Translation into English

Those in the self-helping industry love to use language to conceal what they’re really saying. I call this brand of self-help professional the “politician of spirit.” Consider some examples, along with the translations into plain English. 

e.g. “I suffer from alcoholism”

Translation: I drink too much and refuse to do anything about it. 

e.g. “I suffer from the illness of depression”

Translation: I constantly think only about the negative and disregard the positive. 

e.g. “I suffer from anger management difficulty.”

Translation: I cause suffering to others by expressing my anger whenever I feel it, without regard to first examining the anger or making it proportionate to the situation. 

e.g. “Joey is nonverbal and uncommunicative.” 

Translation: Joey is rude and chronically resentful.

e.g. “I have a chemical imbalance.” 

Translation: I don’t manage my moods well and I act impulsively before thinking. 

Self-help labels designed to excuse away everything are like abuse of drugs or alcohol. They “help” you distort and evade reality. That may seem like help at the time, but it really isn’t help. Reality tells us that we all have the capacity to think, that life is sometimes difficult and we cannot always be at our best. At the same time, we can and should better ourselves by learning how to think and act in more rational ways. Advocates of “self-help” call this simplistic, but in all honesty it’s simply the truth. The process of becoming a better and more rational thinker and participant in life is surely a big one. But pretending that you suffer from diseases of the mind, as if something or someone external could change the consequences of your erroneous thinking without any effort (i.e. new thinking) on your part is the greatest delusion since … well, since socialism and religion. No wonder both those things are still in fashion, too.

(Please write in with excuses that you’ve heard — and your own opinion of the proper translation. I’ll publish the best ones here, anonymously of course).