Fire or Hurt? The Dark Side of Snark

On Monday Alycia stopped by and left a comment that made me realize I have been ignoring the “Dark Side of Snark” in my discussion and that the conversation wouldn’t be completely useful without it, so I asked her if she would like to expound on her thoughts. Happily she said yes! As someone who, in my opinion, could rightfully dwell in the dark side of snark (read all about her powerful story here) I am particularly impressed with the grace she brings to the topic. I think you will be too.

Cross Stitch by Amy Jensen

If you haven’t seen the definition here of “Snark,” here it is:

Snark- Giving a voice to the the feisty, straight talking beacon of authenticity within us.

What if your authentic self is ticked off, afraid or just unwilling to own your negative feelings?

Sure, what comes out is feisty and straight talking, but it is a sharp barbed volley of wit with the intention of letting your heart out with the ability to hide behind the snark.

Lately, I have been guilty of hurtful snark. There have been some situations and people who have hurt me, but I’m unwilling to own that anger right now.

Is my anger justified? Absolutely.
Is my snark justified? Absolutely NOT (under-any-circumstances-so-help-me-God!)

Angry snark is never justifiable. It’s the witty, sarcastic person’s place of refuge when hurt. It’s a verbal place we go to that let’s us hide a little of the truth inside a smile. Sneaking its way out surrounded by a laugh, it is our protection method against having to be truly authentic when we are unprepared to own our feelings.

Note: At no time did I insinuate that your unwillingness to own your feelings is wrong, but the mean snark; that’s wrong.

Sometimes we are too immature in a new feeling of hurt, anger, grief, etc. to know how to process it and how to communicate about it effectively. Especially when another party becomes involved somehow.

One recent memory of this angry snark is a big one. I was freshly widowed two days out and a friend said, “well, at least you didn’t have to finish out a messy divorce.”

I was in an immature place with my feelings of grief, anger and sadness. I couldn’t make sense out of my own feelings, much less share them coherently with someone else.

My response, “yeah, because that would have been so much more traumatic for the young kids than death. Thankfully I know that there are people in the world like you who understand so well what we are going through.”

Total snark coming from a hard place. I resorted to a cheap, back handed response rather than a response from my heart. I didn’t come out better for saying it; she didn’t come out better for me saying it.

Snark when used as a witty banter of an authentic self is a beautiful thing. It shows our fire, our spirit and our love of ping-pong type communication with others.

So now I question my heart before I let the snark out. Am I showing my fire? Am I showing my hurt?

How about you?
Has there been a time that you can recall that you used snark as a defense mechanism?
Was it because you were immature in your emotional process or were you uncomfortable owning your true feelings?


Alycia Neighbours is the author of “Diary of ‘…and frankly'” and volunteer contributing writer to Hope Springs International. She writes from an authentic place of past pain as a domestic abuse survivor, suicide survivor and the hope of a newlywed in a real-life version of The Brady Bunch of 7 children. Whether using humor or inspiration, she writes about the little moments in our lives that can teach us the biggest lessons. Alycia’s writing uses a style of casual conversation over a virtual cup of coffee, inviting her readers to journey through pain and hope while keeping an eye on the silver lining.

5 thoughts on “Fire or Hurt? The Dark Side of Snark

    • It’s an amazingly fine line. I think a lot of times the thing that hits me the hardest is that I have done it without the other person realizing I was being hurtful. Perhaps I didn’t even realize it at first, but by the time it flies out, I know I meant it to sting.
      So many foot in mouth situations you would think I was a whole lot more flexible. Thanks for commenting Sandi!

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