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Why do people feel the need to demean others to feel better about themselves?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 09/08/2020 at 6:45am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
May 4th, 2016 4:29pm
You've sort of answered the question already. It's to feel better about themselves. When they point out the flaws in others they take the attention off of their own. They want to bring people down to make themselves higher. It's also about a sense of control. Once they realize that they can make people feel as low as they do, they sort of feed off of it. It's a coping mechanism, no, not a healthy one. But it makes them not feel as insignificant. I find that a lot of "bullies" have had little control in their life and/or have rude or controlling parents. Since they have no control and are belittled by their family, the only time they feel worthy is when they make others feel worse. It's kind of sad, but it starts a viscous cycle where hate only breeds more hate. Most bullies don't actually think they're better than everyone, it's that they are so insecure and feel so small that they try much harder than needed to assume some sort of dominance. A lot of bullies deal with a lot of self hatred and end up taking it out on others.
May 3rd, 2016 7:13am
There are two different types of insecure people; those that put others down to help themselves feel taller, and those that try to build others up, hoping that others will do the same for them. I suffer from the latter, and it's exhausting being a people-pleaser, but I'd rather be a sad people-pleaser than to be a sad bully. I'm not trying to make being insecure appealing, but I'm trying to say that while I'm working on building my confidence, I would like to avoid tearing down someone else's confidence. The people that demean and hurt others to make themselves feel better struggle much more with insecurity, because they refuse to acknowledge that their actions are a result of being insecure. Confident and happy people don't give a crap what other people think, if other people are more successful than them, or what people do with their lives, because they are too busy being happy with their own lives to waste their time caring/thinking about the "faults" or "defects" of others. The best way to deal with those that demean you, is to kill them with kindness and to keep a poker face of confidence when you are around them; it slowly kills them to think that you are not phased by their words, because that just further reinforces their insecurities.
March 28th, 2015 1:02am
Some people feel the need to demean others for their own self esteem because they like to believe that they are superior to others, and that they can always 'get one over' on the other person. The person may have low self esteem themselves, thus they attempt to demean other's self value to raise their own self standards.
January 29th, 2015 4:10am
Putting others down is what all humans do, I've done it a few times. I don't think it's always about feeling better about themselves, rather than want to feel empowerment. I've gotten bullied before and to make myself steal back the confidence that was ripped from me form others, I put down my younger brothers. If you're getting put down by others, try to tell someone about it. :) It helps a lot to get it out so that you don't have to turn around and make others feel bad. :)
October 3rd, 2015 7:31pm
Insecurity, depression... it gets the best of the people that suffers from it... don't ever condone it, though, be there to help, but never become the emotional punching bag of verbally abusers.
July 11th, 2016 6:57pm
Some people feel the need to demean others to feel better about themselves because they seek attention which they don't get elsewhere. They might also be hurting on the inside and demeaning others is their way of coping.
May 22nd, 2015 5:15pm
It's because of their own insecurity. If someone feels insecure about themselves, they tend to try to find a way to assert some form of dominance. By demeaning others, they feel that they have power over another person, masking their own feelings of insecurity.
July 7th, 2015 5:05pm
It tends to be due to the enviroment that the person has grown up in. Not just necessarily the area but family and relationships could be main factors.
September 22nd, 2015 2:18am
They take their own unresolved issues out on others. They are hurting but they don't want to admit it to others but most importantly to themselves. Unless they choose to resolve their issues they will never heal. I hope they can heal. If they are too hurt that they can't don't take what they say personally and choose how you react to them.
February 8th, 2015 7:29pm
They think it will take away the hurt and shame they are experiencing from their own life or past and by putting others down, they think it'll help them get past that.
May 1st, 2018 7:07pm
It has a lot to do with control and to try to bring the other person down because they might be jealous of said person or low self esteem
September 22nd, 2015 4:50pm
Wow that's a hard question, and one I have asked myself on so many occasions. I see people doing this all the time in the workplace and on the streets. It saddens me in a way to see this happening as I'm sure there are better ways of finding something to feel good about. In terms of why do people do it? Well most people it's basically a power stance, some people will inflate things to make them selves feel better, they do this because they are intimidated by the other person so feel that by inflating themselves they have a right to be part of the social circle.
June 13th, 2016 10:36pm
Because sometimes it is the only way people know to to cope with how they are feeling. And letting themself tink they are better then other people is th only way they can feel better.
April 17th, 2018 2:49am
Because they are insecure and have their own problems so they deflect them onto others to feel better
August 7th, 2018 6:08pm
sometimes people who demean others have a low self-esteem. and they feel that by putting others down, they are internally saying "yeah! i'm better than this person because i'm saying i'm better than them!"
November 11th, 2018 2:17pm
People feel the need to demean others usually for several different reasons. It might be (which is most often) that they have experienced a similar feeling of being bullied or another way of being treated unkindly by others. It could either be the feeling that it is normal to call someone by a nasty name which resulted in them having very low self-esteem, which is why they feel the need to call others something unkind so that it feels as if they have more power than the person they are insulting. This is obviously not always true, because in the end it does nothing for their self-esteem, and it has only made the other person feel bad about themselves. If this is happening to you, try to see it as if they are very self-conscious.
April 10th, 2015 6:23pm
Because this people aren't happy. And so they try give their mood 'away'. Sometimes they have problems and stress. And they need love.
April 15th, 2015 3:02pm
I think people demean others because They feel like if they bring someone else down theyll feel good
April 3rd, 2018 5:47pm
Putting others down is a quick and easy way to feel better about yourself, even if it's just for a little while. It's easy to sit and criticize others when you're feeling low or insecure about something in yourself. Especially if it seems like putting that person down will help ingratiate you into a group. Unfortunately, it's a part of human nature to want to fit in and do everything you can to belong to a group - even if that's at the expense of someone else.
July 26th, 2020 3:18am
Low self esteem and feeling insecure makes them feel that as they are everyone can see through them.. the only way they can feel better about their shitty is to try and demean other people to make themselves look good in others eyes. They like to inflate their ego by claiming to live by the very rules they break. They are afraid of others to see the real them so they constantly point out what they deem to be flaws in the people around them trying to make himself out as a person of good character. Their biggest fear is that they will be seen as the bullies they are. Their wholelife is a lie.
September 8th, 2020 6:45am
It depends from person to person. But most of these people have an inferiority complex. Some of them have been bullied in the past and feel the need to demean others so that others can feel the same pain they have gone through themselves. Sometimes, people demean others out of jealousy or envy. They know in their heart that they cannot for some reason be on the same level as the opposite person, and this causes them a lot of anger. Hence, the only reaction they can muster, is to demean them out of ego. Demeaning and hurting others is a coping mechanism for them to feel at par with such people.