Author Topic: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister  (Read 7605 times)

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Sheila Take a Bow

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Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« on: November 11, 2010, 04:34:54 PM »
My sister loves sarcasm.  Often, her sarcasm feels to me like hostility, because her sarcasm is often directed at me.  I have (once) tried asking her to be less sarcastic toward me, pointing out that her comments were turning a little too biting and were hurtful.  She basically responded by letting me know that no, they weren’t hurtful, and to prove it she spent the next several minutes saying increasingly hurtful things to me.

Since then, I deal with her by trying to ignore the sarcasm in her statements and pretending that I’m having a normal conversation with her.

The other day she posted a question on Facebook asking about what my 2-year-old daughter wanted for Christmas.  Her initial message was, “Peanut likes music, so should I get her [list of musical instruments known to create a giant racket]?  I’m sure you’d love to hear that!”

I responded as if the question were simply, “Should I get Peanut a musical instrument for Christmas?” and replied that there’s a small percussion instrument she’d enjoy.  Or, I told her, she always loves a good book.

Her response was to ask if she’s ready for Tolstoy.

I responded that she likes books aimed at 4-to-8-year olds with a strong main character, and that a book from a series would be good so that she can continue following a character if she likes her.  I suggested a series she doesn’t have but would probably like.

Her response was to mention a couple of obviously not-kid-appropriate comic book artists, because those are a series and there’s always new material there.  I didn’t respond.

I’m done with her treating me like I’m her straight man and she’s the funniest person on earth.  I feel like she thinks she’s so clever and I’m just an idiot to be mocked.

How do I deal with her?  I love my sister, but the sarcasm has to stop.
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« Last Edit: November 11, 2010, 04:41:15 PM by monkey mama »

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2010, 04:39:45 PM »
Stop responding to her?  Or treat it like she has just said the funniest thing ever?  "Oh wow, sis, you're such a character!  Of course you know *bloody comic book series* wouldn't be appropriate for DD! Hahaha...gave me a nice laugh!"

I'm sorry, I don't have any really good ideas.  I'm fairly sarcastic myself, and could see myself saying something like this on FB, but not if someone's expressed discomfort with it.

MrsJWine

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2010, 04:41:15 PM »
I think you did quite well, actually.  You treated her comments at face value instead of letting her get a rise out of you.  I think a good treatment for incessant sarcasm is the same as the treatment for passive aggressive behavior.  Take most comments and actions at face value, and completely ignore the rest.  

She knows this bothers you (this is the kind of conversation my sister and I engage it, and we think it's hilarious, but only because we both think it's hilarious).  If she cared, she would have stopped.  The only thing you can do is fail to give her what she's looking for.  People like this get a kick out of seeing the "oversensitive" get flustered and hurt.

I'm sorry your sister is like this.  :(


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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2010, 04:45:31 PM »
Well you should work on not thinking she is making fun of you nor mocking you.  This is her humor, you do not have to like or get it, but it is not always about your or to you.

You can tell her flat out she is not cute or funny. . . she may get the message she may try harder.

Honestly I don't see the harm in what you posted.  I find humor in it.  (that is not to say that i don't believe you when you say she does other things, just this example is not that bad in my eyes)

For this situation you might have had luck with going with more detail from the start.  Rather than say a book, or even a book from a series start with the specifics. That would have at least skipped the Tolstoy and comic book comments.  If this is her normal MO than don't give her room to ask more questions,  try to answer them from the start.  She might genuinely *Have* questions  but feel odd about asking flat so this is what she does. If that is the case, the more questions you can answer from the start the less she will ask.


Lisbeth

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 04:51:27 PM »
I'd keep ignoring the sarcasm and just answer questions straight out.  Hopefully eventually she will get the message that you are not going to respond to her sarcasm.

Does she treat only you this way?
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MrsJWine

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2010, 04:51:52 PM »
Well you should work on not thinking she is making fun of you nor mocking you.  This is her humor, you do not have to like or get it, but it is not always about your or to you.

You can tell her flat out she is not cute or funny. . . she may get the message she may try harder.

Honestly I don't see the harm in what you posted.  I find humor in it.  (that is not to say that i don't believe you when you say she does other things, just this example is not that bad in my eyes)

I think there comes a point when it's less about the specific thing than it is about the annoyance of having someone completely disregard your preferences deliberately and repeatedly.  I'm capable of laughing at a horrible pun now and again, but people who try to get me to start appreciating them over and over and over and over again, then tell me I have no sense of humor, are not people I like to be around.


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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2010, 04:52:06 PM »
Remind her that sarcasm has its time and place. And when overuse, it loses its purpose.

Unlike Squeaks, I do not find the sister's comments humorous. But then, I am not sarcastic, do not particularly like sarcasm, and believe that it should be used sparingly and cautiously.
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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2010, 05:03:37 PM »
I'm really sarcastic, and personally I didn't see the comments you posted as hurtful from an outsider's perspective, but I really think she should have dialed it down for you (might be pretty ingrained to stop entirely, although on FB that shouldn't be a problem) since you expressed discomfort with it and were feeling hurt. She's not using sarcasm responsibly.

I'm sorry she isn't being respectful of your feelings.  :(

I don't think there is much you can do besides what you've been doing.  Don't respond or respond minimally in a way that doesn't encourage her. 
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Just Lori

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2010, 05:06:17 PM »
If she can dish it out, can she take it?

Her:  Loud instrument, blah blah
You:  Great, we'll make sure she calls her favorite auntie at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday when she decides to practice!

Her:  Does she read Tolstoy, blah blah?
You:  Well, Tolstoy is a bit below her.  We've tried to keep her modest, because we don't want her to intimidate the adults around her.  For the sake of the gift, how about "The Little Engine that Could" or something else.

Her:  Comic book artists blah blah
You:  Oh dear, that sort of art is just too juvenile for her.  But if you want to buy a copy, I'm sure you'd enjoy having it for yourself.

I have a few sarcastic people in my life, and the only thing that shuts them up is to give it back.  If you're communicating electronically, you have some time to think.  If it's a RL conversation, sometimes you have to roll your eyes and say, "Uh. Huh.  I've heard a lot of clever things in my life, and that wasn't one of them.  How about those Bears?"

Everlee

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2010, 05:08:05 PM »
There's a difference between sarcasm and bullying and to me this sounds like she's a bully.  
I tend to be sarcastic about 75% of the time, but even I wouldn't go this far with it.

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2010, 05:10:22 PM »
The problem with perpetually sarcastic people is that they are tedious. 

Moderation is key when it comes to sarcasm.  If someone can't seem to ever have a straight up conversation without being sarcastic, that person is going to grate on my nerves to the point that I won't want to be around them.  I enjoy playful sarcastic banter as much as the next person, but when that's all there is?  No thanks.

I think you handled your sister pretty well.  Maybe if you stop giving her what she wants, which seems to be some kind of reaction, she will stop.  Has she always been desperate for attention?

Judah

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2010, 05:12:01 PM »
There's a difference between sarcasm and bullying and to me this sounds like she's a bully.  
I tend to be sarcastic about 75% of the time, but even I wouldn't go this far with it.

I agree that it must be frustrating and annoying to have to deal with someone who is sarcastic ALL THE TIME, but I don't see anything hurtful or bullying the examples given.  

OP, I think you've been handling your sister fine.  
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Sheila Take a Bow

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2010, 05:24:18 PM »
I'd keep ignoring the sarcasm and just answer questions straight out.  Hopefully eventually she will get the message that you are not going to respond to her sarcasm.

Does she treat only you this way?

As far as I know, yes, I'm the only one.  She likes to be sarcastic, but with others it's not a constant stream and it's not as mean-spirited.  (And I agree that the example I gave wasn't nearly as mean-spirited as sister can be, but I was hoping to show that she can't even have a mundane non-sarcastic conversation with me.)

I have been trying my best to ignore the sarcasm for a while now.  It wasn't always like this -- it's been especially bad since my mother died a few years ago.  I'm not entirely sure why.

Honestly, at this point I find her so unpleasant and tedious to be around that I tend to avoid her, and I do my best not to share personal information with her (which is sad, because we were once pretty close).

Her:  Loud instrument, blah blah
You:  Great, we'll make sure she calls her favorite auntie at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday when she decides to practice!
Just Lori, when I've tried giving it back to her it just turns her mean.  And I'd rather not poke the bear, you know?  I think she'd respond to a comment about a 6:30 am call with, "And then I'll just park outside your house every night at 3 am and honk until the whole neighborhood's awake, and then make sure to break your sprinklers so the lawn floods."

Squeaks

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2010, 05:24:39 PM »
Well you should work on not thinking she is making fun of you nor mocking you.  This is her humor, you do not have to like or get it, but it is not always about your or to you.

You can tell her flat out she is not cute or funny. . . she may get the message she may try harder.

Honestly I don't see the harm in what you posted.  I find humor in it.  (that is not to say that i don't believe you when you say she does other things, just this example is not that bad in my eyes)

I think there comes a point when it's less about the specific thing than it is about the annoyance of having someone completely disregard your preferences deliberately and repeatedly.  I'm capable of laughing at a horrible pun now and again, but people who try to get me to start appreciating them over and over and over and over again, then tell me I have no sense of humor, are not people I like to be around.

I did not say that it could not be an annoyance I just got the impression that the OP was taking it a bit seriously and personally.  I don't think that the sarcasm is meant as an attack on the OP nor even an deliberate attempt to annoy.  It is just an annoying personality quirk of the other person.  In my mind it is more akin to someone smacking their lips vs constant PA comments about someone's weight.  

I do think the sister should work out it out of consideration, but I also understand it may be hard if this is to natural to her.  Getting her to "get it" that it is annoying and what is annoying is about the same as asking the op to "get it"  you can only "Get" so much.

For the OP's example I could see myself making those jokes due to feeling utterly clueless about what to get a kid.  I could see myself tossing out absurd suggestions as an attempt to demonstrate how clueless I am.  

scansons

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Re: Tired of dealing with my sarcastic sister
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2010, 05:39:33 PM »
Three sarcastic replies to one simple question she asked and you answered.  That's just flat out overkill.  The worst part actually is her material is really repetitive.  We're still working on my four year old so he get's the a joke is only funny once think down. I'm hoping he gets it in a couple of years.  

May I suggest that the conversation should have gone something more like this.  

Her: What do you want child to have for Christmas.
You: Useful information.

Her: I'm going to get her an inappropriate gift.  
You: Useful information.  

Her: No, I'm going to get her a really inappropriate gift.  
You: *crickets*

Her: No seriously, it's going to be really really inappropriate.
You: *crickets*

Her: No seriously, it's going to be way over the top.
You: I understand.  The gift is the gift givers choice.

or

You: Indeed

or

You: I get the joke.  And moving on.  

In other words, I think you need to let her hear it loud and clear when one of her jokes flops repeatedly.  I'm betting you aren't the only one who finds her wit trying.