“I’m just kidding!” “It was just a joke!” Laughter. It is supposed to be the best medicine, but in an abusive situation, it can be used by the abuser as a tactic to deflect from and downplay the abuse. This does not make the abuse okay or less significant.
As an attempt to cover for the abuse, the abuser mocks you to the core, targeting your sensitive side and hitting you with ridicule and crude humor. They will especially do this as a means to push any boundaries you have set.
As the abused, we must set boundaries and stick to them. Abusers do not respect boundaries and they live to breach them. They will use humor as a (poor) excuse and mechanism for their continued abuse.
The fact remains, it’s not funny. Abuse is never funny. So don’t “lighten up” because your abuser tries to brush it off as a joke.
Using Humor to Deflect Trauma
Here at Wind Haven, we definitely believe laughter is the best medicine, but we would never cross the line of using humor to deflect trauma.
Many times we use humor as a weapon, shield, or psychological salve. Laughter can be a good coping tool, as long as we don’t use it to deflect our pain as “unimportant.” For example, while in therapy it would be deflective to smile or laugh while talking about trauma. However, watching a funny movie to laugh and take a break from thinking about trauma can be a coping mechanism.
Laughing or smiling during therapy can be a means to fend off empathy or compassion from a therapist, or it says their trauma isn’t important because they aren’t important. Your trauma and you are both important and should be taken care of. A therapist can help you to obtain the tools you need to manage “negative” emotions
Remember: There is a difference between using humor and laughter as a coping tool vs a defense mechanism.