Question asked by Julie -My boyfriend can be very loving and is very playful but his sarcastic comments go too far. I’ve talked to him about this calmly and told him that it hurts my feelings but I get the same “You’re too sensitive. I’m just kidding” answer every time. We have been living together for 2 years and dating for 5 in total. When I bring up our future together he tells me that we need to work on our communication before we go to the next step.
I am a person who can take a joke and enjoy a good time but his constant sarcasm is burying me. I am so confused.
Thank you for any light you could shed on this subject for me.
Sarcasm can be highly annoying especially when it has an undertone of criticism. Your boyfriend is clearly not being sensitive towards your “sensitivities”. Truth be said, he’s never going to change either. He comes across as a confident, self-assured and cocky guy, and these type of men are usually very “pig headed” when it comes to changing their ways.
You will be banging your head against a stone wall if you try to change him. His confidence and self-assurance, causes him to be sarcastic towards others, but this is a very unconscious habit of his. He will never find anything wrong with his behavior, because it feels natural to him. In fact, he will find it very surprising, and annoying, when you venture to suggest that his sarcasm “hurts” you. He can never comprehend how you could take his sarcasm so seriously, and why it should “offend” you.
It’s a common behavior among “self-assured” guys to see faults in others rather than to see their own fault. He will blame you for being “over sensitive” but he will not stop being sarcastic. He will blame you for being “childish” but he will never see that his sarcasm screams of immaturity. He will blame you for never understanding him but he will never make an attempt to understand your perspective. In case you have not grasped the essence yet, the point is that this is his “nature”, and this is not going to change.
So how do you deal with a sarcastic boyfriend? Here are a few tips:
Try Non-Violent Communication
Directly blaming or accusing your boyfriend will cause him to shut down.
If you point out a fault in him, he will deny it completely and in turn start blaming you. There is no motivation behind this; it’s just an unconscious male behavior. But when a woman fails to understand this aspect, it can cause several problems in a relationship. You will feel “misunderstood”, frustrated and at your wits end and in the worst case you might even contemplate quitting on the guy. But what you need to understand is that this is an “unconscious” behavior, wired into the male brain.
This is where non-violent communication comes into play. In a non-violent communication, ‘blame’ is absent. The objective is to express your feelings, but in a way that the listener does not feel directly responsible for causing these feelings. This can easily be achieved by beginning the talk by using a non-accusatory phrase like ‘it’s not your fault’.
Here is an example, “I know you did not mean it, but for some reason, I felt hurt by that remark you made. Can you help me understand why I felt this way?”.
You might have noticed that there are three aspects to such conversation listed as follows:
- You are not directly blaming him.
- You are not trying to change him.
- You are asking for his help.
When he feels that you are seeking his help in resolving your problem and the fact that you are not directly blaming him, he will become a lot more open. This will automatically cause him to think about his behavior instead of getting into defensive mode.
Ignore his sarcasms the way you would ignore a burp
Yeah, when people burp it can be annoying, but what is the use of feeling “frustrated” by it. Nothing can be easier than to simply “ignore” it.
Sarcasms are obnoxious too, but you have the independence to completely ignore it. If you don’t pay attention to something, effectively, it cannot really impact you. You choose your own misery, if you take his sarcasm to heart. Ignore it the way you would ignore the remarks of a kid, after all sarcasm is an immature response.
Don’t be cold towards him, don’t hate him for being sarcastic (the chap’s not at fault, it happens unconsciously), don’t chide him, don’t get hurt, just simply “ignore”. It’s easy, once you get the hang of it. There are so many good things in your relationship, focus on them and just ignore this aspect of his behavior. To ignore is not an “escapist” strategy, it’s the device of love. Because you love yourself, you should ignore his sarcasm and because you love him, you should ignore his sarcasm. Dealing with a sarcastic boyfriend can be a “self growth” experience.
Become “extra loving” when he gets sarcastic
Whenever he pulls out a stinging sarcastic remark, surprise him by becoming more loving towards him. He will be stunned by the change of “response” and it will shake him up a bit. He unconsciously enjoys your “frustration” at his sarcasm, so he keeps doing it again and again. Once you break the pattern by reacting in a completely different manner to his sarcasm, his conditioning will break down automatically.
So the next time he is sarcastic, give him a long French kiss, hug him, cuddle him, baby talk him, and tell him you love him so much for being what he is. Even if it’s completely counter intuitive for you, just give it a try and see what happens. You will be really surprised at the results.
You are responsible for your feelings
No one is responsible for hurting you, other than yourself. No one can insult you without your “unconscious” permission. So take complete responsibility for your feelings, and stop wanting to change others. Your boyfriend is fine the way he is. Look at his positives – he is confident, humorous, self-assured, cocky, bold and self-sustained, being sarcastic may be his only negative and he inherently does not do it “intentionally”, it just happens to be his nature.
Don’t let his sarcasm put you down; know that he does not really “intend” it to hurt you. Learn to love yourself enough to ignore the criticism jutted out by people. You have complete control over your “response” to any situation. Why do you want to give your power away to your boyfriend’s sarcasm? So stop focusing on these negatives, and just concentrate on loving yourself and your boyfriend.
A relationship always entails a mix of “bitter” and “sweet” aspects. A dark chocolate is bitter sweet, but that’s where its flavor lies. Learn to enjoy, accept and appreciate both the “positives” and the “negatives” in your partner, this is how a strong relationship is forged. But before you even think of loving your partner, be sure to love yourself enough to be independent. Always remember the only thing you can control, and change, is “your” response.