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  /  Emotions   /  Devaluing others as a way to protect yourself
Devaluing others as a way to protect yourself

We all have to find ourselves in situations where others “kill” the feeling of joy, and happiness, simply devaluing something with their comments. For example, you have been choosing a suit for a long time, found the one you like; at work, a colleague says: “This color is not trendy right now.”

Or you have devoted a lot of time to improve your qualifications and finally got a worthy position, feel deserved pride. A colleague or friend states: “Of course, you only have to pursue a career; you have no chance to get married successfully.”

Such situations can affect various aspects of life. We can cite many examples, instead of rejoicing with you, evaluating your achievements, approving personal successes; those around you pointed to some gaps, devaluing your achievements,  which immediately spoils the mood. In such situations, many have a desire to understand why people do this.


Devaluing others

In psychology, this behavior is called the devaluing of others. There are certain psychological reasons for the formation of a desire to say something unpleasant to another person directly or in disguise.

You can clearly see this situation with a simple example. The person who thinks they have no ability finds their job disgusting.  Suddenly, an employee appears in the environment who loves this work very much, successfully copes with their duties, and enjoys it. Looking at this “lucky”, such a person experiences the strongest torment.

There is a risk of an even greater fall in self-esteem, from which you can become depressed. They find one way to ensure their safety, get rid of mental pain, finds flaws in another person. Hence, depreciation is an opportunity to maintain a positive self-image. That’s when they start devaluing others in order to feel better about themselves. 

This way of maintaining self-esteem has many vulnerabilities. In order to maintain the existing bar, you have to constantly find confirmation of your positive qualities, devaluing others. If you cannot find a suitable option, it becomes a cause of suffering.


Maintaining the self-esteem

It should be borne in mind that this method of maintaining your own self-esteem doesn’t provide inner harmony. A person who uses this method of salvation from their own rejection cannot correctly realize their true feelings; an important feeling of self-love is missing.

An important conclusion can be drawn from everything that comes out: the main reason for the devaluation of others is the devaluation of oneself.

We can most often find the roots of this psychological problem in childhood.


Childhood’s role in the devaluing process

Sometimes one of the parents, who had to experience constant criticism, reproaches, humiliation from their relatives; tries to raise their own self-esteem by devaluing a child who cannot object or defend themselves.

The formation of this problem can occur in a family where one child is clearly singled out, another is ignored, and they are put on a lower step. Often both parents or one of them loves only the daughter, treats the son coldly, or, conversely; the family values ​​the son, and the daughter is left without attention and affection. We can observe this situation in the upbringing of same-sex children.

In families where such a situation is observed, the parents find a logical explanation for this fact: “this child is naughty, learns slowly, doesn’t meet expectations, etc“. However, later in the process of growing up, the child loses its logical meaning, but he still has a psychological disorder, which is expressed in the devaluation of themselves and others.

We need to figure out what is the reason for the incredible vitality of this psychological defense.


Devaluation of the people around gives a person several benefits

  1. The use of this incorrect protection allows a person to eliminate the need to take risks, make decisions, and change their lives. Awareness of your own gaps will require work on yourself, you will need to take some action for positive changes, self-improvement, which requires serious efforts. It is much easier to call yourself a failure inside, to convince yourself that you don’t need to change since nothing good will come of it. But it is necessary to avoid complete self-deprecation. For example: “Let the colleague do a better job, but I cope faster” or “Her bosses entrust more important projects, so this is due to the fact that a colleague’s appearance is such that personal life cannot be, so she sits forever at work. “
  2. With the help of depreciation, you can perfectly protect yourself from feelings. It is enough to use generalizations: “Bosses are always wrong”, “Men are all egoists”, “Women are completely stupid”, etc. The only negative experience does not allow you to trust your partner. With the help of depreciation, you can avoid addiction, convergence, the need to trust a person, maintain a distance that ensures safety.
  3. Using depreciation, a person not only protects himself from his own claims, a decrease in self-esteem, in this way he provides compensation for the potential damage that another person can cause. This technique allows you to rise above him.



Psychologists categorize depreciation as psychological abuse. If you have such people in your circle, try to distance yourself from them. Protect yourself from such attacks.

It is necessary to understand that a person who devalues ​​you experience fear of pain and intimacy, and low self-esteem. They have developed a chronic rejection of themselves. If such techniques cause you violent negative emotions, most likely you have vulnerabilities that need to be eliminated. To do this, you should contact a specialist who will identify situations that have formed certain reactions.


Get an appointment today with one of our specialists.

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