The Trouble with Misusing Words

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This is one of those topics that’s been on my mind, but I’m not really sure how to fully explain it.  I don’t mean using the wrong words or typos here.  I’m thinking more about how people will take one word and use it the ‘wrong’ way.  Mostly to manipulate the emotions of others.  Let me give an example:

A person begins standing up for themselves against a controlling family member.  In response, the bossy family member takes on the role of the victim.  They begin calling the person ‘rude’, ‘disrespectful’, ‘mean’, and other phrases designed to the shame.  Pretty sure I’m talking about gaslighting here.  Yet, it’s the intentional misuse of words in an exaggerated state that gets the job done.

It isn’t always gaslighting too.  Sometimes a person will use certain words and phrases to gain attention and sympathy.  I know a few people on social media who do this.  Years ago, they were claiming to suffer from anxiety and depression when those were the big topics online.  They were really nervous about a situation or simply sad if even that.  Then, they started claiming to be introverts or ‘extroverted introverts’.  One began claiming to be bipolar with it being clear they couldn’t explain the mental illness.  As you can see, much of this comes from self-diagnosing, which is usually wrong.  Yet, people will do it and use online sources to ‘prove’ what they have to get attention.

This is all in the misuse of words.  You drop the right ones into what you’re saying and you can manipulate the emotions of others.  It’s what author’s do, but this is coming from a different source.  There’s no desire to entertain an audience for their own sake.  It’s to be in the spotlight and garner sympathy that one sees other groups get.  It’s to manipulate the mind of a person who might be trying to gain independence or become stronger.  One could even say it’s author skills from the dark side.

Really is an iffy topic here.  I can’t really connect it to writing because this was triggered by seeing it in action.  This is about life and a method of manipulation that I’ve seen far too often.  In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone has done it at some point.  Not always to a truly abusive level, but we get riled and start flinging strong words to defend ourselves.  We want to fight back and use the strongest words we know.  Not that different than the example, is it?  Maybe the difference is in what triggers us.  An abusive person doing this to keep a person down is a negative while a person doing it against abuse is more of a positive.  Guess that makes sense.

So, anybody have any thoughts on what I’m trying to say?  Am I making absolutely no sense?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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13 Responses to The Trouble with Misusing Words

  1. L. Marie says:

    You’re making sense. Sometimes people use words they think will get them the most attention, especially if something is trending. People who have been diagnosed with these issues almost get shoved into the background or ignored because of the mainstream use of terms by others who may or may not have these issues. What I’ve also seen is many people reacting out of fear in our current cancel culture. Some are quick to cancel you if you challenge even a fake position someone holds. There is so much fear that the wrong thing will be said. It’s exhausting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve noticed the trending thing. Have a few online friends who change their diagnosis depending on what’s popular. No point in arguing with them either. Fear is definitely a big factor. Though I think attention-seeking and a desire for serotonin fuels some cancel culture people.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There was a blogger a while back who claimed mental illness and the loss of a child. She had a big sympathy following until she was outed as a fake. The surprising thing about that experience was the number of similar sympathizers there were. Each tried to up the other and yet offer words of comfort. Your post made sense and we see a lot of bloggers trying for the sympathy angle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A certain kind of person will always try to twist words in order to get what they want.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cool topic. I’ve seen this, too. Might make a decent character arc for someone to begin there, then rise above it by realizing the other people they were damaging or minimizing.

    Liked by 3 people

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