“Ouch, those words hurt. I know you were joking, but what you said isn’t funny.”

“WHAT are you saying? Would you please be quiet? You are embarrassing me in front of all of these people!!!!”

“Oh my gosh.. I can’t believe she said that to that person. Doesn’t she know that SHE is the one who looks bad?”

Have you ever mumbled these words to yourself after someone used their razor sharp tongue to slice you or someone you know? Have you ever felt your temperature rising and meanwhile you had a smile plastered on your face?? Someone just zinged you and it was couched as a joke, but it really stung like a bee?

These are some of the internal things that are going on in the midst of a person who doesn’t have control over their tongue. They use sarcasm and they think it’s funny. They think that they’re the big shot, because they’re constantly on top. They can get out of any situation without hurting. They can survive any where because no one is going to take advantage of them!

I know. I used to be a user of sarcasm. I used to be the one who would unintentionally hurt people.

I’m not any more. I’ve learned that it was a defense mechanism for the hurt I felt inside. And now, I want others to know, there is HELP for you.. and the other side? IT:’S BETTER!!!

I experienced a person who was throwing zingers every chance she got. If you’d ask her to hand you a pen, she’d make you beg. If you said, “How is your day, she’d say, “it was good until I saw you”. People laugh. They smile. But really, what is happening inside is they are screaming, ‘GET ME AWAY FROM THIS PERSON!!!”

It’s hard to look back at myself and realize that I was a repeat offender. I was the young and cocky one. I was the one making a lot of money so I could shoot down anyone and win. My bank account told me that I was as cool as they come. I was successful on the world’s eyes and nothing I could say or do could hold me back. I knew how to play the “Nice” game. I had clients who knew me as a loving and fun agent, and I knew that I worked hard and could make them happy. What else did I need? Who else did I need? I had money and a close friend or two, and my mom and dad always loved me… so everyone else could just kiss off!

In reality? I was hurting. I knew that I didn’t have the ability to be vulnerable. I knew that I was covering up a lot of sensitivity that was hurting. I didn’t ever MEAN to be mean, or a bully, but I couldn’t seem to help it. Every time I’d get close to someone, I’d end up saying something mean, sarcastic or cocky that would turn them off to me. I hated it, yet I didn’t know how to stop it.

I was an adult bully. And if you use sarcasm? You are too!!!

Let me tell you how it starts. You were bullied yourself. You had to pretend to be bigger and tougher than you really were so you wouldn’t be hurt all the time. Your verbal finesse got good because you were defending yourself. It probably happened to you when you were a kid. You were probably defending yourself from an older sibling who picked on you all of the time or even a parent who thought that teasing was funny. Maybe it was common place in your family to tease one another. Maybe the others enjoyed the back and forth joking, but you? You were a more sensitive person who took it to heart. You had no other way to survive but put up your dukes.. and strike back.

At the world!!!

I keep thinking about that song that my son is learning in preschool, “Hit me with your best shot. Come on and hit me with your best shot.. fire away” It’s a Pat Benetar song and it’s a classic. You can see how the victim of bullying can BECOME the BULLY!!!

How do you get over it? Well, it’s not always easy!! But it is possible!!! Start by STOPPING ANY SORT of SARCASM. You’ll catch yourself over and over, but find an alternative way to express yourself. Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it every time you are sarcastic, but just STOP DOING IT.

Next, everyone who is around you knows that it is a defense mechanism. We’ve all watched Dr. Phil or Oprah enough to know that you are truly hurting inside. It’s NO SECRET. You are a BLATENT ADVERTISEMENT for what it feels like to be hurting inside. TRUST me… the SECOND you say something sarcastic, people know that you are on the defense. You aren’t fooling ANYONE!!!

Myself included. When I go back to those old habits, which I occasionally do when I’m challenged, I know that the person is just ruffling my feathers and that I can back down and still have my self esteem in tact. It sometimes takes a minute, but I usually get there.

The ULTIMATE thing you can do is to find someone to discuss how you were so hurt as a child. You can go back and relive those things so you can find it in yourself to forgive those people and be able to move on as a healthy person. Yes, THERAPY is a great place to do that. And don’t give me that , “DON”T TELL ME TO GO TO THERAPY CRAP” or say, “that’ s too touchy feely for me”.

I know. I used to say the same thing. But trust me, when you really have courage, you’ll face yourself. Sometimes that is the hardest thing to do. And when you really have courage, you’ll be able to discuss yourself with another person. And in the context of therapy, it’s confidential. You might even shed a tear or two. “OH NO.. HORRORS!!! SHEDDING A TEAR!!! “

Ooooops.. there I go again!!! Sorry.

I just want to tell you, that a healthy man or woman has all sorts of feelings. Good, bad, indifferent. They are all apart of the human psyche. We are supposed to be able to express anger. And you should express anger if you were bullied as a child. And if you don’t address this bad habit that you endured, you’ll possibly pass it on to your family and that will continue the hurt at a deep level.

Words are the best things that you can give a person. They are also the most painful thing that you can ever inflict upon another person if they are filled with venom. It’s hurtful and it’s nasty. And if you inflict horrible, mean jokes on other people and pass them off as funny, then you need help. You need to change. And if you don’t, you’ll hurt and be lonely for a very long time.

I’m happier now as a person. I’m able to laugh and cry and express every emotion that I’m capable of having. I know I’m an extremely sensitive person now, but that is what helps me in sales, and it’s what I use as a coach. I can feel for others and know how they feel. I don’t have an emotional void anymore. I feel free to love and be loved.

So please pass this on to anyone you know who uses sarcasm. I don’t care if it’s the priest or pastor of your church. If they use it, they can get over it. And they need to know, that they are being a BULLY!!!

Life on the other side can be great. But get to work guys.. and let me know what happens! I can’t wait to hear what this blog stirs up. I’m sure it will..

But I’m ready. Give me your best shot! Fire away!!! I can handle it. But the question is.. CAN YOU?


Hi Mary——just finished reading y our blog. I have noticed or did you touch on this. That some people will say something to you that is kind of offensive—but they kind of laugh, if you say anything , they say you are too sensitive-that it was only a joke.. The fact of the matter is that it has given them a chance to vent, or dump on you , and given you no chance for a discussion about the matter.
Another thing I,ve noticed , some people will lash out, another tactic where they get to vent, and they will walk off in a huff. Never mind that they never can find the grace to apologize for their behavior. (E.M. Florida)

Mary, this is a FABULOUS story! It really spoke to me this morning. In fact, I’ve had quite a bit of trouble lately, not so much with sarcasm, but with a contentious spirit. I have become very quick to anger when things aren’t going perfectly for me. I’m glad that I recognize it and can work on it. I have prayed that God will keep me mindful of my tongue and that I will say only things that will praise Him and edify others. Read the following scripture that I was focusing on this morning…Proverbs 21:9 & 19 and James 3 (the entire chapter). It’s no coincidence that God led me there.

See you soon,
JT (Raliegh, NC)

Hi there! I loved this essay – it was so helpful – right now I am really struggling with family issues (abusive in laws – my own mom’s verbal abuse, etc) all of which has affected my marriage so much…..my husband and I got into a Marriage Course at church so we are finally looking at how we communicate…it’s great and I am hopeful and I know God is still in charge of even this difficult time for me….
BUT just this morning at breakfast I prayed in front of the kids that God would from THIS MOMENT on make the words that come out of my mouth be spoken KINDLY. I have been convicted that although so much has changed in my heart -what is comiing out of my mouth often doesn’t reflect it….
So – your blog helped! (I don’t even know what a BLOG really is – yours is first I’ve ever tried but this was good)

Your talents are going to good use, girl….

(A friend from Europe)

Dear Mary,
Your article on sarcasm and adults bullys was amazing! What you are saying is completely true. My current boss consistantly uses sarcasm to make points and everyone says he is like a bully. After reading this artical I can confirm my boss is a bully. In fact just last week he came up with a one liner to make a “joke” as you say which was not funny at all. So un-funny was this joke that a small feeling of insult was left behind. Great article, I enjoyed reading it very much. If you have any more articles, send them I would love to read them, keep on writing.