Mean people are miserable people. Misery loves company that will allow them to stay and feel miserable. What they cannot tolerate is anyone challenging their misery. They carry around their own black cloud in their head with them everywhere they go. They can never get away from it. That has to be a miserable place to be. Don't allow their black cloud to rain on you. Are you growing and rising up, or paralyzed, being pulled down by someone else's fear and misery and need?
Growth exacts a price. I am a systems theory-trained therapist. What I learned in systems theory, is that in family systems, one change in one member will impact the entire system. In toxic systems, there will always be one who needs you to be miserable, or weak, or dependent, or confused, or screwed up, or sick. You being well, strong, happy, healthy, can exact a cost to the system.
They operate in a perpetual state of chaos. They need chaos, and if there isn't enough of it, they'll create it and then sit back on the throne and lavish in it.
I heard a saying once, about toxic systems...."If you can't earn respect, then earn sympathy. If you can't earn sympathy, then create chaos and seek attention," Toxic people can't seem to earn or hold on to healthy respect, and they literally do not know what it's like to be healthy and let everyone else be healthy, too. They need chaos and they need symptomatology. There is one thing we learn as therapists - - "symptoms serve a purpose". If not their own, then yours. It's blood to a vampire.
Sometimes, to a toxic system, you getting healthy is like sunlight to a vampire. You might have just cut off their blood supply.
To sick people in sick systems, your growth and your hope and your health may be interpreted as a threat. And it is. It's a threat to homeostasis, to a system that needs things to stay static and silent and shamed. Growth is a direct counter to shame. Sick systems are systems of shame. Ever heard, "You're as sick as your secrets"? Sick family systems demand secrets, fakeness, and silence and may threaten you into it or reject you when you grow out of it.
Growth exacts a cost.
Sick systems need things to remain static and easily-controlled. You growing represents a shift. Healthy people can handle it and will walk alongside you on that path. Unhealthy people will consider it a threat and work very hard to push you back down, create chaos, level threats, manipulation, insults, even the threat of rejection. This is their head and the misery inside it.
Growth changes things. What you learn about yourself you can never unlearn. And what you see, sometimes with all-new eyes, can never be unseen.
Keep growing. Even when it exacts a cost. Even when a toxic person tries to claw you back down. What is the alternative?