Someone told me once that the brain does not understand sarcasm. It took me a long time to make sense of this because I am a very sarcastic person.
Whatever you say out loud, your brain naturally takes for fact, so when you say the opposite of what you mean to say, this registers somewhere inside the mind as truth.
Since learning this, whether it is true or not, I have tried to put it into practice for my benefit.
It usually comes into practice when speaking to my husband, and it usually drives him crazy.
Honestly, that’s not my intent. Let me give an example.
When I ask what seems to be a simple enough question, like “Where would you like this to go?”, “What would you like to do today?”, or “What would you like for dinner?”, it’s often met with silence.
This could be because he’s thinking about the answer. Sometimes it’s because he doesn’t care and the choice is mine.
Either way, he doesn’t answer at all.
Sarcasm as a Coping Mechanism
Based on previous posts, you know that I don’t cope well with choices. It’s a symptom of the social anxiety disorder. It’s a symptom of having anxiety.
It’s the fear of making the wrong choice.
If I’m asking a question, it’s because I need to know the answer. I need you to choose.
My husband knows this, but sometimes, he just does not answer. That could be because he’s naturally quiet.
It could be his own form of anxiety kicking in, saying, “I don’t care, just pick something.”
No matter the reason, you can imagine how much stress this causes between us.
This is when I resort to sarcasm.
Me: “Hey, where would you like me to put this?”
Me: “The kitchen? Yes, that does sound like a good place. Thank you for answering me.”
Or another example:
Me: “What would you like for dinner?”
Me: “Okay, so chicken then?”
Me: “Chicken it is. Great talk; I’m glad we could agree.”
Both conversations lead to him being angry with me. Why? Because I’m clearly being sarcastic.
In fact, as sarcastic as I might be, I’m telling myself that he made the decision.
Sure, I was a little frustrated that he didn’t answer, but this is how I dealt with it.
I made the decision alone, but I tricked my brain into thinking it was a joint decision.
Sarcasm is my coping mechanism.
Though I really need to try not to abuse it either. I’m not trying to be offensive. I’m not trying to step on toes. I’m just trying to cope.
Sarcasm as a Starting Point
I have a friend who doesn’t suffer from any mental illness whatsoever.
He’s the most confident person I know, and is probably the most sarcastic person I know as well.
I’ve often wondered if his sarcasm is a coping mechanism for his lack of self-confidence, which you simply can’t see.
Maybe saying things you don’t believe, “I am so smart. I am so beautiful. Everyone wants to be my friend,” can help trick your brain into believing them.
I genuinely believe this friend is confident now. But maybe it didn’t start out that way for him.
Maybe he had to build up to that by constantly masking his true feelings.
This is something I’m trying to incorporate in my life also. The more I tell myself “I can do this,” the more I will start to believe it.
You try it too.
Sure, it sounds sarcastic at first, but your brain won’t know any better.
Say it until it doesn’t sound sarcastic anymore.