Sandy and Rex have been in a relationship for about 18 months.
They have a fun relationship and enjoy each other’s company.
Rex likes to use sarcasm and it is offensive to Sandy.
She confronts him with the statement, “You are very sarcastic, and I don't like it.”
He retorts, “What’s the matter can’t you take a joke?”
She turns away in frustration and emotionally steps back from him. Nothing gets resolved and the relationship continues in a damaged state.
This is the slippery slope of sarcasm.
Instead of being confrontational, another approach is for Sandy to say, “Rex, I am in a double bind. It is danged if I do and danged if I don't. If I tell you that your sarcasm hurts, I am afraid you may feel offended and get defensive. Then I know things will not change. If I don't tell you, things will not change, and I will continue to feel offended and frustrated and pull away from you. I can't win.”
Ideally, Rex will not want her to feel offended or frustrated and will work on his sarcasm. This approach enrolls him to come alongside her and alleviate her frustration and feelings of offense.
The ‘double bind approach’ in communication gives them a chance to strengthen their relationship.
Sarcasm can be hidden from the person using it.
Watch for the blind spots.
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