15 Signs of a Cruel Person Who Likes to Belittle Others (Avoid Them!)

15 Signs of a Cruel Person Who Likes to Belittle Others (Avoid Them!)


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone in the world wore a badge that said either “good” or “evil?” You would automatically know who you could trust and who you should shun. However, the Universe designed a plan to discover people’s true colors by trial and error. People who belittle others and actively engage in harmful behaviors are evident.

Unfortunately, you may learn a person’s malicious intentions only after they’ve hurt you. How can you guard your heart and well-being without building walls to shut out everyone?

Fifteen Signs of a Person Who Likes to Belittle Those Around Them

How can you distinguish between an unlikeable person and simply a cruel person? Are their deviant actions apparent, or is their negativity a toxic cloud that subtly blocks the light of joy? These are fifteen tell-tale signs of a cruel person and their twisted motivations.

1. They Tell Offensive Jokes to Belittle Others With Cruel Intent

It’s enjoyable to be around people who know witty jokes and have a good sense of humor. However, jokes that belittle or hurt people aren’t funny, but they’re offensive. Cruel people get a twisted thrill from degrading others about their race, gender, national origin, or other unique factors.


While crowds appreciate off-colored humor, it’s often offensive in polite society. Unfortunately, many vicious people like to see how uncomfortable they can make others with rude jokes. It creates a toxic atmosphere for everyone.


2. Their Teasing Is Mean-spirited

Light-hearted teasing is natural in close relationships, both personal and professional. In an article published in Psychology Today, Dr. Angela Grippo explains the difference between good and bad teasing. Good teasing, says Grippo, shows affection, and bad teasing intentionally hurts and belittles others.

Toxic people don’t know when to stop, and their teasing goes beyond the limits of good-natured banter. You dread meeting up with them because you know they will belittle you. If you get offended, they will try to laugh it off and say you “can’t take a joke.”

3. They Mock Others to Belittle Them

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but mocking is another matter. Many good comedians like Rich Little are renowned for their spot-on impressions of other celebrities. However, most of these professionals do it kindly and without harming anyone.

On the other hand, mocking has a nasty edge and targets other people. It’s never acceptable to mock and stereotype the characteristics of others. Mocking is just another weapon in a cruel person’s arsenal of malice.

4. They Roll Their Eyes While You’re Speaking

Anybody who’s ever raised a teenager recognizes the classic eye roll as a signal that the teen isn’t listening. They think whatever you’re saying doesn’t matter, and your voice is a significant burden for them. Maybe it’s karma for all the times you rolled your eyes at your parents when you were a teen.

Many adults also roll their eyes when frustrated with another person talking. It’s a way to signal aggression without being physical. Callous people often roll their eyes to dismiss you and anything you’re saying.

5. They Disregard Personal Boundaries

In any relationship, be it personal or professional, you set mutual boundaries. These are like the fences that poet Robert Frost said make good neighbors. Respecting boundaries shows validation and mutual respect that everyone needs and deserves.

Mean people usually don’t care about boundaries and whose toes they trample. They don’t respect your privacy and consider your personal space. They push the limits to belittle you and make themselves more important.

6. They Belittle by Shifting the Blame

Responsible and mature people know how to own their mistakes and shortcomings. They will promptly apologize, make amends, and avoid repeating it in the future. Spiteful people insist they are always right, and everyone else takes the blame for their mistakes and failures.

Not only do they shift the blame to others, but they’ll often do so aggressively. They want to push the spotlight on you, so they look like an innocent bystander. These hard-hearted folks have no problem throwing you under the bus and using harmful behaviors to get their way.

7. They Don’t Feel Guilt or Remorse

People develop a sense of empathy from childhood lessons and experiences. Like most folks, you instantly feel guilty and remorse for doing wrong. This empathetic sensation compels you to apologize and try to fix the damage.

Unfortunately, some people don’t develop empathy, and they experience little or no remorse for their evil deeds. Such a characteristic is typical of both sociopaths and psychopaths. While they may never be physically violent, these people inflict mental, emotional, and psychological abuse on those closest to them.

8. They Don’t Have Many Friends or Family in Their Life

It stands to reason that cruel people don’t usually have a wide circle of close family and friends. Their negative energy and nasty attitude repel more people than it attracts. Usually, those in their circle do so out of a sense of family duty or pity.


9. They Have Significant Control Issues

Negative people crave control, and they take barbarous glee in controlling others. It may be an overbearing boss or a smothering partner or family member. Some may resort to violence and other abuse to keep other people in their iron grasp.

However, some negative people are subtle, controlling with passive aggression. They can make the atmosphere so heavy and miserable that you’ll give in to their wishes every time. They depend on taking advantage of compassionate, patient, and good-natured folks.

10. Someone Who Will Belittle Others Might Also Show Cruelty to Animals

A study published by the Journal of Interpersonal Violence reiterates the link between animal cruelty behaviors in childhood and interpersonal violence in adults. Some malignant personalities got their start by torturing and killing defenseless animals.


Animal cruelty is intolerable, and those who perpetrate such savage acts don’t belong in your circle. Any merciless person who would harm an innocent animal may soon be callous enough to start hurting people. Not only should you be intolerable of this person, but you should also report them to authorities.

11. Emotional Blackmail is Commonplace

Negative people often work tirelessly to find “dirt” on other people. They delight in discovering any of your faults and failures to use as ammunition against you. They also often use emotional blackmail, in which they play with your emotions to control you.

For example, an abusive mate may say something like, “If you love me, you’ll co-sign for my personal loan.” Even when your logic tells you that a decision is wrong, they’ll badger and threaten you until you surrender. Emotional blackmail is abuse, and it has nothing to do with love or kindness.

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