Targeted Humor, Mocking & Sarcasm


Targeted Humor, Mocking and Sarcasm - Any sustained pattern of joking, sarcasm or mockery which is designed to reduce another individual’s reputation in their own eyes or in the eyes of others.

Being the Punch-Line

Targeted Humor is a passive-aggressive approach to complaining about a person, and one which is frequently practiced by people with Personality Disorders.

What it Looks Like

Sarcasm - “My husband is a real genius”
Mocking - “Ha - look at you - idiot!”
Put-Down Jokes - “I was going to take the dog for a walk but she’s still washing the dishes.”
Ridiculing or insulting you then claiming it was a joke, and/or that you have no sense of humor if you feel offended.
Putting down your beliefs, religion, race, heritage - or that of your family or friends - in the guise of a joke.

How it Feels

Being on the receiving end of Targeted Humor is degrading and destroys self-esteem. There is nothing funny about it, and no good feelings come from it.

Learning to Cope

The only successful approach to dealing with Targeted Humor is to have a clear boundary that you will not tolerate it.

What NOT to do

  • Don’t laugh at the joke to keep up appearances.
  • Don’t stay in the same room with a person who uses Targeted Humor.
  • Don’t judge yourself or believe that you deserve any of it.
  • Don’t take the bait and enter into an argument about what has been said.

What TO do

  • Exit the conversation.
  • Quickly, calmly and without drama, leave the room, the house, the company of anyone who subjects you to Targeted Humor as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • If appropriate, explain that you do not like being treated that way.
  • If appropriate, offer to take up the conversation again when the inappropriate humor is stopped.
  • Get support and discuss your concerns with someone who cares about you and who understands Personality Disorders