Humour is a wonderful and powerful thing. It can get you through tough times and help create bonds between people. It can lift your spirit and change gloomy days to happier ones. It is a great coping ability to have. But, when it is used to ridicule or tease someone with intent to make them feel bad then I consider it to become a very dangerous thing indeed. I use the word dangerous deliberately as it is an insidious way to knock someone’s self-confidence and create doubt whilst keeping at a safe distance from the victim. The attacker can always use humour and their victim’s lack of it as an excuse for their behaviour. Leaving the person attacked by it feeling vulnerable and angry. It also fails to resolve the initial problem that initiated the “humorous” response in the first place. So the person who set out to hurt or deflate his victim with the attack has a momentary but unsustainable high as the problem still exists or has been made worse.
“Sarcasm I now see to be, in general ,the language of the devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it”.
So says Thomas Carlyle who clearly may have been hurt by someone’s sarcastic comments. I don’t quite see the devils involvement but it can be very hurtful when used against individuals in the form of personal attack.
If someone has done something to upset, hurt or annoy you then it is far better to deal with it face to face. Reasonably and calmly explain what has happened and try together to find a way to resolve any issues. Bring in a neutral third party if required or go to a mediator but do not be fooled in to thinking that by using various sarcastic attacks you are going to remedy the issue and gain permanent satisfaction.
This solution is of course for those who are feeling genuinely aggrieved and who have resorted to sarcasm as a poor means of communication. There are others though that have an innate desire to pull people down for various reasons but inevitably because they can’t face their own inadequacies or failures and so can’t bear to see others succeed or be praised or get any form of recognition that they themselves desire but have no ability to receive, perhaps because they do not give of themselves enough to ever be in the same position as those they envy.
This is bad enough when the person attacking you is a stranger or even and ex friend. An ex-partner often falls in to the poor communication or anger category and usually this can be resolved by mediation or if this is not possible then simply just let them go, cut them out of your social circles, social network sites and anything else you could have communication with them in and move on.
What though if it is a close family member? How then do you deal with it? Well again communication is the key but if this has been tried and failed then for me the answer is the same as I would say for anyone being hurt or harassed, move on and no longer communicate with them. If need be cut all ties with them unless they develop the ability to communicate in a normal, healthy fashion .I appreciate that the thought of this can be daunting but living with someone putting you down on a daily basis is no way to live your life. It can and will create all sorts of personal issues for you and will more than likely never be resolved unless you remove yourself from the situation. It is unhealthy for them and for you. When I was younger I remember hearing older people say to friends struggling with family issues ”you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family”. This is true but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay and put up with negative behaviour. Sometimes people develop a negative way of talking to each other without actually realising how destructive it actually is. By creating space it can give each person a chance to examine their behaviour and decided whether any aspect of it needs to change. If they can’t recognise the need to change and you can no longer tolerate it then it is far better and safer to be away from them and the situation, than risk it degenerating in to something more physical. When an individual has to deal with sarcasm daily it can and often does lead to physical altercations. The inability to be clearly heard or to be able to express oneself without ridicule can and does make people very angry and brings out frustration often as aggression. So take yourself away from a situation where you are likely to lose control. Sometimes we simply need to recognise that there are some people with whom we will never be able to communicate and leave it at that. We should stop trying to explain ourselves and our actions, rise above their level and move on.