Posted by: Judy | May 11, 2012

Chapter 12 review…

The sense of humor is absolutely invaluable. Cultivate. Use it. EVERY DAY!

As I was walking earlier this week, I was thinking about what I wanted to write for this review. What did I feel I’ve learned during this time I’ve been mulling over this chapter?

I thought of Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I read it for a Science Fiction class, in high school. I didn’t like it. I found it depressing. I was half way through when I reached the scene where the protagonist finally comes to understand humor. He is at the zoo, watching the monkeys. Everyone is laughing as all the monkeys pick on one monkey. He comes to the conclusion that humor is laughing at things that would otherwise make us cry.

The definition never felt quite right to me. Then, on my walk the other day it hit me: What a narcissistic thing to say. Narcissists enjoy inflicting pain on their victims, but expect tea and sympathy when they are in pain.

They were laughing at bullying, a narcissist’s mainstay. It’s why bullying doesn’t go away. Someone else finds it funny, so it gains acceptance as a laugh. I’m learning to separate what I think is funny from what pleases me. When the villain “gets it” in the end, it may be done in a humorous fashion, but I know my true feeling is a sense of victory, and sometimes the laughter expresses the joy of winning.

Perhaps that’s the subtle difference I’ve never noted before. Laughter and humor are not the same thing. Laughter is a physical expression of an emotion. Humor is a way of looking at things.

In the book, as far as I remember, there was no exploration of the silly or absurd or whimsical. Knock-knock jokes are silly, but we still laugh at them. It’s a child’s first foray into the world of inciting laughter. They want that sound, that feeling. There’s the silliness of what our pets do to please us.

Narcissists don’t have a proper sense of humor. Laughing about the absurdity of their behavior frees me from their control, because they don’t know what to make of me. When I’m having trouble laughing at the insanity of it all, it’s usually because I’m weighted by something else, and the narcissistic nonsense is one more brick. However, it’s becoming easier and easier to unload that brick from my pile. I’m going to keep practicing.

This post wouldn’t be complete without something fun. Thank you FaceBook:


  1. Good idea… they won’t know what to make of it if you are laughing at he situation (or even just smiling). But you’ll definitely be winning.

    Keep up the good work!

    On a different but related topic (peer pressure makes kids laugh at someone else bullying another kid), I hate it when people laugh at alcoholic/drinking jokes… or worse yet, at true stories of people being drunk and doing stupid things. It’s really not funny at all, and when we laugh at alcohol-related “humor”, we are teaching kids that it’s fine to laugh at it. People and alcohol have ruined so many millions of lives, for thousands of years.

    • (((Mary)))

  2. I didn’t care for Stranger in a Strange Land either. I also despise bullying — always have had a real issue with it. I was only bullied by my parents, but I was always befriending the bullied or reading the bully the riot act. Maybe it was me vicariously defending myself.

    I also find humor to be one of life’s greatest gifts. My son teases me because I am so easily amused, but I think he also likes that about me. I think I like it about me too.

    • Isn’t that “funny?” Defending others but not ourselves? My third counselor actually used that to help me. When I shared some mistreatment he’d ask me what my response would be if it had been my daughter. What a difference!

      “I also find humor to be one of life’s greatest gifts. My son teases me because I am so easily amused, but I think he also likes that about me. I think I like it about me too.” This made me smile. πŸ™‚

      • Your post inspired me to write a little about bullying today. πŸ™‚

        • Thanks for mentioning it here! It showed up in my email, but when I clicked on the link it said there was a mistake. Because of your comment here, I went and found your post. πŸ™‚

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