When Someone Belittles You At Work(A Complete Guide)

This article will take a look at why someone would belittle you at work and how. It will describe the types of comments or behaviors such individuals make and the purpose of doing so. Furthermore, the article will highlight how one can deal with such people at the workplace.

When Someone Belittles You At Work

When someone belittles you at work it could be because of the following reasons:

  • Perceive You As A Threat
  • Do Not Want To Deal With You
  • Want To Be In Control
  • Insecure
  • To Make Others Like Them

Let us take a look at each of these reasons in detail!

Perceive You As A Threat

It is possible that the person who belittles you actually perceives you as a threat that they want to diminish or eradicate! They may consider you a threat due to a number of reasons such as your skills, educational qualification, interpersonal skills, physique or looks or even your experience in your career life. Nonetheless, they will try their best to make you feel inferior so that you no longer possess the potential to ‘harm’ them in any way.

It is not that they do not like you but they are fearful that you may take away opportunities from their hands. For example, a fellow coworker may be afraid that their boss offers you the promotion that they have been working for so hard. Hence, to push you off track and possibly hamper your efforts and affect your work, they will start belittling you. Their aim is to make you doubt yourself and underperform. It is possible they want you gone entirely from the scene!

A fellow coworker may hence be out to get you because they think you might perform better than they do and get the credit. So before that happens they will try and make you feel bad about yourself by passing belittling remarks – they can’t do much but talk down to you.

Do Not Want To Deal With You

A person may be afraid of you! They fear you will catch on to the loopholes in their stories or their work. Hence to put some distance between the both of you they adopt a non-likeable attitude where they constantly belittle you! The purpose of this is to keep you away from them. If you try to get close to them for the sake of asking questions or finding out why something went wrong, they will resort to their typical attitude of belittling you and passing negative remarks to get you off their back!

Be watchful of such people! Not only are they adopting a condescending attitude but they may be hiding something important which you need to expose. They might be meddling with work affairs or taking part in something illegal because of which they do not want you around!

This is extremely important to take note of in the workplace because as we mentioned before the toxic coworker may be hiding something! This is why they resort to belittling you whenever you approach them so they don’t have to deal with the issue at hand!

Want To Be In Control

People belittle you because they want to show that they know better and are in a position to tell people how they should behave or have the authority to point out mistakes. They want to feel above others and do so by putting others down!

This is common in the workplace where there is that one person who wants to show others that he or she is in control of how things operate in the workplace. They want to exert their dominance on others and make sure everyone knows that they need to be asked for ‘permission’ before any changes can take place.

To be in control is an addictive behavior where you cannot stand if someone does something without your permission. Even if that person is not required to take your permission, your behavior and expectations will force that person to ask you for your consent; this is actually toxic behavior. One way to feel in control is by passing belittling remarks to make others feel as if they are less than you!


Yes someone may belittle you because not only do they want to feel superior but they are also insecure because of you. They are afraid you are better than them at a certain skill or area in life and hence tell you the opposite of what they fear – to put you down of course!

Like other feelings and behaviors at the workplace, this is also a common one mostly because behavior is motivated by reward and punishment. If people perform better than others they will definitely get a reward in the form of recognition, a promotion or a bonus.

Hence, to make themselves feel as if they are in a better position than others, these individuals resort to belittling others with regards to their work! They will tell them that the presentation they made is very basic or that they take too much time doing their tasks. If they recently received a reward they will whisper into their ears that getting that reward was more of a sympathy move rather than something actually based on their performance.

To Make Others Like Them

One of the old tactics indeed! People often resort to wreckless or mean behaviour to impress others or make them like them. Here is a similar case where your coworkers or boss may try to put someone down in order to show others who is the decision making authority!

This is a behavior that is intended to make one feel good about their own selves rather than to actually put the other person down. Instead of making a real effort so that people actually like you, the individual belittles those around him or her to show others that they know how work is done and people listen to them.

How To Deal With Someone Who Belittles You At Work

Here are a few ways to deal with someone who belittles you at work!

Keep Your Cool

If the coworker is out to get you then the worst thing you could do is show them you are angry at what they keep on doing. That is what they want! They want you to get annoyed every time they point out a mistake in your work.

The best thing you can do is keep your cool. Don’t let them see how frustrated you are inside or even the fact that you are on to them. Make them feel that you consider this normal and actually appreciate their advice. However, a fun thing to do would be to start ignoring them after sometime. Allow them to come over to your cubicle and talk to you about your work. Once there are with you and have begun their lecturing then start ignoring them. They will probably feel embarrassed.

Confront Them – Ask Them To Let You Finish The Job

If you think enough is enough then confront your coworker. Some coworkers need to be questioned, only then will they back off and leave you alone. Next time they come up to you openly ask them about their habit of constantly giving you advice. Tell them how you feel and that you will not tolerate this anymore. Tell them how you can do your work perfectly fine and that not everyone has to follow their way of work.

Inform Upper Management

Issues between coworkers can go from bad to worse and even become toxic! If you feel your coworkers habits of correcting your work are somewhat resembling any form of harassment, immediately inform upper management. They will tackle the situation without compromising your request.

In case the person belittling you is your boss then you might have to get company representatives involved. However, in most cases, if the most senior person is putting you down and you are not able to resolve issues with them, it may mean you will have to leave your job.


This article explained why someone might belittle you at work and their true intention behind the behaviour which may include their insecurity, desire to feel superior or to impress others. The article also looked at a couple of ways on how to deal with someone who belittles you at work.