Have you ever had someone say something hurtful or offensive and then the next moment laugh and say, “just kidding” or “I meant to be funny” or “just jokes”? Has that moment left you feeling confused as to whether it is OK to be upset about what they said? If you have been there then let me tell you that you have experienced a form of emotional abuse.
How do you know when that “harmless” joke was not funny at all and is in fact emotional abuse? You know by how it makes you feel. If the “joke” hurts you or insults you in some way then you have experienced emotional abuse. Often the person telling the “joke” will quickly add “just joking” as if somehow that will take the sting out of their words. This often leaves the victim feeling confused about what was just said. By adding “just joking” or “I was just kidding” the joker or shall we say abuser is separating themselves from being held accountable for any discomfort or hurt they have caused because how can you get upset about a joke?
Let me tell you that you can get upset. In fact you have every right to get upset if that “joke” made you feel bad about yourself or hurt you in anyway. Let’s face it, it wasn’t a joke it was hurtful words said by someone who is often insecure wanting to hurt your self esteem. You do not deserve that. So how can you handle these hurtful “jokes”?
- Call them on their behaviour right away. Tell them that it is not funny and that they have hurt you.
- Don’t get drawn into the persons attempt to pull you down.
- Tell the person to stop talking like that.
- Walk away.
The person who speaks this way may or may not change their behaviour but you can change how you react. Remember if it hurts you it is wrong and you do not have to accept it. Till we meet again.