Let me talk about mean acts. This isn’t a technical term but it is a phenomenon well-known to us all: behaving badly, with or without justification or excuse, which hurts others, causes damage or compromises integrity.
Truth is, it’s not so much the hurting others angle that bothers us, apparently, so much as the being ashamed of admitting what we did. The reluctance to tell, the embarrassment, the guilt or the shame is what singles out these acts. These are the moments of low self-esteem and marked discomfort.
Consider for a moment the definition of mean. I scooped these particular definitions together from several online dictionaries:
Mean: Adj. unkind, spiteful, or unfair. synonyms: unkind, nasty, unpleasant, spiteful, malicious, unfair, cruel, shabby, foul, despicable, contemptible, obnoxious, vile, odious, loathsome, base, low.
Yikes, that’s pretty unpleasant stuff! Trouble is we know, despite trying to kid ourselves, that these acts could be all of those things.
But now look at a related word (not a derivative though): More