Avoidant behavior designed to maintain a big ego


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

      When I was fourteen years old, I did not do well at school. I contemplated dropping out of school. Why?

     My ego could not accept that I was failing at my schooling. My ego wanted to be successful and therefore to fail was unacceptable to it.

     Dropping out of school would then enable that ego, a false self, to feel important and powerful outside the arenas of schools, sports and society where there is competition, and it fail.

     Many people drop out of making any kind of effort at school, work and society to avoid failing and in failing seem unimportant.

      People want to seem important in their eyes and in other people’s eyes; to preserve that false sense of importance they drop out of activities, especially competitive activities. By not competing, they do not fail hence retain their false sense of importance.

      Now suppose one says, it does not matter whether one fails or not, one will not give up; one does not care for the ego, big or small, then what would happen?

     One would no longer fear failing (or feel anxious from anticipating failure); one would simply enjoy the activity at hand regardless of how well one does or does not do.

     This issue returned to my mind because I know a man who for some reason is unable to get his usage of verb tenses correctly. He writes something like this:

“I says this” or “they says this”.

     The correct verb usage is: I say this; they say this (and he or she says this).

      I am not going to try teaching us about Nouns, Pronouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Prepositions, Interjections, here.  Mr. Good’s book on Grammar, referenced below, did an excellent job teaching the subject.

      This man simply has this problem with certain personal pronouns and their correct verb usage. Folks call his attention to it. His pride is hurt.

     To avoid making similar mistakes he stops writing any kind of stuff and keeps quiet. I told him: why not buy a book on English grammar and learn proper verb usage?

     Why must he avoid writing and living fully because his ego is afraid of making mistakes and in doing so feels diminished and humiliated?

     People are weird creatures.

       I tell the man what I told me when I was a teenager: “get on with it, go learn grammar and write in standard grammatical sentences; do not give a damn how your ego feels, successful or failing; what matters is living, not avoiding living to go preserve your goddamned ego pride; empty pride; to hell with pride, I say.”

      Only the truth matters; truth has no pride or shame.


      Here is an enjoyable little book on English Grammar (it is 430 pages).

C. Edward Good (2002). Who’s (oops) Whose Grammar Book Is This Anyway? All the Grammar you need to succeed in life. Published by MJF Books. Fine Communications. 322 Eight Avenue. New York, NY 10001.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

November 26, 2022

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