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  • Writer's pictureAlena Grunberg

What can you do with people who won’t apologize and ALWAYS have to be right?

You try to express your need, and it becomes about what they want and somehow you’re gaslit and wrong. This feels super frustrating, and I speak from personal experience. These steps help my clients to stay in a mature adult place, and out of the tug of war that ensues when both people try to be right.

1. Remember this is about them and don’t take it personally. It’s how they learned to operate in the world growing up, whether it was to preserve their identity or to be like one of their parents. See if you can cultivate compassion for their behavior; they probably didn’t ask to be this way.

2. Look forward and let the past go. Stop rehashing the details of what happened, because this is both of you trying to be right and isn’t useful. Focus on what you need going forward to solve the problem that is concerning you. See if they are willing to do this action.

3. Agree to disagree. We are all unique beings who have different perspectives and that’s okay. No one needs to change their mind unless they want to. It’s about determining a creative solution to the problem where you both are satisfied enough. It will not be exactly “your way” because this is being right again, but it will feel like enough.

4. Stay grounded in healthy relationship principles. Objective reality, black/white or all or nothing thinking is NOT helpful as life (and all relationships) are shades of grey. There is no “right” or “wrong” in relationships, just how can we move forward in a way we both feel good about. Befriend subjective reality.

5. Have a do-over and work on your delivery. Perhaps you set off their blame detector;.no one actually likes to feel like they are at fault. Start over and tell them you’re sorry if your language was blaming, and it wasn’t your intention. Describe your feelings using statements beginning with “I” and ask for what you would like going forward.

6. Hold boundaries around healthy communication. Name-calling, creating an emotionally unsafe environment is not something you should tolerate. Ask them for what you need to continue the conversation and hear them, or to come back to the issue when it’s not so heated.

But it’s not fair! Why do THEY still get to try to be right, and I don’t! I hear you. You can also try to be right, but, know that you will go in circles 🌀 and nothing will be resolved.

See how it feels to be the relational hero 🦸, and to stay calm and focused on the solution rather than being right. As you change your habits of responding, others will expect something different from you and may change as well.

*These strategies will not work with a verbally abusive person

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