Pride in Relationships: A Poison That Destroys Everything

The proud heart only prioritises itself. These kinds of people see everything as an affront. In addition, they don't understand the language of humility and reciprocity.
Pride in Relationships: A Poison That Destroys Everything
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 14 November, 2022

Pride in relationships is poison. In fact, when it appears between two people, the relationship becomes tinged with selfishness. All of a sudden, everything is interpreted as an attack. It all becomes extremely painful because the prideful partner’s self-esteem is extremely low and they seek to protect themselves at all costs. In effect, they want to position themselves above their partner and have control over every situation.

Socrates said that “Pride divides the men, humility joins them”. As a matter of fact, nothing could be more true. Furthermore, when pride is integrated into a romantic relationship, the subject becomes both sensitive and painful. That’s because, few things require as much care, humility, and reciprocity as the bond between two people who want to make a life together.

It’s often said that pride is like a ladder that some people climb to always be above others. That’s because it’s only in that position that they feel comfortable with themselves. However, they can do nothing from that height except look down at the heads of the rest. Nothing reaches them up there and they become so emotionally distanced that they rarely manage to be happy.

angry couple acting out how to respond to someone looking to bring you down

Pride in a relationship

When you begin a relationship, your feelings of love and hope often place a powerful filter on your gaze. You tend to attribute certain behaviors and attitudes of your loved one as little quirks and eccentricities. Moreover, in the early stages, you focus excessively on giving your best to them. However, you don’t tend to calibrate what they have to offer you.

Nevertheless, sooner or later, the day may come when you view a shadow of pride in your partner. In fact, there are certain behaviors that clearly reveal a prideful individual. Let’s take a look at some of them.

The behavior of a prideful partner

The dynamics evidenced by pride in relationships are extremely varied. Their main feature is that they’re upsetting and hurtful. They’re responses and behaviors that invalidate the partner and progressively wear them out. This is how a prideful partner behaves:

  • They believe that their opinion is the only one that matters and the only one that should be listened to.
  • They rarely take into account the reality of their partner. Furthermore, they prioritize their own needs.
  • They’re really difficult to communicate with. They either misrepresent everything or take it personally.
  • They generally don’t listen. If they do, they misunderstand what’s being said.
  • They make use of sentences like “You have no idea what’s happening” or “You always/you never (…)”
  • They never admit their mistakes nor are they capable of asking for forgiveness.
  • They’re constantly angry and hurt or feel undervalued due to what their partner does, or fails to do.

The reason behind pride in a relationship

What lies behind pride in a relationship? As a matter of fact, in many, if not all cases, there’s an obvious lack of self-esteem. When this psychological substrate fails, fears, shortcomings, and mistrust arise.

A narcissistic personality often demonstrates low self-esteem which translates into an arrogant and dominant attitude. This means they always prioritize themselves. However, there are also more triggers for pride in a relationship:

  • They had selfish parents.
  • They possess certain innate personality traits. Pride, as we mentioned earlier, can be the obvious clue to a narcissistic personality disorder.
  • They need to have absolute control in the relationship. In fact, there are many people who are attached to dominant behavior.
  • They may be trapped in their own fears and complexes. In these cases, their behavior is a protective mechanism with which they hide their infinite insecurities.
scene representing the need to work on pride in relationships

How to stop pride in a relationship

It’s essential to put a stop to pride in a relationship. After all, no emotional bond can be sustained if one partner is obsessed with being above the other.

Placing ourselves above others to have complete control is neither permissible nor healthy.

In addition, pride corrodes, wears away, and annihilates any hint of happiness in a relationship. Neither the prideful individual nor those who are close to them will ever be happy. Therefore, it’s essential to promote change.

Strategies to weaken psychological pride

The first key is that they must want to change their behavior. Without this commitment, nothing will work. Once, they’ve demonstrated their desire to change, they must take the following points into account:

  • Understand that pride is a wall that hinders any approach and opportunity to build a happy relationship.
  • Learn that being vulnerable doesn’t mean they’re weak. On the contrary, it means they have the courage to open up to their partner.
  • Learn to act with humility. This means they must recognize the needs of their partner and stop prioritizing themselves.
  • Work on their self-esteem and their emotional management.
  • Abandon the obsessive need to always be right.
  • Exercise empathy and reciprocity.
  • Put aside their embarrassment and work on their sense of humor.
  • Learn to apologize.
  • Attend to their feelings and emotions and how they influence the way they act. Self-control is decisive.

It won’t be easy for them to undertake this journey of transformation. In fact, not everyone is able to do it. However, if they want to enjoy healthy social and romantic relationships. They must start along their path of improvement. Moreover, they must do it alone.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Erol, Ruth & Orth, Ulrich. (2016). Self-Esteem and the Quality of Romantic Relationships. European Psychologist. 21. 274-283. 10.1027/1016-9040/a000259.
  • Farrell, Jennifer & Hook, Joshua & Ramos, Marciana & Davis, Don & Van Tongeren, Daryl & Ruiz, John. (2015). Humility and Relationship Outcomes in Couples: The Mediating Role of Commitment.. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice. 4. 10.1037/cfp0000033.
  • Yasemin, Ruth, Erol Orth (2013) Actor and partner effects of self-esteem on relationship satisfaction and the mediating role of secure attachment between the partner. Journal of Research in Personality Volume 47, Issue 1, February 2013, Pages 26-35.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.