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The Mask of Not Good Enough

Some people spend their entire lives “looking for reasons to be offended,” as the late Dr, Wayne Dyer would address many times in his career.  In this post about peeling back the masks to reveal what’s beneath the easily offended habit, (Yes, it’s a habit) we’ll take a close-up peek at the true nature of the constantly bristled personality….

You know someone who is a nag. She criticizes, she back-seat drives, and she always notices when you’ve “missed a spot.” She’s the shadow at your back constantly standing over you, telling you how to wash a dish, how to make a bed, how to correctly fold a sheet, how to clean a window, how to complete any task, how she would do it, and she tries to control, control, control every situation.

These people are easily offended and are uncontrollably driven to constantly talk about how wrong everyone else is. It’s as if the world would collapse without the non-stop input of how we could do things “better.” Without the perfectionist’s unsolicited opinions, it’s inferred that the world and everyone on it would surely perish if not for the guidance and parallel-trait of condemnation of others that spews ad nauseam.

This easily offended person is tiresome to be around. No one wants to be criticized by anyone else. And frankly, unless you quickly see the truth lying beneath the critic’s mask, you may end up removing this person from your life.

  • So what is that makes some people act as if they know better?
  • Why are some people so easily offended?

In the first layer beneath the mask of the offended, you’ll find anger. But let’s keep looking, because anger itself is just another mask.

Under the anger is self-doubt. (Ahh…now we’re getting somewhere…). Somewhere in the critic’s past, she learned that she was not good enough. She felt inferior, maybe even bullied. And to mask feelings of inferiority, an emotional defense mechanism was shaped. She became the critic. At first, the anger and criticisms were directed at herself, because that’s what she was taught -that she was not good enough at doing something. And that message quickly turned inward, seeding into an internalized belief that she is not good enough. She is undeserving.

And then, because life and especially communication is built on projections of what’s going on inside, all that self-doubt and insecurity became the mask of the critic.

As years go by, the mask becomes the truth. And her self-loathing becomes the fuel for attacking anyone within earshot.

The behavior is a clever way of reinforcing the undeserving nature, because it’s very effective at keeping others away. The defense mechanism as a critic’s mask, actually hides the feelings of a women who is in intense grief.

Masks are not the problem. Feeling worthless is.

The next time you encounter someone who is easily offended, and looking for reasons to voice it, whatever you do, do not be offended! That energetic response just feeds into the dysfunctional fires….

Instead, muster all the love your heart can share, and emotionally project it onto her. She needs it. Smile a reassuring smile that tells her she’s okay, and lets her know that you know, she’s a work in progress.

We all are.




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