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  1. #31
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mephistopheles View Post
    You have to say the specific case to get concrete about the reason of them being mean.
    Highly relevant.

    The all too common notion that meanness is caused primarily by feelings of inferiority by the instigator always seemed counterintuitive to me. If anything, I see it as a negative and highly visible method of expressing in strength over another individual in whatever arena they find themselves in. Yet the sum of these expressions creates a very intricate structure.

  2. #32
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    A feeling of contentment is more easily achieved when you are in a more desirable position than those around them. The healthy way to achieve this is to put in the effort to elevate yourself. The unhealthy way is to damage other people's position so that yours look better by comparison. People who are miserable sometimes subconsciously act to reduce other people's happiness for this reason.

  3. #33
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    And perhaps they are miserable because others' happiness to them is hippy dippy bullshit, the onslaught of which they seek to repel from themselves with a force-field of sourness.
    hoarding time and space
    A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.
    — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  4. #34
    Reptilian Snuggletron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    I think there are many possibilities. My theory is that several things may be at play:
    - they are unhappy people and misery loves company
    - they have been hurt in the past and are treating others in the way they have been treated themselves or are taking this hurt out on others
    - they are insecure and are mean to others to feel more powerful or secure
    - they lack empathy and may not even aware they are being mean
    - they are a sociopath
    - their ego and sense of self importance is out of whack

    These are a few. I think there can be lots of reasons.
    I agree, there's no static motivator. Removing anti-social tendencies and damaged childhoods/histories, meanness is a power thing. Being mean asserts a form of dominance, it is offensive and defensive. Niceness takes no offensive or defensive stance and so when you are nice you are being vulnerable in a way. Being mean is counterproductive, though, since it alarms people and rarely has a positive outcome. If it does it reaps a kind of intimidated respect.

  5. #35
    morose bourgeoisie
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    It's caused by a type of myopia.
    And they hurt, so you have to as well.

  6. #36
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    I wonder if the answer to the question of "Why are they being mean to me" is more important than the question "Why am I seeking their approval"....granted that isn't always the case, but it was for me. Once I dismissed those individuals as irrelevant, I focused my energies on more productive purposes. Just my experience, not to be confused with a blanket statement of any kind.
    ...doesn't work or play well with others...

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Condor View Post
    I wonder if the answer to the question of "Why are they being mean to me" is more important than the question "Why am I seeking their approval"....granted that isn't always the case, but it was for me. Once I dismissed those individuals as irrelevant, I focused my energies on more productive purposes. Just my experience, not to be confused with a blanket statement of any kind.
    Sometimes meanness is irrelevent but most of the time the sort of meanness which people are vexed by is the sort which is accompanied by power, privilege or popularity.

    You make a good point though, where you can afford to not care its probably a good thing. I used to be much more active in trying to provoke some sort of insight in people who behaved like jerks or where mean or neurotic, anything not quite right which was making everyone around them miserable, maybe them miserable too, but I gave that up after I found how much of a toll that can take on you.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Sometimes meanness is irrelevent but most of the time the sort of meanness which people are vexed by is the sort which is accompanied by power, privilege or popularity.

    You make a good point though, where you can afford to not care its probably a good thing. I used to be much more active in trying to provoke some sort of insight in people who behaved like jerks or where mean or neurotic, anything not quite right which was making everyone around them miserable, maybe them miserable too, but I gave that up after I found how much of a toll that can take on you.
    Exactly on point. The phrase about people behaving "not quite right" tries to project a paradigm onto them. As far as they are concerned, what they are doing is quite right - for them. Whether they lash out because of a perceived inadaquacy on their part, or a sadistic deisre to impose their will on those around them; they believe what they are doing is right. I can't imagine how much of a toll it would take on a self to try and change another, but I imagine it would be heavy indeed.
    ...doesn't work or play well with others...

  9. #39
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    To pass the time.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I have always wondered why there are people who are mean on purpose to other people. I can understand unintentional meanness - you know, the misunderstanding type, but I really don't understand intentional meanness.

    My daughter is reading a book about dealing with "mean girls," and it stated that the purpose of these girls is to inflict pain. Why would that be a motivation for someone? I am always devastated when I think I have even done something small, like hurt someone's feelings.

    Any ideas?
    To know our value, we compare ourselves to others. Since our social value is somewhat dependent on that of others, people can be motivated to maintain or increase their social value with different strategies.

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