The Bad Habit of Being Offended by Everything

June 19, 2018

The problem is that a lot of the time they get annoyed or uncomfortable in situations that don’t call for it. It could be a meaningless joke, some small bit of forgetfulness, or just a word they don’t like. What it probably is for some people is that they’re extremely sensitive. But for other people it just seems like they’ve taken up the habit of being offended by everything.

“If you’ve never known laughter, you’re vulnerable to sorrow, which is even more complicated.

-[Translation] Javier Marías-

This is when life gets really hard, just as much for the people who feel offended as the people around them. Their negative attitude ends up being an obstacle to their relationships. It generally also leads to a lot of unnecessary problems. But why do some people get offended by everything? What should you do about it?

Reasons people get offended by everything

The feeling of being offended happens when you think that other people are treating you disrespectfully. It could also happen if they don’t acknowledge you or what you do. That is offensive, of course, but it’s really just a day-to-day reality.

A man at work with a sad face bag over his face.

But there are some people that find it completely unbearable. Instead of moving on, they dwell on it. Being offended by everything can happen for a lot of reasons, and here are a few:

  • A feeling of inferiority. When you don’t have good self-esteem or a strong sense of self that might lead you to be offended by everything. It’s like everyone else is constantly trying to remind you that you’re inferior. But it’s really your complex about it that makes you feel that way.
  • Rigid thinking. This has to do with people who think there’s only one way to do or say things. When someone breaks away from that pattern, they feel like there’s no order and they get offended. They’re usually also very sensitive about any criticism of their beliefs.
  • Egocentrism. Making your ego too important turns you a little paranoid. You start thinking everything revolves around you and that other people are always talking about you, looking at you, or pointing at you.

It’s best to be careful about topics like religion, sexuality, and politics. They’re all things that can bring out the most sensitive sides in people, even if they’re not the type of person who’s offended by everything.

Offensiveness and what it really means

A lot of people say things like “No one is being offensive to you, you’re just getting offended.” That’s true. Everyone has a right to have their own opinions and to express them. There’s a limit, of course. Psychological violence is unacceptable.

But there’s pretty big gap between psychological violence and an attitude or opinion you don’t like. It’s impossible to live a healthy life if you’re offended by everything that goes on around you.

angry owl symbolizing being offended

So what do you do? These suggestions can help if you’re someone who’s offended by everything:

  • No one has actually offended you, they’ve just annoyed you. Maybe the problem is that you think other people have to think and act a certain way. So when they don’t, it’s your expectations failing you, not other people.
  • Let people be who they are. No one has the right to shape other people’s behavior. You have to accept other people for who they are, just you like expect them to do for you.
  • No random comment is ever going to change your life. Whether someone has a positive or negative opinion of you is not going to change your life either way. What really matters is how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously. All that does is make you “stuck up” and and your ego extremely vulnerable. Acting that way will just mean harming yourself and pushing other people away.

That’s why it’s so important to learn to be a little more thick-skinned when it comes to other people’s comments or attitudes. Being offended by everything will just make you get into conflicts with people all the time. And most of the time, those conflicts won’t even be about anything important.