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Jul 12, 2011 | Disability, For Therapists, Mental Illness

Being at the right end of the power structure, therapists make up terms that cast the sufferer in a pejorative light.

Social Anxiety Disorder:  Most people are anxious in social situations for a very good reason.  They get rejected and even picked on.  By calling it social anxiety disorder you are painting the condition as a deficit of the sufferer while failing to acknowledge the hostile social environment’s role.  A better term for it would be snub sensitivity.

Co-dependence: Wow, having just one good friend is considered a disorder?  Shouldn’t having no friends be considered a disorder?  I would think having zero friends would be considered a worse disorder than having just one.  I’m not trying to paint co-dependence as healthy but I think it’s very often the lesser of two evils.

Social Skills: Again this term does a poor job of describing what goes on in the real world.  Take the term woodworking skills.  It describes someone’s ability to form good things out of wood.  The point here is the wood isn’t resistant, it is pliable and always stays the same.  In social interactions there are all kinds of feedback loops going on.  If there is something wrong with you the loop generally starts out negative and continues along on that path (as an individual with a physical disability and mental illness I experience this daily).  A better word for “social skills” would be social traction because that is a more accurate and holistic way of describing what goes on.

Being an Enabler: We don’t like people who love unconditionally so we have to come up with fancy denigrating names for them.  We do this because we know, despite what any significant other says, we are not loved unconditionally.  So when we see someone who is we want do demonize the one doing the loving.  I’m not saying there isn’t a place for “tough love” but from what I’ve seen people use the excuse of not being an enabler to withhold support from people who need it.

Social Independence: What social independence really means is you have enough social worth for others whose social interaction you depend on to come in to your life on their own free will.



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