People get touchy for all kind of reasons. In Internet discussions it is rampant.
I’ve seen critics of Scientology go ape-shit as someone challenge their views. I have seen Scientologists go irrational as someone challenge their beliefs. It’s not very helpful or productive if the purpose is to gain new knowledge.
If your purpose is to evolve, to gain wisdom or enlightenment, it may be wise to simply disregard defensiveness and keep your focus on that purpose.
“Invalidation” is an often used term in Scientology. It means:
“refuting or degrading or discrediting or denying something someone else considers to be fact.”
But certainty enters the equation. You get more touchy and more easily invalidated the more uncertain you are in your views. You wouldn’t get especially touchy if some guy came along and challenged your belief in a spherical Earth. Even if he screamed from the top of his lungs “THE EARTH IS FLAT!”, it still wouldn’t upset you. But if someone challenges something you want to believe, a view you are really not that certain about, then you may get quite touchy.
So when someone gets defensive in a discussion or blows up, realize that you may have struck a point of uncertainty, where the other is struggling to maintain his resolve.
This may be a reason why the Church of Scientology is so litigious, why their press releases are so defensive and irrational. It may be a reason why you sometimes see heated discussions on this blog.
I find it amusing when I myself get defensive. I try to use it to dig out my own uncertainties, and then dig deeper to see what exactly I am struggling with – and then go ahead and fix it. I enjoy that adventure 🙂