You’re Mean – I’m Lazy, Stupid and Crazy

Opinion.jpgYou’re stuck in a mental bind. Today, a mighty simple idea is here to release you. This entry is for anyone who has or who deals with neurological or mental challenges. That is, everyone. It is definitely for folks with ADD or similar problems. It’s also for people who have the symptoms of ADD even though it doesn’t exist.

What does it mean if you say someone is mean, lazy, stupid, or crazy? It might mean that you did something that made me mad, so I called you a name. Or maybe I’m PC enough to call your behavior a name, as in, “Jeez, Carl, that was awful stupid. Clean that up.”

Since people use these words to define people, we need to clean something up right now.

If you are MLS or C, does that mean you do something MLS or C more often than the average person? And how much more often do you have to do it, in order for IT to be WHO you are? Is ten percent too much? Is ninety percent too little? Speaking of words used to define people, if you’re an asshole, are you also a knee?

What is it that makes people argue that they aren’t MLS or C? And why do people, when they feel like an MLS or C person, hate themselves so much? (As in, “GAWD, I’m so STUPID!” Etc., etc.)

Consider this. “GAWD, I’m so EARTH BOUND! I can’t fly worth a damn, no matter how hard I flap my arms! I’m worthless!”

Okay, I’ll get to the point.

MLS and C are very morally-charged words that got their charge from a great deal of history, and our fears of losing membership in the tribe or of being made into an example and losing status. There’s evolutionary psychology in this, given that our ancestors lived in very threatening circumstances with primitive moralistic “tools” for social control. No wonder these words are so charged. There’s a lot at stake, and there’s a lot of genetic and social history.

Since you can’t wipe out all the harsh moralism of the world, let’s take care of this problem in you right now, so you can get on with things.

First, you have done things that could be called MLS and C. Since calling you MLS or C is the misuse of a primitive tool, let’s go at it differently from now on. But let’s not change where you draw the line on what is MLS or C. Just leave your value judgement right where it is. That means you will sometimes do mean, lazy, stupid or crazy things. Some of my dear readers will do more than average, maybe a lot more than average.

Let’s go for the worst case scenario. Let’s say you’re someone who does MLS AND C a good bit more often than the average person. If you have fibromyalgia, are sleep deprived, and are not on the right medication for a mental illness, we could say that you are mean, lazy, stupid, and crazy a good bit more often than you’d like.

It isn’t the words that are so bad. It’s the purpose and spirit. Black was an insult, now it’s a race. Queer was unnatural, now it’s an orientation. Atheist was evil, now it’s the majority of the developed world.

So let’s retool MLS and C. Whatever deficiencies or disabilities you may have, imagine what it would be like to take the charge out of MLS and C. What would it be like to feel how these are just words. You’re still aware of the primitive way they are used by many people, but in your emotional makeup, they’re just words.

So mean becomes, “I’m having trouble being constructive in this situation.” Lazy becomes, “When I try to do that, I get really fatigued and apathetic, and I play tricks on myself to avoid it.” Stupid becomes, “That isn’t something I’m competent at. I wouldn’t apply for that job. By the way, I’m going to need help with this thing over here.” And crazy becomes, “I really have poor judgement when it comes to that.” Or, “My mental illness is really getting in the way of making friends right now, I’m going to have to get to my psychiatrist, pronto.” Or, “My dang sacroiliac AND my bipolar’s acting up. Must be a storm coming.” Or, “Can you believe I dated that person. Now that was crazy.”

Imagine all the energy and creativity this would free up if everyone focused on what to do about MLC and S instead of creating all this emotional, moralistic froth, avoidance, shame, denial, hatred, and bigotry that disrupts our problem solving. Imagine that you don’t need someone to convince you that you aren’t MLS or C, because you’re too busy with constructive solutions, plans, and accommodations to have time for the shame. Imagine being able to educate other people about what needs to happen, instead of having to work so hard at pushing those words away.

Further Reading

Kate and Peggy Ramunndo. You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid Or Crazy? Kelly, Scribner Pub. (1993) ISBN 0684815311. — This book attempts to deal with the problem in it’s own way, and the authors have created workbooks. It’s intended for people with ADD/ADHD.

As for Thomas Szaz, he was a pioneer, but I think at this point his work is so old school and polarizing, that it’s more useful for historical understanding than current thought leadership.

Robert A. Yourell, MA

Robert A. Yourell, MA, has extensive experience in the mental health and social services dating back to 1975. His training includes Ericksonian communication and hypnosis with John Grinder, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing with Francine Shapiro, PhD, Body Integrative Psychotherapy with Jack Rosenberg, PhD, and solution-focused psychotherapy. He provides free audio experiences on his site that include bilateral sound and Shimmering.
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