Why We Don’t Like Being Corrected
Do you know why we don’t like to be corrected? It’s actually a trauma response.
It’s an “authority imprint” from our childhood.
Let me explain.
When we were young, and we engaged in a behavior that required correction, it often came with a raised voice or a disciplinary action. Depending on how our parents or caregivers provided this correction, we had an emotional response, such as shame. Sometimes, we even experienced a sense of betrayal that our loving provider would scold or harm us.
That experience triggered the nervous system into a trauma response: fight, flight, freeze or fawn.
From that point, we typically just reinforced that pattern over time. Children who went into their fight response became argumentative or combative. Children who went into a flight response became dismissive or avoidant. Children who went into a freeze response became depressed or paralyzed. And children that went into a fawn response became apologetic and people-pleasing.
This pattern might solely emerge when being corrected or it may be our overarching stress response.
This pattern becomes how we respond to all authorities in our life, from that point forward. It gets further reinforced once we begin school.
We project this pattern onto teachers, coaches and bosses and eventually partners, friends and our own children. We also experience “system-based authorities” through this lens, like the police, judges and the IRS, which is why people have very different responses to reconfiguring authoritative systems.
So flash forward to this moment:
We are having tough collective conversations that often include being corrected. And guess what happens? The ol’ authority pattern kicks in. We get triggered and respond.
It is triggering us back to that childhood place of powerlessness, shame and sometimes betrayal. And our response is still to fight, flee, freeze or fawn.
In other words, it is not just uncomfortable being corrected, it is actually a trauma response. But, we can move beyond it with practice and integration.
Do you recognize your reactions in one of those patterns?