How Laughter and Humor Can Be Sources of Both Pain and Joy

by | Oct 24, 2021 | Highly Sensitive Person, HSP, Intrusive Thoughts, Relationships | 9 comments

Laughter is powerful. It can be a sign of deep comfort and intimacy, or a weapon used to reject and humiliate.  Some of us grew up in homes where jokes were plentiful but tears weren’t allowed; others may have felt that silliness or goofiness was frowned upon. For some, relationship anxiety attaches itself to questions like What if my partner isn’t funny enough? Or, Is my partner too silly? 

In this week’s Gathering Gold episode, Victoria and I are talking about the importance of keeping a sense of humor when doing inner work, while also meeting our pain around unkind joking, teasing or sarcasm. I share my own insecurities around humor, and address how family history and projection can play into humor-related relationship anxiety. 

Stay tuned to the *very* end of the episode to hear a blooper and some belly laughs from your hosts! 

Listen here, or wherever you enjoy your podcasts. As always, we look forward to hearing your comments.





  1. Great podcast. It definitely makes me think about how, with intrusive thoughts, my ability to laugh and what I laugh at is affected. I often find myself trying to suppress laughter if something scary is happening in my head at the same time.

    Or, last year my grandma invited me to watch this episode of Bones with her, which is my favorite episode because it’s so funny- they go to a wake for this guy who worked at the Jeffersonian and Brennan thinks he was murdered, so long story short, Cam and Booth help her steal the body so Cam can do her own autopsy, and Hodgins sees them take it while he’s giving his eulogy and starts babbling, then Angela gets involved, and eventually Sweets is the only one who has no idea what’s going on and unwittingly tells the undertaker (who stabbed the guy) that he didn’t have anything to worry about- it’s pure chaos and hilarity. But I went in there with her to watch it and felt like I couldn’t laugh, especially when Sweets was on the screen (it’s complicated but for some reason he’s a heavy target for my intrusive thoughts). That was last August or something and I haven’t watched it since.

    On a more positive note, one thing I do everyday to relax right now is watch Dharma & Greg or The Golden Girls, usually at night to help me sleep. And if anyone wants to giggle, I recommend searching Ellen Degeneres “5 second rule” and just marathon all those videos. Especially the one she did with Maya Rudolph.

    • Thanks for sharing these insights, Riley, and for the recommendations! I love Ellen :).

  2. I feel like you live in my relationship. Lol. Actually o told my boyfriend last Friday “we’re together because of Sheryl” he knows about you because I talk a lot to him and how you’ve taught me in the midst of my relation anxiety.
    This weekend I judged him and told him not to make weird jokes that nobody understands and he told me he’s aware of that and would try to change it. However I felt desperate because I don’t want to change him in his essence, and I realized that all my anger comes from the fear I HAVE of being judged and pointed as dumb as I used to do stupid questions and a lot of people always told me that I was weird and out of tone sometimes. I decided to change it because didn’t wanted people to perceive me as dumb, but I think I project it in my partner and I really don’t know how to proceed. Whether leave him fo his dumb jokes and chill or teach him in a lovely way to sometimes not say things that are “not funny”

    • I love the consciousness you’re showing regarding your process and how you’re aware that you’re projecting your own fears around judgement around humor onto your partner. Thank you for sharing :).

  3. Sheryl and Victoria, I am just loving your podcast. I had to spend some time in the car today, and so I listened to this episode and the one about School. I cried, I laughed, and I felt my soul hum with recognition and understanding. The presence and honesty you both bring to your conversations together is felt so deeply here on the other side of the world. I feel as if you’re both good, close friends – on a soul level I like to think that you are. I’m staggered at the wisdom and maturity Victoria emanates at the young age of 30. I love hearing the connection and regard and love the two of you share. I simply cannot tell you what it means to me to be able to tune into your voices and wisdom and insights in this way. The best thing the pandemic has delivered to my life (which sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I assure you is not). Thank you and keep them coming. You’ve asked for suggestions of tools for future episodes… I’d be really interested in your thoughts about the difference between commitment and true attachment in intimate relationships, and how relationship anxiety might show up even when commitment is solid and established, as a kind of holding back…? A deeper layer maybe? Anyway, thank you from the bottom of my deep grateful heart – a heart opened and soften by you both today.

    • Dearest Clara: Reading this is music to my soul this morning. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. It means the world to us and thank you for the topic suggestion! ❤️❤️❤️

      • Thank you Sheryl! And yes, that was a typo. I meant suggestions of topics, not tools! You knew what I meant. Xx

  4. I loved this episode ❤️ As an Irish person, please tell Victoria that I can attest that she’s correct in thinking deadpan/(gentle) sarcasm is very much our national humour style 😁🙈


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