Insecure and unhappy childhoods 

Piers Anthony, author’s notes on Fractal Mode — part of an amazing story about Piers Anthony and one of his fans, brilliantly told in the “Show Me the Way” episode of This American Life:

One thing you who had secure or happy childhoods should understand about those of us who did not: we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all costs, or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic and above all survivors…we’re not that way from perversity, and we cannot just let it go. We’ve learned to cope in ways you never had to.