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Verbal abuse disguised as jokes that ridicule and demean you

He says he’s just kidding… but my core felt demeaned and devalued.

Verbal abuse can start out as little digs disguised as jokes. Your boyfriend or husband makes fun of you, ridicules you, and humiliates you with sarcastic comments about your appearance, personality, abilities, and values. If you say, “I don’t think this is funny,” or ask him to stop “making fun of you,” he may become defensive, irritated, or angry.

He tells you: “You are too sensitive” or “You can’t take a joke.” His guilty pleas are convincing, causing you to question his ability to reason. You wonder if you’re overreacting and doubt your perception of abuse from him.

Your denial of your experience of your abuse adds another layer to your abuse.

Makes comments about you in front of friends who make fun of or put you down. He hides his sourness with a smirk and a laugh. Their public ridicule is unexpected, throws you off balance, and embarrasses and humiliates you. Your friends may laugh at their jokes, but your heart felt the sting 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 “kidding.” He keeps up his nice guy facade and your friends wonder why you get so excited over a nonsensical joke.

It takes a quick mind to come up with ways to belittle your partner, whether it be rude or witty and stylish. 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 taunts and put-downs can severely damage your self-esteem, your sense of identity, and your integrity.

I should have paid attention to the first time Dr. Dirtbag made fun of me about 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. I 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’s so funny; she burns everything she cooks.

You can’t find your way to the grocery store without a GPS.

Having 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 get carried away by his attempt to put you down. 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 want him to stop it, don’t wait for his response.

  • Say, “Are you feeling better now?” and she left the room.

  • Ignore him and grab your phone and call a friend or go for a walk.

Get the image?

Chances are your abusive partner will eventually change, but you can change the way you react to his verbal abuse.

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