Everyone has been in a situation where they have been put down by another person. It can be very demoralizing and make you feel like you’re not good enough.
But what are the reasons why people put others down?
In this blog post, we’ll go over the different motivations that can lead to someone putting others down.
They Have Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is a common reason people belittle others.
Lack of self-confidence and self-love are also common causes of low self-esteem.
People who belittle others because they have low self-esteem are often unaware that their behavior is hurtful because they think they aren’t good enough, so they don’t care if other people around them feel bad.
They may even believe that the person they’re making fun of deserves it, especially if they’ve experienced trauma in their past, such as childhood bullying or abuse at home.
They Feel Inferior to Others
People who make fun of others feel inferior and inadequate. Instead of trying to improve themselves, they make other people look bad instead.
This is very common in the world but can be avoided if they work on themselves first instead of trying to improve others.
Many people feel inferior because they may be afraid that their friends or family members will judge them for not being good enough – so they make others look bad so that no one will have a reason to criticize them anymore.
Unfortunately, this behavior doesn’t help these people: it only makes them seem insecure and mean, when all they want is recognition from others!
It’s a Way to Deal With Their Insecurity
Insecure people don’t think much of themselves, so they use others to make themselves feel better.
They may put others down because it makes them feel more powerful and in control, but it can also be a way for insecure people to divert attention away from themselves.
Insecure people may also belittle others to protect themselves from being vulnerable or rejected by others.
This is especially common when the person belittling others has low self-esteem and frequently faces rejection or disapproval from those around them.
They Feel Threatened by the Success of Others
Some people feel threatened by the success of others because they’re envious of their accomplishments and want to put them down so they can feel good about themselves again.
These are the people who say things like, “You got a promotion? I applied for that job too!” or “Congratulations on your new car! What did you do to deserve it?”
They may even mention an accomplishment of their own that happened years ago to make themselves look better than everyone else.
Other people feel threatened when someone has something nice that they don’t, whether it’s an object or a skill (e.g., being good at basketball or singing).
This fear can cause these people to belittle those who have what they want most in life so that no one sees how much their insides hurt because they lack something important in life (even if those things aren’t important at all).
Some People Use It as a Tactic to Gain Power and Influence
People who use this tactic have an innate need to feel like they’re in charge, either directly or indirectly.
They want to be the alpha dog, so they don’t shy away from putting others down to gain control of the situation (and usually the people around them).
Some may think that this behavior is a form of egocentrism – that it’s simply about feeling better about themselves.
While that can certainly be a part of it, we don’t usually make fun of ourselves, except when we’re joking with friends.
Most of the time, it’s really about putting other people down for no good reason, because they want others out of the way so they can get what they want or need.
It’s a Way of Deflecting From Their Flaws
When you see someone belittling another, it’s often about them belittling themselves.
They’re distracting from their weaknesses and insecurities to make themselves and their situation feel better.
The fact that they aren’t alone in their feelings can help them feel less isolated and ashamed of themselves and what they are feeling. It’s a way of dealing with their problems without really addressing them.
Instead of facing these problems head-on, they cover them up by belittling others for things that don’t even matter (e.g., because they have a different hair color than they do).
They’re Jealous of Other People’s Success, Popularity, or Relationships
You may wonder why people are envious of other people’s success? Why would anyone want another person’s problems?
Well, it’s because when we see other people who seem to be happy and successful in some way – whether it’s their looks or their intelligence – we automatically compare ourselves to them and decide whether we want what they have.
If this comparison leads us to believe that our situation isn’t as good as others, we can develop feelings of envy towards these people, which eventually lead us to belittle others so that we can make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves!
But the truth is, no matter how hard they work or how smart they are, there’s always going to be someone who has more money, more popularity, and more relationships.
They Don’t Understand How Words Can Hurt
They don’t know that one wrong word can make someone feel bad or even worse.
Because they don’t understand this fact, they use their words carelessly and unwisely. They don’t understand that all speech must be used wisely and carefully.
For example, “You’re so stupid!” said in anger might be taken as an insult. The speaker didn’t intend to hurt the feelings of others, but if he/she says something without thinking about it first, he/she may cause unnecessary pain to others.
People shouldn’t say mean things just because they are angry or upset about something else.
Instead, they should think about how their words will affect the people around them before they say them out loud – or even think about them!
People Who Put Others Down May Need Help in Their Own Lives
Perhaps they’re struggling with insecurities, emotions, mental health issues, or childhood trauma.
They may not know how to deal with these problems, so they try to put others down to cope with their fears and worries.
In this case, they must see a therapist or counselor who can help them deal with these problems so that they don’t put others down as a coping mechanism.
To Compensate for a Social Class That Is Slipping Away From Them
Maybe they grew up in a wealthy family, with parents who provided them with everything they needed.
They probably went to a good school and had the opportunity to live in an area where jobs were plentiful – or at least the perception of them.
But now that they are older and trying to make their way in the world, their financial situation isn’t what it used to be, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy or even shame about having fallen from a higher class to a lower one on the social ladder.
And because these feelings are painful, they may try to compensate for them by belittling other people so that no one will think about how far they have fallen!
To Get a Rise Out of You
If a person criticizes you, it’s because they want to provoke you. They want to see what kind of reaction they can provoke in you.
They know your first instinct will be to defend yourself and make your point, and that’s what they want!
They are trying to provoke an emotional reaction from you so they can win an argument without having to think critically about or take responsibility for their views.
For them, it’s easier to just be mean than to be honest and open-minded.
They Want to Fit In With Their Peers
We, humans, are social creatures and have a strong desire to be liked and accepted by others.
This desire can lead us to do things that are not always in our best interest, such as putting others down or being mean.
To be popular or to be part of the “the crowd,” some people make fun of those who are not as popular as they are.
They may also try to show off their talents at the expense of other students, even if they are better at something than the others.
In other words, they put others down to make themselves feel better and be better than everyone else around them.
They Have Poor Coping Skills
When they are struggling with anger and frustration, it can be tempting to lash out at others.
Some people find it difficult to deal with their feelings. They may not know how to express themselves or how to ask for help.
Or they may be so preoccupied with themselves that they’ve never learned how to deal with stress or healthily process their feelings.
These people drag others down because it’s easier than dealing with their problems – and there’s no shortage of victims in the world!
There are many reasons why people put others down, but if we look at the life of the average person, it becomes clear that most of them don’t want to face reality.
They Think the Person They’re Belittling Is Weak or Vulnerable
You might be thinking, why would someone insult someone they think is vulnerable or weak?
Well, they probably do so because they think that person is an easy target.
The person being belittled may have already proven that they are a weakling because they let others walk all over them and don’t stand up for themselves.
Perhaps this person has even been in an abusive relationship with another person and doesn’t know how to get out of it. If someone feels that their life isn’t moving forward, they may not care if someone makes fun of them.
Due to Xenophobia
Xenophobia is the fear of strangers and isn’t the same as racism.
Xenophobia is a form of prejudice, but not a mental illness. People may acquire xenophobic views through learned behaviors or experiences rather than being born with them.
Xenophobia is common in people; we all experience it to some degree at different times in our lives.
It can be caused by traumatic experiences in childhood that lead us to believe that people from other countries (and even people who look different from us) are dangerous or untrustworthy.
This type of bias usually develops over time.
So if you notice that you have feelings of anger toward someone different from you on the plane or at work, try asking yourself why those feelings have developed in your brain instead of letting them ferment inside you until they turn into an argument!
They Feel the Need to Prove Their Worth
They are afraid of being exposed as a fraud and put other people down to make themselves look better.
They may feel threatened by others because they know there is nothing special about them, so they try to make themselves look better than others.
People who do this are usually trying to show everyone that they’re better than everyone else, or at least that they think they are.
They want to make sure that no one else gets the chance to be great, because if other people could achieve great things and accomplish great things, they think that would mean that those people are more valuable than they are.
You Remind Them of Someone Else Who Hurt Them
Maybe it’s the same hair color or maybe you’re just reminding them of a person they don’t want to be reminded of.
Whatever the reason, they take their anger out on you because they think it will make them feel better or help them deal with their past.
Sometimes people don’t realize they are doing this, and sometimes they know exactly what they’re doing and use it as an excuse for why they treat others badly.
But no matter what, if someone treats you badly, there’s always a reason!
They Have a Black Sense of Humor and Enjoy Seeing Other People Squirm When They’re Belittled
If you’ve ever been the victim of a derogatory comment, you know how hurtful it can be.
And if you’re naturally a sensitive person who cares more about other people’s feelings than your own, you may end up feeling worse when you receive negative comments.
However, some people have no problem putting others down and enjoy it when it makes them squirm.
Some examples are:
- Underhanded compliments
- Disrespecting another person’s feelings with insults or sarcasm
- Using nonverbal communication to make fun of others, such as eye-rolling or sighing
They Don’t Know Any Other Way to Communicate
Putdowns are often the only way they know how to communicate. They don’t have the skills or knowledge to express what they want, so they resort to put-downs to express themselves.
They think this is easier than having a real conversation with someone who may reject them or question their beliefs.
They may also be afraid that if someone doesn’t like what they have to say about themselves (or others), they’ll no longer be friends with them.
This may lead to depression for many people because they don’t know how else to express themselves effectively without feeling vulnerable or being rejected again by their closest confidants just for saying something negative out loud, rather than keeping it inside where it feels safe.
In this case, it would be best to see a therapist or counselor who can help them.
Are Verbally Abusive and Like to Use Their Words to Hurt and Humiliate Others
Verbally abusive people are often bullies, insecure, and/or jealous of other people. They need control over others.
Therefore, they use their words as weapons because that’s one of the only ways they can control the behavior or feelings of others.
Verbal abuse is meant to hurt the victim emotionally and there are no limits to what can be said.
Sometimes these verbal attacks come from strangers, sometimes from people who should know better – family members or close friends who feel entitled to bash anyone who gets in their way in any way.
They Think That the World Revolves Around Them and They’re Entitled to Put Others Down
Humans are social animals who need to be accepted and validated by others to feel fulfilled in life.
This need for validation is so strong that it can lead people with low self-esteem, who have never accepted themselves or their worth, to belittle others to put themselves on a pedestal that they believe they deserve but don’t deserve (e.g., popular children).
You may have heard someone say: “I’m better than everyone else!” – and maybe you even used to believe in yourself.
But now you know better: everyone has unique strengths and weaknesses, just like every other person on Earth; no matter how much of a jerk someone is online or offline, it doesn’t mean he/she’s innately better than everyone else.
Instead, it means that he/she’s fallen for his/her lies, that he/she’s “special” talents that he/she prefers over others when in reality all of those talents are little more than superficial posturing to gain peer recognition, not the actual talent development that one engages in throughout his/her life until he/she’s truly successful in his/her field(s) of interest.
They Lack Empathy and Don’t Care How Their Words or Actions Affect Others
It seems that many people who belittle others simply don’t care about how their words or actions affect others.
They don’t think about how their words or actions affect the mental health and well-being of others, which makes it easier for them to say hurtful things without thinking twice about it.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings, thoughts and emotions.
It’s part of what enables us to have positive social interactions – we care about how our behavior affects others because we can empathize with them when they feel upset or hurt by our actions (or inactions).
But there’s another side to the coin: some people have no empathy at all, or very little.
This means they have difficulty understanding or feeling empathy for another’s situation – even when they see evidence to support that conclusion!
They Have a Narcissistic Personality
They have narcissistic personalities and need to feel that they’re better than everyone else.
There’s a condition known as a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) that’s characterized by a sense of grandiosity and an insatiable need for attention.
People with narcissistic personality disorder are usually selfish, lack empathy toward others, are exploitative, and don’t care about feelings other than their own.
They’re constantly seeking praise and admiration from others, even if it means putting another person down to get what they want.
People with a narcissistic personality disorder may have the following characteristics:
- A grandiose sense of self-importance.
- A preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, and brilliance.
- A belief that he or she is”special” and can only be understood by other special people or institutions (not by “normal” people).
They’re Simply Mean-Spirited and Enjoy Seeing Other People Suffer
Mean people enjoy seeing other people suffer. It’s as simple as that. They don’t care what impact their words have on others or how you feel in your skin when you hear them say something hurtful.
They are unhappy with themselves and want everyone around them to feel as bad as they do – even if that means destroying other people’s self-esteem.
If a mean person manages to make you feel bad or even question your choices, they see that as a personal victory over you that makes them feel better about themselves in some way (even if it’s only temporary).
They Grew up in a Household Where Put-Downs Were the Norm
They grew up in a household where put-downs were the norm, and they learned to do it themselves.
A child who grows up in an environment where put-downs are acceptable is likely to learn to do them. This is especially true for children who are not comfortable expressing their feelings or who aren’t encouraged to express their feelings.
The reason for this is simple: people want to belong, and when everyone around you belittles others, it’s normal behavior.
If they were raised by parents or caregivers who made it clear that it’s okay to belittle others (even if it’s not okay), there’s a good chance they’ll copy that later in life when they face similar situations themselves!
They Have Deep-Seated Anger and Resentment Toward Others
When you’re the target of belittling, it can be difficult to understand where this aggression is coming from.
The truth is that most people who belittle others have deep-seated anger and resentment toward others and take it out on them in the form of belittling them.
They don’t like being in the wrong, so they lash out at people who are in the right. They’re often angry and resentful of the success of others because they feel trapped in their own lives and lack direction and purpose.
And why? Because these people don’t know how to be happy with themselves and therefore have no idea how to make other people happy! They don’t know how to like themselves or others around them!
They’re Bullies and Enjoy Making Other People Feel Bad
Bullying is a common way people put others down. Bullies enjoy making other people look bad because it makes them feel more powerful – and they get a physical and emotional boost when they can control others.
Bullies don’t have enough empathy, so they don’t understand how their words or actions make others feel.
Also, they have to be right, which means they belittle others just because they can’t accept that the other person has a different point of view than they do.
When something goes wrong in their lives, they don’t take responsibility for their own mistakes, but often blame others for their problems by insulting or calling them names.
It’s important to recognize when you are being bullied and to know what your options are if it happens frequently at work or school (or elsewhere). If you’re being bullied at school, you can talk to an adult; if it’s happening at work, talk to your supervisor about what’s going on so he/she can stop it from continuing!
You Threaten Their Status Quo
They feel threatened by you. If your presence threatens their position or self-esteem, they may try to manipulate or intimidate you into submission.
You’re different from them. If someone is used to being at the top of the social hierarchy, anything that disturbs his/her status quo may make him/her feel uncomfortable and insecure about his/her position in society.
He/she may react defensively by belittling others rather than accepting that things have changed over time – or even admitting that he/she’s benefited from past oppression, whether he/she agreed with it or not!
You Challenge Their Beliefs
When you question a person’s beliefs, they may feel judged or attacked. You might be naturally good at spotting errors in others’ arguments and pointing them out.
Many people don’t want to be wrong – especially when it comes to their own opinions and beliefs – and if you point out their errors, they may attack you for it.
This can also happen if someone has been wronged by another person before and now perceives any similar experience as a threat.
The more times someone has been hurt by another person, the more likely he/she’s to lash out when they might be hurt again.
They Have a Scarcity Mindset
Scarcity thinking is a mindset that leads to low self-esteem, jealousy, envy, resentment, and anger. It’s the belief that there’s not enough for everyone.
It’s a fear-based way of thinking. The fear is that if you don’t do something, someone else will get what they want instead of you getting what you want (even though there’s enough for everyone).
This can lead to things like being competitive at work or comparing yourself to other people – where there’s no need for comparison.
The truth is that our world has more than enough resources for everyone – if we choose to share them with others!
This can be hard when we have been taught from a young age by our parents/teachers/society etc. that we must compete for everything: love, attention, etc., but our culture needs to change drastically because this kind of thinking brings nothing but suffering into our lives!
How Can You Defend Yourself Against Someone Who Puts You Down?
- Respond in a positive way
- Choose not to interfere
- Ask for help
- Stand up for yourself
- Be assertive and use “I” statements in your responses, “I feel bad when you say that to me, so please stop!“
- Be kind by acknowledging the person’s feelings but also expressing your own needs, such as: “I know you’re upset about what happened at work today, but I need more time to think about this decision before I choose one side or the other.”
- Be polite and respectful by listening first before answering, “What would be helpful for you right now?”
What Can You Do if You Witness Someone Putting Another Person Down?
- Don’t engage with the person who is putting others down. As tempting as it may be, try not to engage with the person who appears to be attacking another person. This can lead to further tension and fighting and make the situation even more uncomfortable for everyone involved.
- Don’t feel guilty if you don’t intervene – even if you feel like you should say something or intervene because you feel guilty for not saying anything before (which happens), remember that there’s nothing wrong with staying out of an argument between strangers or friends/family members.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a few things about the reasons people put others down.
We’ve covered some pretty serious topics in this post, but we hope the information will help you recognize and deal with toxic behavior in your environment, whether it’s directed at yourself or others.
Remember, these behaviors are never acceptable and no one deserves them – but there are ways to overcome them and find a place where you feel safe and respected.
When you’re dealing with bullying or people with low self-esteem, the best thing you can do is try to understand their motives while standing by your own beliefs.
And when in doubt, know that there’s always help available for people who suffer from these behaviors.
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