The only funny thing about sarcasm is that it's not really about the person it's aimed at. It's all about the person who delivers the sarcasm. There may be a small amount of truth in a sarcastic remark, but most of the time the truth is altered to make the recipient look bad, and then exaggerated greatly. People who are sarcastic to you are not telling you a real truth about yourself in an unkind fashion. They are actually telling you something about themselves.
The best way to handle sarcasm is to understand why people behave this way. Once you realise the reason behind their sarcasm you can let go of any personal feelings of humiliation, hurt or anger, and take what they say less personally. You may even go as far as using other peoples sarcasm as a psychological tool to help you learn more about them as individuals. At the very least you can prevent yourself from becoming upset by malicious comments.
People are sarcastic for the following reasons.
# They are insecure
# They have pent up anger
# They have been psychologically wounded in the past
# They genuinely believe they are funny
By taking each of the above reasons and delving deeper into them you can begin to understand them more fully, so that you no-longer need to take sarcastic remarks on the chin.
People who are insecure are sometimes sarcastic because they don't know how to genuinely speak up for themselves and say what's on their mind. Delivering a message tinged with humor, is a far easier way for an insecure person to speak up than it is to be straightforward.
Another reason an insecure person may use sarcasm is to bolster their own ego. By putting someone else down they experience a sense of having propelled themselves up into a higher position than that person. They use one upmanship to dent others egos while fueling their own.
You can deal with sarcasm from an insecure person by recognising where they are coming from. Someone who is sarcastic to you because they want to stroke their own ego can be shot down in flames if you turn the tables on them.Try a comment such as, "on my road to perfection I often come across stumbling blocks, how about you?"
A sarcastic comment from someone who wants to tell you something that's difficult for them to say as they have little confidence, can be met with a return comment comprising of honesty. Pick out the message that's being delivered without the sarcasm, and repeat it back to the deliverer of the message.
This way they either have to let go of the subject or own up to their real feelings and be frank and open with you so that you can communicate more proficiently together.
Sarcastic people are often this way because they are angry. Even though the sarcasm is aimed at you, you are not necessarily the cause of their angst, but never the less pay the price for their negativity.
If you think that the sarcasm you experience comes from an angry person you can either try and help them, if it's someone you care about, or, you can give them the brush off by behaving as-though you couldn't care less about what they say about you.
Someone you care for can be helped if you lend them your shoulder and a listening ear to help them offload their problem by sharing it with you. However, sarcasm isn't an attractive form of communication and for your own self esteem you should still point out to them that you would appreciate it if they didn't use you at a butt for their hard feelings.
# Psychological pain
People who have been hurt or abused can end up as sarcastic individuals. Their sarcasm is a form of defence. They use it as a shield against the world to protect them. By being sarcastic they defend themselves, even when it's unnecessary, at the same time as alienating others who might other-wise become close to them. When people develop a relationship with them and they end up caring for them, they feel as though they are in danger of being hurt all over again. So they upset, annoy or hurt people who may have been interested in them otherwise.
Simply understanding that the sarcasm is a cry for help and a form of defense can aid you in dealing with the situation. You may not know how to help the individual, and you may not even want to, but just knowing that their remarks come from a sad place, rather than really being about you can be useful to you.
# Lack of humor recognition
At times people get rewarded for their sarcastic remarks. Listeners nervously giggle as they don't know what to say, or worse still they team up with the sarcastic individual because they are glad not to be on the receiving end themselves and find protection in their behavior.
Because of this the sarcasm continues unchecked and the sarcastic individual learns that it's good to be this way. Sometimes they genuinely think they are funny and use sarcasm to attempt to make friends! If this is the case some straight talking should do the trick. Let them know that what they are saying isn't amusing to you, and that it is actually hurtful on occasion.
Once they realise their mistake they are less likely to continue the behavior. If sarcasm has become a habit though, it may take a little time for the message to really hit home. You can discourage them by making sure that you never act like you find their sarcasm funny when they are aiming it at some other unfortunate individual, and by being honest about how you really feel.