Mary DeMuth
About the Author

Mary DeMuth is an author, speaker and book mentor who helps folks turn trials to triumph. : She blogs at Mary DeMuth Her recent book, Thin Places, details God's surprising transformation of a life.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. I’ve known several ‘mean girls’ who devalue other women in their lives because they are simple, or different, or whatever…It has made me take a different road to deliberately cultivate and cherish relationships with women who seem really different from me. I find that it makes life so much more interesting to meet people who have experienced and see the world differently. I’d love to win a copy of your e-book. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

    • I read with interest your article on “how a mean girl compelled me to write the 11 secrets of getting published”, as it reminded me how “mean-spirited” some people respond to others. High school teenage girls can be down-right hateful to someone that doesn’t fit in their mold. Being from the south and moving to the north was a terrible experience for me in school as I was ridiculed for my “southern drawl”. I am now 72 years old, still have an accent!! In those high school experiences I learned to laugh along with them and discovered who I am. I was not born in the south by accident. God made me unique and loved me enough to die for me that I might have life and more abundantly. (John 10:10).

  2. I had a question… I am in the UK and so some books don’t transfer well as we do things differently. But I would love to be published. Would this book still help me? Or is it aimed at getting published in America?
    Thank you.

  3. Writing has always been a dream that seemed ‘too big’ for me….but lately have truly felt compelled to follow that dream…..Mean girls have def been in my past. I think one of the biggest memories I have is when I graduated from nursing school. The preceptors I had didn’t want to teach me~they wanted to see me fail. Never understood why~but it gave me motivation when I had nursing students with me to be what I didn’t have….a mentor. Would love an opportunity to win your book! Thanks for the contest 🙂

  4. tough question…I’ve definitely been bullied by mean girls. I think your situation was different. You were asking for help from a professional. There was no reason for her not to answer your simple questions. Is it possible she didn’t know the answers and her condescending attitude was a way to cover up her own lack of confidence? Or she was so insecure that she couldn’t stand the thought of anyone else attaining success? Either way, you have proven what I’ve always believed–there’s a reason for everything (you may not have had such tremendous success if she had helped you) and that nice girls do win! Congrats on your success. I’m going to order your book for my Nook before the price goes up.

  5. I encountered a few mean girls back in my middle school years. Enough said right??!! I swore after a few major (and totally dramatic) middle school happenings that no matter what I would not bully people based on their appearance or lack of x, y or z. I also vowed to make friends with the under dog. 🙂

  6. I have never forgotten the day I wasn’t invited to join in the mean girls party. With tears streaming I took my hurt feelings and broken heart to my mom and in her wisdom she said, “so, plan your own party.” All these years later, when I want something to do, I don’t wait for someone to invite me, I just plan my own party… again.

    Thanks for your generosity in writing and compiling this!

  7. A couple mean girls at summer camp were making fun of my sister, and encouraging me to go have fun with them, and leave her alone. I learned that my sister means the world to me, and I wouldn’t leave her for anything.

  8. Mean girls in high school always spurred me on to be kind to everyone. Anyone. And to show hospitality and make others feel welcome – even if it’s just in one conversation. I want that person to know that I’m glad to be talking to them. Thanks, Mean Girls!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. After my experiences with mean girls, I now really try to include everyone. I hated being excluded; no one deserves that. It’s encouraging to learn about your response and how you’ve so many people!

  10. Don’t you think it’s the women and men who are mean who actually compel us to action? The question begs to be asked then, “Are they really mean?” Their responses hurt us, cut us to the quick … it happened to me just this weekend. But when people fail us it catapults us into a new place. I would not be who I am today without these people, a lover of the disenfranchised, a see-er of the lost and hurting ones. I suspect you’ve written about this gal as a ‘mean girl’ to get our attention and you did!

    Well done!


  11. When I was in university I met and fell in love with my husband. He was an amazing kind guy. A “Foreigner” and didn’t my friend love to keep telling me that! She was so mean, and was always saying really nasty, discouraging things to me.
    When he asked me to marry him she told me the marriage would never work, that we’d be miserable for the rest of our lives, as we were making the biggest mistake of our lives…..
    Did we listen……?
    We celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary next year……..

  12. I am middle-aged and 5 mean girls from my youth have been a driving factor behind much of my life. They would probably be shocked if they had any idea. I just realized a few weeks ago that the reason I never, ever wear pink if I can help it is because of the way Maria teased me about my favorite outfit in 6th grade (can you say Pinky Twinky?)

    I would dearly love a copy of your new book! Thanks and thanks for using your disappointment as a reason to bless others.

  13. Well, calling them mean is a stretch – I think they were more small-minded than malevolent. But the girls in my church group had all grown up together, and I was a newcomer. They seemed to exclude me at every turn, talking about people and events I’d never heard of without explaining the history or even seeming to realize it wasn’t self-evident to anyone but themselves. Now that some years have passed and there are newer people, I remember how it felt to be outside the “inside jokes”, and am purposeful about explaining things newcomers might not know.

  14. Mary, I loved your post today about how a mean girl compelled you to write “11 Secrets of Getting Published”…your mean girl story so resonated with me that I was compelled to purchased your book this morning as a result…Thank you for your open transparency…I could so relate 🙂

  15. One particular “mean girl” from my past became my friend when the popular girls decided to stop liking her…. She just as quickly turned her back when they changed their minds the next school year! I think it taught me a lot about what true friendship looks like, and an awful lot about forgiveness- we can’t really learn the value of it if we never have anyone to forgive!

    I’d love to win your book- thanks for the offer!

  16. I have encountered mean girls all through my life and my reaction was to run the other way vowing never to treat someone that way. Recently that spurred me into dropping ladies bowling night to take up Bible Study. My niece goes to choir at the same time and then has a children’s activity, afterwards we can have dinner together in fellowship hall. A very healthy, soul rewarding change for me, new ladies that are not mean and quality time spent with my niece. I hope to win your book, thanks for the offer. I have always wanted to be a writer. I started to keep a prayer journal and now I my second ‘book’.

  17. It takes a lot out of me to be around ‘mean spirited women’, but as a believer, I looked at the mean spirited people – usually the so called religious of His day- that Jesus encountered. I saw He was secure in Who He was and spoke the truth for their good. The motivation was love. Love for them or love for the people being bullied. I love that He never acted cowardly, nor was He intimidated by them. Each an opportunity to build, to teach and to bring God’s Kingdom, God’s way of handling things, situations into the earth. In short, He taught us how to live.

    So, every mean girl encounter – in my mind I am praying and asking God what He wants to make happen here and I want His love to prevail. Each time it is different, just as each of these women are different. God give us Your eyes to see.

  18. Mean girls have spurned me on to care about others. Like you, I determined to share everything the Lord teaches me… there’s nothing new under the sun, so why be so stingy? Blessings

  19. While other mean girls have prompted me to change my behavior, it is when I have recognized my own tendency to be the ‘mean girl’ that has had the biggest impact on my life. When I realize I have shunned someone else or refused to pass on the blessings I received, that is when I have the biggest change: to live more like the example Christ gave me.

  20. My wise mother once told me when the girls were mean to me that they are just jealous. It gave me determination to ignore them and proceed with what I need to do. I’m reading “The First Five Pages” by Noah Lukeman that you advised me to get. It has been very helpful. I’m trying to polish the first chapter of my novel before I send out further queries. I believe in my story with the same determination that my mother instilled in me. It’s like I don’t care what they say, I will get this published.

  21. I’ve dealt with “mean girls” all my life. I always felt sorry for them – seriously. They were so small minded that they missed out on some truly beautiful people and experiences. That is why I find a lot of them today haven’t changed much and have turned into mean grown-ups. They haven’t evolved from their small, little, shell of how they think the world should be. To answer your question, the existence of mean girls have made me look at life differently. I learned to like myself earlier than I might have. I learned to not care so much what others think. I learned that everyone does not want to be my friend nor would I want them too. I learned to pick my friends carefully. A handful of good and trustworthy friends are better than a whole bunch of superficial women who take flight when the going gets tough or just different!

  22. The mean girls in my junior high prompted me to ask my parents to home educate me during high school. The most popular girls were known to roam the halls, slamming the rest of us into lockers or pulling hair, generally proving that they hadn’t learned in preschool how to get along with others. However, home education was the best decision we made, so I’m thankful (now) for those mean girls. Through that I learned what I can accomplish with only my own motivation moving me own. It serves me well as I work toward my dream of being published.

  23. I can’t think of a mean girl situation, but as a new mom, this certainly helps me prepare ways I can help my son when people are mean to him. Thanks for your offer – what a neat way to help other aspiring writers!

  24. As a mom, routine encounters with a jealous, competitive mean mom has spurred me on to eliminate boasting, cheer on other mom’s successes even when my child hasn’t reached that milestone, and seek to love and notice other mom’s kids when I saw how ugly that jealous competition looked and felt.

  25. The Lord is teaching me to love them more…I usually have the most to learn from the “mean” girl that won’t let me in…to overlook the mean behavior/attitudes and love like He does. It also makes me reach out to the underdog, come alongside and encourage them as well.

    We are all so full of sin. His grace is beautiful.

    It’s my birthday this week, does that make it easier to win a copy? 😀

  26. I definitely think God uses mean people to spur us on…to test us and see how much we want something. When I was in middle school (we called it Jr. High, in those days) I loved to draw. I had drawn a tree on the front of one of my notebooks. While waiting for the bus one afternoon after school, a mean girl saw it and, quite loudly so I would be embarrassed in front of many people, began to talk about how terrible it looked. I can’t remember her name, but her words still ring in my ears. It cut so deeply that my confidence in my artistic ability has been affected for years. I am 60 years old and am just now starting to draw and write and use those talents I allowed her discouragement to squelch. Even after all these years, I have had to ask myself, “How badly do you want to do this?” I have asked God to stir up those talents He gifted me with and help me to polish them and use them for His glory. So I would love to win your book!! Words from a sweet girl would be such an encouragement to me.

  27. Sadly, I was probably someone else’s mean girl experience. I can’t even recall having one of my own since elementary school. Hopefully, being a reformed meanie qualifies me to enter to win the book. It’s absolutely wonderful that you’re willing to share your wisdom for such a great price. Thanks for being a blessing!

  28. Mean girls have been present thought out my entire life. They have at times weakened me, leaving me withdrawing into myself, and away from all people including those who really do love me, and want to see me succeed. Then I realize that it’s my life, and I need to know what is important to me, to God, and peruse that. Typically this leads to an out strike to do the opposite of what ever I was “harshly critiqued” in. In the end I am pushed and more disciplined because of “mean girls” I have also learned to keep in check what I say to or about other people. To give the benefit of doubt, before judgment.
    Writing a book is one of those things that I have always wanted to do, and that those around me make me aware of their doubt in my ability to write. I would very much love to read your book, and believe it could be very helpful to me 😀

  29. If I had to pick out one incident that has pushed me to be fearless I would have to say it was being a unwed mother. When I was in college I got pregnant by my then fiance and decided NOT to get married. Regardless of what everyone was saying, including my mother, I did not want to get married for the wrong reasons. Getting pregnant made me realized that I really didn’t want to marry my finance…I was being pushed by everyone and being pregnant made me feel stronger. Weird I know…and I can’t explain it other than having something more than myself to think about made me fearless.

  30. I am a teacher whose experiences with mean girls during my adolescence have powerfully and gracefully helped me connect to the middle school marvels that dance in and out of my classroom each day. Like many others who have been victims of bullying (and I would not wish my middle school years on my worst enemy, if that conveys an abridged but adequate picture of how it went for me), I vowed to never make another human being feel as small, insignificant, or worthless as they made me feel on a daily basis. It is a true testament to God’s power and love that he can take something so painful and ugly in my life and shape it into this enhanced desire and ability to help those students feel loved, respected, and wanted.

    When I first started teaching, though, that desire to shower those victimized students with God’s love was my attempt to try to compensate for the lack of love they were feeling from their peers. God has begun to help me realize that there is much more to this picture than what I may have originally thought. What has truly changed as a result of my experiences with mean girls – and also as a result of the Holy Spirit healing and strengthening my heart – is how I treat those mean girls in my classroom and in my life now. It’s hard to explain, but it’s much, much more than a “Kill ‘Em With Kindness” kind of attitude. I understand now that mean people behave that way because of a deep lack of love or deep wounds in their own lives, and these wounds cause them to treat other people poorly because they don’t know how to handle what they are feeling. They don’t need extra love and kindness to make up for their poor behavior; they need a model of Christ’s unconditional love to the church to help them begin to understand their own pain and how to deal with it in a more positive, healing way. I have also found that bullies make it much more difficult to connect to them, often because they don’t even know they are hurting, or they don’t want to admit it. I now seek to get to know the bullies just as much as I do the victims because I understand that they all require the same thing: The unconditional love of Jesus. And let’s face it – in today’s culture, our youth need this more desperately than ever before.

    I look forward to learning more from you – thank you for this post and for taking the time to compile your notes!

  31. After living with one occasional ‘mean girl’ and one definite mean girl it totally changed how I attempt to approach my relationships. I work very hard to avoid any ‘games’, not just with my husband but with all my relationships. I say what I mean and don’t think “they should know why I’m upset/hurt/etc without me telling them”. I would rather spell things out even though it can be uncomfortable than play the mind games that I’ve had played on me.

  32. I’m not a writer but your kindness towards others touched my heart and I just wanted to tell you so.


  33. I believed “the mean girl” and never accomplished my one goal. Something to ponder: should I do it now? Will have to seek God’s will.

  34. I worked with a mean girl who made the atmosphere very uncomfortable at work, and tried to ignore it and continue to forgive until one of my regular customers pulled me aside and suggested i tell her to respect me at work or the customer would report her, as the customers were noticing. So, I asked her if she was still willing to work with me to continue to give the customers excellent service, when she said yes, i mentioned the fact the customers were taking her behavior towards me as unkind and could we work past whatever the issue was and focus on the job. The issue was in fact our boss, but we moved beyond it and were able to keep it professional, which was a breath of fresh air for the business. The result? a few of the staff commented that they were scared of this gal, and had been concerned she would blow up and make things even worse, so the fact i kept it professionally focused and not personally really helped everyone!

  35. I dislike hoarders of knowledge! I worked in a field where it was imperative that knowledge be shared so cases could go smoothly. I was criticized for writing detailed preference cards, but was asked by a surgeon I respected to join the surgery center his employer was starting up.

  36. I appreciate your kindness Mary in sharing with us! I can tell by your posts and your life you’ve shared with your readers that you are a compassionate person. Thank you and may God keep that spirit going in your life!

    I’ve encountered “mean girls” in my life at different times and stages of life. I have endured their harshness and the wounding of their actions. I know we are to love unconditionally and have even practiced that. Nonetheless, mean girls do hurt others.

    I have gained in that it has made me look to God for my worth, not to others. There will always be those who put you down, try to destroy and turn others against you.

    Looking to Jesus for our worth, His acceptance and His approval is the best way to counter the assaults from mean people. It’s like what looked like a wasp, turns into a gnat when we realize God is for us, so who can be against us.

    God Bless You!

  37. I was my own mean girl. I was as self-depreciating as they come, often calling myself horrid names for my imperfections.

    One day I stood up to myself in the mirror and decided to prove that mean inner voice wrong.

    And I did 🙂

  38. Working with Christians on church related projects, I’ve encountered several immature, mean girls. Usually it has to do with power struggles and jealousy issues. I can truly say these hurtful experiences caused me to go deeper with Christ… and to check myself so as not to caught up in such nonsense. And now I can be sensitive to help others in these areas, too.

  39. Your response to unkindness in this interaction inspires me. There have been plenty of “mean girls” in my life, although I remember the comments more than the people who made them. Never do I remember their behavior causing me to do something different in a positive way, unless perhaps in making more conscious effort not to do the same to others.

    Of course, the number one mean girl in my life is myself. Self-criticism as well as unkind words from others prompt me to change in unhealthy ways like avoiding risk and vulnerability.

    Thanks for turning your hurt to good for others and modeling a different way.

  40. a mean girl…i had to think a moment but then it came to me. i was in 3rd grade and a girl on the playground was having a bad day. she decided to take it out on me and did the typical “your momma!” insult that was popular back in the day. only problem was my mom had died just 2 years before so her insult was more of a wound. my tears immediately came and the teacher sent both of us off to the principal’s office. her-to be paddled. me-to witness the punishment. some may have seen justice in this eye for an eye moment-her tears now joining mine-but to me i learned quickly in life the value of compassion and mercy. her pain only made me want to be her friend. to save her. to protect her. from that moment on, we became friends.

  41. I recently started a blog in order to record what God has done in my life for my children. Since I was a child I’ve been called to teach and to write. After 15 years of teaching I was diagnosed with MS and had to go on disability. The Lord has been telling her for years I am supposed to write a book. The blog is my beginning. I believe He is putting me in a position where all I have is time to write and now I am battling a crisis of confidence! Never-the-LESS, through scripture He has assured me that “We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 Also, I am holding to on His instructions about His Truth: “Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise GOD:” Psalm 102:18-22(The Message) ♥

  42. I have learned to watch what I repeat around others, even if it doesn’t seem like something that would be a secret. I had a friend (in a very professional environment) use information I told her in trust to get “in” with a “cooler” group of friends. Now I know not to repeat anything another woman tells me, because the hurt that came from a rejected vulnerability was really tremendous.

  43. I have had a number of mean girls and decently-nice-girls-who-don’t-‘get’-me girls say a variety of doubtful or rude things to me. The only thing I can remember that ever made me do something different was I was about to undertake a project, a large involved project and the response from one of my dearest friends was basically ‘we’ll see.’ It felt like a slap, that someone I cared so very much about didn’t believe I was capable of finishing this project. The only thing I began to do differently was to stop sharing my dreams with people. To stop sharing the imaginations of my mind because it would make me look flighty and irresponsible and weird. 🙁

    I have since completed two 50,000 word challenges with NaNoWriMo and am currently trying a 3rd round to finish Part 2 of my 2nd novel. Nothing published yet, hopefully in the next couple of years.

  44. I know a mean girl who seems to LOVE to put me down. Our lives are intertwined in the small town we live in, so I come into contact with her often. She like to see me fail, make mistakes and loves to highlight my shortcomings. After realizing that I can’t change her, and that I have cried one too many times over her hurtful remarks, something changed. It was me. Now I am able to look beyond the “mean girl” comments and see a hurting, insecure girl. So, I realize that she has helped me “see” what she is actually saying. I see the hurt, the insecurity, and I realize that God is helping me see her the way He sees her. She is actually helping me become a better person. I should thank her! 🙂

  45. I can’t say I had a “mean girl” do something directly to me that changed my life but I have had some mean comments along the way. Comments that would leave me uncertain of a dream in my heart and one I would like to put on paper.
    As I get older I realize I now have the choice to allow these negative comments to work for my good. To live out my dream – to write!

    Thanks for the oppurtunity to win this book. It sure sounds like a great read.
    -Colleen G.

  46. The “mean girl” in my life was that of my mother…just another type of mean girl! Those old tapes run silently in the background of my mind and sometimes the volume gets turned up so I can hear her voice. It has taken years of silencing the tapes…but I’m venturing out into my dream and am praying for success!

    Thank you for the opportunity to win (read) your book!

  47. The mean girl that has spurred me on the most is a part of my family. She has always tried to bring me down but every time she said something mean to me I tried my best to become exactly the opposite of what she said. I learned to sing better, dress better, be a better friend and a better sibling. I learned how to have a wonderful marriage despite my flaws and most of all I learned to love myself despite of all the spite she throws at me.

  48. Means girls have challenged me to become a better person. Sometimes I have won them over with kindness. The others, I have let go of. The lesson learned there is to not care what everyone thinks.

    The _11 Secrets of Getting Published_ sounds like a fantastic book! I am very interested in reading it. Thanks for this inspiring post!

  49. LOL, I just want to thank you for writing the book…it is very brave and good of you!! Mean girls make me cry!! And I am just going to order your book as soon as I find my Nook…I never win anything :o)

  50. Thank you for the reminder: ‘that which does not kill me makes me stronger.’ Being excluded and having my children excluded in a new city 27 years ago by women who were ignorant of their hurtful actions has made me committed to an attitude of welcome and hospitality for other women. I appreciate what you are doing!

  51. This book looks like an amazing resource! I am so thankful to have discovered this post and found your books and blog!

    I think that although I was looked down upon in high school as I was not popular my biggest struggle was shaking the label of “perfect Pamela” and accepting who I am. It’s been a journey of accepting who God says I am, not who others say I am!

  52. I’m not sure if I have ever overcome the mean girl in high school. She was always so condescending. She and I happened to wear the same pair of jeans to school one day, and she asked me (rather pointedly) what size mine were. I told her.

    She sneered, “That’s impossible! Oh wait…you’re short, so you just fill them out differently.”

    Of course, she was implying that I was WAY fatter than her. I realize now that was a ridiculous implication from a small minded individual, but I still carried/carry that burden.

    I was a size 3 at 5 feet tall. Perfect, really.

    I refuse to go to my high school reunion b/c now, after 4 children, I AM fluffy – VERY fluffy. I can’t let her be right; and, I refuse to surround myself with anyone who is anything other than genuine and nice.

    My children know that beauty is in what they think, say and do. I pray that they will never be hurt by a mean girl. Yes, they will cross paths, but they won’t be affected as I was. I didn’t overcome it (my self-esteem still suffers), but I am teaching my children to not let others define them. They are beautifully and wonderfully made, and God knows the true beauty of their heart.

    At the golden gates, they will not be asked what size clothing they wore, but they will have to answer for how they treated others – just like the mean girl.

  53. […] recently wrote a post for (in)courage about how a mean girl helped me make a positive change. You can read it here if you’re interested. At the end of the post, I asked readers to share their own mean girl stories and how those […]

  54. I was actually friends with a mean girl (don’t ask how that happened) who was always condescending, mostly because she was/is prettier than me and got all the guys. I don’t know if her worst remark—“Well, you’re no Barbie”—specifically compelled me to do something different, but it did help make me determined to exercise my brains and my talent rather than worry about my outward appearance. It’s still hard sometimes not to be bitter about that, but she’s got a husband and I just finished writing my first novel, so I’d say we’re equally matched now!

  55. Something I see in the “mean girls” in my life is a serious lack of authenticity. Mean girls have spurred me to be open and honest about my own failures and struggles, because I found… what can they say about me that I haven’t already said with more grace? I think being a “mean girl” stems from insecurity and I think authenticity is a good way to combat the natural insecurity so many of us face. I’ve also been blessed by fellowship with so many wonderful people that are inspired when they’re allowed to be imperfect, and embraced anyway.

  56. What a great book! I love seeing God bless through what someone else means for harm!
    Two years ago, my HS daughter had a rotten mean girl encounter (actually it was a tag team duo). It broke my heart and more so, hers.
    She stood her ground, walked away with her head up and never looked back.
    IT HAS KILLED THEM to see her living the moral high road.
    He paved the way for her REAL friends to emerge!

    God really does avenge His children. We never have to worry about paybacks.
    We still pray for both girls……and believe that God will change them!

  57. I have not read your book, however I have always wanted to write one. As far as dealing with mean girls, I just experienced this at my workplace.

    In the department I was in, I was working with much younger co-workers than myself.
    Suddenly it seemed like no matter what I said, it was taken out of context and I was being called into the manager’s office and criticized for “talking about issues” and other actions. I also was set -up by a co-worker. Why? What is the point? I have been transferred to another department, working with ladies closer to my age and everything is now FINE! Go figure? Why are girls so competitive? I did not want their jobs, I just want mine! That’s why I have always worked better with men, they are more laid back , they do their job and let you do yours. I did learn from this experience, unfortunately I love people, but I guess on the job, unless you belong to one of their “clicks” you pretty much have to keep quiet and stay to yourself.