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Defense Mechanisms

Stuck up, prideful, arrogant, aloof—these are all terms used to describe people rather than behaviors that people exhibit. I have been described this way, and so I share my own experience and hope that it will both help others understand people who behave this way and help those of us who behave this way to behave differently. 

I have a very tender heart. I am hurt very easily. As an example of how easily I am hurt, if I meet someone one time and introduce myself and then see them somewhere else and they do not make eye contact or speak to me, I will never speak to that person again unless they approach me. Not because I think they owe me something or that I am better than them, but because I assume I wasn’t worth remembering, and so I’m not worth speaking to. 

Another example is if you and I are friends and we have a mutual friend, and you simply go out to dinner with that friend, the thought that goes to my head is that you like that person more than me and that I am not worthy of your friendship. That I’m not good enough for you.

I share these painful and embarrassing examples not to make an excuse but to help people understand. The feelings I just described are so painful that I will do anything to avoid experiencing them, including ignoring people and cutting them off. The pain of ignoring and cutting people off who I logically know care for me and love me is less painful than the pain of the thoughts that torment me.

Those of us who seem stuck up or think we are better than other people often behave this way because we feel worthless. We inflate our value in our own minds, and we hope in the minds of others to balance out our own sense of worthlessness. 

So, I do not ask for acceptance of this behavior; I ask for understanding and patience. I know this is a lot to ask, as people with my issues can be very, very difficult to deal with. I just ask you to think of it this way: Is there any such thing as a worthless human being? If not, we all have to do our best, knowing that there is only so much we can do, to make sure no one feels that they are worthless to anyone. 

Written 1/17/21 AD 


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