When Ego wants to Win

If you argue, do you argue fairly? Or do you blame and try to win the argument at any cost? In this lesson, we will walk you through the steps that you should consider in any and every argument. The outlined process will help you solve the problem instead of getting stuck in a cycle of blaming to win.


Controlling the need to win - EGO

The ego is a funny thing. It’s a driving, underlying, unconscious force within each of us that determines much of our decision-making. When we say ego, however, many people tend to gravitate to a definition of arrogant behavior. While the two can be connected, our discussion on this topic is not about arrogance. Arrogance is literally sense of self-importance, which often manifests as destructive, self-limiting behaviors that can irritate or annoy others. Sometimes arrogant individuals have a false sense of their own importance or of their actual impact, and this causes distress. While ego and arrogance can often be mistaken for each other, we prefer to think of arrogance as a shiny red Ferrari, built for showing off, while ego is the driver’s need to be seen. 


A healthy ego—sense of self—is essential to your confidence, growth, and feeling of belonging to the physical world. However, an out-of-control ego will show up in a relationship as contempt, needing to be right, or sarcasm designed to make the person in question feel justified or right. Ego utilized in this way builds a wall between partners, which can often wreck an otherwise positive relationship journey.


At ENARI, we give a simple definition for couples to understand ego: “the need to win or to make sure others know they are wrong.” 


Think about your relationship; have you ever found yourself arguing about some pointless topic when you suddenly realized your need to win and being right had far surpassed the need to be happy in your relationship? What did you do at that moment? Did you immediately stop and apologize or did you dig deeper and deeper into the need to be right, even if you knew you were wrong? We have all acted this way at some point, even in the healthiest relationships. 


Here is a great example of a useless argument couples frequently engage in. Please feel free to add your own relationship context in your mind.


Her: “You never listen.”

Him: “Yes I do.”

Her: “No, YOU don’t.”

Him: “I am listening right NOW.”

Her: “I am telling you something important, and I need you to listen.”

Him: “Yes, got it and I am listening. Why don’t you get to your point already.”

Her: “I don’t think you do listen and now I don’t even want to talk about it.”

Him: “Well, you don’t listen to me either, and you take far too long to make your point, so I guess we’re even.”


The danger in any interaction like this one is the way couples manage the fallout of what comes next. Conversations based on the ego, the need to win, often begin to create thick resentment, eye-rolling, sarcasm, and eventually each person retreats into a state of feeling alone, isolated and frustrated. This frustration will build and build until someone explodes and fighting ensues. Then the fight eventually will be over, but the resentment remains underneath your day-to-day activities, until something else triggers another argument and the cycle starts all over again. 


We want to guide you and your partner toward eradicating the ego-mayhem that occurs when you feel the need to win, so you can get down to the business of solving challenges, working together and loving each other without fear of retaliation or a “winning” attitude taking over. Remember, if you seek to be the victor over your spouse, it means someone has to be the victim, and that someone is the one person you dedicated your love to for life. Is that someone you want to treat as an adversary?