humble or belittle somebody
abase - humiliate
The formal word ‘abase’ can be used in two different ways. Firstly, it can express humiliating somebody in a particularly cruel and callous way. Secondly, it can be used in relation to making yourself seem less important or degrading yourself before somebody else, often a person in authority. It both senses, it has only negative connotations.
The organization is not run on egalitarian principles. Instead, staff are expected to abase themselves before those further up the hierarchical structure.
John’s lack of confidence and assertiveness is holding him back and results in his tendency for self-abasement.
I know I made a mistake, and I’ve apologized for it. There’s absolutely no need to abase and demean me.