Why Bother Shedding the Sarcasm?
Sarcasm used to be my go to method of communicating. It was easier to throw a barb at someone than to take them seriously or to have them take me seriously. It felt empowering to cut someone down before they could cut me down. I found sarcasm to be a safe way for me to expel my contempt without being truthful. Cynicism also protected me from anyone who wanted to get too emotionally close for my comfort. No one wanted to be friends with someone who regularly mocked them. But this ill humor of mine veiled what really lay beneath the surface—the fear of vulnerability. So, when I realized the damaging effects sarcasm had on myself and others, I knew I’d have to let it go. Shedding my tried and true method of self-protection was a scary thought because I wasn’t sure how I’d get along without it.
Letting Cynicism Fall
I don’t remember how I learned to be sarcastic or who first modeled it for me. But I do remember how powerful I felt the first time I saw a grown man back away as a result of my verbal jab. That’s the trouble with mockery. You immediately notice its powerful protective effects and then become accustomed to feeling as though you have the upper hand over someone else. It is only later on you realize how these repetitive verbal barbs destroy your relationships, and corrode you from the inside out.
For some, wearing sarcasm as a protective armor can be traced back to an emotional injury. But, instead of honing in on how our affliction affected us, it is easier to turn our hurtfulness outward and on to another. As a result, the insight and energy we might use to investigate the effects of our wounding are used to wound someone else. We become experts at finding someone else’s soft spot and aiming our insults where we know the greatest injury will occur.
The cloak I wore and the dagger I bore became an accustomed costume. When people saw me, they expected me to be abrasive. Though I never intended to become a cynic, I turned into one. With time and repetition, I morphed into possessing a reputation I was not proud of. And even when I came to the realization that I wanted to shed it, at the same time I wondered who I’d become instead. If I am not sarcastic, if I am not hostile, if I am not incentive, then what am I?
Shedding sarcasm is scary. Without it we are vulnerable, authentic and sensitive. When others see our soft spots they might take a jab at us. But if we are on the other side of cynicism, we will know the truth behind those jabs—they are someone, who like us, has been wounded.
Why bother shedding the sarcasm? Shedding our sarcasm removes our thin veil of disguise and makes us look just like everybody else.