The Bad Habit of Taking Offense at Everything

What matters are the people that give life to the company and allow the processes to develop in the right way. So one needs to know them better. We often speak of “difficult collaborators” but perhaps it is important to know even the individual character attitudes. And today I want to talk about the touchiness…

Touchy is someone who easily takes offense to a criticism, an observation, or an ironic phrase that has been addressed to him. The touchy closes like a hedgehog, remaining silent even for long periods, or attacks to defend himself, sometimes showing an exaggerated impulsive reaction. In fact, those who are touchy are easily resentful, often have an excessive desire to be approved, and are easily susceptible. The tendency to be touchy can be a very important cause of emotional suffering in life. Not only he/she can often find yourself cultivating destructive emotions, but the quality of relationships may also be severely affected.

In short, nothing is enough to provoke a disproportionate reaction in relationships with other people. This not only makes relationships difficult but leads to unnecessary negative emotions.

And even for others, it is not, at all, easy to deal with someone who takes offense at everything, since at any time he could manifest a malaise for something that we never ever imagined could cause annoyance. Most of the time these people feel uncomfortable about facts or situations that are actually not at all inappropriate. An insignificant joke, a small forgetfulness, or a word that is intolerable to them. In some cases, the extreme sensitivity of some people makes a difference. In others, it is simply the bad habit of taking offense at anything. Usually the other is accused of being rude, and of engaging in negative behavior towards yourself.

In reality, touchiness, according to psychology, is given by the combination of insecurity and self-centeredness. When the touchy feel challenged they feel devalued and rejected.

At the bottom of it all is a lack of self-esteem. These are negative projections relating to alleged attacks that susceptible people believe are directed towards themselves, while instead, the cause of everything lies within them.

All of this affects relationships whether in the family, at work, or with friends. The touchy person isolates himself to the point of feeling alone and abandoned, blaming others. It is not easy to live or work with a touchy person. Everything that is said is misinterpreted, you have to act with pliers, you always have the impression of walking on the blade of a razor.

The paradox is, moreover, that these type of people deny being touchy, a sort of mechanism of removal is triggered in them.

Touchiness can be fueled by several factors. For example:

Feeling of inferiority. When self-esteem is not solid and one does not have strong self-esteem, it is possible to feel offended for a trifle. One gets the feeling that others are always trying to emphasize their inferiority, which is not true.

Rigidity of thought. Some people think there is only one way to say and do things. When someone doesn’t, they feel betrayed and offended. They are very susceptible to any attack on their beliefs.

Touchy people are in fact unable to react to the challenges that relationships propose on a daily basis and never consider other people as a possible source of enrichment.

In the workplace, in particular, the touchy person needs his work to be continuously recognized, every criticism has devastating effects on him/her. And, of course, there are problems of collaboration and, therefore, of productivity. If we consider that an important factor behind touchiness is the difficult relationship with the judgment of other people, we can imagine what difficulties may be encountered in seeking collaboration with a susceptible person, or who will have to face those in charge of following and evaluating them. the performance, given that on the other side we find a person who already tends to put it personally, establishing relations of strength, of wrongs and reasons. You run the risk of entering a vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape. Touchy people are in fact unable to react to the challenges that relationships propose on a daily basis and never consider other people as a possible source of enrichment. Since in most cases it is criticism, a simple observation, that activates the touchiness.

People may think right or wrong, but in no case will this change their life in any way.

According to scholars, it is possible to help a touchy person by persuading them that: no one has offended her, at most annoyed. If a person is convinced that others must necessarily think and behave in a certain way, perhaps his expectations are wrong, not what others say and do; should allow people to be as they want to be. Nobody has the right to decide the attitudes of others. We must learn to accept others as they are, just as they must accept how we are; should try to express the emotions and thoughts that the situation has aroused. Or take the time to understand what, about the others’ speech, has hurt them.

Taking time allows you to block first of all an instinctive reaction that they could then regret, once the emotional tsunami is over. Furthermore, it allows to better understand the sensations, emotions, and thoughts, in short, to understand if they feel hurt because they are carrying out a reading of the thoughts of others or a catastrophization or generalization (both cognitive distortions); no casual comment will ever change a person’s life. People may think right or wrong, but in no case will this change their life in any way. What matters is how one sees and feels about oneself; it is essential in life not to take oneself too seriously, otherwise one only becomes deeply susceptible to anything that can undermine your ego. Acting like this will only backfire on them, as well as alienate others;  it is important to become impervious to the comments and attitudes of others. Being susceptible only causes a perennial state of conflict with others, most of the time for matters of little importance; it is absolutely necessary to learn to mentally separate useful and objective feedback from what may appear a personal opinion.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Thank you for this Aldo! I appreciate you discussing the overly offended person. Nowadays, there seems to a number of individuals offended if you even blink at them. When disagreeing with someone, rather than talk or debate it, many either cry, storm off, or accuse you of some form of microaggression, especially some, not all, of the younger generation. Being challenged is a part of life, as we know. The difficult part is when you fall down. The rewarding factor is when you get back up, wobbly perhaps, but standing.