child was autistic, then I can see that term being used.  But if the person does know the child is Autistic, it's a slur.   The word spoiled itself is a common word as well.


But it's alright, we will simply just see this differently.

I have to disagree with this, because to me it is like saying that an autistic child could never be a spoiled child. The word "spoiled" is not a nice label, but it isn't a slur, regardless of any diagnosis the child might have.

Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #38 on: March 19, 2013, 10:52:41 AM »
If she never disclosed that the neighbor is bipolar, then I would be inclined to see it that way.  But the neighbor did disclose her diagnosis AND used that term.  I think it's a slam against bipolar people and their issues.


I know bipolar people who in no way act "psycho" (either because they are properly medicated or addressing it in other ways).  I still see this as the friend addressing the behavior, not the diagnosis.  There really is no defending the behavior, although the bipolar diagnosis might help explain why it is happening.


I liken it to a child.  A child acts out.  A person looks at the child and says, "spoiled!" to a friend. In reality the child is Autistic and having a small meltdown which the mother handles quickly and efficiently.  If the person didn't know the child was autistic, then I can see that term being used.  But if the person does know the child is Autistic, it's a slur.   The word spoiled itself is a common word as well.


But it's alright, we will simply just see this differently.

I have to disagree with this, because to me it is like saying that an autistic child could never be a spoiled child. The word "spoiled" is not a nice label, but it isn't a slur, regardless of any diagnosis the child might have.


I am of course not talking about all children, I meant in this microscopic window where the mother does handle it and quickly and efficiently.   I used this example because it's one I know personally from witnessing it.  I will tell the person that the child isn't spoiled and they will reply that they knew the circumstance.  Thus implying that this is just a spoiled tantrum and not related to their issue.  This to me is then a slur.  I don't dispute that the behaviors displayed has to be condoned or tolerated.  But a little tolerance goes a long way and terms that are hurtful shouldn't be used.  They can simply comment on the behaviour and not give it a term.  Again I recognize that I am in the minority in this and can agree to disagree.

Tai

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #39 on: March 19, 2013, 11:11:57 AM »
I really, really dislike that the world seems to be PC'd into ridiculousness. 

Idiot, moron, psycho, crazy- these are all words that are used colloquially to mean types of behavior.  If I recall correctly, only one of those terms is related to a current diagnosis.  I see nothing wrong with using the terms.  HOWEVER, if it is something like "Jenny has bipolar, which means she's psycho!" then no, that's not ok.  If it is "Jackie drove to her ex boyfriend's house, climbed in a window, and poured bleach on his brand new sofa, what a psycho!" well, yeah. 


Zilla

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #40 on: March 19, 2013, 11:20:52 AM »
I really, really dislike that the world seems to be PC'd into ridiculousness. 

Idiot, moron, psycho, crazy- these are all words that are used colloquially to mean types of behavior.  If I recall correctly, only one of those terms is related to a current diagnosis.  I see nothing wrong with using the terms.  HOWEVER, if it is something like "Jenny has bipolar, which means she's psycho!" then no, that's not ok.  If it is "Jackie drove to her ex boyfriend's house, climbed in a window, and poured bleach on his brand new sofa, what a psycho!" well, yeah.


Exactly!  This is what I am seeing when I read OP's story.  Other than that, I too hate that it's getting so PC out there as well.  But the scenario the OP paints hits close to home for me.

nyarlathotep

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #41 on: March 19, 2013, 11:25:33 AM »
I really, really dislike that the world seems to be PC'd into ridiculousness. 

Idiot, moron, psycho, crazy- these are all words that are used colloquially to mean types of behavior.  If I recall correctly, only one of those terms is related to a current diagnosis.  I see nothing wrong with using the terms.  HOWEVER, if it is something like "Jenny has bipolar, which means she's psycho!" then no, that's not ok.  If it is "Jackie drove to her ex boyfriend's house, climbed in a window, and poured bleach on his brand new sofa, what a psycho!" well, yeah.


Exactly!  This is what I am seeing when I read OP's story.  Other than that, I too hate that it's getting so PC out there as well.  But the scenario the OP paints hits close to home for me.

I think "political correctness" is the wrong term to use here, not least because nobody seems to be able to agree on what it means. What we are talking about is considering the feelings of others who may be hurt by your language.

The issue is that using the word 'psycho' as a pejorative is insulting to mentally ill people, who often cannot help their behaviour. Calling someone who isn't mentally ill a 'psycho' implies that mentally ill people are inherently bad, or all act in a certain way, while insulting a mentally ill person for behaviour they cannot control is equally unfair.

Speaking as someone who suffers from a mental illness, I wince internally every time I hear slurs like that, because it makes me wonder whether they would see me as a human being if they knew what I had to struggle with.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 11:32:47 AM by nyarlathotep »

citadelle

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #42 on: March 19, 2013, 11:26:26 AM »
I really, really dislike that the world seems to be PC'd into ridiculousness. 

Idiot, moron, psycho, crazy- these are all words that are used colloquially to mean types of behavior.  If I recall correctly, only one of those terms is related to a current diagnosis.  I see nothing wrong with using the terms.  HOWEVER, if it is something like "Jenny has bipolar, which means she's psycho!" then no, that's not ok.  If it is "Jackie drove to her ex boyfriend's house, climbed in a window, and poured bleach on his brand new sofa, what a psycho!" well, yeah.

This is a lot of nuance to balance in a casual conversation, though. It is very open to interpretation which makes it hard for me to be too critical.

TurtleDove

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #43 on: March 19, 2013, 11:33:14 AM »
I think "political correctness" is the wrong term to use here, not least because nobody seems to be able to agree on what it means.

The issue is that people who are mentally ill, or have mentally ill relatives, may hear you use the word psycho as a pejorative and think, "So that's what you think of me/my loved ones, then."

If someone is a terrible person, call them a terrible person. Don't compare them to somebody who cannot help their behaviour.

I am not really following some of the posters here.  It seemed clear to me that the friend was using "psycho" to refer to the behavior of someone who happened to be bipolar.  Otherwise she would not be complaining about the behavior but rather just saying, "Neighbor is bipolar.  What a pyscho."  I understood she instead said, "Neighbor did x, y and z - she's psycho! I heard she's bipolar which might explain it, but still!  I wish she would change her behavior!"  It doesn't come across to me at all as slamming bipolar people. It comes across as correctly (although perhaps insensitively) labeling some pretty outrageous behavior.

Sharnita

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #44 on: March 19, 2013, 11:34:23 AM »
I think if somebody called an autiztic child an annoyance just because they were autistic that would be unkind. I think that if their parent kept sending them over to the neighbor's house and their behavior created repeated, serious issues it would make sense to refer to them that way