I WAS JOKING!
Hello, how is everyone?
I have always tried to maintain my sense of humour.
Not taking my self too seriously has helped me in numerous ways, however, to bypass uncomfortable interactions, deflecting away from the awkwardness with humour is a well-known defence mechanism.
Freud defined defence mechanisms as a way the mind safeguards against feelings and thoughts that are too difficult for our conscious mind to cope with.
We split these parts off and pass them on in a bizarre version of pass the parcel, hoping to unburden ourselves of responsibility.
When we feel accountable or that we are the one caught holding the parcel when the music stops, left with a forfeit maybe rather than a prize, it can be difficult to find the humour; we throw the parcel at the nearest poor participant who instinctively catches it, accepting the responsibility despite the rules having been broken; the music had already stopped after all.
These are complicated psychological processes that for the most part we are unaware of. We learn from the moment we are born how to best navigate and survive beyond the womb. It can be subtle in its manipulation, but its effects can hit us, and those around us, like a sledgehammer.
When we understand these ways of relating we can defend ourselves against them.
It feels devastatingly unfair to be left feeling blame for something we have not done, and it can feel equally devastating for some to accept blame for something they have done.
When we own it, we can learn from it!
For some though, this is too difficult, and these people will develop elaborate ways to protect themselves at any cost. These people can become abusers.
One way you may experience this is when you are being Gaslighted.
This psychological term originated from a play “Gas Light” in 1938. It was later adapted into a film in 1940, and then again in 1944.
To summarise this complex phenomenon, the play and film dramatised how the husband tampered with the gas feed to the lights so they flickered, and then when his wife noticed this, he denied they were flickering, trying to convince her that she was going mad.
He convinces her that she is imagining it.
Therefore, the abusers out there use Gaslighting to convince the abused through contradiction of what is fact, and eventually, with their persistent lying, make them question their own sanity.
The effects of long term Gaslighting undermines us. We question our judgement and our self esteem plummets.
Unfortunately, in a very unpleasant twist, this can make us more dependent on our abusers.
It becomes more and more difficult to differentiate between what happened and what the Gas lighter is saying happened.
Getting back to humour, when a person defends their behaviour; behaviour that made you feel upset, by saying they were only joking, listen to your alarm bells.
Sarcasm and making fun masks disrespect, and a wise person once told me that it masks anger.
Disrespect for the object of the so-called humour, and a disrespect for oneself.
Anger at one’s own inabilities.
Anger towards having that spotlight shone on one’s difficulties accepting responsibility.
So, defensively, the spotlight is pointed elsewhere.
If any of this sounds familiar please give me a call, I will not judge your decision to remain in an abusive relationship, but I will offer you the safe space to talk about it.
I will come into your world and walk quietly and with respect by your side.
It is great to laugh but not at someone, laugh with them.
Kindness and respect bring great rewards.
With love, as ever,