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Are You a "Right-Fighter"?

By Dr. Shawn Byler

Do you find yourself struggling to "win" arguments? Do people ask you why you always have to be right? Does conflict you engage in typically end with you having the last word, but no one feels good about the argument? Do arguments you engage in usually escalate to shouting and anger? If you have said yes to any of these questions, you are likely a right-fighter!

What is a "Right-Fighter"

A right-fighter is someone who struggles to win arguments, even if they doubt their own view. A right-fighter is someone who gets overly emotional or angry when people do not agree with them and their opinions or beliefs. A right-fighter is someone who insists on having the last word in an argument or refuses to back down no matter what.

Challenges of Being a "Right-Fighter"

  1. People who are right-fighters, (or those who are driven by the need to be right), have their value or worth literally attached to the outcome of being right. On a very deep level, a right-fighter believes that if she is not agreed with then she is not valuable, lovable and/or worthy. The "right-fighter" desperately believes (unconsciously) that others must agree with her to feel ok about herself. Being a right-fighter causes you to depend upon others for your self-esteem and worth.

  2. Right-Fighting is an acceptable form of violence or aggression. Because the right-fighting pattern usually ends up one sided and includes a winner and a loser, the effects are similar to those of physical abuse. Learned submission on the part of the children and often the other parent/spouse is inevitable. "Right-Fighting" is in fact a form of emotional abuse. A right-fighter parent is particularly harmful to children because the child is made to feel like the "loser" and that his or her opinions are not valid or important. Right-fighting is a direct reflection of low self-esteem. And unfortunately the low self-esteem of one steals the development of strong self-esteem of others.

Negative Outcomes of "Right-Fighting" Women

  • Loved ones around a right-fighting women experience consistent feelings of defeat and learn to seriously doubt their capabilities, lovability and value as a human. The result is often alienation.

  • Right-Fighting is an especially dangerous behavior for mothers. A very common outcome of right-fighting is that it tends to breed explosiveness and anger within the home environment.

  • Because the nature of a right-fighting parent is to prove his/her value and worthiness through being "right", it is at the same time stealing a strong sense of value and worthiness from the children. Any time parents have low self-esteem, the children will too.

  • Frequently right-fighters are managers, bosses or owners of companies because they are strong and powerful (which when used well are merely 2 of the abounding excellent qualities of the right-fighter!).

Unfortunately, the right-fighting work environment creates disloyalty, frequent turnover, dishonesty, ineffectiveness, and an every man for himself attitude. (I'll save right-fighting in the workplace for another time!)

Do Not Despair!

If you have found that you may have some qualities of a right-fighter, don't start beating yourself up, begin working on it! You are a wonderful and lovable person with far more positive qualities than negative... this is certain! This habit does NOT have to define you. You are capable of releasing this habit at any time (please seek help if you need it, a partner in change is always a wonderful gift to yourself and your family!).

Acknowledging your habit of right-fighting and becoming aware when you are engaging in this habit is the first, most important step in leading a more successful and happy life.

Action Step

"Right-fighters": Begin to gently remind yourself of your unchanging value and worth during arguments and disagreements, whether or not you fully believe it. "Fake it till you make it"! Begin to imagine what conflict would be like if the outcome was not important. Begin to allow others to hold one opinion and you another without having ill or hurt feelings. What would life be like to be loved, cared for and respected rather than being "right"? Try validating others' opinions as equally valuable. This doesn't mean you must agree, only to say "yes" you and your view are as valuable as mine". I promise you, peace will begin to flow into your life.

About The Author
Dr. Shawn Byler

Momentum Performance Development is a personal and professional coaching company. When you commit to one of our programs, our team of experts in sport, career, and family performance development will assist in exponentially changing your life for the better. This means high performance success for you. We are committed to your results!

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