Was that criticism you received really all that bad? Maybe you were just making a mountain out of a molehill.

I remember hearing all those old sayings like, “don’t cry over spilled milk”, or “Don’t be such a worrywart.” Yeah, I heard so many of statements that I thought everyone was always traumatized by something. One of the most common reprimands that I got from my parents was “stop making a mountain out of a molehill”. That was usually because I was literally crying over spilled milk 😉

When making a mountain out of a molehill becomes a bad habit

Making a mountain out of a small problem is a toxic habit. It sometimes starts from childhood and continues throughout a person’s life. It affects families, relationships, and jobs as well.

You might say that sometimes letting a few things go is even better than worrying over something small. For some, exaggeration of this magnitude becomes a part of their normal human behavior.

Who builds these mountains?

Not everyone creates a habit of making huge problems out of small ones. That’s basically what the mountain/molehill statement is about.

But there are certain types of people who do this quite a lot. There are also reasons why they do this. So, listen up and maybe you can avoid negative confrontations.

1. Those who suffer from OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a complicated and interesting disorder. It can be severe or sometimes just random. People who suffer from this illness can sometimes create huge problems out of little ones. This is obviously because those with OCD have to have things their way, they have to check and recheck things, and so many other little compulsive actions.

So, it stands to reason that if something small is out of order in the life of the obsessive-compulsive, it can seem like a huge flaw. You better believe the chances of them making a mountain from a little hill will be good.

Unfortunately, suffering from OCD can damage your life by stealing so much of your time. Instead of just letting a few things go, everything has to be just perfect.

2. The competitive

Also, in this category of making a mountain out of a molehill is the competitor. Competitive people strive so hard to win at everything that they always notice imperfections. They train hard, work hard, and even strive to cheat at times. What could only be a small event may turn into the most important competition in the mind of the obsessive athlete.

And competitions aren’t always about sports. Sometimes, competitive people are enraged by the success of others, especially if they feel the success came from their ideas or their notions.

Remember, we’ve been on this earth for far too long to have many totally original ideas left, so why make a big idea over being someone else’s inspiration. Just think about it that way.

3. Those with anxiety disorders and PTSD

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder, you may see small problems as big ones. No, you don’t purposely try to make mountains out of small bumps, but your anxious mind keeps you in a state of worry.

Unlike some with OCD, those with anxiety or PTSD aren’t trying to be perfectionists, they see their problems attacking them at a more personal level. With PTSD, the startling realization of these worries can be extreme.

4. Those who are controlling

Individuals who try to control others or other situations are prone to make mountains out of molehills. What this means is – everything must be under their control at all times. When they lose control, they cannot function in a healthy manner.

This sort of behavior is extremely toxic and can ruin many lives. One of the saddest parts of being a controlling person is that you’re not always aware that you’re using this behavior.

Making things worse than they really are will only create more problems which will follow in that same pattern. This behavior can become toxic quickly, never allowing you to heal from some of your other issues.

You will be afraid to pursue your dreams, afraid of relationships, and even afraid of every little thing that could happen in the future.

How to move that mountain

In order to stop thinking in this manner, you will have to associate with others who have more of a positive attitude about life. Positive people see problems as they really are. To them, problems can be calmly faced and corrected without panic.

When you’re alone, as soon as you start to inflate the problem, try to recognize what’s happening. Is your problem really that bad? Will it matter in a day or two? If not, then this problem is nothing but a little mound of dirt and nothing like a full-grown mountain.

And no, it’s not always easy. I suffer from anxiety myself and some days, I walk on pins and needles wondering what bad things will happen. It takes quite a lot of strength to get through the day sometimes.

So in order to change the way you think, you will need a positive outlook and support. Sometimes the support will be the key to the positive outlook. In the worst cases, professional help may be needed.

If you’re exaggerating your problems, you’re not alone. Together we can move this mountain and live a fulfilling life again.


  1. https://www.wikihow.com
  2. https://writingexplained.org

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