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Your Self Deprecating Humor Might Be Whispering Something!

Many people use humor to cope with negative emotions. However, this is not always productive because self-deprecating humor can be a sign of mental illness.

self deprecating humor

What exactly is "self-deprecating humor"?

You may feel some ambivalence about it or enjoy other people’s misfortune. Some may also use it as a defense mechanism to mask feelings of sadness, anger, or jealousy. But does that mean you're mentally ill? Not necessarily! It could just mean that you're experiencing some negativity in your own life and have difficulty processing and expressing these feelings; after all, humor normally requires the ability to think critically and construct jokes.


If you are using jokes or humor as a defense mechanism, especially towards yourself, it will be a lot harder for you to express negative emotions in other ways like talking about problems with someone you trust. These might be warning signs of mental illness or simply what we call a coping mechanism.


Remember! In healthy humor, your motivation is to bring laughter and positive emotions to others. But in self-defeating humor, for example jokes about yourself at your own expense, you are primarily seeking attention or sympathy from others. This kind of humor is more often a sign of mental illness like anxiety disorder or depression. Every person will respond differently to the same stimuli so if you can find humor in almost any situation, you don’t necessarily have a mental illness. But if it's not making anyone else laugh and is only there to make yourself feel better, then it might be time to seek help.


Is self deprecating humor attractive?

There are times when people use humor to hide their low self esteem through self deprecating humor in a way that is used to portray themselves as unattractive. Humor can also be used to mask one's true feelings because they don’t know how to express them.


Humor is subjective and depends on shared experiences and expectations for it to work; if you're in an unfamiliar social group or have an unconventional sense of humor, it may come off as odd and unappealing. However, it can be attractive or unattractive depending on the personal experiences of an individual.


Is self deprecating humor healthy for your mental health?

You may feel some ambivalence about it or enjoy other people’s misfortune. Some may also use it as a defense mechanism to mask feelings of sadness, anger, or jealousy. But does that mean you're mentally ill? Not necessarily! It could just mean that you're experiencing some negativity in your own life and have difficulty processing and expressing these feelings; after all, humor normally requires the ability to think critically and construct jokes.


If you are using jokes or humor as a defense mechanism, especially towards yourself, it will be a lot harder for you to express negative emotions in other ways like talking about problems with someone you trust. These might be warning signs of mental illness or simply what we call a coping mechanism.

is self deprecating humor attractive

Remember! In healthy humor, your motivation is to bring laughter and positive emotions to others. But in self-deprecating humor or low self esteem humor, for example jokes about yourself at your own expense, you are primarily seeking attention or sympathy from others. This kind of self deprecating sense of humor can be a sign of mental illness like anxiety disorder or depression. Every person will respond differently to the same stimuli so if you can find humor in almost any situation, you don’t necessarily have a mental illness unless the self deprecating humor depression is clearly visible in the jokes. But if it's not making anyone else laugh and is only there to make yourself feel better, then it might be time to seek help.


What are the warning signs of mental illnesses?

The more signs you have, the more likely it is that you are suffering from a mental illness. Here are some examples of what we call "warning signs":


1. Changes in behavior: You have a hard time expressing negative emotions or don’t care what others think. This might lead to you not engaging in social interaction and feeling "empty" inside.

2. Changes in personality: You might start changing your behavior openly, telling people your plans, or divulging information that only people who know you well would know.

3. Not doing things you used to enjoy: You are no longer able to be spontaneous and this could lead to anxiety because you are constantly planning for the future, being contrarian and having trouble with boredom.

4. Difficulty sleeping: You might get frequent insomnia, nightmares or night terrors.

5. Feeling too energetic: You might feel like you have to do a billion things at once or that you cannot relax effortlessly.

6. "Losing touch" with reality: You might not be able to tell what is real and what isn't, for example believing that your thoughts are being controlled by an outside force (this might be very confusing). Or you may feel like there is another version of yourself in some alternate universe and this could lead to more psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions.

7. Mood swings: You may have extreme mood swings, feelings of sadness combined with rage or irritability, even when there are no clear triggers.

8. Substance abuse: You may use drugs, alcohol or cigarettes to prevent yourself from experiencing negative emotions. This can lead to severe health problems like addiction and even suicide.

self deprecating sense of humo

9. Being irritable: You might become extremely angry at the smallest things, not able to control your feelings, and oblivious to how your behavior is affecting others.

10. Lack of motivation: You feel like life is going nowhere and you may think that your goals are too much for you anyway, so why bother?


If you identify with these questions, talk to a professional. You can always reach out and ask for professional help (i.e.: see a psychologist or other mental health professional).


How to control or release your feelings and emotions?

Let's learn the 7 steps here:


Step 1: Identify the feelings that are bothering you. Put them into words. For example, you may feel sad, angry, or helpless.


Step 2: Write down the behaviors that have been associated with the negative emotions you're feeling (such as your negative comments about yourself). If you find that all of your behaviors are self-deprecating ones, then it's likely that you're acting in ways that lead to more negative feelings.


Step 3: Analyze why and how these self-deprecating behaviors come naturally to you and what they allow or deny you from doing in life. Does the behavior enable you to feel better about yourself in certain situations? Maybe. Or does it make things worse for you? Definitely. It may be almost impossible to do something that feels good, just as it's almost impossible to do something that feels bad.



Step 4: Decide whether your self-deprecating behaviors are important and whether they have a place in your life. They're important when necessary, but try not to let them become a crutch or a habit that dictates how you think and feel about yourself.


Step 5: Adopt new ways of coping with your negative feelings or moods, if they're needed. This can be as simple as exercising, laughing, or simply deciding to think more positively.

is self deprecating humor good

Step 6: Become aware of the negative self-talk that you engage in. For example, are you your own worst critic? Are you always saying "I'll never..." or "I'll always..."? Become aware of these thoughts and put a stop to them. Realize that these thoughts are automatic and don't necessarily represent how things really are.


Step 7: Finally, commit to identifying new ways of coping automatically when you feel negative feelings creeping into your mind. Try thinking about the situation differently ("Maybe I can...," "I'd probably...," or "What would happen if I..."). If this works, commit to sticking with it.


Takeaway

We, humans, are experts at self deprecating behaviors. These include being perfectionists, procrastinators, and exaggerating details. But no matter how much these methods help us to feel positive about ourselves, we should try to put them aside and develop new ones. After all, life is uncertain, and we need to realize that no matter how right our present situation may seem to be, there's still plenty of room for change.


It's important to learn to cope with negative feelings in new ways and take control of your life. You'll find that it helps you maintain a more positive outlook on life and that you're better able to handle both good times and bad. So why not give it a try? You'll feel better about yourself in the long run!


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