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Psychobabble 101

Topics: Lifestyle & Culture | 1 CommentBy admin | June 27, 2010

How to disarm your enemies by twisting the meaning of common psychological terms


Have you ever sat wanting to strangle someone for using pseudo-psychological terms as they babble on forever about the people in their life, and when they were finally done, said something like “wow, that’s really insightful”? Sure you have. That’s because you’re so passive aggressive. It’s amazing that with all the therapy going on in America, people seem crazier than ever, and in spite of decades of research and billions of dollars spent, we still turn to Dr Phil, Dr Laura, and Oprah to deal with the problems in our lives. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of all the psychological studies of the last century and the terminology needed to make them sound purposeful is just that – the terminology itself. We now have a plethora of terms to address the common problems that we’ll never actually fix, and using them protects one from scrutiny, because using them gives the impression that one is at least “self-examining” or “exploring their personal growth”. Below is a short list of common psychobabble terms, with examples of their most effective use. If you have one or two of your own, feel free to share. Maybe we’ll discover an unexpected s y n e r g y.


Most Effective Usage:
When one has utterly no interest in what another is saying.
“What? I’m sorry. I’m so ADD”.


Most Effective Usage:
When one (especially a woman) is losing an argument.
“Can you stop being so hostile? You’re triggering my PTSD”.


Most Effective Usage:
When one is feeling guilt, depression, anger, or any of a wide variety of human emotional states (including perfect balance and peace of mind) but wants to pop some pills, get drunk, or boot up some Heroin.
After crashing a car, beating your spouse, or stealing from your best friend, sheepishly say “It’s not like I’ve got a [drinking/drug] problem or anything, I was just self medicating”.


Most Effective Usage:
Whenever someone disagrees with whatever you’ve accused them of, whether your accusation is legitimate or not.
When you’re annoyed with your partner, and don’t want them to have a good time, wait until they’ve had a second light beer or glass of white wine, and then rail on them for being an alcoholic, especially if it’s the first time they’ve had a drink in weeks. When they quite reasonably defend themselves say something stupid like “I know. As far as you’re concerned, Denial is a river in Egypt”


Most Effective Usage:
When you bring absolutely no skills to the table but want to keep someone on board with a project so it doesn’t fall apart and make you look bad.
When you have nothing useful to add to a discussion, say “I’m so glad we’re working on this project together. I feel like we have real synergy”. Others may notice you’re really not saying anything useful, but can’t criticize you because you’re being so bloody positive.

Get Closure

Most Effective Usage:
When you’ve done something really horrible, and in spite of not actually feeling guilty about it, want to make sure you are absolved of all guilt.
When John Edwards says to his wife “I hope we can get some closure about that whole ‘having an affair while you were dying of cancer’ thing”


Most Effective Usages:
Women: When one has just spent a ridiculous amount of money shopping for unneeded items.
Men: When caught with a massive digital porn collection.
“Honey, it’s not ME that did it, it was my OCD”.

Or, For Both Genders:
When one wants to get out of a cleaning or organizing project.
“Honey, I’d love to help, but my therapist says it would be good for my OCD if I relaxed and let things get a little messy once in a while”.

Acting Out

Most Effective Usage:
Whenever someone else is engaging in a behavior that you personally don’t like, and you need to make them look bad, especially if a disagreement has escalated to a heated argument that you’re going to lose, because you were wrong all along.
“I was discussing it with him in a TOTALLY REASONABLE FASHION when he just started ACTING OUT all the sudden”.

Defense Mechanism

Most Effective Usage:
Whenever someone is defending themselves in a perfectly reasonable fashion after you’ve wrongly accused them of something and you don’t want to look bad as a result.
“It was a perfectly reasonable assertion but the whole thing blew way out of proportion because of his ridiculous defense mechanisms”.

Passive Aggressive

This term is incredibly flexible in its implementation. Most passive aggressive behavior falls within the purview of the kind of person we used to call a platitudinous asshole, a slippery prick, a simpering and clever coward, or a Joan of Arc. If ever accused of being passive aggressive, just say “Oh, Fine, You’re Right. I’m Passive-Aggressive”.

Panic Attack

This term is extremely handy if you ever reach a state that most of us call “nervous”, but really want to avoid doing something. Instead of trying to calm down a little, do everything possible to aggravate your condition. Take short, shallow breaths, clench your fists, pace, and refuse to release the tension in your shoulders. Pretty soon you’ll be having a full-blown panic attack, and may actually need medical attention.

Pushing Buttons

This term has two basic meanings, which depend entirely on whether you’re the button pusher or the button pushee. You’re either:
a.) Saying absolutely true things that really shouldn’t upset someone
b.) A hypersensitive freak who can’t handle the truth about anything

This is a great term for confirming that you got everything you want, while shutting the door on the possibility of anyone disagreeing for fear of being pegged as negative or not a team player.
Also see “Synergy”, above.


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  1. Posted by Best Of 2010 at dissociatedpress.com on 07.18.10 1:47 pm

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