4 negative ways stigma affects an individual
Stigmatization can never yield any positive result in the life of an individual. Stigma is a path that comes with loneliness, gloom, and unhappiness.
A stigmatized person feels segregated and completed separated from the rest of the world. When a person is segregated from society it only yields further negative effects.
In our society people are not only stigmatized due to their illnesses. There are different levels of stigmatization, we shall discuss more this in the article.
What exactly is a stigmatization
According to the English dictionary, to stigmatized someone means to characterize as disgraceful or ignominious; to mark with a stigma or stigmata.
In order words, you add a label to an individual just like the price tag in a new dress. When you buy a new cloth from the mall there is always a price tag or label that shows the designer.
This is the trademark of the cloth; it serves as an identification and everyone that looks at that label can easily identify the cloth.
Nowadays people do the same to their fellow humans, they attached a label to an individual. For instance, a person that has bipolar disorder can be referred to as a mad or psychotic person.
That’s quite harsh, there is no reason to use hurtful words on humans. Humans are emotional beings although some humans have evolved and can handle their emotions.
There is still a great number of humans that are not masters of their emotions, they are super sensitive.
Referring to someone as mad rather than addressing the issue the person is faced with is a perfect example of stigmatization.
Kinds of stigmatization
Like I said earlier in this article, there are different kinds of stigmatization. In our society today, A lot of people no longer stigmatized only mentally unwell people. They stigmatized anyone that is not in their circle.
For the purpose, of this article, we will be tackling the three major kinds of stigmatization.
Not everyone is born with a silver, gold, or diamond spoon. If you are lucky to be born into a wealthy family, that’s great.
You do not have to make people feel really bad just because they are not up to your standards. As humans, we all should set values for ourselves. Our no 1 value should be to never take advantage of the privileges we are born into to hurt other people’s feelings.
It is completely wrong if we could all chose our families before birth, I’m quite sure that no one will pick a poor family.
However, it is not possible, we are all given to different families.
If you ask your parents, most of them were not born into wealth. However, they didn’t like the lifestyle so they worked hard to achieve the life they have now.
There is absolutely no need to label someone as the pizza girl or the delivery boy. If you do this, you are a culprit of stigmatization. You are deliberately hurting people’s feelings and this is really unfair.
This works both ways, I have seen cases where children from rich families are stigmatized.
Labels like Daddy’s money or Momma’s boy are thrown at them. Why?
Are you really that bored? Is there really nothing more productive you can engage in?
Get busy with something else, stigmatization yields no benefits. Why then should you engage in it?
- Medical stigmatization
Honestly, I think people that engage in this act are either really bad people or they have a mental disorder.
I really see no reason why you should use a person’s medical condition as a label for them. That’s callous, they already have to live with the pain and the flaws that come with the sickness.
They try to survive and smile but then you go about calling them by their pain?
Hey Cancer girl! Hi psychotic boy! Sickler! Really?
This is so lame!! You need to get a life and stop constantly reminding people of the pains they face.
No one chooses to be sick; no one wants to be diagnosed with psychosis, bipolar disorder or cancer. When they got to know about the illness, they felt bad and unhappy.
They take drugs daily, go for regular check-ups, are extremely cautious of what they eat and drink. On the other hand, you have a perfect and comfortable life.
You should be grateful for that rather than labeling people with their pain. They did ask for it, they shouldn’t be treated like a COVID patient in the year 2020.
It bad enough that they have to suffer from their pain, they need encouragement and not stigmatization.
- Physical stigmatization
I get really pissed when I hear statements like hey fatty! Miss thin, Thin legs, Bulgy ears, Blackie!!
What gives you the impression that you are little Mr or Miss perfect? Trust me if a critic looks very carefully at you, they will find something that will make people laugh too.
Nobody is perfect, some people are born the way they are and it’s completely fine. Who says you are the acceptable standard that can be used to judge others?
When you label people based on their physical appearance, you are engaging in physical stigmatization.
Hey you are too fat for the cheerleading team or your too short to because a model, you don’t have long legs, you got bad hair, you are not fit for the football team.
Stop physical stigmatization people. The cosmetic surgery business is flourishing because of physical stigmatization.
People want to look a certain way perhaps because they were mocked when they were younger. Some people even visit unqualified surgeons who mess up their bodies.
Then have to continually engage in different surgeries till it gets fixed. All these can be avoided with a drastic decline in physical stigmatization.
Effects of stigmatization
Yes!! you might just be the reason why someone took their life(suicide). A stigmatized person who cannot cope with the situation might slip into depression.
Depression is the big bad that hurts really hard, it slowly creeps into the mind and completely clouds it.
A depressed person can hurt themself to get rid of the pain. Stop stigmatizing people you don’t want to be the reason they hurt themselves.
- Low self-esteem
- Reluctant to treatment
- Mental disorder (post-traumatic stress disorder).
How to cope with stigmatization
There are some people that won’t change, they derive so much joy and pleasure from hurting people’s feelings.
And there is not much anybody can actually do. There is no law against stigmatization and even if there was. Certain people will still continue in this act.
The best thing to do will be to mentally prepare yourself to face these people. You cannot completely avoid them. They are present in the street you live in, work, school, and even church.
You cannot completely hide from them so I advise that get prepared with these four steps.
Surprisingly, preparation is the first step. In order to prepare to face the trolls, you need to make adequate preparation. You need to mentally accept the fact that some people will definitely be stigmatized you.
No article or preaching can change them except they decide to. Therefore, in order to protect yourself, you need to accept this fact.
You didn’t wish this particular event upon yourself; you didn’t invite it upon yourself, it doesn’t define you. Therefore, when someone gives you, a label makes the decision to stay happy.
Happiness is a choice and if you can deliberately decide to stay happy no matter what people call you. Then this is the best and important key in coping with the trolls.
Don’t dwell so much on what they say. It is completely okay to feel hurt however do not let them ruin your day forever.
- Avoid them
I don’t mean hiding in corners or running towards the janitor’s closet whenever you see them.
It is more mental than physical, mentally decide to ignore their comment. It will be hard but if you can achieve this feat. Whenever they say anything, you push it towards the unimportant and irrelevant things.
You can actually animate them in your imagination, try to picture them as the funniest animation character you have ever seen. Whenever they use the label on you, just picture them as the animation character and have a good laugh within yourself.
- Seek for help
There are so many self-help groups that are completely welcoming to new members. Locate a group and make friends.
Most of the people in the group have gone through similar experiences therefore they will be able to help you successfully navigate through the entire process.
If you don’t want to share your challenges with a group, then you can seek professional help (therapist).
This might be quite expensive option but as long as it helps you should go for it
Always remember that your mental health is priceless.
- Love yourself more
When people give you a label, this is not the time to stand in front of a mirror and resonate with their lame talks.
It is time to go shopping, do the things you love, spend time with those that love and appreciate you. Start a journal; daily write down everything you love about yourself and things you are grateful for.
Don’t stigmatize yourself just because people around you do that. That will be self-stigmatization.
Don’t feel or live like an Alien in your own space. If people judge you and place a label, it’s okay to feel bad.
However, it is really wrong to let this become your reality. Don’t forget you are responsible for your happiness.
They are living their best lives while you stay awake crying about what they called you. Unfair but true.
Feel hurt but don’t stay hurt. You choose to be happy, don’t give the power to someone else.