Podcast: What It Really Means When People Irritate You


If you have a person in your life who irritates you, they are a reflection of an insecurity or something unhealed within you. It's uncomfortable, but facing it is the key to your freedom.

Asha B. Wilkerson

Episode Summary

In this episode, Asha Wilkerson explores the concept of being irritated by someone and how it can reflect our own insecurities or unhealed wounds. She shares her childhood experiences and lessons about teasing and insecurity. Asha also discusses a specific person in her adult life who irritated her and how she realized that her irritation stemmed from conflicting beliefs about seeking attention. She emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and healing childhood trauma to improve relationships and live a fulfilling life.


  • When someone irritates us, it can be a reflection of our own insecurities or unhealed wounds.
  • Teasing and making fun of others often says more about the person doing the teasing than the person being teased.
  • Recognizing our insecurities and underlying feelings of jealousy or insecurity can help us understand why certain people irritate us.
  • Healing childhood trauma and resolving conflicting beliefs can lead to improved relationships and a more fulfilling life.

Timestamped Summary of This Episode

  • 00:00 Introduction: The Irritating Person
  • 01:00 Childhood Insights
  • 03:22 Uncomfortable Relationships
  • 04:08 Reflecting on Middle School Lesson
  • 04:42 Understanding Irritation
  • 05:10 Childhood Attention Wounds
  • 06:06 Conflicting Beliefs
  • 07:02 Giving Space and Grace
  • 07:29 Advocating for Needs
  • 08:28 Opportunity for Self Reflection
  • 09:21 Healing Childhood Trauma
  • 09:47 Path to Freedom

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with Asha:

Introduction: The Irritating Person (00:00 – 01:00)

Now, this episode might be a little uncomfortable because I’m about to talk to you about the person who irritates you like nobody’s business. That person who gets under your skin, who you can only spend a few minutes with, and who you just kind of wish would go away.

Childhood Insights (01:00 – 03:22)

I remember being in middle school, navigating the complex relationships that plague newly hormonal pre-teens who think they know everything but really know nothing at all. I would come home from school and wonder why certain people felt the need to belittle or bully some of their classmates. I’m pretty sure it was my mom who told me this, but nevertheless, I heard at that age, that making fun of somebody says much more about the person doing the teasing than the person being made fun of.

Uncomfortable Relationships (03:22 – 04:08)

A few years ago, I met a friend of a friend who was vibrant, loud, and took up lots of energetic space. She was really sweet, most times, and seemed to have a large friendship network that loved and adored her. But there was just something about her that irritated me.

Reflecting on Middle School Lesson (04:08 – 04:42)

I remembered my mom’s admonition from middle school, “The things we talk about in other people are the things we don’t like about ourselves.”

Understanding Irritation (04:42 – 05:10)

Once I realized this was where my irritation was coming from, I could give her, and myself, lots of space and grace. The problem wasn’t her or her behavior. She wasn’t hurting anybody or causing problems. The problem was her behavior rubbed up against a rule that I had internalized that made me feel insecure, small, and unloved.

Childhood Attention Wounds (05:10 – 06:06)

As I sat a little bit longer, I realized that both of us wanted attention as children and didn’t get the attention we needed. As a child, I learned that it was not okay to ask for or seek attention, and that thought still runs deep in my subconscious today.

Conflicting Beliefs (06:06 – 07:02)

The irritation was that I learned not to ask for attention because asking was bad, needy, or uncouth, and I still believed that to be true. And she learned that the only way for her to get the attention she wanted was to ask everybody for it all the time. I’m being a bit dramatic, but that’s seriously how it felt to me.

Giving Space and Grace (07:02 – 07:29)

Once I realized this was where my irritation was coming from, I could give her, and myself, lots of space and grace.

Advocating for Needs (07:29 – 08:28)

I also used her as an example to ask for what I want and need. I won’t go about it the same way because that’s just not my personality, but I certainly will do a better job of advocating for myself so that I can help heal my slowly resolving childhood attention wound.

Opportunity for Self-Reflection (08:28 – 09:21)

So here’s what I learned again later in life: when I am irritated by a person or a situation, it’s an opportunity to dive in and ask myself how I’m really feeling inside. It’s an opportunity to go deep and to see what unresolved wounds or issues are actually coming up. What’s the underlying cause of this irritation?

Healing Childhood Trauma (09:21 – 09:47)

In my one-on-one coaching container, I often ask my clients what memories are being triggered by different events. It’s not always easy to go back and look at childhood situations and events that may have caused trauma, but it is so necessary and so worth it, especially if you don’t want to repeat the same patterns over and over again.

Path to Freedom (09:47)

If you would like help walking down this path to change yourself and your relationships so that you can live your dream life, I invite you to book a coaching inquiry call at ashawilkerson.com/coaching. This work is not easy, but it’s required to find your path to freedom!

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