COMMUNICATION Categories (Part 6)

to be listening to me!

PREVIOUS: Comm categories #2 

QUOTE: “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”
Mark Twain


CATEGORIZING Communication (Comm) cont.

7. Re. WAYS to ENGAGE in comm
Level 1: Messages into the Ether
Snail mail, email & texting have some things in common. They’re sent out, & a response can sometimes take days or weeks. Since they’re not conversational (back & forth) there can be a high level of misunderstanding, possibly leading to hurt feelings, even fights.

Level 2: Back & forth Messaging
It’s conversational, but still done remotely (IM, text….). Such exchanges are more casual & direct, so confusion is less likely, since one or both can catch distortions or misses with each reply.
However, its bite-size style means it’s not well-suited to discussing complex issues.

Level 3: A Verbal Dialogue
Here participants get to express their opinions directly, plus adding a whole layer of implied info via Para-language. These can hint at excitement, pleasure, peacefulness OR annoyance, frustration, stress…. that are harder to detect in writing. A drawback is that they often require scheduling, but sometimes things need to be cleared up quickly via phone.

Level 4: In-Person Spontaneous Discussion
When something important comes up unexpectedly, we might decide to seek out the others person for a conversation. Spontaneous discussions can be  effective for problem-solving, getting an immediate need met or making a plan. Benefits come from adding a new level of mutual understanding & co-operation. But it doesn’t always work – discomfort with spontaneity, lack of privacy, the other person being too busy or not in the mood…. can get in the way.

Level 5: In-Person Scheduled Discussion
What makes this level special is the mutual agreement to set aside time.
Planning does not have to make the meeting Formal, but gives both parties time to think about the topic. Successful & dynamic interactions come from combining self-awareness, non-verbal intelligence & privacy, to ensure comfort & trust. (From )

VALUE: Observing admired leaders, we can see that good comm. judgment is very important to their success.
For example, knowing what
can be done at Level 2, versus what must be done Level 5 – & doing it – is a sign of sound leadership instinct, as well as knowing what to expect in personal relationships.

8. Re. PMES Categories
: Talking about anything of mutual interest – news, sports, weather…. It’s superficial but truly useful, allowing us to function among strangers without burdening them with TMI about our life.  It also helps determine whether someone is neutral, a potential friend or enemy

MENTAL: Talking about facts, helpful tips, ideas, non-controversial beliefs, plans & strategies, as in professional conversations. Unfortunately, some people go out of their way to be the ‘best’ at it, so that no one is smarter, wittier or more knowledgeable, & they never have to be wrong.

The distance between the first two levels is relatively short. Polite conversation can turn into a mentally stimulating one very quickly & then collapse back into small talk or none at all – without discomfort. Except for conversations with a controlling know-it-all, these two levels are safe.

EMOTIONAL: Here talk is about aspirations, fears, wants, needs & joys. Sometimes eyes well up, lips quiver, & the voice chokes. Other times those same eyes light up, heart pounds & words flow with joy, or fail from awe.

• The distance between #1 & 2 AND #3 is rather wide, because #3 requires intimacy, transparency, trust & vulnerability. Most of us are afraid of being wrong or looking foolish, & absolutely terrified of rejection.
Participating at this level opens us to possible rejection, hurt & being scarred. Over-all, this level is easier for women to navigate, partly expressing emotions is more socially acceptable, & because a portion of women’s Corpus Callosum is thicker than men’s, perhaps allowing more access across the hemispheres emotions to be verbalized  (MORE….)

SPIRITUAL. This is the hardest to identify & describe, not only because our culture is so secular, but because few people are willing to drop down into the level of faith – for themselves – much less to speak of it to others.
It melts away push-pull, give-take win-lose, me-you. There are no distortions from emotional mental or social games, allowing for the highest level of resonance, creating an energetic embrace that sustains & heals.

‼️ Understanding all these forms of comm allows us to identify & then choose which is most appropriate for any given situation.
It can be too easy to go down the path of least resistance, but that can get us into trouble, so it’s important to be more thoughtful about how & when we communicate.
It’s better to do it the right way – focusing on our goals & using whichever level will help us get there.

NEXT: Comm. Levels #3


COMMUNICATION Categories (Part 4)


for connecting with others

PREVIOUS: Categories #3

QUOTE: “A genius is capable of making the complex simple.
An idiot is capable of making the simple complex!”


CATEGORIES of Communication
(Comm) cont.

6a. Re. Mechanical Networks
a. Local Area – A network of computers in a localized area, such as office or school. All are connected through the LAN via a hub or a switch. A large number of computers drag down the speed of a LAN

b. Wide area – Covers a large geographical area, usually made up of multiple computer networks. The Internet is a WAN that relies on a large global interface of service providers using routers, switches, modems & servers, which carries data, media & Web pages

c. Public Switched –  A network of circuit-switched telephones – basically the phone version of the Internet. Today it’s mainly digital, which includes services for both cells & landlines

d. Telecommunication – The transmission of signals over a large distance, usually by electromagnetic waves. It’s used for TV, radio & phones, as well as computer data

e. Wireless – It provided info transmission & network connectivity to devices without cables or wires – such as broadcast radio – over long geographical distances. Wi-Fi is for computers & Bluetooth is a shorter-range version, which connects with a nearby mobile phone

f. Satellite – It comes in several types, such as those used by phone companies. Some provide navigation info, military surveillance or weather data. Others provide TV programming, radio broadcasts, even broadband Internet service

TOPOLOGIES : the ways component parts are interrelated or arranged
NODE:  hub or switch // workstation or other device

STAR – a comm. network where each component is attached to a central node, with a point-to-point connection. This reduces the probability of network failure. All peripheral nodes can only communicate with all others by transmitting to, and receiving from, the central node

BUS – each node is connected to a single cable – the network’s backbone – via interface connectors. A signal from the source travels in both directions to all connected machines until it finds the intended recipient. If the machine address does not match the intended address for the data, it ignores the sent info

RING – a  bus topology LAN in a closed loop, forming a single continuous pathway for signals going through each node, with data only traveling around the ring in one direction. When data is sent from any one node to another, it passes through each intermediate node until it reaches its destination

MESH – a LAN, WLAN or VLAN. In ‘full mesh’, each network node is connected directly to all the others. In partial mesh, some nodes are connected to all, while others are only connected to those nodes they exchange the most data with

Mesh networks are expected to play an important part in the Internet of Things (IoT). Unlike the star, which require a router to deliver Internet service, network nodes are decentralized, so they can “talk” directly to each other without requiring an Internet connection. A big advantage is that there can’t be a single point of failure (SPoF).

IoT – In 2016 30 cities (including Phoenix, Dallas & Fort Worth) were connect to a new M2M network specifically geared towards the Internet of Things (IoT), by Ingenu, the company building the project. The Machine Network, as it will be called, will be the “largest exclusive IoT and M2M network serving 100 million users in the U.S. covering nearly 100,000 square miles.”
The technology is designed to avoid interference by being able to self-modulate within the band to find a clear signal at both network & device levels

HYBRID networks – combining 2 or more basic topologies, so the resulting network is different (not bus, star, ring…..). EXPs: A tree network is a star interconnected via a bus , but a Tree connected to another Tree is still topologically the same, not a distinct type. A star-ring network consists of two or more ring networks connected, using a multi-station access unit (MAU) as a centralized hub. 2 other hybrids are hybrid mesh and hierarchical star. (MORE…. Wikipedia)

 EDITORIAL comment: NOTE all the acronyms!
NEXT: Comm. Categories #5

COMMUNICATION Categories (Part 2)


with people who get me

PREVIOUS: Comm Cat. #1

SITE: Barriers to Communication Chart

◀️ Designed & assembled by DMT


CATEGORIES of Communication (Comm) cont.

2. Re. AVAILABILITY to self & others
The Johari Window works best for groups because it allows for self-awareness & useful feedback. It can also be used to track the growth of an individual, in their progress towards intimacy in 1-to-1 relationships.

Even when we decide to take the risk of being open with others, doing so fully is much scarier & more complicated than most will admit. The chart shows what people know or don’t know about themselves, & what they reveal or don’t reveal to others.

NOTE: I = the individual, & O = the other person (not the group)
The size of each section increases or decreases as relationships change.

GREEN: Initially, what is known & shared with others will be very small. Naturally, the larger the Open section, the better the communication.
ORANGE: Characteristics that are un-known about ‘I’, both to oneself & to the group or to ‘O’
RED: What is un-known to ‘I’, but visible to most others. With ‘I’s’ courage & the right kind of mirroring by others, ‘I’ can become more self-aware
AQUA: What is known to ‘I’ but not to others, & stays that way until trust develops, allowing ‘I’ to gradually reveal more & more about oneself

3. Re. FORMS of Comm.
a. Verbal – using words to deliver an intended message. While it’s still  the most successful form, this makes up only @ 7-20% of all human comm! Effectiveness depends on the clarity, grammar, vocabulary & writing style, plus the skillful use of the other 80%
— Written: brochures, contracts, formal business proposals, handbooks, memos, press releases…..
— Oral: face-to-face or phone, voice chat, video conferencing …. Can be either Informal, such as the grapevine & rumor mill, arguing a topic…. or Formal, such as conferences, debates, lectures….

b. Visual Aids: Use of color, drawings & illustrations, electronic media, graphic design, typography….
Graphs & charts usually reinforce anything written, or can replace it altogether.

c. Para-language (Non-verbal/gestural) : Physical ways to convey thoughts & feelings. The way something is said – expressing approval, interest or lack of it. (MORE….)
It includes emotion, intonation, pitch, style of speaking, stress, tone, & voice quality & touch. Research estimates tone of the voice accounts for 38% of all comm, 55% is from body posture & gestures, & only 7% from the actual words used.

EXP: Shortcuts – shrugging to say  “I don’t know”
— looking away to mean “I’m thinking” OR “I’m lying/ withholding”
— holding a hand up to  mean ‘stop / back off’
— crooking a finger to ask someone to come closer
— wagging a finger to say “naughty, naughty”
— tapping or patting can mean “Hello / Pay attention / I empathize / “Poor dear”…..
— laughing can say “I agree/identify”OR “I think that’s ridiculous”
— tone of voice can indicate pleasure at seeing someone, OR displeasure/ anger about something…..

Other FORMS can also express one’s personality, social status & taste :
Aesthetic comm & creative expressions – dancing, art work….
Appearance, & style of dressing/ grooming
Space language – owning paintings & landscapes
Symbols – any religious, ego-building images
(From: Bright Hub Project Management)

Synergy means that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – so inter-actions between them create new connections. The result is not just another ‘part’, but the most catalytic, empowering, unifying & exciting outcome.(CHART)

LOW-Trust: These interactions are expressed thru defensive, over-protective & often legalistic language – used to ‘covers all the bases’, to indicate escape clauses & qualifiers (if…then) – in case things ‘go south’

MIDDLE: This is ‘careful’ Comm, used by average/normal people, who have respect for each other, & want to avoid the possibility of ugly confrontations, so they’re polite rather than emphatic or confrontive. They might understand each other intellectually, but are not likely aware of their own underlying patterns & assumptions, so aren’t really open to new possibilities from others

HIGH: Synergy allows for creative solutions offered by others that are much better than any available at the lower levels. Here all participant know it, feel it & enjoy the outcome – practical, emotional &/or artistic. It means that 1+1 may equal 8, 16, or even 1,600. The possibility of truly significant gains & improvements in such relationships are so real that it’s worth the risk to let oneself welcome the unknown. 

NEXT: Comm Categories #3

COMMUNICATION Categories (Part 1)

the better I can do

PREVIOUS: Dealing w/ disputes #2

SITE: Barriers to effective Communication & Skills needed

DEF: Communication is the process of passing info & understanding from one person to another – any behaviour that results in an exchange of meaning. Its the sum of all the things one person does when he wants to create understanding in the mind of another. It is a bridge of meaning. It involves a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding.

THERE are several ways to CATEGORIZE
 Communication (comm).
IF we are being appropriate – we will comm. differently in different situations. So – the way we verbally play while watching a game together is not how we behave in a religious setting. What we eventually confide in a good friend is much greater than what we let out at first.  Things we tell our mate aren’t usually things we tell co-workers, & things we say at work may not be appropriate for our children to hear. (Posts: Relationship Continuum)

It’s sad that many of us say we yearn for emotional connection & yet adamantly push it away – spending our days chit-chatting about trivial or pointless topics. NOTE: Small talk is appropriate – from time to time – to keep things ‘light’, when with acquaintances, or with people we know have very little depth. It is not a substitute for meaningful conversation with ’emotional peers’, no matter their age or level of self-awareness.

Instead, all healthy relationships – whether private or public – are based on Emotional comm. (Also for the 4 Qs to Ask Yourself Every Day). And at the deepest level is the realm of Spiritual communion – with oneself, others, nature & Higher Power.

However, as powerful & precious as the Emotional & Spiritual levels are, they’re too intense & raw to sit in for too long at any one time.
1. If our tendency is to get heavy too fast – we need to learn boundaries – with out Inner Child! It’s not appropriate to assume someone is ‘friend’ & jump into telling our deepest feelings – almost always our S-H & dysfunctional family history.

2. In general, many people are simply not equipped emotionally to go ‘deep’ at all, & it’s not fair to spring such comm. on someone without their consent, or on those we know can’t handle it. (from C. Gilkey)

3. Small Talk : ACoAs are notoriously reluctant (refusing) to make light conversation – sharing mutually interesting but not earth-shattering experiences tastes & opinions. This is a mistake – there is a time & place for the ‘heavy’ stuff. Seeing things light in many situations makes us much more approachable & likable!

We need to learn that we are in fact fundamentally like everyone else – we share the same needs & desires, & even many times similar experiences. It counteract our suspicion & isolation.
We also need a break from our own emotional intensity, which will help to balance us. And we may even learn something new!

TEA: The greater the need to express (A) our inner-most opinions (T) & emotions (E), the more we risk – being misunderstood, ridiculed or rejected – the harder it is to do.
To minimize such risks, it’s imperative to move through the levels slowly, in the right order & one at a time, starting with the least personal (phatic), rather than trying to jump from Level 1 to 5 overnight – as ACoAs tend to do!

✳️ The normal, socially acceptable way to interact is for participants to match levels, so most people expect others will reciprocate from the same ‘intensity’. Sharing our most personal ideas & feelings should be reserved for those we’ve known well for some time & trust – a function of attention, confidence, commitment, experience & time

So if anyone starts out comm. at level 4 or 5, you may have a knee-jerk tendency to match it, sharing too much in return. This is not wise, since the other person is over-disclosing (& then so are you), which suggest they have weak boundaries & are trying to symbiose, i.e. not mentally/ emotionally ‘safe’. To comm. this way is pseudo-intimacy, & can’t form a healthy bond.

CHART below mirrors degrees of intimacy (Relationship Stages

1. CLICHÉ LEVEL – is freely given to everyone. It’s Polite Conversation, that helps put people at ease or just passes the time.
The shallowest & least risky (“nice weather, pass the sauce…”)

2. REPORT FACTS about OTHERS – re. info & events, said to people we’ve met more than a few times. It’s sharing about what someone else has said or done (“Fred bought a new car…”)

3. Share IDEAS & JUDGMENTS – expresses our thoughts & decisions to anyone around us. Relating opinions lets us check it others are safe to be with (“I like that brand of …..”)

4. Share FEELINGS or EMOTIONS  to a trusted few, revealing what’s under our ideas & judgements (#3), telling how we feel about PPT  (“I was so happy when…..”)

5. UNGUARDED FREEDOM to be COMPLETELY HONEST with another. We can legitimately self-disclose to 1 other or in a safe group, & they reciprocate. We share our deepest dreams, fears hopes & emotions, because the risk factor is no longer an issue. Each side have proven to be available & caring & reliable, so it’s OK to trust. (“My deepest secret is….”)   From John Powell

NEXT: Comm. Categories #2

ACoAs being “RIGHT” (Part 3a)

everyone else is worthless!

PREVIOUS: Being Right (#2)

SITE: 38 (
unhealthy) Ways to Win an Argument w/chart

• ‘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 some oppressive authority figures, BR was dangerous because it showed them up & was considered ‘arrogant’, slowly forming our belief that we don’t know anything

• 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

ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 2)

who am I?

PREVIOUS: Being Right (Part 2)

SITE: Addicted to being right

QUOTE: “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”   Isaac Asimov

⬆️ IMAGE designed & assembled by DMT


WHAT’S WRONG With Being ‘Right’?
Unhealthy (mild): The narcissist in us (& every ACoA has one) will think or say “If I can see this so clearly, why in the world can’t you? // If I can do that task, what’s your problem? // If I love that, I assume you will too. If not, why not?!”
This attitude makes no sense at all. Even identical twins are different in some fundamental ways. One person is not automatically better or more correct than another – just different. (See “Symbiosis & ACoAs #3“)

Unhealthy (severe)
Addicted to being right (aBR)
NOTE: This character defect (cognitive distortion) applies to those adults we grew up with, AND to those of us who have copied them, as well as anyone we’re ‘stuck to’ as adults who is like that

A Closed System – The state of a person or thing being isolated from its surrounding environment.
ONE: This applies to anyone so rigid in their opinions that they can’t let in anything which differs from their own determined ‘correctness’

TWO:  2 people, a Dominant (D) & a Submissive (S) personality, who interact in an ongoing feedback loop, constantly exchanging limited, often distorted, info – characterized by coercion/compliance, co-dependence, sameness & symbiosis

Such a system discourages a feeling of concern, equality, or desire to change in the D, & disallows autonomy, questioning, rocking the boat, separateness, speaking up or taking a stand – for the S. (MORE….)

GROUPS: (family, academia, church… )
Such groups discourage change, differences, disrupting the status quo, equality, independence, objecting, questioning, or taking a stand.
They tends to promote factions, gossip, immaturity, repression, secrets & triangulation. It makes members reactive & anxious, even if this is hidden from each other. They don’t feel safe to question or disagree, for fear of disapproval, punishment or rejection. (MORE…)

🔒 At the extreme ‘right’ we find the ‘Right-ists’.

RIGHT-ists are in a world of their own, extremely self-absorbed & arrogant – which makes most others frustrated & angry when having to deal with them. To them, the accuracy or importance of whatever point they’re pushing is not as relevant as their need to be agreed with. Their rigid thinking is used in a power struggle to bring everyone else to their knees – psychologically, mentally & emotionally.

NOTE: Some right-ists camouflage their compulsion by seeming concerned for others’ well-being, sounding reasonable or just giving ‘helpful’ suggestions. But all the while they’re trying to control their environment – to make it conform to their world-view.
One hint: they consistently make suggestions, give advice & offer help – unsolicited & often unwanted by others. DO NOT be taken in by the presentation. If your own opinions & needs are often or always ignored or over-ruled – you’re dealing with a sneak-narcissist.

EXP: When ranting about anything she thinks is wrong – with a person or in the world – one woman heads off any logic, comment or disagreement from her long-suffering husband with the command: “Just say YES!”
Sadly, unhealed insecure co-dependents have a tendency to attach themselves to such narcissists, believing that being told what think & feel is a way of being taken care of (loved). NOT!

• need the world to revolve around them
• are rigid & controlling, so they don’t work well with others
• lack empathy, have no patience with others & are often snide
• experience opposing or simply different opinions as a direct threat to their sense of well-being
• can become quite aggressive in order to eliminate the threat to their (secret or unconscious) weak self-image

• can’t imagine that other people actually have different needs & opinions from their own (NPD = “Put a sweater on, I’m cold”)
• may push their good info from ‘good intentions’, without considering that they’re boundary invading, discrediting another’s process & being arrogant (“others NEED me”)
• alienate others without realizing it, OR of they do, they’re puzzled as
to why, & then assume it’s the other person’s fault
• regard other people’s ideas or viewpoints as inferior or worthless, often losing out on wonderful opportunities & relationships
• can end up isolated & deprived of love, affection, companionship…. unless they find a passive person who uses the ‘Right-ist’ to think for them!

NEXT: Being Right (Part 3a)

ACoAs being ‘RIGHT’ (Part 1)

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)