What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received?
Oh my, the list of insults guised as compliments is pretty long.
First, there are the homosexualizers – people who use slurs and derogatory or dated language, but insist they love me. One of the frequent offenders is “sexual preference” which I’ve written about in the past. The other is the word homosexual – only Christians and people who are incredibly uncomfortable with LGBTQ people use it. It is 2014 – use respectful language. “Well, honey, you know I love you and Ledcat, but do you have to talk about being gay so much?”
Then there are the crazymakers – people who incorporate all sorts of delightful mental slurs into their communication and then tell me that I’m too easily offended. You know, because I’m cray cray, right? But you love me anyway. Someone recently accused me of emotionally abandoning them to run a Facebook group, a group I never left. I have no idea, I mean what?
The weight and body shamers. A sly group who like to talk non-stop about fitness and nutrition and how much better they feel even when everyone else is rolling their eyes and looking for a desert menu. I used to be like this – but I was in a very mentally ill phase – and I know people hated me. You can also lump the people in who talk about the benefits of losing weight when living with an illness, the people who say how pretty you could be and those who expound upon their decision to forego a second helping, desert or a coffee beverage. It seems that it isn’t enough to be fit and healthy, you have to recruit, too. Sigh.
The guilters – I do this myself and have quite a few people who do this to me. They ask a question impugning themselves to point out some deficit “When you didn’t call, I thought you might be mad at me.” “You never told me if you liked the gift I sent to you. I just assumed you didn’t like it.” It sort of means my opinion is really important to them, but in actuality it means that I failed to meet their expectations and they read all sorts of crap into that. This goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety – so I can really relate. I am on a kick where every time Ledcat sighs, I ask her if she’s mad at me. I’m driving her to distraction with that one. And, man, do I hate when I get it directed to me. It is such a manipulative way to interact with people – who is going to respond “Yes, I hate you – go fuck yourself and leave me alone!” I just need to remember that vantage when I’m engaging in some heavy-duty emotional guilting. — I guarantee at least 4 people are going to think I am writing about THEM, not making a general observation. And it will eat at them until they bring it up in a backhanded way and then we start this pattern all over again. BTW, I hate this. A lot. And I hate when people apologize for doing it. I have enough guilt in my life. Friends shouldn’t bring more. If you assume this is you, don’t. Just don’t.
But the winner for most recent backhanded compliment goes to D, a producer at a local radio station who contacted me to do a profile on “the good work” I’ve been doing on The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project. That project closed in February 2013. Then she wanted to do something on a project I’m working on now (Cathy’s Closet) but ended up telling me was interviewing another lesbian and couldn’t do two in a row. Or something. And as we continued to spiral downward into this spiral of miscommunication and embarrassment, she refused to acknowledge that I wanted to just let it go – she had to get the final word in to explain why my interpretation of her saying I did good work on a project she had no knowledge of was wrong. I was wrong and being sort of jerkish for not getting an award because she didn’t do her homework and there are too many lesbians or something. I found out UPMC was the sponsor and suddenly realized it probably is part of their backhanded “ha ha you Highmark consumer, fuck you” mentality.
When I tried to straighten it out, I was told to be grateful I was nominated for something that isn’t really an award. Or something. I don’t know. But they did tell me that communicating via email is weird. So I deserved an award for something I did 2 years ago without other lesbians (except there were other lesbians) but now doing something with other lesbians means I am weirdly ungrateful for being nominated.
Wow. Bring back the body shamers! At least they make sense.