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What To Do When You’ve Said The Wrong Thing

There are so many things you can say that can be hurtful to someone dealing with a mental illness or addiction. It may seem like there’s more that could be said wrong that what’s right to say. There are words you should avoid so that you are not stigmatizing those that are struggling. What you say and how you say it matters. Your words have immense power. We can’t be perfect all the time, however. There are going to be times where you say the wrong thing. What’s important is that you know what to do once you’ve said the wrong thing. Villa Tranquil Recovery wants to help you learn what to say when you’ve said the wrong thing. Read on below for more information. 


Once you realize that you’ve said something wrong, it’s a good idea to apologize to the person. You want them to know that you didn’t mean to offend or hurt them. You must take accountability for what you’ve said and done. Of course, you can’t be perfect. Apologizing helps to heal the relationship. If you haven’t realized that you’ve said or done something wrong and the other person points it out, try not to get defensive. Take what they’re saying to heart. When someone tells you you hurt them, you don’t get to say that you didn’t.

Educate yourself

If someone around you is dealing with a mental illness or addiction, it’s important that you educate yourself about what they’re going through. Learning what to say but, more importantly, what not to say is important. Your words and actions carry weight. Try not to use mental illnesses or addictions as adjectives. This is stigmatizing and minimizes what the person is going through. 

Learn to use person-first language

Another way to educate yourself is to use person-first language. This means that you are putting the person before the disorder or addiction. For example, instead of saying “the depressed person,” try saying “the person with depression.” Or, if someone has an addiction, try saying “the person with an addiction,” instead of “the addict.” Person-first language helps to prove that the person is not their mental illness or addiction. They are so much more. 

Give it time and space

If the other person is very hurt by your words, it might be a good idea to give them some space after you apologize. Space can be healthy in repairing the relationship. Once there has been a good enough time for them to process and deal with your words, reach out to them again and tell them that you are genuinely sorry. The best way you can show this is by being better. Try to be better. 

Villa Tranquil Recovery is here for you. Call us now at 214-799-3080 for more information about how we can help you and your family. We offer addiction and co-occurring mental illness programs. Our staff can’t wait to hear from you.