Public Putdowns

Jul 29, 2022

One night when Trisha and I were on a date I asked her a question that I wasn’t sure I wanted her to answer honestly. I asked her “What is something that I consistently do that hurts you?” Her answer surprised me, not because she said it, but because it was so obvious, and I never realized it. She said, “You consistently put me down in front of other people. It hurts my feelings and makes me feel devalued.” Immediately, I began to think of several times in recent months I had made fun of something she said, something she did, something she failed to do all in an attempt to make myself look better, feel better, or seem better.

Realizing that just destroyed me. The Bible says that out of the overflow of our heart our mouth speaks. I think this is something a lot of us struggle with. Trisha and I meet with couples often, and we can tell a lot about how the couple is doing not just by how they talk TO each other, but how they talk ABOUT each other. Our words carry so much power. Power to hurt, power to heal, power to build up, power to tear down.

Putting someone down isn’t an indictment on them as much as it is on me. What it communicates to others is I’m insecure; I have to put someone else down to feel better about myself; I don’t feel comfortable in how you are accepting me, so I will attempt to make someone else look bad, so I will be accepted; I am not comfortable in my own skin, so I am going to make fun of you so others don’t notice my flaws as much; My heart cares more about me, than it does about you.

Is there someone in your life that you take pride in making fun of in front of others? Maybe its your wife, maybe a friend, maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend, maybe a coworker. The relationship you desire to have with that person will always be lacking because insecurity and jealousy rule your heart.

How much deeper could your friendships be if you acknowledged this struggle? How much better would your marriage be if you stopped making fun of your husband in front of others? How much better would your relationship with your kids be if you didn’t put them down in front of their friends? How much better would your work environment be if you refused to make yourself feel better at a co-worker’s expense?

Anyone else struggle with public put downs? Either receiving them or dishing them out?