Its funny I pondered this article a fair amount over the last few days. I was REALLY angry about what I felt was an unfair accusation made against me. I thought about it in terms of what you were saying -- why did it bother me SOooooo much? What was it about ME that made the comments so hard for me to ignore.
I finally came up with the idea that I grew up being a good kid -- lots of A's, top-notch college, above average job assessments. I've lived on a steady diet of praise and acknowledgement. Not that I've never had a harsh word spoken to me, but when it happens I've always turned to some other source to compensate. "So and so said such and such, do you think it's true?"
It's a bit of a weakness, isn't it, to always need someone else to tell you that you are hard-working or smart or capable or kind or thoughtful? If unwarranted criticism gets under my skin, maybe I need to figure out how to believe in my own work-ethic, brains, capability or kindness without hearing it from someone else.
So, that's what I took from your article.