What is Arrogance?

Asking a question such as what is arrogance is almost potentially a bit arrogant of itself.

The term arrogance can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To many people it is a bit of a put down implying they are a bit of a know it all or they are speaking out of turn on a subject that they know little about.

To other people being called arrogant is seen as somewhat of a compliment, implying that they have a degree of authority or self-confidence that places them about other people.

Like a lot of judgemental words, arrogance can have a special meaning in the context of rehabs and treatment centres and the recovery world in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step fellowships.

Calling someone arrogant, or implying to a person that they should realise they are being arrogant is normally intended as somewhat of a put down of the individual themselves.

People’s reasons for doing this can be varied, but it is often seen as something of an act of humility that they are asking the individual to accept that other people know more about something and they do.

This is a common and recurring theme in rehabs and treatment centres, that an alcoholic needs to realise that they know nothing about anything and that they should become ‘teachable’.

This type of approach is also often referred to as ‘tough love’, implying that someone is being hard on an individual for their own good and in some way being rude or hard on the individual is an act of love and something that they should be appreciative of.

More often than not, this approach of what is called tough love or of essentially intimidating another individual into beleiving they know less than the person talking to them is really an act of bullying, however it may be dressed up.

It has very little to do with the real nature of love or of helping an individual understand their situation, it is virtually always an abuse of power in an unbalanced power relationship.

Rehabs and treatment centers and 12-step organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous should continuously be aware of the potential for any type of bullying however it may be dressed up.

Often bullying is discounted as teasing or banter or in some way the individual who is being bullied is made to feel it is their fault that they are being hurt by what is being said to them.

Their is little doubt that an alcoholic trying to get sober has built up a wall around them of denial and often bullish defences against other people trying to stop them drinking or using drugs .

This denial and these defence mechanisms are often mistaken for arrogance and a sense of overpowering personality.

In truth they are more likely to be a real sign of the individual’s vulnerability and weakness.

How a rehab or treatment center deals with individuals such as this can vary widely, but the majority will endeavour to treat the individual with the respect and love that they deserve and need.


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