When people are recklessly cruel, you have to remember that it has little to do with you and everything to do with them. I know it’s difficult, because you want to fight fire with fire just to prove you have it in you and you want to stand up for yourself in the most gratifying way you know how. But you will find, time and time again, is all that method does is make you even more bitter.
You know when people are most cruel? When something hits them, and hits them hard. When something is so true that they want to rebuttal until they’ve convinced themselves that they’ve convinced you that they’re right. You probably have touched on something that makes them think you’re unveiling what they’ve been trying to hide. All of the efforts they’ve put forth to suppressing those things are turned onto you. By reacting with cruelty, you are allowing them to do so.
Why are people mean? Here’s the short answer: They’re hurt. Here’s the long answer: They’re really hurt. At some point, somebody—their parents, their lovers, Lady Luck—did them dirty. They were crushed. And they’re still afraid the pain will never stop, or that it will happen again.
If you think about it, you have to have sympathy. Mostly because everybody has been there, and actually, a good number of us still are. I know you can relate to being cruel while that little voice in your head is saying they’re right, and following up with all the reasons you are unworthy and unlovable– I sure can. It’s a low place to be: somewhere where you’re so disappointed and insecure that you have to lash out at others to make yourself feel okay.
People will exclude you because they don’t want to be excluded. People will criticize because they criticize themselves. You will be crucified for being yourself and crucified for pretending to be someone you’re not. You will most often recognize and be upset by things that you do. It is one of the many unfortunate realities of life, and there is nothing you can do to control the actions of others. You can, however, accept it and teach yourself to rise above. It’s not the easy route, nor is it the most gratifying. But it is, without fail, the most worth it.