Humor As A Helpful Coping Skill

Some time back, I saw a quote.  I don’t recall the name of the author but anyway the quote said something like, “What didn’t kill me made me stronger.  It also gave me a dark & twisted sense of humor.”  Immediately I felt a bit embarrassed because I know that’s me.  My sense of humor can be very dark & twisted.  Quickly though I remembered something.

In my late teen years, I had a good friend a couple of years younger than me.  His mother was also abusive, & his sense of humor could be very dark & twisted like mine.  One day, we were laughing about something & he said, “Yanno, I’m so glad to have a sense of humor.  I really believe that’s helped so much to get me through everything.” 

I believe that former friend was right.  His relationship with his mother never really got better after we grew up.  He had very limited contact with her well before I even knew that “low contact” & “no contact” were healthy options, but kept his sense of humor through it all.  One day we went to a yard sale.  He found a pot for houseplants he liked.  He commented how it looked like a spittoon from the old west & I agreed.  He paid for it then looked at me & said, “Now when Mom comes over, she’ll have a place to spit her chewing tobacco!”  She didn’t chew, but the mental picture of this made me laugh. 

I’ve laughed at some things regarding my mother too.  In high school she accused me of having sex with the entire football team.  I’ve never been promiscuous & was a virgin at the time, so the accusation was ridiculous & hurtful.  Eventually I found humor in it.  My husband has too.  Once in a while, he says something about it & we laugh at the stupidity of the comment.

Sometimes, even in the midst of dark times, humor can be a blessing.  My husband’s favorite ring tone is Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which happens to be the well known theme song from the old scary movie, “Tales From The Crypt.”  It’s very morbid sounding yet beautiful.  Anyway, while in the ER with his father one night, one of his sisters called, triggering that ring tone.  In spite of the serious situation, he & a few nurses laughed at the ring tone which helped lighten everyone’s mood.  Also, the night we received the death notification about my mother, the funeral home called my husband’s cell as we were talking with a police officer.  Again, Bach’s song played when his phone rang.  The poor policeman looked horrified, but it made me laugh.  Inappropriate?  Sure, but I was so shaken up, that laugh helped to calm me a bit so I could focus on the task at hand.

I know when times are painful, it can feel impossible to laugh.  It may even feel disrespectful to find humor in such a somber situation.  But if at all possible, I want to encourage you to try to find some humor in the situation.  It often can be done.  It also can be an incredibly helpful coping mechanism, so why not use it?

Rather than be offended & hurt by the lies the narcissist accuses you of, try to find the humor in it.  Often their lies are so incredibly outrageous, they’re funny!  Really!  Look at my mother’s lies about me with the entire high school football team.  I was in her presence constantly & had no time for that even if I had the inclination.  It was an outrageous & stupid thing to say.  No doubt the narcissist in your life has also said outrageous & stupid things about you.

I also hope you find a reason to laugh every day.  Find a comedian you like & listen to his or her routines often.  Watch funny movies or tv shows.  Spend time with your friends who make you laugh.  Doing these things will improve your mental health.  You’ll be happier & enjoy life more.

21 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

21 responses to “Humor As A Helpful Coping Skill

  1. Laughter really is good medicine, like the Proverb says. I hadn’t thought of finding humor in the crazy accusations of narcissists. I’ll have to give that a try.

    Sleeping with the entire football team seems to be a popular accusation among narcissists. I was accused of that, when I was in the 8th grade. Not by my momster though, it was a different narcissist. Crazy! I was, in fact, friends with a guy who played on the high school football team. He lived right next door to us, and he was my second cousin by adoption. We had known each other almost our entire lives. But I never went to any of his games and I didn’t know any of the other players on the team.

    If my mother had ever accused me of sleeping with the entire football team, I don’t know if I would be able to laugh about that. You are very strong, Cynthia. You amaze me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ibikenyc

    I, too, have a really dark sense of humour and love the story about the ringtone!

    I was accused of all kinds of ridiculous things, too, but oddly never any to do with sexual behaviour. Not sure how I dodged that bullet, but I’ll take what I can get.

    Most of her groundless accusations involved my taking drugs and, for a time, that I was, literally, possessed by the devil. She went through a phase of following various TV evangelists and got a tract from one of them that said “Devil, you cannot touch me! I am God’s property!” This tract was hung up in my bedroom on a shelf that was at eye level when I sat at my desk.

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    • LOL The ringtone makes me smile even now.. lol My parents’ ringtone on my phone was a part of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” “Driving me insane!!! I’m going off the rails on a crazy train!” Seemed appropriate. lol

      Wow.. you dodged a big bullet apparently! I’m glad. It’s an awful thing being accused of such deviant behavior when you weren’t even considering such thing.

      Wow on the tract! I believe it though. The things they come up with are just mind numbing. I went into my first period class one morning in my senior year & found a pamphlet about birth control options on my desk. Wasn’t on anyone else’s desk. But then again, I was the only one boinkin’ the whole team apparently so this was information I needed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ibikenyc

        “Crazy Train;” LOLOLOLOL! Wipin’ my eyes!

        Yeah; it wasn’t that I was being emotionally abused at home: I was possessed. [eyeroll]

        That is CREEPY that you found that birth control pamphlet. Was it her spy that put it there?

        Also, haven’t heard “boinkin'” in ages! LOL!

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        • Yanno what’s funny about the “Crazy Train” ringtone? A few months after my father died, I was listening to the song. God told me that my father felt bad that was an appropriate tone but also got a kick out of my sense of humor (yea, guess whose sense of humor I inherited?). That song makes me smile every time I hear it now. 🙂

          Good golly NOOOO!! Possession was way more likely. The abuse wasn’t important! UGH!!

          I don’t know who put the pamphlet there. It was just me in the classroom at that time & I don’t even know if the teacher was there or not. Probably was Mom’s spy though. I can’ t fathom who else would’ve done this.

          LOL Well boinkin’ seemed to be the right term for the conversation. My vast amount of football buddies probably would agree! LOL

          Liked by 1 person

          • ibikenyc

            It was bad enough anyway, but the fact was that I really was a good kid, and so were my friends.

            Even when I hung out with different kids, I was never influenced by peer pressure to do stuff I wouldn’t have done anyway. The “worst” thing I ever did was — gasp! — smoke cigarettes!

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