On Platitudes

Platitude (noun): a flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh or profound.
I am sick to shitting death of platitudes, you know that?

Well, if you read this post you might have (sorry about the shameless self-promotion), but it's something that I want to expand on.

Excuse me for sounding very self-pitying and possibly a bit unstable, but I spend quite a lot of time curled up in a ball of worsening psychogenic pain or wanting to die so much it hurts. I am also less and less able to control this (possibly due to the increasing severity of my condition, yes, it is a condition and no, it's not called being a whiny teenager), so people have seen me whimpering or doubled up in pain. I find it quite humiliating that they see me so ground down, and they in turn are dismissive or bewildered. Being dismissed hurts, but I've come to expect it; when people are bewildered, I don't much like talking about how I feel because I've long been ashamed of myself for being this way, because my experiences are very far removed from what most people are familiar with, or acknowledge being familiar with, and because I'm worried that if people do find out they'll dismiss me or walk away. Still, if they do ask I'll explain a couple of aspects of what's wrong.

I don't expect people to offer me help or solve my problems for me. Fuck, I don't even expect support from them because I've been let down too many times. But for fuck's sake, don't toss platitudes my way and expect it to help!

I know that platitudes help some people. If they work for you, fine. But I for one am tired of people spouting tired old sayings at me, sayings that I've heard far more times than I care to remember and that I can pick apart with ease. It doesn't help me, not in the slightest.

Actually, if I were to be a little crueller and more critical, I'd say that being fed platitudes like that is downright fucking patronising. It implies that all you need to lift your spirits is a cliché or two that doesn't even manage to be a pack of lies, yet still manages to cram more bullshit into a couple of sentences than a politician could manage over an entire career. It implies that all you need to wash away problems that have been there for years and years are a couple of sentences spouted for so many years that they've now grown meaningless.

That is insulting to anyone who suffers, or has ever suffered. And if that wasn't bad enough, some platitudes are actively damaging and dangerous, as I think I've mentioned at least once (which frankly is too many times, seeing as this is me we're talking about here); I've seen them encourage victim-blaming and self-blame.

I can't believe people use these things as help, though I accept it for personal use. But please, please, unless you know a person likes platitudes and needs them for help, please keep them to yourself. Even better, stop using them. Crumple them up and throw them into the nearest bin. Burn them to bits, if you want them to look pretty.

Okay, maybe you like your shitty sayings too much to do that (no, I'm not in a mood to be diplomatic today). But can you at least keep them away from other people?! They're patronising and insulting, at best useless and at worst dangerous. They are meaningless. They are clichéd. They are nothing.

They don't help, so save yourself the effort and do something that might actually make people feel a little better. Like be there for someone, or believe them when they come to you and tell you what's wrong, or not try and tell them how to feel, or act like you give a shit. Maybe it requires a little more work than spouting a platitude, but it actually has an effect.