Why Some People Are So Irritating

Why do some people irk, irritate, or get under our skin while others don’t?

And furthermore, why do we find certain people so totally annoying while someone else may think that exact same person is perfectly normal?

Well, I’m going to tell you, but you may not like it.

It’s because Carl Jung (one of the grandfathers of modern psychology) found, through his lifetime of work and research into the human psyche, that the reason some people irritate us so much is because they embody something of ours called the Shadow Side.

This Shadow Side is the parts of ourselves we don’t like. The parts we have disowned and subconsciously denied as being in existence. It’s the things about us we try our darndest to hide or run away from.

To put it bluntly, those unfavorable qualities, habits, or tendencies we notice and get put off by in someone else are really just our own shortcomings that we have turned our back on, and refuse to own up to.

So the things that bother, irritate, get under our skin, and drive us crazy about other people are more often than not, our own disowned, unacknowledged, or rejected issues.

Oh boy.

Was that as tough for you to swallow as it was for me? It’s not an easy thing to hear. That’s for sure.

And in case you are tempted to say something like “Well, that may be true for other people, but not me!” Take a second to think about someone who really gets under your skin. Think about what it is about them that irritates you so much. Is it their bossiness? A self-righteous attitude? Are they a know-it-all? Do they act needy and insecure? Do they try to be too controlling? Do they seek out attention in desperate ways? Does this thing they do drive you absolutely nuts, but some of your friends don’t even seem to notice it, let alone be mildly irritated by it? And does THAT drive you even more nuts?

Why are we irritated or put off by some things people do or say, and not others? And why isn’t everyone put off by the same things?

It’s because you likely struggle with the same issue to greater or lesser extent, but have put it to the back of your conscious mind, into your subconscious so aren’t obviously aware of it.  

It is something to think about… No, this theory does not apply to all situations and to all of the people who get under our skin and drive us crazy, but don’t use that as an excuse to resist taking a moment to have a look at yourself and what you may be tempted to deny also having as a shortcoming or struggle.

This is not easy to do. It doesn’t feel great to have to admit to ourselves that we too have irritating behaviors that may need to be worked out.

But don’t stress about it too too much. The good news is, you’re not alone. None of us are perfect, nor are we, or anyone else, meant to be.

I’m Julia Kristina M.A. Psych, and I’m a registered therapist, researcher and online course creator out of Vancouver BC. I help men and women get through the crap that’s holding them back so they can like themselves and their lives more everyday. You can read more from me on my website: JuliaKristina.com/blog and I also give personal development and mindset talks on my FB page: Facebook.com/JuliaCounsellor, and run an active and engaged FB group: GoodForMeGroup.com. Join me there so we can connect more!


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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