Why Are Some People So Mean?
According to most dictionaries, meanness is a personal quality characterized by bullying, aggression, cruelty, and ruthlessness. Noah Webster defines the word as the act of being cruel with the goal of receiving excellence, power, and rank by criticizing others.
Unintentional meanness refers to behavior done by a person that was perceived by the recipient to be hurtful, but it was never intended to be that way.
There is no doubt that malicious meanness is deliberately carried out to hurt someone. Some acts are a mixture of both unintentional and malicious behavior.
Mean-spirited describes someone who is unkind, cruel, malicious or deliberately hurtful. That type of person is someone who loves to see others fail.
Mean-spirited people treat others in a spiteful way by being unkind. Their acts include teasing, calling negative names or deliberately not permitting them to do something. They often put others down in public by making fun of them. It is a long list of things these people do to make themselves feel more important than their subject. Bullies fall into this category.
Mean-spirited people behave badly but believe they are doing nothing wrong. In fact, they accuse their victims of being sensitive and thin-skinned. They often say their victims deserve it.
Some people can be mean occasionally, but others are that way all the time. They thrive on being offensive and hurtful toward others. They pick the people they want to hurt because they know they can get away with it.
- Some people hurt others just to get attention and become noticed themselves.
- Some people try to protect their own low self-esteem feel better by becoming superior to someone else.
- People control and hurt them because they are jealous of those they criticize.
- To feel more powerful, some people believe they must put others down to do so.
How to Call Out a Mean Person
A mean person might claim he is not that way. In that case, you need to call out the mean person.
- Confront the person and be brave and confident about it.
- Point out the hurtful behavior.
- Let the person know how his behavior affects you.
Unless it is a family member or a co-worker you have to deal with all the time, it might not be worth the effort in trying to rationalize with the person who mistreats you occasionally. Just stay away from him or her because it is very hard to stop that type of person from acting that way toward you, especially if he has been doing it for a long time.
Most people are mean because of some flaw in their own character or distortion in their own thinking. It is usually not about you unless you have done something hurtful to them.
How Not to Be Mistreated
Almost everyone has had to deal with hurtful people at some time in their lives. There are ways you can try which may or may not stop them from mistreating you.
- You may not be able to control the person’s behavior, but you can control how you respond to it.
- Control the times you interact with the person. Refrain from socializing with that type of person.
- Stand up for yourself. Be straightforward and let people know that you will not allow yourself to be walked over.
- Instead of avoiding the person, go out of your way to be nice. However, many who have tried this method say it just doesn't work.
How to Shelter Yourself
There are ways to shelter yourself from a person who usually hurts you.
- Avoid the person, whenever it is possible. If you know someone is going to mistreat you, keep your distance from that person. Do not make it easy for the person to hurt you.
- Keep encounters short in those cases when you must be in the person's presence.
- Communicate via email if you know the person is going to snap at you for no reason if you talk in person.
- When encountering an undesirable person face-to-face, do not engage in long conversations. Say what you have to say and move on.
Don't feel bad about yourself when someone mistreats you. Don't get involved in any pettiness. Pity them and focus on living your own life.
Positive Words to Victims
Sometimes people mistreat others just to get a reaction. You can control whether or not they will get a reaction from you.
Most people who are mean have some flaws in their lives. Know that unless you have done something significant against that person, it is not about you.
You should know that you are not at fault for the way someone treats you. You are not wearing a sign that says, "Mistreat Me." Recognize that you don't deserve to be treated that way.
The way you are treated might not be about you at all. It is often because of a disturbance in the person's own life. There may be a deeper issue that the person is using negative behavior to project onto someone else. Sometimes, the biggest bully is the one who has been bullied himself.
The person is often rewarded when the attack is successful and the recipient is made to feel bad about himself. However, the recipient's participation is needed.
Things to do or not to do:
- Do not participate in order for mistreatment to be successful.
- Don't feel bad about yourself when someone mistreats you for no apparent reason.
- Recognize that unless you have done something that clearly hurts someone else, you are not the cause of the bad behavior projected onto you.
- Don't base your self-worth on the way someone treats or mistreats you.
- Pity people, and don't take their problem upon yourself.
- Do not give mean people ruin your life.