Musings & Threads. In Recovery
NTBR in Recovery
I suffer from NTBR. This syndrome has hurt my career, caused problems with friends and family and resulted in a lot of embarrassment. While I am in recovery, I have learned that there is no cure, instead, I must remain committed to a lifelong process of healing.
Yes, I suffer from the “Need to be Right” (NTBR). (And if you don’t agree with these initials, chances are that you are a fellow sufferer.) I do not suffer alone, on the Eastern Shore and within my own family, I have found a haven for similarly infected people. I have been a part of, or witnessed, heated arguments about the pronunciation of a name, the best year for crabs, the best football team, the greatest game ever played, politics, etc.
The field of psychology has been slow to recognize this debilitating disorder and it is not included in the DSM 5. While I am sure that you can quickly identify fellow sufferers, you might wonder if you, too, are suffering from this syndrome. Since this disease is not yet recognized, I have taken it upon myself to list some questions that may help you discern if you are a fellow sufferer.
Do you feel a need to correct people who are obviously mistaken?
If you are found to be wrong, do you (a) storm away or (b) offer a reason for your error?
Do you find a need to interject into other people’s conversations, to inform them of their errors?
If you answer yes to any of these, you, too might be suffering from this malady.
Being a trained psychologist, I have begun to contemplate the causes of this disease. Is it nature or nurture? To answer this question, I reflect back on my own childhood (N=1).
Growing up on the Eastern Shore, I recall my Tantes (aunt, in German) were strong women with equally strong opinions. One Tante was an excellent cook who notoriously omitted ingredients when sharing a recipe.
I remember one incident where a Tante was calling to wish my father a happy birthday. I was a college student, and the manifestations of the syndrome were beginning. I thanked her but let her know that my father’s birthday was actually the next day. I kindly offered to give him the message in time for his birthday. This is the dialog that ensued.
“No, his birthday is today.” Tante Clara huffed.
“Well, I guess that we have been celebrating the wrong day for all of these years,” I replied smiling to myself.
“Well, you sure have. Young lady, you put your mother on the phone, I want to tell her what a rude and conceited daughter she raised.”
I cupped the receiver and called out, “Mom, it’s for you.”
I guess that I never really had a chance.