They have a very specific idea of how the world works and whole-heartedly believe that they are always right. They are out-spoken and relentless in letting the people around them know what they know.
What do you do if you disagree with them?
I find myself nodding along. I bite my tongue. I don’t agree or disagree. I say nothing. I don’t want to get on their bad side because I know they’ll pick a fight with me.
It’s a defense mechanism I’ve developed after growing up in the same house as my father. I’ve opened my mouth and faced the consequences. Even when I myself don’t care how much he lashes out his opinion, I stop when I see how much damage our quarrels are done to my mother and brother. So I bite my tongue. I don’t rock the boat. I be the better person and let him think he’s getting his way.
So when I come across another type of person like my father (this time at work), I don’t speak up.
The topics are ones that are grey rather than black and white like my co-worker likes to point out. One-dimensional even. I want to point it out. But I choose not to. They’re not hot topics that I’m absolutely 100% passionate about. If it was, I would probably say something. At least, I hope I would.
This defense mechanism of mine - it makes me wonder - how on earth will I be able to face opponents with clashing opinions in the real world? People of different cultures and backgrounds and temperaments - how would I speak to them. I don’t want to hesitate. I want my voice heard in a safe place where I know I won’t be attacked. Is that weak?
On the other hand, the defense mechanism makes me aware of the people around me. It makes me different from the closed-minded one-track thinkers because I choose not to relentlessly shout my opinions. I consider the context. I consider the people.
My experience has made me calculating.
This at least is good.