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Are You Stubborn?

When I consult with a couple for relationship counselling, one of the common topics is communication. They say they argue a lot, and nothing gets resolved.

Ten minutes into the session it becomes clear as to why the arguments are not being resolved.

I ask, “Are either of you stubborn?”

The responses are interesting. I’ll hear “We both are” or “He/she is but I’m not”.

Then there is an argument over who is stubborn … which indicates they both are!

Why are people stubborn and have to get their own way?

In short, it makes them feel good. They feel a winner. They feel they are right. And one of the biggest needs we have is to get our own way. We learn this from childhood. As the saying goes, “Everyone loves a winner”.

Another way of putting that is, people hate being wrong. They hate losing.

When you are stubborn …

* You will not give in or admit you are wrong.

* You become defensive. You defend your point of view.

* When you are defensive, you are not learning anything. You are only focusing on the problem rather than the solution.

* You are not listening to what the other person is saying as you are building a counteractive argument in your mind.

* You are often living in the past as you will constantly bring up examples from the past to reinforce your point of view. “What about when you said …”

* You are being selfish as you will often interject or talk over the speaking person and only want to be right.

* Arguments can go on for hours, days or even months in order to prove you are right.

* If you are losing an argument, you can blame the other person for something else – called ‘deflecting’.

* One or both people will harbour resentment and/or anger if they don’t win. This will then get carried over into another argument at a later date.

As you can see, it’s not good to be stubborn.

While I used to be, now I have developed the skills to allow others to have their point of view. I recognise their point of view is right for them. I am willing to listen and update my point of view if I need to.

I want what’s best for the relationship rather than me personally.

Develop the skills to start a discussion about a result that is best for everyone. It’s OK for you not to get your own way. Think of any discussion as a chance to learn.

Bottom line: It’s important to feel secure within yourself. Through doing this, the only person you have to change is … YOU.