We all know people who can’t stop putting others down. This is always a sign of insecurity. When we find constant fault with others, this is what pychologists call “projection.” The critic is projecting their own feelings of insecurity, which they do not even recognize as obsessive, onto others.
Yes, people are genuinely hurt and cheated by other people. Yet, when it becomes a constant fixation, the well tuned listener will realize that the person, who belittles with almost no letting up, is completely insecure. They seek constant reassurance that they are a genuine victim of another person’s malice. They do not have a locus of control that allows them to see any personal power.
Comedians often make fun of others, but this is slightly different. They find a grain of truth, and exaggerate it. Pundits such as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart are well known for this. The difference is that many others are in on the joke, and the person being criticized, or belittled, is often a person who themselves is playing the victim.
Pundits, both serious, and comedic, get into on-going feuds wherein they play off of one another’s belittlement for amusement and laughs. This is different than the person, often encountered in the workplace, or social setting, that has nothing but negativity to spew about another.
Something else is happening to he or she, we shall call the “belittle-er”. Making someone else seem little by comparison is a very common way that the belittle-er thinks will make them look bigger. They, and often, their audience, steers away instinctively.
A useful rule for speaking about others, is to use two ears to listen, and just one mouth to speak. Then choose words carefully, as they will very often contain venom that will poison the speaker.
Often, we do not even realize that we are avoiding the belittle-er. We find excuses, appointments we suddenly realize we are late for, and find ways to steer away, or at least steer the conversation awa,y from the belittle-er. Because he, or she, does quite often get some kind of confirmation of the jaded view, the habit continues unabated.
A pattern is set up which is self fulfilling. In this way the person who belittles finds validation, unless people explain to him or her that they are making themselves look small and petty. The behavior becomes ever more predictable.
Many people genuinely believe that their views, (however racist, sexist, or hate filled,) are accurate. They find fault with others, especially whole groups of people, routinely. We create verbal monsters of these types of people when we do not warn them they are looking small and insecure. We often make fun of them, in turn making us feel small.
When someone uses a lot of name calling, and attacks another about their values, gender, appearance, sexuality, or faith, we are witnessing this. To attack someone upon their true and accurate behaviors, and upon their character is more tricky. In the latter case, there may some grain of truth in the attack, yet it STILL makes the attacker look small.
This is why is it so important to teach our children not to put others down. The sooner they learn that bullying, although an effective means of making others controlled out of fear, always sets up the one attacking to look petty, pretentious, and prickly.
We all avoid such prickly people, even when do not even know it.