Disparaging Humor: What is it and How Do You Overcome It?

When a person puts you down or mocks you, this is known as disparaging humor. When someone makes fun of you in a way that belittles, humiliates, demeans, or victimizes you, it can cause you to question your self-worth. Yet, in many cases, it is the person poking fun at you that has a weak sense of self.

Understanding this person's need to be superior, whether it is a total stranger or a loved one who shows affection by teasing you, is one way to bounce back from being put down. It will help you cope if you accept that some people feel they must put others down to rise.

There are personality traits that can determine the extent that disparaging humor affects you. Some people enjoy being laughed at (gelotophilia), others fear it (gelotophobia), and some like laughing at others (katagelascticism).

If you do not enjoy being laughed at, the next time you need to cope with disparaging humor, challenge yourself to be like someone who loves being loved at. Or you can challenge yourself to view a particular put-down as a compliment, as someone needed to put you down to make themself feel better or superior.

You might not be someone who enjoys making jokes at your own expense or being laughed at. You might be someone who finds disparaging ads on television cruel rather than funny, and that's okay. Be the bigger person and remember that someone else's need to demean you does not have to do with you, and it does not have to threaten your happiness.


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