If I had a penny for every ridiculous comment I got when people learned about my toxic mold fiasco, I would be a hundredaire. Seriously. It just blew my mind what came out of some people’s mouth. Yes, there were some well-intentioned comments in the mix but for the most part, people just blurted out whatever was running across their prefrontal cortex at the time.
When you are dealing with someone in the midst of a tragedy, the best thing you can do is pause before you say anything.
Make sure what comes out of your mouth is helpful and supportive. You might truly be at a loss for words. THAT’S OK! Just say so! I would have rather heard “I have no idea what to say” than some of the other comments I heard. In fact, I really respected the people who admitted they really didn’t know what to say.
Today I am sharing 25 things not to say to a victim of toxic mold. These are all actual comments and questions I received both in person and via email. I laugh over some of them now but others actually leave a little sting. I’m sure some will leave you shaking your head. I made sure to note my opinion after each comment. My opinions are in parenthesis in case that isn’t clear. And yes – I am being overly snarky because it is fun. I didn’t really reply to people like this. I’m far too nice.
25 Things NOT To Say To A Victim Of Toxic Mold
- Are you sure? (Nope – not sure. Just guessing.)
- Mold can’t make you sick. (Insert curse word followed by ‘you.’)
- You’re kidding? (Yes – I’m quite the stand-up comedian over here.)
- That sucks. (This one grated on me quite a bit.)
- You are never given what you can’t handle. (Well pardon me. Let me put on my big girl panties and handle this with giggles and a smile.)
- This too shall pass. (You’re right. I lost everything. EVERYTHING. But as soon as I purchased some clothing, I had something again. So I guess the loosing everything has now passed. Thanks! Great pep talk.)
- Well you’ve always talked about downsizing. (There are no words for this one.)
- Mold isn’t toxic. (See response to #2.)
- What do you mean you don’t have a lawsuit? Of course you do! (Oh my bad. The attorneys we all talked to are wrong).
- So now that you left the house you are healthy again right? (Yep – a unicorn came by and pooped glitter and rainbows on us and all our health issues just magically disappeared.)
- Mold didn’t cause any of your health issues. It just doesn’t work like that. (Good working with you but I will be looking for a new primary care doctor. Thankyouverymuch.)
- We can’t cover that bloodwork because toxic mold exposure isn’t considered a qualifying medical condition. (So I am paying for health insurance for what reason again??)
- You’ll bounce right back. You always do. (Shame on me for thinking that maybe recovering from this would take more than a day.)
- Everything happens for a reason. (And that reason would be…?)
- Have a glass of wine and some chocolate. (Are they covered in glittery unicorn poop? If not, they have no power.)
- You don’t really have to throw everything away. That’s just clever marketing. (By whom? The toxicologist, microbiologist, and environmental M.D.? That’s right. They aren’t interested in my health – just consumerism. THIS is honestly the stupidest comment I heard).
- Aren’t you going to miss your stuff? (Thank you for asking the obvious. Of course I am going to miss certain things. Nothing like rubbing some salt in the wound.)
- Is your daughter upset about this? (No. She is 5 years old and she just lost her entire life. She had to leave her daddy and her cats. She has nothing. She has never been happier. Her smile lights up a room. For the love of all that is holy – OF COURSE SHE IS UPSET.)
- Can I have your shed? (Seriously? We just lost everything, are in a financial crisis not of our making and you want to TAKE our shed. One of the only things we can sell to generate some much needed capital. See response to question #2.)
- What are you going to do with your daughter’s bike? My response – keep it. It was outside. Oh darn. We really needed a bike for our daughter. You sure you should keep it? (Again with the taking of things after we just lost everything! Here is a novel idea. Offer to replace something my daughter lost instead of taking one of two things she got to keep.)
- Where will you live? My response – I don’t know yet. How can you not know? Don’t you have a game plan? (Ah yes – game plan! I knew I forgot something when I walked away from my home last week. The game plan for the rest of my life is sitting on the counter. Duh!)
- Are you mad? (Nope. Elated. Never been better.)
- Just put on some Bob Marley. Every little thing’s gonna be alright. (No snarky comment because reggae soothes my soul but in this case, it didn’t solve my woes.)
- I will call you in two days and see if you need anything. (Hello? Hello? Is there anybody there? You said you would call. I actually DO need something. Hello? 6 months later – still no call.)
- There are much worse things that could happen. Do you know how lucky you are? (DO NOT EVER say this to someone. Period. My tragedy IS the worst thing that could happen to me AT THAT MOMENT. Yes, there are people much worse off. Yes, losing everything I owned might be considered a privilege because I actually had things to own. But it doesn’t take away the heartache, the pain, the anger, and the resulting changes to the rest of my life. You would be surprised how many times I heard this. It was the only comment that that actually raised my blood pressure.)
Fun times right? Just like I survived Moldageddon, I survived these ridiculous comments. But I’ll tell you – sometimes it took every ounce of strength I had to keep my cool. Never mess with someone at their wit’s end.
What was your favorite comment? I’m curious to see which one would have gotten your blood boiling.
If you are concerned that you might be dealing with mold in your home, please be sure to check out my Toxic Mold Resources page.