When pride goes awry

Pride. To have pride in your work, to have pride in a job well done, to have pride in an achievement are all the simplest and purest ways that we can experience pride. I am proud of my daughter. I am proud of my husband.
The definition of pride is :
1.a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

Pride is to admire. That is what pride is supposed to be.
I’ve been pondering pride for some time now. At what point did it turn from satisfaction in a job well done accompanied by deep admiration for those close to you to selfishness? Where did admiration turn to manipulation?
What happened to the original diagnosis of pride?

When I was 19 I often skied with friends on the weekends. In all my waterskiing jobs I never learned how to backwards barefoot. For those non-skiiers that is skiing with no skis, barefooted, at a high rate of speed. I was with a bunch of people and my pride got the best of me. I HAD to show off and backwards barefoot and show these guys that a girl could do what they couldn’t do. I pushed myself over and over and over again to get it right. My last time I heard a pop in my shoulder and was in excruciating pain. I couldn’t move my arm, started going into shock, and had to be carried into the ER with my wetsuit on (what you wear when the water is cold to keep you warm). The guys just said I was determined. I know it was pride. Pride ruined my shoulder. 20 years later when I got diagnosed with a muscle disease, that same shoulder was the first thing to atrophy. My pride caused me full function of my shoulder to this day. This is a pretty basic example of where pride can go awry. It didn’t involve hurting anyone else. Just myself.
Pride ruined my shoulder.
Pride ruins a lot of things.
Having to be right because you have to much pride to just be humble can ruin a marriage.
Not apologizing because you have too much pride can ruin a friendship.

I remember one Thanksgiving my daughter was 5 and we had just adopted a puppy, Molly. We took Molly to my aunts for Thanksgiving because she was too young to be left home for an entire day. My brother was messing around with Molly out in the yard. My 5 year old daughter thought he was being mean her. So she yelled ” Stop being mean to my puppy!” I have to admit, most of us don’t want to be yelled at by a 5 year old. A knee jerk reaction prideful reaction is to yell right back and put that child in her place. A good reaction is going over to the child and saying, ” I can see you got mad because you thought I was not treating your dog well. I was just playing. It is not okay that you yelled at me. I would have listened to you if you just came over and told me you didn’t like it.” But alas this is not what happened. When you are dealing with a protective 5 year old and you react in pride things don’t turn out well. He yelled at her. Then he yelled at me that I had raised a disrespectful child. I yelled at him because no one yells at my child. Things got ugly. All over pride. And a little spirited 5 year old who to this day will speak her mind if she thinks an injustice is happening. Looking back it was pretty ridiculous. It could be said that we let a 5 year old ruin Thanksgiving because we ended up leaving.
It was pride that ruined Thanksgiving. My 5 year old was being…just a 5 year old. The adults apparently couldn’t raise above a 5 year old’s level because their pride got the best of them.

Pride is a very childlike emotion. It is rooted in ego. It is all about one person. It has no regard for anyone else’s feelings. It has no room for apologies, no time for forgiveness, and runs on the assumption that the person that has it is superior to everyone else.
But there is a deeper side of pride that people don’t think about. The wounded side. Under the facade of pride is really just insecurity and suffering. A person that exhibits pride is devoid of a true sense of self and worth. Because they are lacking this fundamental truth in themself, then they need to push it in the face of everyone around them. They make demands of others because they cannot demand it of themself. Others must submit to their orders because that is all the power and control they feel they have. The demanding of power is only in the absence of power they have within themselves. They feel weak inside so on the outside they overcompensate with pride.

We must face our own insecurities before we can tackle pride.
Fears, insecurities, pain, will all show up as a huge chip on your shoulder aka pride.

I had some of it when I first got married. I had to win the argument. I knew I was right. He had to know I was right. He had to admit I was right. It came from a wounded place that lacked ever feeling validated. I see that now but didn’t then. And still, this pride did not really hurt anyone. It just made for wasteful arguments with a pretty patient man who taught me how to eventually let it go.
Just HAVING to be right made me wrong. HAVING to be right meant that I was putting pride over love.
My husband and I just celebrated 19 years of marriage. He told me that a long time ago he realized that he would rather me be happy than to be right. That him being right was not more important than our marriage. So being right or wrong to him did not matter. Our arguments were always ridiculous anyway. They mostly consisted of ME not putting something away, or ME not putting the top on something correctly. Him coming behind me telling me I should put things away. Me telling him that he didn’t get to tell me what to do. Always the same argument. Me acting like a child. Me having too much pride to accept that I was actually wrong. Stupid little arguments that are meaningless. He said later that he realized they were meaningless and he chose to love the things that originally drove him crazy about me. Over the years I realized that I had to be right even if I wasn’t early in our marriage. But we both started listening. We both started putting the other first. We both dropped our pride so we could hear each other and not waste time on such insignificant things. This did not happen over night. This happened with work on ourselves and with each other with a common goal of respect. In pride their is no respect for the other person. That is a set up for a failed marriage. We chose to work through that and set pride aside.

Do you want to be right or do you want to keep your spouse?
Do you want to be right or do you want your child to respect you?
Do you want to be right or do you want to have meaningful relationships?

You cannot have both.

Pride in having to be right can take on an entirely different form if not kept in check. It can turn from a prideful platform into a manipulative one. Pride and manipulation are a very ugly combination. When a prideful person becomes a manipulative one too then you have to walk away from them.

I cannot emphasize this enough: You have to walk away from a prideful manipulative person!

My daughter recently encountered a few prideful teenage boys. One of them she has known for years. She texts him and he has come over to visit. They went to highschool together. She thought she knew him. He sent her an inappropriate sexual text. It was a text that crossed the line and needed to be called out. He needed to be told that it was not okay to send these types of texts and that she was very upset that he thought he could. So she was honest right away. She told him that he could not talk about such things with her. The ONLY reply she should have received from him was, ” I’m sorry I won’t do that again.” But that is not what she got. He first came back with the, “I’m confused.” reply. Then he hit with the, ” Well you are overbearing and make too many rules,” reply. Then he went on with insults and completely manipulated his wrong doing into her being somehow the cause. Classic manipulation.
She was left with, ” Well what do I do now?” For two days she was upset, not knowing what she should do? what she should say? She went over and over replies and come backs. In the end she said nothing. She had already told him she did not like what he had said. His reply was accusatory, prideful, and manipulative. So there was nothing else to say. HE was in the wrong. But his pride turned things back around on a completely innocent girl.

You cannot convince a manipulative person full of pride. No words will make them understand. The best you can do is walk away and say nothing. Going back and forth will only end up in pain to you. They will ALWAYS knowing they were right. Their pride will be their constant reminder that they were better than you and you will always be wrong. Pride hates to be challenged. Pride hates to be confronted. Pride unchecked will turn into a manipulative beast that ruins every relationship around it. Pride leaves the innocent questioning. My daughter didn’t understand at first. Did she do something wrong? Why didn’t he understand? Why did he attack with insults? Why did he blame? What could I have done differently?

Nothing. You can’t win against a prideful person. Especially if they have moved on to a master manipulator. They will chew you up, spit you out, and walk away.

If someone hurts you and you bring attention to that hurt and they do not apologize, then it is a battle not worth fighting.

Unfortunately, sometimes the next step will ensue. Manipulation turns to control. The strong need to control. Control turns a person down a path that is hard to ever come back from. It is the making of a criminal. It is the making of a rapist or molester. The man who molested me was a very prideful manipulative man. I’m not saying every person who is overrun by pride and manipulation will turn into a child molester. But the possibility is there. Every many who ever hurt me, and there were many, ALL had manipulative pride. They thought they were untouchable. They were superior. They were right in everything they were doing nomatter the level of wrong. And if I were to question them they always manipulated me into submission. Most children who have endured long experiences of abuse have been at the hands of men who have mastered manipulation, and whose control turned to total dominance. Once they get to that level, a child cannot always walk away. A child cannot always find away out. I have wondered about the men that abused me. Did they start out with just a pride issue that turned into manipulation that turned into control that turned into rape? I cannot get into the minds of the men that abuse. But I do see the outcome of control. What will happen to the boy who texted my daughter? What will he become? It wasn’t just a “boy thing to do”. These behaviors cannot be excused. But he couldn’t be argued with. He already, at 19 years old, needs to be right and has no ability to apologize for an outrageously inappropriate sexual text.
My daughter had to walk away. His pride is already turning him. But it is not my daughter’s job to fight with his pride. I’m actually not sure whose job it is. It has left me unsettled, this boy. Who will keep him from going down a path he cannot come back from? It is definitely not my daugther’s responsibility. My daughter is strong though. Had something like that happened to me at her age I would not have reacted the same. I would have crumbled. I would have been the perfect target. I guess if we cannot stop the prideful people we can focus on empowering the ones they target. My husband and I empower our daughter. We stand with her. We help her to recognize red flags in people. We have open communications about texts and conversations good and bad. Those of us who were targets as children can help others to not be.

I thought that pride gone awry was such a small scale issue. Someone that just had to be right and was willing to lose everything around them just to feel they stood by their need to be right. But it goes far deeper than that. I believe it is rooted in insecurity and lack of self worth. Those things left unchecked can turn a person into a complete monster.

when pride becomes destructive, we have to move out of it’s path. It has nothing to do with us and will never have anything to do with us. Some may just stay stuck in the need to be right forever. Some may move into manipulation. Some may move into control. I have experienced and witnessed so many people who allowed their pride to destroy them and those around them.

When the true definition of pride is lost, then that person is lost to us. The best we can do is recognize a person who uses their pride and manipulation to control situations and not feed into them. The more people who do NOT feed into their pride the less power their pride gains. When pride turns into a beast, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. Do what my daughter did, walk away. And know that their pride cannot hurt you if you do not let. Their words can be arrows to your heart. But you have the ability to avoid the arrows. Just move a little to the left, let the arrow fly off into the wind, and know that it had nothing to do with you in the first place. Pride cannot win if you choose to walk away from it. You will walk away with dignity They will be left all alone, in the end, with just their pride. Hopefully they won’t leave a trail of victims along the way. A prideful monster tried to destroy me as a child. I no longer allow pride in my life or around those that I love. I know what it can become. Pride gone awry is the absence of God and the dominance of ego.

I am still proud of my daughter’s character. I am still proud of my husband’s integrity. I am sticking with the original definition of pride. But I’d rather call it something else now…
I am not so much PROUD of them as I just admire them. They are two people who I greatly admire. Being proud has more to do with me. Admiring is just all about them.

2 thoughts on “When pride goes awry

  1. That is an interesting blog post to read. It made me think about pride and the underlying thought process. I have not been using the word proud very often in my life. Maybe this has to do with the negative aspect that can associated with it. When I tell somebody “I am proud of you!” it implies having a deeper relationship with that person and recognizing the personal achievement that person has made in a positive way. What I am telling that person is that I feel honoured to be in a relationship with a person capable of such achievemets. It is like you telling your daughter, “I know you are my daughter. But wow! Looking at what you just did, how you reacted with respect to this guy …I want you to know you are great … and if I had the free choice of choosing a daughter, I would definitely chose you.” = in other words ” I do not only admire you, but I choose you again. You are very special to me.” = “I am proud of You “.

    Liked by 1 person

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