Sarcasm, Teasing, Why aren’t you laughing?

I have a couple that I am friends with, and partly because I sometimes I experience the same problems and also because I do not want to put people’s dirty laundry out here I will make this as general as possible. Humor is one of the most important things that you can have in a relationship, so how can it be the cause of a relationships demise?

Finding someone with the same sense of humor as you in the opposite sex is almost impossible. Sure there are some people that would laugh at everything, but it does not mean that everything that you say is funny, it means that that person just laughs at everything (or they are perpetually stoned). I have been told that I am funny. I call myself sarcastic by nature, those of you that have met me in person might think that I am very sarcastic all the time… however sometimes sarcasm can hurt.

We all have boundaries and secret weak spots on our personalities. Most of the time the only people that know those things are those closest to you and they can use them against you. If we are sensitive about the way we look, a simple remark can leave scars that are deeper than anyone realizes.

I was picked on as a child. My friend Julian could tell you stories how I was teased over and over for being too young for my class or too fat all the time. The teasing at times went beyond just verbal and it became either a physical thing or vandalism toward anything I owned. At the school we attended we used to have to provide our own desks, and mine was destroyed more than once. I have come a long way from those days and my self esteem is a lot better now, but believe me, those days were some of the most horrible in my existence.

So when is teasing too much? I personally believe that as soon as someone’s feelings get hurt regardless of how sensitive that person is. But what happens when the other person does not stop? How do you make that other person quit teasing? What if that person that does not let up is your spouse? I really wish I had the answer. You might be surprised how often this happens in relationships. All situations might not be as bad some of the ones I know about, but even if it is a simple “Your hips cannot make it through the door” every time other people are around can make someone feel minuscule.

One of the articles I read on the subject before I wrote this had a great quote

Virginia Satir, a family therapist, has said that “Teasing is often unacknowledged hostility. It is an attempt to avoid responsibility for being honest. Teasing is often an effort to disclaim the presence of hostility and in effect, everyone loses.”

I believe that so many people hide behind the pretense of humor to avoid real communication. Teasing should never replace actual communication, and if you are unhappy with your partner’s looks you should try to help and not tease.

Of course not all teasing is bad, and a sign of a strong relationship is being able to tease each other all the time. When the teasing becomes a war of words where the insults start to fly and tempers flare, it should be flag that maybe that form of communication is not the best.

Another article I read had a good quote about sarcasm,

Sarcasm comes from the Greek word “sarkasmos” meaning literally to bite into the flesh. Although the image is crude, anyone who has been the target of biting humor understands its sting.

It also had a great excerpt about humor

In C.S Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters a senior devil writes to a younger devil about a similar type of humor. “Every serious subject is discussed in a manner which implies that they have already found a ridiculous side to it. If prolonged, the habit of flippancy builds up around a man the finest armor plating against the enemy [God] I know … It is a thousand miles away from joy; it deadens, instead of sharpening, the intellect; and it excites no affection between those who practice it.”

I wish I had more answers than questions in this subject, but overall is more about having some food for thought. I just want to make sure that in all of your relationships, no matter how sarcastic or funny you think you are, you stop and think of others feelings… we are not all funny all the time.

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8 comments on “Sarcasm, Teasing, Why aren’t you laughing?

  1. Interesting post, teasing can be downright cruel sometimes and agree that there are boundaries between it being funny and hurtful. Finding those boundaries though can be difficult.

  2. Hi logtar, Thanks for coming to my site. You have an awsome site! Thanks for the comment of my cat as well. Take care, hope to see you again.

  3. Digging out a quote from the Screwtape Letters, eh? All of a sudden I have more respect for you!! :)

  4. I agree with you that teasing should stop when the other person says it hurts their feelings. My Ex was the type that “teased” me all the time in front of others, especially, because he thought he was being funny and would tell me that I was just being too sensitive. It gets old when you hear it day-after-day. Even other people eventually stepped in and told him that he was out of line, but he would then say that none of us had a sense of humor. Grrr….

  5. I don’t know whether I belong here with you……all I know is that sarcasm is making me miserable. And I am on the giving ; not receiving end of it. I am ‘down’, and defensive, and sarcasm is a sort of protective barrier that stop anyone getting close. I have children, and when I listen back to myself and hear how I spoke to them, I want to kill myself.I’m sick of it. Can anyone help me?

  6. First, let me introduce myself… I’m from Jersey, female, with husband for 37 years. I love him and love his sense of humor but not when he teases people…. but, imo, he goes too far too often with anyone and everyone, especially me. He doesn’t know when to stop and it very often, lately, leads into bad feelings, breakdown in communication and basically NO FUN! He NEVER teases me about the way I look…it’s nothing physical, but rather he teases me about what or the way I think. It feels judgmental and often takes me right to my emotions and I react. I have given up asking him to stop it, or to please think before you speak, and then I get accused of having no sense of humor, being overly sensitive, etc. Lot’s of the above reasons people tease fit him… I especially like Satir’s take on it and have often felt that this was the root of it. I believe he’s been doing it all his life. He doesn’t ever really want to upset anyone and always acts like nothing bothers him… so maybe it’s years and years of suppressed hostility toward anyone and everyone who he never told? I don’t know, but I’m getting to the point that I can’t stand it. My 23 year old daughter said to me yesterday, “you knew he was like this when you married him!” She’s right… I did… so how dare i complain? I guess that’s it in a nutshell… I’ve never liked the “going to far”… “not stopping when asked”… “not picking up on others’ attempts to make him stop it”… At this point, I guess I’d like some new coping tools, cuz the old ones don’t work anymore! It’s pissing me off. Probably all hormonal… on both our parts….

    Anyway, what I wanted to really address was the poster who feels miserable about their sarcasm. I totally relate to how you feel regarding hearing yourself talk to your children. I felt the same way often and really thought that I couldn’t help it. I sounded like my father, whom i was afraid of. It was the last thing I wanted to be to my kids. I used to apologize to them for my bad behavior, but that only made me feel better. All I can say is I wish I knew then what I know now… which is that I had every ability to control my behavior. I realized, not too long ago either, that I really want to make a difference in the world and I read a poster in a bathroom that really changed me. It was from the Celestine Prophesy that I found insulting to my intelligence when I read it years ago. Here’s what it said:

    “Clearing the Past
    The more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own particular way of stealing energy from others. Once our manipulations are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and we can discover our growth path in life, and our spiritual mission, the personal way we can contribute to the world.”

    It’s working for me… it made me realize just what i was doing with my anger, sarcasm and generally mean words that spewed forth and I claimed I couldn’t help it at the time… but I realize that I have a choice now… everytime I “feel” it coming on, and you can feel it if you tune into your body… it wells up right in the center of your chest… when I feel it, I stop, take a deep breath and realize that I can literally choose how to react.

    That’s it. Thanks for the blog folks… I love it.

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