I have recently been observing cruelty around me. Cruelty in friendships. In families. Cruelty at work. And of course, cruelty in writing and publishing, both on- and offline. The people who are cruel to others, are in my view, usually being first and foremost, cruel to themselves.
People are unique and generalising is dangerous. But patterns can be seen. I do not believe the cruelty is usually conscious or intended to harm for its own sake. Usually the cruelty to others is an attempt to alienate oneself, to be "just left alone". All kinds of excuses and reasons are given to justify a withdrawal from the community, the group or the family. Or from a friendship. Often it is self-doubt, guilt, frustration that lurks beneath the surface. The cruelty is an attempt to demonise the "other" because, of course, the cruelty has little or no basis in reality. So the "charges" have to be trumped up.
There really isn't much one can do about someone who is primarily inflicting cruelty on themselves. But when the acts of self-hurt spills over (because the self isn't seen as target enough) one will begin to feel its fall-out. Accusations will be hurled that are clearly based on a distorted perception of events. All you can do is hold fast to your motives and wait for the storm to pass. You may have to block. It may be that you care enough to "take" some of it. It requires intuition and a love that may never be recognised to cope with it. Most of all, you have to wait patiently for it to pass. Which it often does.