The confusion between Proud and Pathetic
Feeling proud is a feeling that you are such a worthy person who deserves to exist.
Feeling pathetic is a feeling that you are just a useless asshole who needs no place in this society.
"Proud" and "Pathetic" are polar-opposites.
But they can be overlapped. Sometimes, we are "pathetically proud". Sometimes, we are "proudly pathetic". No matter side we are on, it's pathetic.
We feel "pathetically proud" when we feel we are worthy, but that self-worth is not recognized enough by others and it bothers us. The expressive symptoms for this feeling is toxic criticism - pulling the value of other people down to convince society and ourselves that we are worthier. It happens on comments such as "What a client-level creative idea!" or "Really? An Account writing a Creative Brief?" It's a pathetically proud feeling, and it's pathetic.
We feel "proudly pathetic" when we know that we are pathetic, but we try to cover that fact with pride. The expressive symptoms for this feeling is negative show-off - displaying that we are proud of something socially-unacceptable or shameful, to preempt the possibility of scorn. It happens on comments such as "I can't write, can't manage suppliers, can't do budgeting. That's why I become a planner." It doesn't sound pathetic to those who say it, but it's pathetic.