Therapist says I'm funny because of some deep and lingering psychological damage and a rapacious need to be loved. "Yay! I'm funny!"
and this response to a thread about why people tell jokes:
then there are those of us who tell jokes to get people to like us while also keeping them emotionally distant #therapy_baby!
Yeah, I favorited both of those. You could say that they hit close to home.
I always knew that I used humor as a defense mechanism/coping mechanism/way to get people to like me. I just don't think I realized the extent of it until Alan began to call me out on it. It turns out that the extent of it is, well, extensive.
I'm not sure it's deep and lingering psychological damage in my case though. It seems in large part to just come down to a case of middle child syndrome. Whenever I've read about birth order characteristics, I've seen middle children described as peacemakers. I don't know though if I could be considered a peacemaker so much as just a conflict avoider. I don't like to get into conflict and I also don't like to witness it. So if it looks like there's going to be conflict, I default to cutting the tension with humor. This is usually in the form of a joke at my own expense since I'm an easy target and making fun of myself isn't likely to upset anybody else.
Middle children are also described as attention-seekers. Well. I could dispute that on the basis of my total aversion to having people look at me, except for all of the attention-seeking that I do via the internet. Twitter is sort of the ultimate example and it is a double-edged sword in that regard. I get a lot of positive feedback from Twitter. It's the kind of people-think-I'm-funny ego-stroking that you can't usually get in real life. Except when it isn't. Because it also reinforces every "if I'm not funny, people will leave me" insecurity that I have. Have an unfunny day, lose multiple followers.
But it also comes from a feeling that funny is what I have to offer. I was never the pretty girl, never good at sports, never socially adept. I have smart and funny. Smart doesn't always win you friends, I find, but funny will help you out almost everywhere. Plus if that's all people see, then if they don't like me, it's not personal. They just don't have a very good sense of humor.
I don't want to insinuate though that I think the funny is all an act. Sure, it's armor to some extent, but that doesn't make it not part of me. I have no plans to abandon humor. The trick is to know when to turn it off. Sometimes conflict needs to happen and making a joke doesn't do anybody any favors. Sometimes I need to trust people enough to let them see what's behind the funny. Terrifying though both of those things may be.
Occasionally, I can even end a blog post without a joke. Look at that.