Most of us have encountered the type of person who feels gratification from proudly flinging around toxic energy. Like a drop of acid, one nasty word can leave a scarring burn. Whether it's online or in real life, they often share secrets and spread lies.

This type of person is a grown adult who “should know better,” as opposed to ignorant children and hormonal teens. These are adults who feel entitled to make people wince. Not all mean people have evil spirits. Underneath the mask of perceived confidence lies an individual crying for help.

1. Mean People Struggle With Pain

Regardless if it’s physical or emotional, they live in a state of pain. Imagine a constant physical issue that needled you to the point that you felt grouchy and unpleasant. Emotions that haven't healed get triggered by random situations and people (e.g., you).

2. Mean People Are Weak

Strong people cannot fathom relishing in other people’s vulnerability. Mean people think they are strong because they are bullies with big mouths. If they actually had inner strength, they would build up other people, as opposed to knocking them down.

3. Mean People Lack Self-Esteem

Mean people have a hard time handling other people’s success because it reminds them of what they lack. They might act superior to everyone else but often don't feel good about themselves.

4. Mean People Are Followers

Have you ever seen a bully without a crowd? Most likely not, since they are too weak to stand alone. Like cults who operate on the premise of groupthink, mean people usually have an entourage.

5. Mean People Secretly Hate Themselves

The negativity they put out into the world is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves. They might take extreme measures to make themselves look attractive, which does not relate to intrapersonal love and acceptance.

Source: Photo by John Noonan on Unsplash

6. Mean People Feel Stuck

When people are in relationships, careers, or other situations that don’t resonate with their soul, they hold in resentment and transfer their nastiness onto other people. Rather than take responsibility for their lives, they blame others.

7. Mean People Are Bored

Spreading misery takes a great deal of work, which fills the gap for those with unconsciously boring lives. People with satisfying and meaningful lives are generally too stimulated to hurt other people.

8. Mean People Practice Victimizing and Villainizing

Have you ever seen a mean person take responsibility for their role when they have issues with other people? Probably not! Their tendency is to blame, bully, and bad-mouth other people to make themselves look better.

Whatever their intention, nobody deserves to be emotionally abused. Be mindful that they may need help. In lieu of casting a voodoo spell, please consider the following:

1. Empathize With Them

Put yourself in the shoes of the mean person. Take a step back and imagine living in a dark and lonely world, where misery brings joy. Ouch!

2. Avoid Them

You do not deserve this treatment. Keep your distance. Do not give them attention. They will eventually give up. If needed, document interactions if they elevate.

3. Smile at Them

If you do not have the luxury of avoiding, then just flash a smile. The goal is to be cordial and not give them any ammunition to create a situation or a fake story. If they say something to you, not engaging is taking the high road as well as being the bigger and better person.

4. Let Them Expose Themselves

You cannot hide trash without it starting to smell. Mean people do not realize that wishing and acting unkind towards others is inner filth that oozes out. Outward beauty will eventually get overshadowed by the inner ugly.

5. Do Not Retaliate

Always be the person who ascends above the nonsense without lowering yourself to their level. Break the toxic cycle and show them what strength, class, grace, dignity, and maturity look like.

6. Create a Mental Mantra

When you have been struck by them, remember that they are struggling and desperate. In order not to retaliate, use a mantra or affirmation statement to help maintain a sense of calm. Whether it’s “Poor thing,” “Get some help,” or “Go eff yourself,” silently repeat or write in a journal.

7. Pray for Them

They might not realize it, but they need help. Send them some positive energy and hope a light shines into their dark place.

8. Thank Them

Maintain a sense of gratitude. They are helping you become stronger and they provide a screaming example of who you do not want to be. As difficult and painful as it was, feel grateful that you learned through their mistakes and not your own.