IF I DON’T INSIST
no one will pay attention!
PREVIOUS: Psychopath Red flags #3
Why is it so important to be right?
QUOTE: “Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us in a rage.”~ Andre Maurois
What does ‘being right’ (BR) mean?
a. OK : Generally refers to having accurate information, knowing the right way to do something, or being sure of who we are, what we want, how we feel… It can be about:
• Assertiveness: being accurately sure about a subject or a person (“I know what I know”) & not afraid to stand by it
• Justice: fighting for what is just & right, especially in the face of opposition, but not for personal gain or to feed one’s ego
b. NOT OK : Trying to force others to see our point of view & see the world exactly the way we do. It can be from:
• Narcissism: needing others to agree with us (“I’m right & you’re not”), in order to preserve the False Persona we’ve carefully crafted to cover up feeling insecure & vulnerable
• Symbiosis: the need/demand that others are just like us (“agree with me”) in order to not feel alone & abandoned
🚫 BOTH are being out of touch with one’s True Self
SO – it’s important to know when it’s legitimate to be right or not
Al-Anon tells us to ask ourselves “Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?” It’s a choice between getting our way (at any cost) OR having peaceful encounters with others.
This Q. is addressed to those of us who are co-dependents & addicts, since it would be a rare issue for healthy people. We can also say that Right and Happy are really not opposite ends of a spectrum. Instead it’s about the right/freedom of others to have their own point of view, AND being OK/safe with their right/freedom.
● The Q. comes up when we are having a disagreement with someone & feel an internal pressure (from the PP or the WIC) to get them to do something our way, to understand our point or to agree with our opinion – in order to feel connected. This can only happen if we still have a great deal of unresolved abandonment fear. Remembering the co-dep Triangle (Rescuer-Victim-Persecutor), even victims can become bullies when terrified & desperate to not feel but off.
● It’s a tricky Q. for us to answer because:
— some of us go along with whatever others say just to ‘keep the peace’ but really it’s to not have the other person be angry or leave us
— some of us never agree with anyone for fear of being swallowed up & disappear (used as a false boundary)
— other can manage disagreements in some situations (casual friends, co-workers….) but not in others – when we are attached to a person or position (lover, job…) our WIC desperately feels it needs.
The Brain Is Hooked on Being Right
In situations of high stress, fear or distrust – like being wrong, ignored or laughed at – our brain chemistry (cortisol….) makes ‘decisions’ about how best to protect itself. We default to 1 of 4 responses:
• appease –‘make nice’ by simply agreeing
• flight – revert to or hide behind group consensus
• freeze – mentally disengage, or shut up
• fight – keep arguing the point, which is the hardest on relationships, & unfortunately the most common
Fighting is partly due to other neuro-chemicals. When we argue & win, our brain floods with adrenaline & dopamine, making us feel good, dominant, even invincible. It’s understandable that we’d want to repeat those feelings. So the next time we’re in a tense situation, we fight again, & over time will get addicted to being ‘right’.
BUT if we are getting high from being one-up, then the other person / group is one-down & therefore diminished.
NEXT: Being Right (Part 2)