Do you remember the last time you laughed without judgment? Count anything from a giggle to laughing until your sides hurt. Can you remember the last time you did that?
Narcissists have an ability to kill comedy (or a general good mood) by being present. I remember watching a sitcom. I think I made a small motion like giggling softly and shaking my head after a line was delivered. One of my narcissists was sitting behind me, and she said, “I’m glad I’m not like her.”
I turned to look at her and turned back while thinking, “You’re exactly like her.”
At the time, I think I chalked it up to her choosing not to see how overbearing she was in her own actions. That was the first and last time we ever watched that show together. Her comment did two things:
- Made the show less enjoyable. Every time I watched, it got less funny because I saw myself in the position of the character always dealing with the problematic neighbor/relative. I saw her misery, the constant intrusion of the antagonist, and the lack of protection or support from the primary character.
- Made me more aware of her sensitivity to what is comical, especially if her actions are painted as undesirable.
You’ve likely stifled laughter or monitored yourself because you didn’t want there to be a killjoy conversation because “Jane” took it personally. You may have found yourself forcing smiles when she told jokes or giggled because it seemed polite to let her know you acknowledged she was trying to be funny. However, you probably found yourself growing more uncomfortable because the things she found amusing disturbed you, such as a normal conversation that suddenly switched to her making fun of someone she didn’t like.
While this might not rate high on the scale of problems narcissists created for you, it still tends to be part of the compounding problem. You had to be aware that your reaction could set them off – part of “walking on eggshells.” We waited for signals to relax and enjoy something.
If you didn’t know that you have permission, laugh. Laugh hard and laugh often. Laugh until you forget what was funny.
“Laughter is the best medicine.”
I don’t think that laughter will fix everything, but it does make living better. I often feel things are easier to handle and have even found that bringing a light moment to an incredibly tense situation has turned a potentially explosive situation to one that ended on a good note for all involved.
Some of the health benefits include:
- Lowers agitation and anxiety
- Increases the ability to tolerate pain
- Raises the endorphins (makes you feel good)
- Activates dopamine (brain interprets laughter as a reward)
- Increases heart and respiratory rate before going to a state of relaxation (can equate to an aerobic workout depending on length and heartiness of laughter)
- Stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles
- Improves your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that fight stress or more serious illnesses
- Helps fight depression by improving your mood
At the end of the day, don’t you just want to feel good? Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a comedy.
Frasier “Buttons and Bows”
“Laughing Quadruplet Babies!”
Resources for more information:
“Stress Relief from Laughter? It’s No Joke.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed May 1, 2022. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456.
Rindfleisch, J. Adam., MPhil, MD. “The Healing Benefits of Humor and Laughter.” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Benefits and Healthcare. Updated 2018. https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/tools/healing-benefits-humor-laughter.asp.