When Someone Belittles You (A Complete Guide)

In this article we will look at various individuals that may belittle you and how. Furthemore, the article will also point out ways to handle such situations and how you can recover or protect yourself from the harmful effects of such relations. In the article, it will also be explained why someone may resort to such condescending behavior.

When Someone Belittles You – What To Do?

When someone belittles you it can be a confusing experience where you do not understand why someone is putting you down and also whether they may actually be right. When someone belittles you it could be your:

  • Your Friend
  • Spouse
  • Coworker

Although a person having any sort of relation with you is perfectly capable of belittling you, the above defined relations are ones that hurt the most.

Your Friend

The act of belittling is one where the other person makes you, your actions, words, feelings, achievements or thoughts feel insignificant or small. Hence they belittle you and attribute little or no importance to you. This can have a very big impact on one’s self esteem and make them question their own efforts or achievements.

There are a number of ways a friend can belittle you. They could pass comments about your achievements saying it isn’t much of a big deal. They could also attribute the success of a project or assignment done by you to someone else or they could say it was by chance. A great example of how those so-called friends can belittle you is dismiss your feelings. They will do things that hurt you or encourage others to pick on your sensitive spots and say they were just having fun.

Why is this such a sensitive topic? Well because the person belittling you is your very own friend. You have expectations from them and feel that they are the one person you can count on. On top of that, you must have had their back in tough situations where you could have faced a number of issues too just for supporting them. It all falls down when that one person starts saying things that seem to hurt you. You begin to wonder if it’s them or you who is being too sensitive. After all, they are your friend so why would they do something intentionally to hurt you – must have been by accident right?


Your spouse, partner or significant other is one of the most important relations you have in life. It is not only an exciting relation one looks forward to but that of a nourishing, loving and caring bond that is meant to last forever. However, things can turn cold when your own spouse begins to belittle you. 

Your spouse can disregard your efforts at home by ignoring you and any changes they should have seen with regards to your, your behaviour or the house. Furthermore, they can spill water over the dinner you made for them and not even mention it. They can put you down by lecturing you over how other people raise their kids better, have a better job, work harder, take more care of their partner or manage the house and finances well. They have a countless directories to choose from.

Why would your spouse belittle you? There could be many reasons. It could be the result of a long communication gap between you and your spouse that is coming out in this way. Maybe your spouse is upset with you – terribly upset – so this is how they react. There are many reasons – the list could go on and on.

Coworker – The Toxic One

According to most definitions, a toxic coworker is someone who engages in harmful behavior that causes damage to a company’s employees and property. This damage is not restricted to these two but can also affect customer’s satisfaction or happiness, sales and profits as well as the reputation of the business. 

These individuals are the ones people will mostly avoid because they realize the metal traps set by these toxic people and how difficult it is to avoid them. You will see people trying to avoid being in their team, working with them on an assignment or having to talk to them about a certain issue.

Nonetheless, here are 3 ways you can identify a toxic coworker:

  • Play The Victim – Avoid Blame
  • The Talk of the Town – Gossip
  • Passive Aggressive Comments

They resort to belittling remarks about your work, presentation skills and how you conduct business in a general manner. This comes under the last point of ‘passive aggressive comments’ where they will make rude comments or ones that aim to put you down, demotivate you, upset you or make you doubt yourself.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

How To Deal With Someone Who Belittles You In front Of Others?

In this section, we will discuss the 5 ways on how to deal with people who belittle you.

It’s Not You

It is important to protect your self esteem and feelings when you face situations where someone – especially your close friend – belittles you. This is the first line of defense that you have because winning over the other person is not going to be so easy and in the process they will try to hurt you with their words.

Hence, one needs to remain mentally and emotionally strong to counter such remarks. They need to remind themselves that whatever the person says is not necessarily a reflection of the recipient but the sender themself. All in all, don’t let the words get you.

Find Out Why – Belittling

One of the things that matters is figuring out why someone is belittling you. It can either help you clear things with your friend or confront them about the entire matter. Furthermore, it can help convince you that you are not the issue but the other person – the person you call your friend – is the problem.

Analyze whatever your friend does or say closely and you will be surprised once you compare it to the facts – there is much discrepancy. You will see that most of what they say is full of lies and deception; their main aim is to throw you into doubt and confusion and make you lag behind in your work and progress. 

Question Them

It is very important that you confront your friend about their words and actions once you have fully realized that they are indeed belittling you. What people usually do is that they avoid confronting the other person and lie to themselves repeatedly. Their friends mean so much to them that they are willing to listen to them rather than their own inner voice. 

It is necessary that you take your friendship to the test and question them about what they have been saying to you – explicitly question them. Don’t be afraid because if your friend is true they will put in the effort with you to have that difficult conversation and answer your queries. If not, they will avoid your questions and try and make you doubt yourself even more. If that happens, you should see red flags and understand their true intentions.

Distance Yourself

Relationships like the ones we described above can become quite toxic in nature. Why? The ‘friend’ belittling you will not want to let go of you but at the same time they wont stop their behaviour nor will they fully satisfy your queries. Hence, as a safety precaution, you need to distance yourself from them because they wont stop at pursuing you nor will they stop their belittling remarks. Don’t pick up their calls or meet them if they ask you to. They had their chance to do their explaining!

It is necessary to mention that setting up healthy boundaries may evoke even more negative reactions from the individual who is belittling you. The main purpose of their behaviour is to reach out and affect you all while seeing the effects of it. Hence, if they cannot reach out to you or see how they make you miserable they make you, they will become frustrated and thus react more. So be prepared!


This article looked at 3 examples of close relations that may belittle you and explained how they could do so. Furthermore, the article also looked at why these relations affect you the most and how you should react to the situation. In the case of the toxic coworker, it highlighted some traits of this personality so that the audience could develop a deeper understanding of those who might belittle you.