Sarcasam Detector

Well, I have this to say about Christmas this year: I got the gifts I needed the most this year.  I caught up on my sleep (I wasn’t kidding about the three magical words!).  And I realized that I now have a Sarcasm-O-Meter.  Yes, I can finally detect sarcasm, in real time, whether coming from me or someone else, or even just on TV.  It really comes in handy when I want to ask Mike to do something.  A rhetorical question pops into my head.  My Sarcasm-O-Meter pops up a warning (You are not really interested in an answer to this question!).  Wow, I need to remember to make a statement about how I feel instead of asking a rhetorical question.  Then I think of a statement that totally exaggerates what I or my hubby have been doing.  Sarcasm-O-Meter pops up a warning (That’s not really true.  Plus, it’s disrespectful!).  Better think of something more honest to say.  On and on it goes until I think to say exactly what’s going on and how I feel about it and my Sarcasm-O-Meter is silent and I know it’s safe to open my mouth.  And what happens when I just blurt out whatever came to mind without running it by the Sarcasm-O-Meter first?  Then it pops up a warning immediately after I’ve spoken, telling me what, specifically I said that was problematic.  Then I say something like, “Wait, I didn’t mean that.  What I really intended to say is…”  And I can express myself accurately the second time around.  No one in my house thinks they’re perfect, so do-overs are an accepted part of life.

I wrote earlier about my struggles with this, with my realization that the way I was communicating with Mike was a huge contributor to our problems, but I felt powerless to do anything about it.  More accurately, I was having such a difficult time just saying what I meant that I felt I could say nothing at all once I realized that the way I had been expressing myself was so wrong.  This went on for months.  I’d get upset or frustrated at something and I would just (most of the time) take it as an opportunity to practice grace and compassion for Mike, since goodness knows no one does everything right all the time, and he has a lot on his plate right now.

But lately, a funny thing has happened.  My eyes have really been opened to this whole sarcasm thing, and I can tell if I’m  about to say something sarcastic or disrespectful, I actually CAN think of what to say.  It’s shocking, really.  To be able to express myself about a problem I’m having with something someone else is doing openly, honestly, without blaming, shaming or exaggerating, is what I have long wished I could do.  I’d hear other people do it (but never anyone I knew well) and I’d admire them at that distance.  But now, really, now that I don’t allow myself to indulge in those verbal shenanigans, I can really say what I feel.  It’s maybe a little bit like learning to stop swearing (this is a big issue for me).  You just find other ways to express yourself.

Not only am I expressing myself better and more honestly, but I feel less anxiety about talking about things that would normally make me very uncomfortable.  Once you take the rhetoric out of your repertoire, you know that you can have that discussion with this person.  You don’t have to fret about whether or not they will agree with you or do what you think they should.  Because you know that you can come to a consensus of some sort as long as everyone is honest about where they’re coming from.

I went through a lot to get here.  My marriage suffered a lot with Liam’s birth because of his health problems and also because my response to that has been to forget every bit of standard parenting advice I’d ever been given.  Don’t tell me babies just cry.  Don’t tell me cosleeping is bad for kids (this is different from raising SIDS concerns with an infant, btw).  Don’t tell me we have to cry it out, or that he’ll eat when he’s hungry.  Mike didn’t understand any of this and when he wanted to suggest I do something different, he’d just say something like, “We have to…” or, “He just has to…” and most of the time, I’d just say yeah yeah.  And the truth was that I had real concerns behind my “yeah, yeah,” but I didn’t share them with him and we just drifted apart, feeling more and more unknown by one another.

I won’t get into all the details here, but we’re learning to communicate better now.  And yes, marriage really is all about the communication (well, that and character).  So, here’s to a new year of more honesty and openness in the Jones household.  What struggles did you have in learning to communicate with your family?  How were you able to overcome them?  Can you observe sarcasm in the moment, or does it hit you way after the fact, if at all?


Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.