Name Calling, Insults and Teasing

A Guide To Anger, Conflict and Respect

INSULTS: A COMIC STRIP LOVER’S GUIDE

Teasing is a game sometimes known as bantering, joshing, crackin’, rankin’, playing the dozens, trash talk, and infighting.  You are judged on the quality of your insults and also how well you keep your cool on being insulted.

Even the most mature people may like to play the teasing game, for they enjoy the duel of wits and the occasional humorous comeback.

Consider the following Calvin and Hobbes comic.

Our two friends are getting pretty silly in this exchange.  I guess being silly is part of the fun.

Mature people are distinguished from immature people in this game, not by how silly the interactions are, but by their lack of desire to hurt somebody in this game.  They realize that the smiles and the lighthearted tone they try to set throughout the game sometimes mask real tensions.  Thus, they keep their senses tuned to the subtleties of the repartee, and know when to back off when things begin to get too serious.

Immature people can come across as mean when they tease.

In the above Peanuts comic, Lucy ends up smiling even though Violet ends up feeling upset.  I would have liked Lucy to show some concern about how Violet ends up feeling.

It is certainly understandable why Violet ends up feeling upset.  We all have a strong desire to be liked.  The fact that there are other people watching while Lucy teases Violet can make dealing with the teasing even harder.  But what if Violet, instead of going away looking upset, ended up responding to Lucy in the following way?

“Good one, Lucy!” says Violet with a smile.  “I guess you won this round.  Well done!”  Then Violet gives Lucy a respectful nod of her head before going on her way.

If Violet would have acted this way, it would have shown the other kids that she can take a little teasing without getting upset.  This seems to many people a sign of maturity.  We can’t expect everyone to have this level of maturity.

Apparently, in the comic below, Calvin went a little too far in his teasing.

I think a conflict has sprung up.

When I think about a conflict I think about the word DIG.  That reminds me to dig to find in the situation the desire, what is interfering with the desire, and someone who feels someone is guilty of doing something wrong.

DIG=Desire, Interfering, and Guilt

In the above comic, Calvin desires to create a situation that would lead to some fun but perceives his actions have led to a situation that is interfering with fun.  He feels he is guilty of doing something wrong.

Troubled by how Susie has reacted, Calvin becomes sad, and then he turns a bit angry.  It seems to me that his genuine concern for Susie’s feelings is a sign of emerging maturity.

In our next comic strip, we see Susie’s reaction to Calvin’s teasing.

The sadness that Susie feels is coupled with her recognition that, without Calvin, she would feel even lonelier than she does.

How might Calvin handle this situation?

Apologizing, for Calvin, is not an easy thing to do.  I wonder why?

In the next comic, we see that Susie is still trying to deal with Calvin’s insults.

Susie realizes that although words don’t hurt your body like sticks and stones, they still can hurt quite a bit.

When Calvin goes over to Susie to make up, he finds that it’s a struggle.

Sometimes when we try to fix a problem it doesn’t work.  That doesn’t mean we have to give up.  We can try again.

Sometimes someone who enjoys teasing does so in a manner that looks to someone watching on as not fun.

At other times, people who tease don’t realize that they really have created a very uncomfortable situation.

Sometimes when people call you names or insult you in some other way, you may not be sure why they are doing this.  One thing to try is to say, “I’m not sure why you are trying to put me down.  Is everything okay?  Are you mad at me about something?”

This often leads to the insulter revealing what is actually motivating this behavior.  But if the insulter walks away, and then begins to insult you on another occasion, it’s time to go down a list of other desires that motivate insults. By becoming familiar with these other desires, confusion can oftentimes be quickly brought under control and a plan generated to address the concerns of all involved parties.

Eight Different Reasons Why People Use Name Calling, Insults and Teasing

If you follow this blog you will become familiar with eight different desires that can motivate name calling and teasing.  This will help you to spot them even when you are beginning to feel defensive.  When you learn to see the real desire motivating the criticism, you will find it much easier to act wisely.

Below is the list of the eight desires.  It might be wise to print out this list and place it in a convenient place.  Then, whenever you are called names or teased, you can get it out.  By going down the list you might more quickly figure out what is going on.

The Eight Reasons for Insults List

The desires that oftentimes motivate name calling, insults and teasing are:

1. The desire to encourage or discourage some action.

2.  The desire to release stress because the criticizer is in a bad mood.

3.  The desire to take out on you what someone else did to the insulter.

4.  The desire to be left alone for some quiet time.

5. The desire to form a bond with a group by putting down non-group members.

6. The desire to test someone to determine worthiness to be admitted into a group.

7. Jealousy.

8. Playful teasing.

Well, there you have it, the eight desires that lead to name calling, insults and teasing.  You can already find some suggestions for dealing with most of the various types of desires from checking out some earlier posts.

  1. Criticism designed to encourage you to improve (see RESPONDING TO CRITICISM: FOUR LEVELS OF MATURITY and RESPONDING TO CRITICISM: THE MOST MATURE LEVEL)
  2. Playful teasing (see MAKING THE BUS MONITOR CRY: RATING HER RESPONSE)
  3. The desire to form a bond with a group by putting down non-group members (see MAKING THE BUS MONITOR CRY: WHY THE BOYS DID IT)
  4. Jealousy (see BEING CRITICIZED BECAUSE OF JEALOUSY)
  5. The criticizer is in a bad mood (see RESPONDING TO CRITICISM WHEN IT IS BEING PROVIDED BECAUSE THE CRITICIZER IS IN A BAD MOOD)

In future blog posts we’ll explore all of these issues more thoroughly.

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Some people will enjoy reading this blog by beginning with the first post and then moving forward to the next more recent one; then to the next one; and so on. This permits readers to catch up on some ideas that were presented earlier and to move through all of the ideas in a systematic fashion to develop their emotional and social intelligence. To begin at the very first post you can click HERE.

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12 thoughts on “INSULTS: A COMIC STRIP LOVER’S GUIDE

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