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To think 'banter' in this case is bullying, bitchy and other b words

(25 Posts)
Banterisbull Mon 13-Nov-17 20:12:31

My DP has always had a relationship with his sister where they call each other names, possibly more from his side than hers. The stuff that's made me uncomfortable in the past has been him teasing her over getting too old to conceive etc in front of their parents, who just lightly go, 'oh don't be so mean'. Anyway, now she's pregnant, it's stepped up a notch, to include constant remarks about how fat she looks, letting herself go etc. I've told DP how awful this is. His response is, 'but it's true. she doesn't mind'. And she responds in a lighthearted way. She's also married someone who she is exactly the same with ie. they call each other the c word, berate each other about their weight etc. AND on top of this, their work environment is the same - they work together - and other men at work have told her how fat she is etc (don't think it comes from the women, from what I can tell). DP and SIL say this is banter.
I think a) they wouldn't say it to their mum and b) if anyone spoke to dd like that I think and hope DP would be furious.
My worry is that DD will see how DP is with his sister and how she is with her husband and get a warped idea of how men can talk to and about women. That what I consider bullying, disrespectful and mean is just 'banter'. I really think banter is just bullying under a different name designed to make the victim seem like they have 'no sense of humour' if they get upset. I think they're being immature twats quite honestly.
I can't make DP see sense, although I haven't suggested a) and b) to him yet.
What do you think? Is this kind of interaction okay if both parties seem okay with it? What do I tell DD?
NC for this one.

MaisyPops Mon 13-Nov-17 20:18:53

The difference between banter and bullying is whether both parties find it funny, not whether some outsider likes it.

There are things I take the mick out of DH for and things he does out of me. It is banter because whilst it would be unacceptable to others and outsiders it is funny to the 2 of us.

Samr with my siblings. There are jokes we make abouy each other which are all in good humour that would be meab if directed to someone else but again it's all in good humour.

I'll be honest, i don't think someone can decude from the outside if something is banter or not.
If all parties are fine with it then for someone outside to start being judgey and deciding that it is bullying is a little 'get on a self rightous soapbox' for my liking

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 20:24:08

For me I hate that kind of interaction. There is nothing wrong with having a joke amongst relatives & friends/colleagues but once you lose respect and boundaries are then crossed there is no going back. There's no respect there and where will this end? One day one of the parties concerned will take it too far and actually offend the other if this hasn't happened already. People may be laughing it off but how do we know they're not hurt underneath? It's easy to just put a smile on and say you're fine but are they? I think you feel insecure enough when pregnant without being called names by those who should be being the most supportive. I hate when people call pregnant women fat as it's not fat they're carrying a child and I always think some of these men have beer bellies and are the ones that have the nerve to say it! If that was my DP talking like that to somebody like you I'd not be happy. A joke is a joke but who is laughing and when it's at always at somebody else's expense it becomes insulting. The workplace sounds like a very immature and not very nice place to work.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 20:27:07

banter can be funny but it can also be on bad taste of it offends the other person or those around. I'm surprised that kind of behaviour is allowed in the workplace as it could offend other employees.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 20:27:32

in bad taste if it*

HateHomework Mon 13-Nov-17 20:27:34

Not sure it's bullying but doesn't mean the interaction is ok... it obviously impacts people outside them (I.e you) so this needs to be considered . TBH I'd be annoyed if I told dh something as obvious as that and how it can impact DD and he still doesn't give a fuck!

Carouselfish Mon 13-Nov-17 20:29:33

But Maisy how does the OP's DD know that it is just banter? For me, I don't get what it adds to a situation. If something's a joke, it should be funny. Just insulting your other half isn't funny.

MaisyPops Mon 13-Nov-17 20:53:26

ButMaisyhow does the OP's DD know that it is just banter?
Because you just tell them
Considering we manage to teach the difference between bullying an banter from y7 upwards it's not that difficult.
All participants find it funny and are in on it - banter
Someone in it doesn't find it funny - not banter

For me, I don't get what it adds to a situation. If something's a joke, it should be funny. Just insulting your other half isn't funny
To you maybe.
But I don't like the comedian Milton Jones but I wouldn't say 'jokes are meant to be funny and he isn't funny'.
Lots of mine and DH's banter is based on in jokes we've built over the years.
If someone wanted to tell us not to joke with each other because they wanted to inform us that we weren't funny and it's bullying then i'd find it a little bizarre and think they were odd.

DJBaggySmalls Mon 13-Nov-17 20:57:22

If his sister doesn't do it as much or doesn't initiate it very often, I'd assume she does it out of habit rather than pleasure. Why he cant talk in any other way to his sister, and what he will be like with his daughter as she gets older?

Ilovetolurk Mon 13-Nov-17 20:59:45

At least they’re not calling each other an immature twat behind each other’s back

Oddmanout Mon 13-Nov-17 21:07:37

I'm with MaisyPops its between the people doing it and if they're both happy then its fine - me and my wife are like this - she's worse than me!

HateHomework Mon 13-Nov-17 21:10:38

Odd nole it's not just between the people doing it, Op's dh lives with his wife and daughter, and his actions affect them

HateHomework Mon 13-Nov-17 21:10:50


Julie8008 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:13:23

I'm with MaisyPops its between the people doing it and if they're both happy then its fine - me and my wife are like this - she's worse than me!

^^ This ;)

MaisyPops Mon 13-Nov-17 21:13:30

Op's dh lives with his wife and daughter, and his actions affect them
So teach the daughter that people construct their own in jokes and boundaries as part of creating and sustaining relationships.

If the OP as a grown adult is offended by 2 adults joking with each other by mutully ripping each other then she needs ti chill out a bit.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:13:32

And office colleagues could be affected as well by sounds of things. If you're behaviour offending others than it's not okay and when those people your wife/daughter than it's one to give a dam.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:13:49


Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 21:14:29

Then* your*

Banterisbull Mon 13-Nov-17 22:04:03

I could understand more if it was something that patently wasn't true, but when it's an insult that to DP IS actually true (fwiw I don't think she's put on an abnormal amount of weight aside from baby, he keeps going on about her 'enormous thighs'), then it seems more like an insult than a joke iyswim. Sorry if drip feed, but he talks about SIL in the same way when she's not there, thinking that I should find it amusing, since she does.
Our DD is too young to understand the difference Maisypops.
I don't see how it can't chip away at your self-esteem if males on all sides of your life are saying negative things about your appearance albeit with a grin on their face.

N0tfinished Mon 13-Nov-17 22:06:35

My DH & I are like that. It can be funny & makes difficult situations more easier, but I have to admit sometimes I feel like it’s a cycle we’re trapped in. There are often times when I don’t like it... it’s thinly veiled passive aggressiveness. I’m finding it difficult to break out of. I try to be direct but DH and his family are world champions at avoiding speaking their minds.

Banterisbull Mon 13-Nov-17 22:07:10

Interesting that a lot of people are saying I'm being oversensitive on this one though. I had a couple of friends of friends who were similarly insulting to each other at a new years party and that made me feel really awkward. So maybe it is my problem.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 22:30:21

I have a friend who has a relationship like Notfinished describes and it had got out of hand. My friend hates it and just wants her DP to quit the jokes that are always at her expense. She makes them back due to feeling pressured to 'lighten up.' It's horrible really, he talks to her like a doormat and she takes it all on the name of 'banter.'

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 22:30:47


Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 22:32:51

No it's not your problem banterbull any couples I know of like that are literally the most unhappy ones I know. I've found on my experience that both parties haven't been equally quite as into it as in the case of my friend.

Bella8 Mon 13-Nov-17 22:33:20


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