The Language Of Sarcasm: Hidden Verbal Aggression

The language of sarcasm: hidden verbal aggression

It is not uncommon to meet people who claim that someone who is sarcastic is smarter, more agile, and brilliant at controlling words. However, this form of ingenuity is sometimes charged with poison, with an artillery of hidden aggressions and devious contempt that upset and destroy self-esteem.

Sarcasm as a form of communication has many followers and followers. We can see it, for example, in several television series in which the protagonists show a privileged, exceptional and, at times, inspiring mind, capable of solving an infinite number of criminal puzzles and medical challenges. However, at the same time these characters are characterized by a biting language, seasoned with certain doses of contempt mixed with large doses of sarcasm.

On the other hand, there is an aspect that should not be underestimated. Sarcasm is much more common among people who have a trusting relationship, such as co-workers, family members, or even your partner. A factor that intensifies the grueling and sharpening effect of this dimension.

Intellectual “braggart” and their favorite weapon: sarcasm

There is a form of bullying towards which there is more indulgence. We are obviously talking about sarcasm and those common and conceded aggressions that occur above all in the adult world, in the workplace and, above all, in private spaces that contain the dynamics indicated above: couple, family and even friendship.

According to the 2010 Ranking Bully Types, intellectual bullies specialize in compliance. These are profiles that disguise their insecurities with big words and arrogant phrases. In turn, they enjoy seeing that others feel inferior under the clear belief that they are smarter, more skilled and, of course, more brilliant.

The worst part is that we often glorify these behaviors or even interpret them as innocent jokes. In the beginning there are those who are unable to see in this act a form of intimidation or contempt. There are those who delight in the ingenuity and the subtle pun, admiring themselves for this linguistic stratagem. However, when the intellectual braggart insists on his verbal artillery every day, it not only changes, it also has serious consequences.

The first consequence is the violation of the relational bond with the person. It is an attack on the self-esteem of the other, it is an aggression and an act of constant and implacable “bravado”. The second aspect, interesting and devastating at the same time, is to discover that the craftsman of sarcasm is rarely aware of his behavior and his acts of intimidation.

These people usually conceal a clear interpersonal or social insensitivity, an emotional clouding with which one only wants to impose one’s intellectual dexterity, one’s dialectical ability and ingenuity, because they are the only tools available to the sarcastic person to reassert himself as a person.

Three ways of dealing with sarcastic assaults

We are all probably drawn to the verbal ingenuity of characters like Sherlock Holmes. However, in addition to a brilliant mind and a wonderfully gifted brain, there must also be an intimate, empathetic and respectful person. Because the ingenuity of a sentence is worthless if the message it conveys is negative.

These dynamics can often be seen during a dinner with friends. Usually there is, for example, that person (whether man or woman) who makes a sarcastic and frequent comment on the partner, which immediately causes laughter from all over the table, except the victim. In some way, they are all accomplices of this veiled aggression, of this disguised contempt before which we should be more careful to set limits to restrain them.

We explain how.

How to defend yourself from sarcastic people

-The first piece of advice is simple and basic: do not adopt a passive attitude towards sarcasm. It is not even a question of reacting with anger by favoring an unhelpful confrontation. We cannot forget that, generally, we find ourselves in front of a person who is very skilled with words, but little with emotions and that is where our advantage lies. The first thing to do, therefore, is to calmly express “that we did not like the comment” .

-You demand clarity. The sarcastic has a master’s degree in more sinister metaphors and ironies. Don’t accept them, demand that it be clear. Mature people convey courage and clarity in words, insecure ones hide behind puns.

-The third piece of advice is to explain to the “intellectual braggart” the effects of his behavior. If he’s a co-worker or friend, tell him clearly that it doesn’t make us feel good and that if he doesn’t show more understanding or kindness, we will walk away.

On the other hand, if the author of the sarcasm is our partner, we will talk to him about the pain he causes us and that his continuous attack on our self-esteem is not the reflection of a sincere love, neither conscious nor mature. Demand respect, honesty and affection through this satisfying food that is language.

Always remember that sarcasm and intellectual aggressors do not deserve to be fed with admiration, but rather interrupted with the truth about the consequences of their actions.

Main image courtesy of Nicoletta Ceccoli

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