• ‘The art of being right” = some of those 38 ways explained
▶︎ Right = A belief or action conforming to facts or truth. What is most favorable or desired
❖ Self-righteous = Convinced of one’s own righteousness (being perfect, therefore superior, even when well-hidden from most others), especially in stark contrast to the actions & beliefs of others. Being narrow-mindedly, moralistic. ~ Webster’s dictionary
REMINDER: BR comes in various degrees of intensity. You may have a touch of it, or it may run your whole way of interacting with others.
ACoA addicted to Being Right (aBR)
PAST: We suffered thru an abusive, controlling & neglected upbringing, Constantly forced to give up our way of thinking, doing or feeling around a Right-ist – we reacted as kids by fighting, fleeing, freezing or appeasing, (see Part 1) depending on our personal preference, which became our long-term style.
In general, being flooded with fear & anger temporarily diminishes the capacity to use the frontal cortex, which is needed for thinking, decision-making & self-control. Over time this has had long-term physical & mental consequences. As childhood victims of a Right-ist, we gradually became less able to express ourselves, seemingly less competent & articulate (brain-freeze). We may have seemed stupid, making the bullying Right-ist even more convinced of their superiority.
• With others, a way to survive & avoid punishment was to always get it right, prove it without mistakes & to justify ourselves – forming the assumption that we must know everything.
🚦Double bind: Some of us were constantly told we were ignorant / stupid / unteachable – while at the same time expected to take care of them as if we were adults trained in several professions!
NOW: Always having to be right can be used as a protective cover, giving us a sense of stability & control. Projecting our scary childhood onto the whole world, we assume everything is still & forever unsafe, thus the assumption we need to be perfect – to prevent further danger. Still desperate to please so we won’t keep getting abandoned, we wobble on the fence between these 2 false beliefs (know everything, know nothing), inevitably falling off, inevitably feeling miserable. This original dilemma has left us with rage & S-H, alternating between rebellion & paralysis.
• Many grew up with one or more severe narcissist – who always had to have their way. Then some of us took up the Right-ist mantle & carry it forward, tromping on others as we were tromped on. (See Right-ist characteristics – Part 2)
— SUBTLE but pervasive – perfectionism is aBR in disguise. We can keep this obsession better hidden, but the obvious result is decades of procrastination.
— BLATANT: Wanting & insisting on getting our own way – most or all of the time – is the narcissism of the False Self, a common character flaw of wounded people (the majority!). We will push & push to get others to see that our way is the not only correct – but the only possibility.
As ‘dedicated’ Right-ists we negate or prevent input from others, no matter how logical. We’re so caught up in this defensive strategy that we’ll argue our point endlessly, trying to manipulate everyone in our life, even other people’s thoughts – especially in situations that are truly & totally beyond our control, such as with the active addicts we love (See “The Serenity Prayer backwards“)
• Feeling superior (aBR), we may not even realize our anxiety is temporarily relieved when we get our way: “I knew I was right! Now that you’ve got that straight, we can go on.” It calms us – our security blanket in our unsafe world. But it’s a false solution because our damage is still lurking in the background, waiting for someone or something to set it off. Unhealed, we’re driven by old, deep terror.
• But like any addiction, having to BR is very stressful – always vigilant, afraid to make a mistake, never truly safe, never comfortable.
While outside it shows up in the form of false pride – the need to feel important or better than everyone else, inside it’s driven by inadequacy & shame – which we may not even be aware of! Especially if we need to be seen as innocent, good & all-knowing, we’ll use charm & manipulation, alternating with anger & intimidation to force our agenda on others.
However, all we end up doing is alienating others by being high maintenance, or taking psychological prisoners of the insecure. In the process we sacrifice our own well-being.
NEXT: Being right #3b