TO PROTECT MY EGO SEPARATED BIG SELF, I AVOID STAYING IN GROUPS OF PEOPLE
This morning I went to church. I sat on my seat and listened to the church proceedings. At the end of the service, folks mingled with each other, engaged in small talks. I do not do well at small talks; my habitual pattern was to immediately leave such groups. Thus, I felt an urge to leave and after talking to a few persons left, whereas the rest of the congregants were having fun talking to each other, catching up with each other on what happened during the week.
As I was driving home, I pondered why I avoid group life. I am man alone and keep to myself most of the time. I read, work, read and write and that is the extent of my life. I am in groups only if I must be there and, as soon as possible, I leave the people.
So, I asked me, why do I feel uncomfortable in groups and leave them alone? I would have a few friends, the cerebral types, and we talk on the phone rather than visit each other’s houses for I simply do not have an urge to go visiting people; visiting people entails having small talks, what I try to avoid, as much as is possible.
As I drove home from church, the thought that came to my mind, regarding why I quickly leave groups of people and prefer to live alone, is that I have a pronounced need to protect my sense of separation from people; I have a fantastically big ego and that ego prefers to be alone; being with people one cannot keep a big self; with people one must be like them to be able to get along with them; one must be humble to get along with people in group settings; if for some reasons you desire to have a rather big self and that big self knows that in groups it cannot pretend to be better than other egos, cannot be superior or inferior, group life requires equality, not superiority or inferiority, well, if one desires to seem to have a superior or inferior self-one avoids relating to other people and go keep to one’s self or relate to other people from afar.
I concluded my thinking by saying that I feel uncomfortable in groups because my ego wants to seem better than other egos and in groups feel that it could be observed, seen to make mistakes, fail and not seen as the grandiose self it wants to seem; thus, to go seem grandiose it avoids people and goes to the library and read books or go home and read at home.
The point is that it is my grandiose egoism, a compensation over an underlying sense of inferiority, a mask, for in truth no human being is superior or inferior to other people; we are all the same and coequal, which compels me to avoid intense relationship with people hence avoid groups of people.
I have done every type of personality tests there are, including the MMPI; they all say what I already know about me, that I have
Avoidant personality disorder
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder
Anxiety disorder secondary to medical issues (I was born with a serious mitochondria disorder that made me feel weak and anxious for my survival).
In both types of personalities, one feels that as one is, one is not good enough and that in groups other people would see one as not good enough and judge one as inadequate and reject one; rejection makes one feel anxious; to avoid anxiety from anticipated rejection, neurotics of the avoidant and obsessive-compulsive types stay away from people and keep to themselves.
Obsessive-compulsive neurotics want to be the best students at their schools, want to be ideal and perfect, and are afraid of making mistakes, or failing, for to fail and make mistakes is to be seen as not perfect; they are filled with anxiety from sense of not been the best at what they do; as students they tend to be afraid of submitting their assignments to their teachers least they are seen as not perfect; they tend to be very bright; many of our university professors tend to have obsessive compulsive personality disorder.
Usually, you can diagnose neurosis in elementary school children. I certainly have been anxious from about age six when I began elementary schooling.
To overcome anxiety neurosis, one must give up all desire for superiority; one must stop seeking ideal self, stop wishing to be a perfect self, and accept one’s imperfection and accept other people who are imperfect and live with human imperfection.
I am a mental health professional and feel compelled to explain the nature of anxiety and personality types, but I will resist that urge, for it is not what these notes are about.
If you feel that you tend to be anxious in group setting and may have a neurotic personality type (the neurotic personalities are avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive and passive-aggressive personality disorders; if you are very intelligent you are probably a neurotic type), well, go see your shrink; shrinks help folks to shrink their egos down, bring them to normal levels so that they do not go about thinking that they are special and better or worse than other people.
If you see you as the same and coequal with all people, man and woman, black and white, you do not feel anxious around people.
This is the point that I hope that I made here. I am not doing serious clinical work here!
Adler, Alfred (1911/1987). The Neurotic Constitution. New York: Ayer.
Horney, Karen (1950). Neurosis and Human Growth. New York: Norton.
The American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition. Washington DC. APA Press.
Ozodi Osuji, PhD (University of California)
December 12, 2021