Why are some people so stubborn

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

It's a defense mechanism

Am pretty sure you have dealt with at least one stubborn person in your life. Those people stick to their opinions no matter what you say or do.

Stubbornness is in most cases a defense mechanism developed by the mind or order to help the person achieve a certain objective. When i talked about Defense mechanisms earlier i said that they are developed when the person goes through an unpleasant experience.

Stubbornness is also a defense mechanism that happens when the person goes through an unpleasant past experience. The purpose of stubbornness in such a case is to help the person avoid the same unpleasant experience in the future.

Why are some people so stubborn

The previous few lines explained the general concept of stubbornness. Now here are some specific cases to help you understand this behaviour even more:

  • 1) To resist controlling parents: When parents become too controlling and when they keep forcing the child to do a certain thing all the time the child might respond back with stubbornness in order to protect their own free will. Put a child under the same kind of pressure for a long time and they might become stubborn. See Dealing with stubborn children
  • 2) To resist life changes: Sometimes a person can become stubborn as a result of going through too many life changes that they couldn't handle. If the child was raised in an uncertain environment with many changes that they couldn't adapt to then they might become stubborn in order to resist future changes. In such a case the child becomes very controlling and stubborn in order to make sure their lives will become more stable. See Dealing with a stubborn person
  • 3) To protect their beliefs: In my previous article Why do people stick to their incorrect opinions i said that people can stick to their incorrect opinions in order to maintain their psychological stability. People can develop certain beliefs in order to remain psychologically stable. In such a case the person might go lengths to defend their beliefs even if they were wrong
  • 4) To feel worthy: Some people might become stubborn when they believe that their opinions are always taken for granted. In such a case those people develop stubbornness to make sure that their opinion is given some weight. See also dealing with feelings of inferiority
  • 5) To protect their Egos: Some people can't admit that they are wrong because this hurts their egos and affects their self esteem in a bad way. In such a case those people might become stubborn in order to not be proven wrong by anyone

Situational VS long-term stubbornness

A normal person can become stubborn during a certain debate because it might be very important to them to get something done in a certain way. Those people usually aren't considered stubborn since they only become stubborn when it's extremely needed.

Stubborn people are the ones who are always inflexible and always not willing to accept the opinion of others whether it's right or wrong.

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