Does touchiness and petulance complicate your life?

Are you easily offended because of any comment, which might not even concern you at all? Touchiness is a mental process, when an individual assigns one's personal meaning to the neutral events that occur around him or her. That way, he or she appropriates facts that concern him or her partially, randomly, or not at all.

Regression into the period of early childhood, into the period when the young child is a centre of attention, is a mechanism of touchiness. Touchiness is thus a regressive phenomena, anchored in narcissism, and it is a typical character feature of neurotics, scoptophobes, (individuals suffering from a group of neurotic symptoms, whose common feature is a fear of failure together with excessive shyness and an inferiority complex, fear of people, bordering severe reclusiveness – autoostracism) and also paranoid individuals.

Touchiness and self-confidence

If you are overly offended by what other people say or if you take what they say personally, then you probably have a touchiness problem. The things they say – even if they do talk about you – tell more about them and about their life and reasoning then about your life. They speak about their own suspicions, evaluations, opinions created on the basis of their individual experience. It is a manner of their thinking. Sometimes you may lack proper distance from what they say or how they react and then you cannot perceive it clearly. You will take other people's opinions personally. It can subsequently cause you to feel wronged or ashamed.

Nevertheless, if something affects you, then it truly is “your business”. Other people's comments open old wounds and experienced wrongs and traumas. They resonate in topics, which you might have not completely dealt with, which concern your personal beliefs and thus they can trigger an emotional reaction. But it does not have to mean that what the other person says is true. He or she only speaks about his or her perception of the world, from his or her position.

Every single one of us perceives the world and people surrounding him from his or her own perspective. Subjective evaluation of the world is created on the basis of values, conviction and manner of thinking, which we use in the given moment, and we pose as a mirror to the people around us. They see their own reflection in it. And what they criticise, comment or evaluate, is this very reflection. They comment on and speak about what they themselves believe and how things should be according to them.

Do you often understand other people's comments as an attack?

Try to think about such situation. They probably have better things to do than to attack you. The world is truly not revolving around you. Other people do not constantly think about how to offend, hurt or humiliate you. (Even though such people do exist, it is us who often provoke them to such behaviour unknowingly – see below). 

We usually attribute our own conviction and evaluation to other people and we see them from our own perspective. However, there are no universal truths and rules, everything is individual. In a way, every one of us has his or her own reality and his or her own world.

Nevertheless, some people are quite “dependant” upon other people's evaluations. They are afraid to do or say something out of fear of what the other person will think about them. It is by doing this how you give other people power upon you, how you weaken yourself and how you often move yourselves into the role of a victim. You react to other people on the basis of your considerations and you are in fact not at all interested about what their true opinion is. This is how a vicious circle of assumptions and offended poses is created.

If you can recognize your dependence upon reactions and evaluations of your surroundings, then you probably need to strengthen your self-confidence and self-assurance. We watch for the reactions of other people to make sure that we are doing things the right way. However, this is effective only in some life situations, sometimes it's the wrong thing to do. If is important for you to be able to determine whether the given matter is important to you in a specific moment and situation or not. Be able to support your opinions and your decisions even though other people disagree. They have different values and beliefs than you do. Perhaps they just don't understand you in the given moment, just as you sometimes do not understand them.

Fighting touchiness

  • Improve your mental endurance: If you lack mental endurance, you need to do more than to say to yourself that you won't think about the comments that offend you
    Touchiness points at the fact that you doubt yourself and there's something wrong with your relationship with yourself. Not even the most critical comment can hurt you, if there is no foundation for it in ourselves. Our own arrogance, narcissism, low self-confidence or perfectionism can be the foundation in us. It is necessary to face these negative character traits and not let oneself be dragged down by them. Our own insecurity is the root of these traits. If you can recognize and admit your own insecurity, it can already change a lot. Already by the very act of thinking about yourselves, you have a chance to realize your internal insecurities and face them correctly. If you want to defeat them, you must be able to face them.
  • The insecurity points at our vulnerability and every single one of us is afraid to be vulnerable. However, if we can overcome this fear and if we can approach our vulnerability objectively and with kindness, if we learn to support ourselves, the feelings of insecurity will go away. If you learn to be yourself and resolve your inner issues, not even the sharpest innuendo can shake you up.
  • Be also careful of making assumptions Every person tends to make assumptions that our surroundings see the life from the same point of view as we do, but that is not true. The assumption that other people think as we do and judge us from the same point of view as we do leads to fear of being yourself. Changing yourselves takes time and one has to have courage to ask him or herself questions, and even the uncomfortable ones. Life is about ourselves, not only about other people or what is in and popular. Praise yourselves for your achievements, be aware of them and lay new and unique life goals – your own, personal – in front of you. If you love what you want to achieve, then it is only yours and there's nothing to be ashamed of.   

Troubles and difficulties of self-evaluation

Inferiority complexes and lowered self-evaluation bring fear of fiasco, failure, self-pity, sensitive touchiness and often they negatively affect the whole personality of a person, not only his or her ability to cope with his or her surroundings, but also mental and work effectiveness, motor activity, emotion experiencing and development of character traits.

People, who grew up around constant disagreement and criticism tend to have feelings of inferiority and inadequacy. Especially children, with whom their father had a negative relationship, often react to negative evaluation of themselves by the inferiority complex. They lack emotional support, emotional stability and positive relationship with themselves. They tend to consider themselves failures, poor people, incompetent and unsuccessful people and they do not realize that they also have a number of positive traits.

The basic problem of low self-confidence is usually not an objective handicap, but an attitude towards this defect or problem. The inferiority complex is a breach of balance of personality; everyone has a natural need to restore this balance, either appropriately (by exercise, training, studying etc.), but if one is prevented to do so, then inappropriately – often in a morally undesirable way (by alcoholism, drug abuse, petty thievery etc.). However, it only continues to deepen the personality discrepancies. Chronically frustrated need for acceptance is the cause of the inferiority complex.

Resignation and all rationalizations (self-justification) also belong among the inappropriate forms of compensation of the inferiority complex. A person tries to minimize his or her failures; various forms of autistic thinking, fantastic compensation, daydreaming, pathological lying, cheating, any forms of substitution – excessive food, coffee, tobacco consumption and an effort to excel in anything also belong to the undesirable forms of compensation.

Childhood education and self-concept 

Self-concept of one's own personality is affected significantly by the way in which a person is loved and accepted or rejected, criticised and neglected by parents is his or her own childhood. How to help these people to get rid of these feelings of inferiority? Attention and attempt to move these people into fields, in which the socially desirable and positive compensation of their complexes is possible, is the best solution. Satisfying position in a good group, suitable work assignment, balanced life and success in the area of free time activities, all of the above is important for removal of these feelings. Arising mistakes and small temporary failures are not a catastrophe, mistakes are often the best teachers.

On the other hand, high self-evaluation, and especially narcissistic self-evaluation, is also a self-evaluation disorder. A person is in love with him or herself and unable to see value in anything else. Narcissistic personalities spend a lot of time by caring about themselves, their appearance, clothing, lifestyle They are often flirtatious, conceited and vain and they like to talk about themselves and their experiences. Their interest in other people is lower, other people's affairs are not as important for them as their own. They overlook opinions of other people, because they are convinced that only their opinions and decisions are the right and good ones. Narcissist personalities have decreased auto-censorship ability, and thus they say anything they come up with, which often causes them to embarrass themselves in company of others. So-called demonic evaluation, which brings up the idea of above-personal power and influence, is another type of high self-evaluation. The person in question feels to be predestined to lead and dominate. 

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