Why Are Nuns So Cruel? (9 Reasons Why)

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Oberon Copeland

Oberon Copeland is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, with a degree in economics and HR.

The stigma that nuns are cruel is somewhat of a misnomer. Nuns used to be cruel; that much is true. However, nuns aren’t the cruel teachers they used to be.

But the fact remains, why were nuns so cruel? We found nine reasons that may shock you.

Why Are Nuns So Cruel?

1. Jealous

Nuns could be jealous of the attention that Catholic Mothers get. Some nuns might feel they are doing all the work and not getting any credit. This can lead to nuns being quite resentful toward Mothers.

Nuns indeed put in a lot of hard work. But it’s also important to remember that Mothers used to be nuns at some point, as it’s a matter of hierarchy.

2. Can’t Have Families

Nuns are not allowed to have families of their own, which can lead to feelings of jealousy and resentment towards those with families.

Let’s not forget that nuns take a vow of celibacy. This vow means they will not have sex or engage in sexual activity, leading to frustration and feeling trapped.

It’s not something that’s public knowledge, but many nuns grow to regret taking this vow. They may feel they are missing out on something essential and wonder what could have been.

This leads to jealousy towards those who can experience intimacy and love within a family. Thus, nuns act out their cruelty towards others.

3. Harsh Training

At one time, the training nuns received was outdated and very harsh. They were taught to be tough to survive in the world.

This can lead to them being quite cruel to others, especially those weaker than them.

Archaic teaching methods are now seen as barbaric. But, back in the day, this is how nuns were taught, and it’s no wonder they turned out to be so cruel.

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Thankfully, those methods have changed, and nuns are now taught with more compassion.

4. Perfection Expectation

Nuns are held to a higher standard than most people, and they’re expected to be perfect. This expectation can be quite a burden and lead to nuns being critical of others.

It’s not easy to live up to such high standards. This can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety, leading to nuns taking their frustration out on others.

Imagine trying to be perfect all the time. It’s no wonder nuns can be so cruel. Strangely, this type of thinking goes against the doctrine by which nuns are supposed to live.

Jesus dies for their sins, as He lived a perfect life. Therefore, trying to live a perfect life is both impossible and unnecessary. Nuns should strive to serve their Lord and Savior as best they can.

But trying to be perfect always is enough to make anyone go a little crazy. So, it’s no wonder nuns can be so cruel.

5. Modesty


Nuns are supposed to be modest in their appearance, which can lead to them being quite critical of others who don’t dress modestly.

It’s not easy to always be modest. There are times when it’s hot outside, and the last thing you want to do is dress in heavy clothing. But there’s an expectation for nuns to dress modestly at all times.

This can lead to frustration and a feeling of being trapped. It can also lead to nuns lashing out at others due to their discomfort.

6. Lack of Expression

Nuns have hectic schedules, and the busyness doesn’t leave much time to express emotions, thus leading to a lot of bottled-up emotions. These emotions can eventually turn into anger and resentment.

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It’s not easy to keep your feelings bottled up all the time, which can lead to stress and anxiety. It can also lead to nuns acting out in ways that are considered cruel.

7. Obey Superiors

Nuns have to obey their superiors, which can lead to a feeling of being trapped and powerless, and it can also lead to nuns being quite resentful towards those in positions of authority.

It’s not easy to always obey those in authority, and many nuns who can’t obey suffer from stress and anxiety, leading to nuns lashing out at others in positions of power.

8. Bad Pasts

Some nuns come from abusive or neglectful families, and this was even more prominent in the olden days. This can lead to a lot of unresolved issues, and these issues can eventually turn into anger and resentment.

It’s not easy to grow up in an abusive or neglectful home, which can lead to trauma and emotional damage. It can also lead to nuns taking their frustration out on others.

Many youths vow to never be like their parents, only to grow up and mimic the very things they hated as children.

This kind of behavior applies to nuns, as well. Abuse is only broken when the cycle stops. But many nuns never had the chance to break the cycle.

They were raised in abusive homes and grew up as abusive adults. It’s a shame, as nuns should represent peace, kindness, and gentleness.

Although nuns acting mean is mostly history, the stigma remains in many people’s minds.

9. Following In Footsteps

Some nuns are just following the example set by other nuns. If they see other nuns being cruel, they may think it’s okay to act the same way.

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This can lead to a cycle of cruelty that’s hard to break. It’s crucial for nuns to be aware of this and to try to break the cycle.

It’s not easy being a nun. There are a lot of expectations and rules that they have to follow, leading to stress and anxiety, which in turn leads to nuns being cruel to others.

But there is good news in all of this. Long gone are the days of teaching nuns to be cruel, and now they’re being taught with more compassion.

So there’s hope in breaking this cycle completely, thus decreasing the cruelty that some nuns display.

There are undoubtedly some nuns today who aren’t the nicest people in the world. But by and large, they’re much nicer than they used to be. And that’s a good thing for everyone involved.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why 911 operators are so rude, why judges are so rude, and why cops are so rude.


Nuns can be cruel for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include the high expectations placed on them, the fact that they’re not allowed to express their feelings, and many of them come from abusive or neglectful families.

So if you see a mean nun, remember that she’s probably going through a lot. Try to be understanding and compassionate. After all, we all have our own crosses to bear.


2 thoughts on “Why Are Nuns So Cruel? (9 Reasons Why)”

  1. I attended a “Catholic” grade school; that was enough for me to leave the so-called faith many years ago. I did not suffer from physical abuse and always tried to be a “good girl”. However, I did not like most of them. They would beat others with rulers and books. Great story: My brother one time took the ruler and broke in two and threw in the good sister’s face. He walked out and never went back. He became a respected contractor in our town. Never liked them, never will–I’ll be happy when they disappear from society.

  2. My siblings and I attended catholic school. We suffered physical ,
    psychological and emotional abuse from catholic nuns. In first grade , I was kicked in buttocks and knocked on ground several times for doing nothing. Most of them were cruel and evil. Not interested in being catholic.


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