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tankh21's picture

Is being called stupid abuse? Just curious.


lieutenant_dad's picture

Being told something you (general) did is not typically abuse. Being called stupid is abuse. The first is meant to highlight how *an action* was a poor choice ("That was a very stupid decision to ride your bike in the middle of the street because you could have been hurt"). The second is meant to belittle a person and make them encompass the name they were called ("You are so stupid because you rode your bike in the middle of the street").

If you think you did something stupid, you'll feel bad and likely not do that stupid thing again. If you think you ARE stupid, then you doubt ALL of your actions and begin assuming EVERYTHING you do and say is stupid.

Though, the word "stupid" is probably not good to use in either context.

beebeel's picture

Using the word stupid in either fashion is belittling, IMO. As a child, my actions were often described as "stupid" and this distinction that you and my parents think is there doesn't really exist. I was being belittled. You can discuss a poor choice by calling it a poor choice. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think "stupid" is stupid in either context. But that doesn't mean there isn't a difference between calling an action a bad one and calling a person a bad person. 

beebeel's picture

I understand the point you are trying to make, but any time an insult is used, you are parenting/communicating from the bully pulpit. There is very little differnce between "that was such a stupid thing you did!! And "man, you're stupid." Both are insulting and meant to hurt. There are far better ways to communicate that you believe they made the wrong choice.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I don't disagree with you, but I also think context matters. If someone calls me stupid, my first thought isn't going to be "god, I've been abused." I'm going to likely think that person is a jerk and reflect on ALL my interactions with them to see if this is a pattern, or an isolated incident, or if I did something that should be addressed but was addressed extremely poorly.

I'm not saying the action is okay, but how I proceed and how I view myself is going to be very different based on all that input. If I was about to walk into a busy intersection because I'm too busy looking at my phone than the road, and my friend pulls me back from the curb, I'm not going to hate them or feel victimized when they call me stupid. It WAS stupid, I will be embarrassed, I'll thank my friend, they will likely apologize, and we'll move on with life.

If my friend is venting to me about something and I offer advice, then they tell me I'm stupid to offer it and they have NEVER said that to me before, I'm going to be pissed and probably have words with them about how that's not acceptable. I'm technically a victim, and I'll watch for patterns in the future, but I'm likely going to shrug it off as a bad day.

If, however, my friend has a habit of calling me stupid just because they can, then I would call that abuse and myself a victim.

Human beings say and do stupid things (pun somewhat intended) without thinking. It doesn't mean it was malicious. It doesn't mean you have to tolerate it, either. But if we go around dumping every relationship because someone says something once, then we'll all be alone.

In Tank's case, it's probably abuse based on all the other context she has provided about her DH. But, she has to work that out in her own brain that it isn't okay. No amount of us telling her "yes it is" without reasoning why is going to help.

beebeel's picture

I get it. We could go back and forth trading examples all day. ;)  I maintain in whatever situation you can think of, there is no need to be insulting to people we profess to love.

And yes, there is a difference between a one-off incident and a repeated pattern. That's when abusive behavior turns into full blown abuse.

But it never starts that way, right? Victims slowly accept more and more abusive behavior and "one-off" incidents of abuse until they wake up one day and say, "Holy shit! How did we get here?!" 

And sadly, yes: many victims have been abused for so long and by so many that they can't recognize it as abuse because it has been normalized. So, a group of supportive people saying, "Yes! This is abuse! It is unacceptable!" Is highly beneficial to survivors and could be the catalyst she needs to leave. It's certainly more helpful than , "Well, I can think of 12 situations where it's OK to refer to someone as stupid."

lieutenant_dad's picture

There is no need to do it. I'm saying it happens because humans suck as a species when it comes to interpersonal relations.

The problem with saying "yes, it's abuse" is that, if it isn't *actually* abuse, we're watering down the word and what it actually means. People become numb to it.

Is it a poor choice to call someone stupid, or any name? Yes. No argument on that. Does it constitute abuse? Maybe. Will it always lead to abuse? No. It's not as simple as "well the words came out so it must be abuse".

bananaseedo's picture

This is true...context matters...some people joke around more then others.

Also to this :"I'm going to likely think that person is a jerk and reflect on ALL my interactions with them to see if this is a pattern, or an isolated incident"

Abuse is a pattern....calling someone stupid once or depending on context does not make that person an abuser....a pattern does.  There are plenty of websites that can help understand.  Patricia Evans is a good author that also has a website/support forum. If you have doubts you can always take peek at her stuff. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I'm very confused by this post, but that's okay. I think we're at least in the same chapter in the same book. I'm very well aware of the patterns of abuse and how hard it is to escape when the prison you're stuck in has been built by someone else inside your own brain.

Letti.R's picture

Oh boy, apologies, but  I am going to go against the general consensus here.

Calling someone stupid is not abusive in my book -  if in fact the person is stupid.
Unfortunately there are stupid people and whether it is rude, insulting or demeaning to point out that the person is stupid does not detract from the person being as dumb as a box of rocks.
I am tired of PC nice-ness where you can not point out what is plainly obvious: you do get stupid people.
However, there is a massive difference between ignorance and stupidity and hopefully the person using the word "stupid" knows the difference.

Yes, it is exceptionally  rude to call someone stupid.
Not if it is a statement of fact.

"Ignorance can be educated.
Crazy can be medicated.
But there is no cure for stupidity."

Crspyew's picture

Is a matter of genetics & capability.  Some people have a better toolbox than others. We all have days when our mental acuity and ability is  Better than others.  We all do less than smart things.  It is as demeaning & insulting to call some one stupid as it is to use the term "retard".  I find it very tiring to have civility and kindness demeaned because people are tired of "pc".

Letti.R's picture

I don't disagree with what you write, Crspyew,  and can support most of what you say wholeheartedly.
I do want to point out that my own context for what I wrote is not what you assume it to be, and hinges more on contextual differences between ignorance and stupidity to me.

I say again, it is incredibly rude to call someone stupid and there should be better ways to engage with people that are, as  you rightly point out, civil and decent - or preferably kind.
There is very little call in my book to be rude to anyone.
Even in my dealing with people who are of low IQ or ignorant (and we all are in various subjects) this can be done by pointing out facts, helping, guiding or even listening to an alternate view.
Almost everything I deal with may have an element of ignorance, rather than stupidity.

However, stupidity exists and I do not find it demeaning to call it out for what it is.
It is not only ignorance or low situational awareness, it is often coupled with one or more of  an attitude of disregard, disrepect, lack of facts, poor understanding, arrogance, lack of learning from same prior instances, etc...
This is not low IQ, having an off day on mental acuity, or having a worse toolbox: this is a deliberate stance of defiance, opposing conventional wisdom, common sense or blatant facts. 
This is not only stupid to me, it is usually a display of being f%%ing stupid on the rare instances  I do see it.

Contextually, stupidity is rare in my experience, but when I see it, it is what it is...

tankh21's picture

Sorry for the vague post you guys. When you directly call someone stupid I think that it is downright cruel and it is abuse. I just wanted to get some other opinions on the topic.

hereiam's picture

Ok, so this was your dad calling you stupid, referring to your marriage (you think).

Unless this is a common occurance, him calling you names, I would say he is just frustrated to see his daughter voluntarily stay in an unhappy situation. He may see it as trying to shock some sense into you.

beebeel's picture

It is still abuse, even if the abuser is acting out of "love," "frustration," or any other emotion. It doesn't matter. Do you know how many fools get locked up because they beat their girlfriends/wives due to the "love" they have for them?? Every single one of them also blame the victims because she made him so mad/frustrated. 

A nonabusive, nonasshole can be frustrated with his daughter and never once call her stupid and weak. Because a nonabusive nonasshole understands that tearing down an abused person only makes them think they deserve the abuse.