It seems you really love her and value her for her sense of humour.
And it appears she too enjoys your antics.
I truly believe that you do not mean to put her down or degrade her in public.
I just want to tell you my story.
My boyfriend also pushed me around and played practical jokes that made people cringe. We giggled at those pranks together. He was so ecstatic to have found, after a long long search, that one girl who “gets” his sense of humour.
If anyone tried to accuse him of abuse, I swiftly and firmly came to his defense. “I do it to him too. This is our relationship, and we are having mutual fun. Don’t judge!”
He had no reason to doubt me.
I felt so special and valuable. I’m the only person who he trusts with his sense of humour. I’m singular.
It became his answer to “what do you love about her?”
He would play those seemingly overboard pranks more frequently and more publicly to showcase how in-tune and how singular we were. Not to put me down. But to put me up. To celebrate me. To show me and our shared sense of humour off.
The more people protested, the more strongly he confirmed that I was his one and only. No one else will “get” him as I did. More and more he appreciated me, praised me, loved me, bragged about me, and treasured me.
Except I was putting on a facade.
The first couple of times he pushed me, I laughed it off because I wanted to avoid an awkward confrontation and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Then he exploded in this awe and love of what he perceived as my acceptance of his pranks.
It made me feel so special and secure. And I got addicted to feeling that.
As long as I made him believe I was enjoying his pranks, he was mine, and I never ever had to worry about him leaving me.
The more public and more violent the prank, which caused firmer and more public criticism, the more secure I felt because it emphasised to him how rare and special I was.
But the truth is this.
He pushed me harder than my body and mind’s threshold for funny.
He pushed me into tables, knocking things over, which caused me to feel bad.
He caused bruises and scratches, which I made me feel embarrassed and I put great effort into hiding.
He pushed so unexpectedly that my sense of control was chipped away.
I no longer felt in control of my body because I allowed it to be pushed. I no longer felt in control of my mind because I was addicted to being able to secure our relationship by simply laughing.
Till the very last moment, I defended him.
I still defend him, I hope you know.
I was the one who put him in the dark.
I caused him to believe I truly enjoyed his shoving of me.
I even caused him to think that, if he stops it, I’ll enjoy our relationship less.
Then I broke. He lost me. And I lost him. And I lost myself.
So, again, I believe you have no malice. I believe you’re unaware. I believe you love her.
Let me suggest you an experiment.
Do not play pranks on her for at least two months.
Tell her constantly about her other wonderful qualities: add one new one every day.
If she asks about pranks, tell her you’re distracted by enjoying her other qualities.
Make sure that, just in case she is in my position, you’re replacing the security that her acceptance of pranks was proving her.
And observe both you and her.
If she tries to make you bring back the pranks, does the effort seem like a play or like the desperation of a woman who thinks she’s about to lose her man?
If you thought, while reading this post or during the experiment, “but I enjoy the pranks,” remember that “I” does not consider her feelings. And that’s abuse. Straight up.
I am not a psychologist of any kind with no background in psychology. All I’m doing here is sharing my personal experience and opinions. Please consult a professional before trying anything I suggest in this blog.