He says he’s just kidding… but my core felt degraded and devalued.
Verbal abuse can start as little digs disguised as jokes. Your boyfriend or husband teases, ridicules, and humiliates you with sarcastic comments about your appearance, personality, abilities, and values. If you tell him “I don’t think it’s funny” or ask him to stop “making fun of you,” he may become defensive, irritated, or angry.
He tells you, “You’re too sensitive” or “You can’t take a joke.” His guilty pleas are convincing, causing you to question your ability to reason. You wonder if you’re exaggerating and doubt your perception of his abuse.
Her denial of her experience of her abuse adds another layer to her abuse.
Makes comments about you in front of friends who make fun of you or put you down. He hides his acrimony with a smirk and a laugh. His public mockery is unexpected, throwing you off balance and embarrassing and humiliating you. Your friends may laugh at their jokes, but your heart felt the pinch and your brain struggles to interpret the true meaning of their scorn. If he shows shock or disgust, he may patronize you with a hug and tell you he was just “joking around.” He maintains his nice-guy façade, and your friends wonder why you get too excited over a silly joke.
It takes a quick mind to come up with ways to belittle a partner, be it rudely or with wit and flair. This type of abuse is not done in jest. It cuts instantly, touches the most sensitive areas and leaves the abuser with a look of triumph. This abuse never seems funny because it’s not funny.- Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship
Over time, your teasing and put-downs can seriously damage your self-esteem, sense of identity, and integrity.
I should have paid attention to the first time Dr. Dirtbag made fun of me for my weight. We were having dinner in front of the TV and out of nowhere he said, “You know, the reason fat people are fat is because they don’t know when to stop eating. Your plate is so clean when you’re done eating I don’t even have to wash it.” .
I froze mid bite. He could see the pain in my eyes. Instead of apologizing, she feigned innocence and said, “Oh, did I say something wrong?” He swore she didn’t mean it, but he never apologized. Instead, he blamed me and said, “Wow, I was just trying to help. You told me you wanted to lose five pounds. I can’t tell you anything. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
His sole purpose was to shock and hurt me with his spiteful contempt.
Examples of verbal abuse disguised as jokes:
She can’t remember anything; she has sticky notes everywhere.
She is so funny; she burns everything she cooks.
You can’t find your way to the grocery store without a GPS.
Do you have a bad hair day?
You act like your mother. (We all know that she is very crazy).
You’d forget your name if it wasn’t on your driver’s license.
He’s saying, I can say whatever I want to say about you because I’m “just” being funny.
Understand that the sole purpose of their hostile and derogatory humor is to victimize, belittle, and insult you. If you don’t react to his ridiculousness, he won’t be able to control you, dominate you and have power over you.
How to react to verbal abuse disguised as jokes.
- Don’t be swayed by their attempt to belittle you. Don’t acknowledge her apology. DO NOT get into a debate with him.
- Tell him emphatically that you don’t like being the butt of his humor and you want him to stop, don’t wait for his response.
- Say, “Are you feeling better now?” and she leaves the room.
- Ignore it and grab your phone and call a friend or go for a walk.
Get the image?
Chances are your abusive partner will change sometime, but you can change the way you react to their verbal abuse.