Arguing – an addiction?


by Barry Kerr

(This is a revised version of an article I published in Natures Pathways magazine in January, 2014 and previously published on this blog.)

Like a good argument? I don’t mean an emotional fight. I mean a good intellectual, logical argument. The kind that Socrates would approve of. If your answer is “yes”, then congratulations; you may be smarter than most others around you. Or do you just feel that way.

It doesn’t take much to pull some of us into an argument, if it’s about something we care about. It gives us a high, adrenaline rushing, feeling purposeful and in our mastery. Some of us can go for hours. Sometimes, if our opponent is worthy, we even learn something new, with no hard feelings on either side. Right? Well, if you are have mostly good experiences that draw the other people closer to you, then you might be well balanced with this talent. But, if your finding that at the end of arguments, you don’t feel so good, and other people are feeling even worse, then it’s time to look at how your talent for logic is misplaced.

When our need for argument is out of balance, our overconfident and forceful demeanor pushes people away. What we think we are “proving” is usually getting lost in a mileau of hurt feelings and a loss of trust and respect. This is especially surprising for those of us who consider ourselves more gentle, non-aggressive types. It’s certainly not our intention to overpower people, is it? Aren’t we just trying to build common truths and understandings?  Helping others see the truth? Using calm, rational words?

Unfortunately, argument seldom serves those positive intentions when done within personal relationships that matter to us. What might start as an agreeable argument between two people will usually evolve into a one-sided need to make one’s point while the other side is struggling to find a way to end the whole thing and move on. Unless we are willing to drop it in a timely way, others leave our company with bad feelings.  If we repeat this pattern over and over again with those close to us, they eventually choose to keep their intellectual or physical distance from us. We even risk losing relationships. We are left feeling smart and “right”, but emotionally, we are not rewarded.

I caught on to my own tendencies to argue many years ago. As I observed myself in it, I continued to discover different reasons why I had developed this bad habit. The reasons sprang from deep in my gut, from my places of insecurity. The discoveries resulted from my willingness to do deep healing sessions on myself. I can still be drawn into an argument, but it doesn’t run me anymore. Most of time, I am conscious enough to catch myself before I go there, choosing instead to address my underlying needs in a more effective way.

The expressions below are merely cerebral versions for my own inner truths. By themselves, they don’t really capture the fullness of insights, understandings, feelings and experiential realities of what they represent. They are each like a brief travel brochure outline of a much longer journey.

WHY I ARGUE by Barry Kerr

I argue because I need to be right.
I need to be right because, if I am not, I am wrong.
If I am wrong, I will lose respect.
If I lose respect, I am not worthy of being loved.
If I am not worthy of being loved, I will not be loved.
If I am not loved, I will be alone.
If I am alone, I will be sad  and I will suffer.
SHOW ME I AM LOVABLE BY SEEING I AM RIGHT!

I argue because I need to be right.
I need to be right because I need to save you from being wrong.
If I don’t save you from being wrong, you’ll be in danger.
If you are in danger, I may lose you.
If I lose you, I can’t love you.
If I can’t love you, I will be alone.
If I’m alone, I will be sad  and I will suffer.
PLEASE LET ME LOVE YOU BY SEEING I AM RIGHT!

I argue because I need you to agree.
I need you to agree because I’m afraid I might be wrong.
If you agree, then I have proven my conviction.
If you don’t agree, then I’m left wondering if I am wrong.
If I can’t prove I am right, I am confused.
If I am confused, I am in danger. Those who aren’t confused will have power over me.
I will lose….everything.
PLEASE AGREE WITH ME OR PROVE TO ME I AM WRONG. JUST DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE IN IT!

I argue because I need you to agree.
I need you to agree because I don’t like disagreement.
I don’t like disagreement because my mind wants resolution.
If my mind cannot find resolution, it doesn’t feel good.
I am my mind, therefore I will suffer.
PLEASE AGREE WITH ME SO I CAN REST!

I argue because I’m good at it.
Even if can’t convince you, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you are more educated, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you are more talented, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you have more money, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you are better looking, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you are more masculine, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you got the more beautiful woman, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you ARE the beautiful woman, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
Even if you deny me what I want, I can feel superior, because I argue better.
PLEASE ARGUE WITH ME BECAUSE, THERE, I ALWAYS WIN!

I argue because it rewards me.
Teachers notice my fine mind.
Friend and peer admire my articulate reasoning.
Though other guys have big muscles, athletic prowess, or seductive charm,
some of the attractive females prefer my “wisdom”.
LET’S ARGUE. YOU’RE GONNA WANNA FUCK ME WHEN WE’RE DONE!

I argue because I’m avoiding my feelings.
If it’s all about convincing and proving, then I get to stay in my head.
I don’t have to acknowledge what my body is saying, sometimes screaming at me.
I don’t have to acknowledge my feelings.
I don’t have to fully feel my feelings.
I don’t have to know I am afraid, and feel it.
I don’t have to know I am sad, and feel it.
I don’t have to know I am angry, and feel it.
I don’t have to know I am joyful, and feel it.
I don’t have to know I am lusting, and feel it.
If I don’t have to acknowledge my feelings, and feel them,
Then I don’t have to take responsibility for them.
If I don’t have to take responsibility for my feelings,
Then I can avoid making difficult decisions about my own welfare.
If I can avoid making those decisions,
I can continue to blame (or credit) others for my life.
PLEASE KEEP ARGUING WITH ME, I DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE REAL TRUTH!

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This entry was posted in Evolution of Human Consciousness, Healing, Relationships, Spiritual Growth and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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