December 14, 2016

When You’re Partner Insists They’re Always Right & You’re Always Wrong

Written by Rachel Eddins

Few things are more frustrating than having a conversation with someone who thinks they’re always right—especially because that means that they also think you’re always wrong.

But it’s even worse when it’s your spouse who thinks they’re always right.

No matter how much you try to get them to see your point of view, nothing changes. But you have more choices than to continue putting up with it or heading for divorce court. Here are some strategies to try first.

Seek Marriage Counseling

Seeing a marriage counselor gives you a second opinion from an impartial third party. This will be helpful because many people with spouses who are perpetually right begin to distrust their own perceptions. It’s crucial to understand it’s simply not possible for you to always be wrong.  In a safe, therapeutic environment, you may be reassured by the opinion of a trained, outside observer that you’re not always wrong.

Your spouse may also get the message that they aren’t always right, though it may take time for them to listen to and acknowledge that fact. While you can’t change your spouse’s beliefs, you can learn how to deal with their behavior. An experienced, local marriage counselor in Houston can help you learn effective coping techniques.

Decide Not to Engage Your Partner’s Ego

You don’t want to argue with someone who is always right!

Understand, when you have a spouse who insists that they are always correct, legitimate, or reasonable, they’re setting you up for debate. After all, the goal is to demonstrate that you are wrong in contrast to their opinions or actions, not that your position is another valid perspective. In fact, they may lack the skill to consider perspectives other than their own or simply have a high need to be in control. The good news? You don’t have to play along.

Be inquisitive, open to discussion, and politely receptive to your partner’s point of view. But remain self-aware. Do you feel inadequate or voiceless? Check in with yourself often when you interact with your spouse. The truth is, even if you’re 100 percent certain that your answer is correct, your spouse isn’t likely to admit that you’re actually right or even have a good point. Why?

Because his or her desire to be “always right” is about their own ego, not about proving objective facts. It’s a way of protecting their own insecurity and self-doubt. It’s a losing battle to engage in a debate.

Maintain Your Calm

Recognize that you can choose to breathe and maintain your own sense of calm when your partner insists they have all the answers. Most of all, keep in mind that you are always in control of your own reaction. You can decide to respond without reacting emotionally, or shutting down, or getting into another argument.

Weigh your options for disengagement. Verbally exit the conversation or physically remove yourself if things escalate. You may even want to let your partner know that communication has reached a point that you feel an objective party will need to help you disrupt this unproductive pattern going forward.

Set Boundaries to Signal the Required Respect & Honor Your Connection

Is your partner trying to control you? Maybe. Or maybe their behavior has nothing to do with you at all (most likely it has to do with deeply ingrained patterns they have developed to protect their ego). Work with a couples counselor can help you dig deeper into the dynamics between you.

Revisit the conversation after some time has passed and you have both cooled off. Draw your partner’s attention to the interaction and firmly refuse to accept such treatment. This isn’t a power grab or an opportunity to argue your point. Be careful of engaging in a blame game of your own. Your goal is to simply preserve your own integrity, share your feelings – how their behavior impacts you – ask for what you need instead, and prioritize your relationship. Be respectful in how you communicate and model the behavior you are seeking. Learn more about relationship boundaries. 

Let your partner know you love them and are willing to engage in a caring and compassionate way. If your partner then changes course and communicates respectfully, feel free to continue the conversation with the intention of mutual sharing and understanding.

If not, it’s perfectly okay to let your spouse know that the conversation can only resume when you can both be heard. Likely, they will continue to impose their opinion upon you, since most people with this issue don’t like it when they lose the upper hand. You are well within your rights to stand your ground and agree to disagree. You don’t have to defend yourself, continue to prove your partner wrong, dishonestly agree, or yield to their control.

In fact, simply taking a break once conversations become one-sided or argumentative can prevent further relationship damage. By setting boundaries, your spouse will eventually figure out that their behavior isn’t getting the desired results. When that point is clear, you may be able to begin constructing new communication ground rules.

Determine If You’re Dealing with a Narcissist

Again, marriage counseling is useful in helping you to deal with your spouse. You may also be able to determine if your spouse is a narcissist. Narcissists are incapable of seeing situations from another person’s perspective and need the admiration of others. For this reason, they may doggedly pursue acknowledgment that they are “right” in every situation. It is more difficult to convince true narcissists of the need to change their behavior. The support of a therapist or counselor is very helpful in this situation.

Next Steps…

To start, you may want to consider individual therapy on your own, possibly without your spouse. You can then work on any self-esteem issues that may be keeping you stuck in unhealthy interactions. Then, you can determine how to proceed. Therapy can help you learn how to change behaviors that keep you trapped in a vicious cycle—or determine whether the relationship is too toxic to be saved. If you have been feeling defeated, lacking confidence, or not trusting your own voice or opinions it’s likely that you could benefit from individual therapy before seeking couples counseling. You need to build yourself up again, trust your instincts and feel worthy so you can have the difficult conversations that need to be had with your spouse.

Marriage should make both people feel respected and valued. For more information about how to address marital concerns and the benefits of marriage counseling, click here. 

If you decide marriage counseling is for one or both of you please click here to book an appointment online, or give us a call at 832-559-2622. We can help you find the relationship counselor that best fits your needs.

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