I’m not a doctor and I don’t even play one on TV or the Internet, but I have made a medical conclusion and that is that being mean is a disease. The good news is that it is not a communicable disease. It can also be classified as a mental disorder, so realistically it should be in the DSM-IV listings, but it’s not, which is a shame and just goes to show you that the medical community really doesn’t know what they are talking about on some things. But, that’s another post for another time.
Back to meanness and the disease that it is. When you are dealing with someone who has meanness it is exhausting. You can’t reason with them because they are unreasonable. You can’t draw boundaries with them because they don’t recognize boundaries. You can’t take the high road because they don’t recognize road signs. You are in a lose lose situation. They are mean and the worst part is they get joy out of being mean. Remember people this is a disease that they must feed to survive.
How do you deal with this disease?
There are some things you can do when you encounter the mean disease in people.
- Don’t stoop. Just because they are mean doesn’t mean you have to play the mean game, do you know what I mean?
- Check out. I don’t advocate checking out out of conversations, but when someone is being mean, just check out of the conversation. Sing a song in your head, plan your dinner menu, make your to do list. Whatever you have to do to tune them out, just do it, because they aren’t saying anything that is worth hearing.
- Delete, Ignore, Mute. If it is meanness via email, text or phone you have these handy buttons that are called delete, ignore and mute for a reason. Use them.
- Kill ‘em. Not literally, although I know that has probably crossed your mind, but kill ‘em with kindness. It’s hard to be mean to someone who is always nice and smiling. They just come off as an even bigger ass than they already are, and you get a big chuckle out of it as a bonus.
- Walk Away. The easiest thing in the world to do is to turn the other cheek and walk away. If they follow, just keep walking. Remember, “these boots are made for walking.”
Is meanness incurable?
That would be such a good question! Now, remember, I’m not a doctor, but I would be willing to bet that with the right attitude and help, meanness could be overcome. There has to be an underlying issue that is causing the person to be mean. They must feel as if they were slighted in life in some way or treated unfairly.
But, here’s the life lesson. You get out of life what you put into life. No one can control you but you. This is something you learn when you are a child and you misbehave. You are in charge of your own actions and no one can make you act or react in a certain way. So, the excuse that life isn’t fair and I got left or she started it or he made fun of me or she cheated on me doesn’t really fly any more does it?
In the end, what does being mean get you? Wrinkles between your eyes and on your forehead, a headache from the stress, premature gray, no friends because you ran them all off, children that don’t want to be around you and a very lonely existence.
So, if you do have the meanness disease, you might want to count your blessings, start a gratitude journal or just smell the roses and think about how lucky you are to be alive and healthy, and if you are dealing with someone who has the meanness disease, just walk away because life is too short and to precious to waste time and energy on mean.