Why Can’t Some Admit To Being Wrong?

Bret Baier, Fox News Channel’s chief political anchor, claimed on November 2 that Hillary Clinton was being indicted on her foundation activities. It was blatantly incorrect and false. Baier claimed that based on two unnamed sources (rumors are they are websites), FBI investigations relating to Hillary Clinton will “continue to likely an indictment.”

A day later Baier groveled by walking back the story but never admitted he was wrong.

Everyone knows someone like this – one who can never admit wrongdoing. It annoys the hell out of me, but you can’t change everyone. So I set out to understand these types of peeps.

According to Guy Winch Ph.D. that for non-apologists, saying “I’m sorry” carries psychological ramifications that run far deeper than the words themselves imply; it elicits fundamental fears they desperately want to avoid.

Here is Dr. Winch’s reasoning:

  1. Admissions of wrongdoing are incredibly threatening for non-apologists because they have trouble separating their actions from their character. If they did something bad, they must be bad people; if they were neglectful, they must be fundamentally selfish and uncaring; if they were wrong, they must be ignorant or stupid, etc. Therefore, apologies represent a major threat to their basic sense of identity and self-esteem.
  2. Apologizing might open the door to guilt for most of us, but for non-apologists, it can instead open the door to shame. While guilt makes us feel bad about our actions, shame makes non-apologists feel bad about their selves—who they are—which is what makes shame a far more toxic emotion than guilt.
  3. While most of us consider apologies as opportunities to resolve interpersonal conflict, non-apologists fear their apology will only create further accusations and conflict. Once they admit to one wrongdoing, surely the other person will pounce on the opportunity to pile on all the previous offenses for which they refused to apologize as well.
  4. Non-apologists fear that by apologizing, they assume full responsibility and relieve the other party of any culpability. If arguing with a spouse, for example, they might fear an apology would exempt the spouse from taking any blame for a disagreement, despite the fact that each member of a couple has at least some responsibility in most arguments.
  5. By refusing to apologize, non-apologists are trying to manage their emotions. They fear that lowering their guard even slightly will make their psychological defenses crumble and lead to sadness and despair that will pour out of them, leaving them powerless to stop it.

Read more on Dr. Winch’s article here.

 

 

 

 

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