Life With Psoriasis: Handling Rude Comments With Grace

by Amy Tudor Patient Expert

It can be hard to know how to handle hurtful comments about your psoriasis. Read on for advice on deciding when to address comments and when to ignore them.

Man talking to a woman.

What's the intention?

Not all hurtful comments are meant to be cruel. People who bully you or make fun of your psoriasis symptoms are one thing, but even friends, family members, and well-meaning strangers can say things that are callous or rude. The first thing to do is to figure out whether someone is being unintentionally cruel. That, more than anything, can help you know how to respond to them. -Chris

Woman reacting to negative comments about her psoriasis.

Don't be afraid to react

The best thing I ever started doing when someone says something unkind, especially if I know the person doesn't intend to be rude—like my husband—is to try to keep things light. For instance, I'll say, "Ouch, that comment hurt!" when he (or another family member or friend) says something before thinking. I've found that's usually enough to make people consider their words before they speak. -Judith

Woman explaining that she's hurt by her friend's comments.

Intentions do matter

I've become pretty good at figuring out when someone is teasing or when he or she is being passive aggressive. For a long time, I felt bad because my aunt teased me about my plaque psoriasis, although I always knew she didn't intend to be mean. Sure enough though, when she went through cancer treatment and lost her hair, she became sensitive to remarks about her appearance, and apologized for the "throw away" comments she'd made over the years. -Dana

illustrated chat bubble, honest talk concept.

Be candid

Nothing works better than honesty. It took me a long time to be able to deal with rude comments with dignity, but I've gotten good at (politely) saying things like, "It's psoriasis, no need to be afraid to touch me," or "I'm sure you don't mean to be rude, but it's hurtful when you say that." Most people seem genuinely sorry to have given offense, and are surprised that I've calmly called them on it. -Adah

The golden rule.

Practice the golden rule

When with other people, I used to make comments about my psoriasis myself sometimes—teasing in order to lighten the mood—but I don't do that anymore. I think it made others feel it was okay to offer comments about my appearance—comments that I didn't like. -Marlana

illustrated scoulding.

Know when to be firm

If someone is wildly out of line, then it's time to stand up for yourself—especially if nobody else does it for you. It's possible to stand up for yourself—and even get angry—in a way that reflects well on you. Avoid being rude back at them, for example. You can raise your voice and be firm without stooping to their level. -Jim

Amy Tudor
Meet Our Writer
Amy Tudor

Amy wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Psoriasis.