When Verbal Abuse Is Disguised as a Joke
How can you recognize verbal abuse disguised as a joke? Here's the thing: a loving partner will never call you ugly or stupid, even as a joke. A respectful husband or wife won't ever deliberately put you down in front of other people for a laugh. That's because it's not funny, it's verbal abuse thinly disguised as a joke.
Verbal Abusers Disguise Abuse as Jokes
One of the reasons verbal abuse is so insidious is that the abuser goes to great lengths to disguise his behavior as normal by saying hurtful things to you with a laughing or joking tone. By making jibes about your appearance or calling you stupid "for a joke," he can convince you that the abuse is all in your head, while still managing to belittle you into submission. Over time, you'll start questioning your own judgment. You'll put your trust in him rather than trusting your intuition. As a result, things will always end up being done his way. However, if he were to act this way explicitly, he risks being called out on his behavior and having his dominance undermined -- the very thing an abuser fears the most.
That Verbal Abuse Wasn't a Joke, and You're Not Too Sensitive
Disguising a hurtful comment as a joke is one of the many signs of verbal abuse, but I didn't know this at the time. Like many others, I believed I was just too sensitive; that if I wasn't so insecure I could handle his "banter" and we would get along just fine.
It's important to remember that a verbally abusive partner behaves this way so he can assert his control and influence over you. If you realized how great you were and how much better you deserved, you might not be willing to put up with his "jokes."
Identifying a pattern of abuse is half the battle, but it's up to you to break the cycle.
Smith, E. (2017, July 18). When Verbal Abuse Is Disguised as a Joke, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2017/07/when-verbal-abuse-is-disguised-as-a-joke
Author: Emma-Marie Smith
Looking back, he has undermined me by saying things such as “you’re not funny” and making jokes about my appearance eg “you’re so pale” or “you’re ginger” when I had dyed red hair, or something that I don’t think is incredibly offensive, it could be seen as “teasing”, but it was relentless.
I am so incredibly sick of explaining to him what I find hurtful and he still so often responds with blaming me for being inconsistent in my reaction, saying that sometimes I laugh and other days I’m upset, and that it is a joke. I believe that in the past I have perhaps been inconsistent in my reaction, and more recently I have been very explicit when he says anything insulting within a jokey context. We have had many big conversations about this issue, where I’m so frustrated I get very upset and cry. I enjoy most of all when we hang out in a group of friends which happens rarely, as he is good fun, displays he cares about me in front of my friends (I have been ill for a while, so he shows to be caring) and he is funny and banters in a way that is not too far.
I’m concerned that this is all for show, but on one hand I see this as being normal to behave as your “best self” around other people and be more relaxed one on one?
But he still does the stuff described above trlling me it’s a joke and whilst it has improved, it still hurts and I feel undermined, disappointed and disrespected.
I don’t know what else I can do to get through to this person?
My husband has done both this weekend. And when (Eye) confronted him, he blew it off as jokes. Especially the first one bc he said he was just recalling what was said in a movie. No doubt a violent movie at that. He did watch The Hateful Eight on Friday. Maybe that awfulness got into his head. Am i being over sensitive as a woman? He said the boys knew he was joking. But they’ve also been conditioned some too.
You're definitely not being over-sensitive. I would be horrified if anyone said those things to my child, so you're right to call him out on his behavior. Watching violent movies is no excuse -- he's not a child. It's isn't an issue of gender, either.
The conditioning you refer to is worrying. Is there anyone you can talk to about what's happening in your home? If you feel that you or your children are threatened in any way, you should contact the Child Abuse hotline or the Domestic Violence hotline, both of which can be found on our <a href="https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/" target="_blank" rel="noopener nofollow">Helplines and Resources page</a>.
Good luck, and please visit this page for information and support whenever you need it. Emma x
Thank you for your comment. I'm glad you find the blog helpful :)
You can follow me on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/emmamariesmithwriter/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/emmamariewriter" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Twitter</a> for regular posts on this topic. Hopefully, if we can create enough of a conversation, we can help end the stigma associated with verbal abuse in relationships once and for all.