5 reasons you hate being corrected + 5 ways to deal with it

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Unless you’re a submissive type who likes to be punished for making mistakes, chances are you’re not fond of being corrected.

In fact, most people like to be right about important things they do, whether it’s the best way to cook a dish or repair something that’s broken.

Similarly, we don’t like to be wrong when it comes to information we’ve learned.

So why do most of us react badly when we’re corrected? And how can we deal with this discomfort?

Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you deal with being corrected in a healthier way if it affects your peace of mind to a large extent right now. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.

Why do I hate being corrected?

If you hate to be corrected, you’re not alone.

Just about everyone on the planet hates it, yet we will all be corrected countless times over the course of our lives.

After all, we’re not born knowing 1001 life skills, and part of the learning process involves messing up.

Do you remember how awful it felt to get something wrong when the teacher called on you in class? The wave of embarrassment followed by others laughing at you?

Those feelings don’t go away easily, and they can haunt us for years afterward.

Each time we mess up, those same reactions come to the surface.

Below are some of the main reasons why people hate being corrected.

You’ve been taught to feel embarrassed about mistakes.

Most people feel embarrassed when they’re wrong about something, especially if they consider themselves well-versed in the subject.

Nobody likes to feel stupid, and being corrected can make anyone feel like an idiot.

This is especially true if it’s something they feel they *should* know, such as spelling, grammar, or basic math.

The main reason why people get angry when corrected is because they’ve been inundated with the idea that if they’re wrong, then there’s something wrong with them.

They develop a literal fear of making mistakes.

This often happens when caregivers or teachers belittle and mock people for errors instead of encouraging them to try again until they get it right.

As a result, the person ends up having their sense of self-worth wrapped up with their knowledge base.

They feel the need to always be right intensely, because when they’re wrong about something and require correction, it hurts them as badly as a physical blow.

To admit to being imperfect by being open to correction is simply too big a leap for them to make.

You feel that it undermines your authority.

This often happens with teachers, professors, and medical professionals—people in positions of authority who impart knowledge as well as those who treat wounds and illnesses.

Everyone makes mistakes, but when someone who’s supposed to be a bastion of wisdom and ability messes up, then that often calls all their competence into question.

They could be right 364 days out of the year, but if they mess up once, then others instantly doubt their abilities.

Needless to say, it’s even worse when the person correcting them is a student or a patient, an underling who’s supposed to be on the receiving end of their abilities.

Then, not only do they have to deal with the discomfort of being corrected, they must endure the embarrassment of being corrected by a subordinate.

The fear of coming across as stupid can make them resent being corrected by anyone about anything.

You might mistrust your own judgement.

When a person is corrected, their instant reaction is often to mistrust themselves.

It comes down to insecurity.

When someone feels secure in themselves, they have self-confidence and belief in their personal power.

In contrast, when someone’s self-confidence is shaken (such as when they’re corrected about something they thought they knew), that undermines a great deal of their sense of self-worth.

In essence, it feels to them as though some of the blocks have been kicked out of their foundation, especially if their self-identity is tied to their knowledge base and intellect.

As a result, they’ll start to question everything they thought they knew.

After all, if they’re wrong about this, then it’s likely they’ve been wrong about other things as well.

It’s difficult to stop doubting yourself once you start down this path. This undermines their confidence on countless levels and can cause anxiety and depression.

You may assume that the other person is trying to put you down or insult you.

When someone corrects another, they often try to do so as a type of social dominance.

For example, if someone wants to take over a conversation, they might begin by saying, “Well, actually…”

In doing so, they are implying that they know better.

Some people use being right as a type of social power play. In fact, some will even correct others when they have no idea whether they’re wrong or not. They just want to appear more knowledgeable so others will admire them more.

This is a power move often used by narcissists who refuse to admit they’re wrong even if they’re provided with evidence.

They’ll likely laugh about the fact that they’ve wound the other person up enough that they feel compelled to then prove themselves right!

Cognitive dissonance between brain states.

Have you come across the description of someone being of “two minds,” before?

Well, it might surprise you to know that we actually have three different mind states.

Furthermore, these often oppose one another, which is why we can feel so conflicted about things at times.

We have our “lizard” (or “reptilian”) brains, which govern our base instincts. This brain is the one that triggers a “fight-or-flight” reflex in potentially threatening situations. We’ve been governed by this mental response for about 250 million years.

The second brain is the emotional mammalian one that’s been percolating for 60-odd million years. It’s the one that craves kinship, comfort, security, and harmony.

Lastly, there’s the human brain that’s been sloshing around in our craniums for just shy of 200,000 years. It’s the most modern of the three, and it governs logic, reason, and higher cognitive function.

When these three are working together harmoniously, everything runs smoothly, without conflict or confusion. The individual feels empowered and utterly self-assured.

In contrast, when their power is called into question (e.g., by being corrected by another) these brains become misaligned.

As a result, everything about them feels like they’re unravelling.

This is rather like when a career soldier has to try civilian life after decades of fighting enemies, or parents having to deal with “empty nest” syndrome after years of spending every moment tending to children. They don’t know what to do with themselves.

How To Handle Being Corrected

It is a good idea to seek professional help from one of the therapists at BetterHelp.com as professional therapy can be highly effective in helping you to cope better when corrected.

There are good and bad ways to handle correction, whether it’s from a peer or a superior.

Below are some of the best ways to respond if you’re corrected, as they show grace and dignity and are unlikely to get you grounded or fired.

1. Maintain your composure.

First and foremost, try not to lash out or retaliate as a knee-jerk reaction.

Take a deep breath, and keep your emotions stilled.

You may feel waves of irritation, anger, embarrassment, and even anxiety or panic, but you’re bigger than all of those.

If you made a mistake, that’s okay. To err is human.

The key is to stay calm, and move on to the next stage:

2. Take a step back to see the intention behind the correction.

Intention has a massive impact on how we interpret different behaviors.

This will determine your immediate response, as well as how things will play out in future.

For example, let’s say that you assert that potatoes were indigenous to Ireland, but your partner maintains that they were brought over from South America in the late 1500s.

You’re certain that you’re right, but so are they.

As a result, they look up when that actually happened, and… Boom! You discover that they were in fact brought over sometime between 1570 and 1592.

You might feel like a misinformed moron in the moment, but it wasn’t your partner’s intention to make you feel that way.

Rather, they wanted to ensure that you knew the truth—not just for your own benefit, but to spare you potential embarrassment if you asserted what you thought was fact in a different scenario.

Ultimately, their goal in correcting you was for your benefit, not theirs.

There was no malice here, no desire to make you feel small. As such, they don’t deserve any retaliation or cruelty.

Instead, maybe you’ll be able to help them out if they mess something up in the future, with just as much respect and courtesy as they showed you.

3. Take the correction with grace, if it’s true, and try to see it as a learning opportunity.

If the correction is justified, then acknowledge it and thank the person for their correction.

By doing so, you’re showing that you may be fallible, but you have enough integrity to admit your mistake, learn from it, and move on.

This is perfectly embodied by the potato example mentioned above.

Okay, so you were wrong about the humble spud’s origins. So what?

You’re going to be wrong about a lot of things over the course of your life, but you’ll also have countless opportunities to expand your knowledge base as well.

You’ve discovered the truth about a subject and can now draw upon that truth again in the future.

Furthermore, this isn’t a mistake you’re ever going to repeat, right?

Don’t get flustered and blame your mistake on someone else’s faulty intel. And stop arguing your point relentlessly, hoping the other person will back down.

Instead, own the error and admit that you’re still learning too.

People have a lot more respect for those who are honest about their shortcomings and are willing to grow from them, rather than those who fight tooth and nail to uphold a fact that isn’t true, solely for the sake of ego self-soothing.

Even if you perceive yourself as superior in intellect to the other person, be willing to accept that you can’t know everything. No one does.

On that same note:

4. Accept (and share) the correction with humor.

Some people like to lord others’ mistakes over them in an attempt to dominate them.

For example, I’m sure you have a family member who still reminds you of errors you made decades ago, solely to embarrass you.

Well, that which doesn’t bother you has no hold over you.

Remember how we talked about owning your mistakes? One of the best ways to own them is to make fun of yourself playfully about it.

Make jokes about the error you’ve made and show others that not only are you not embarrassed about the misstep, you’re downright amused by it.

By doing so, you render yourself invulnerable to any of their jabs.

If they try to mock you for it, they’ll only make themselves look like idiots.

5. “If you say so.”

This is the best way to handle a narcissist or similar person who’s trying to pull a power play on you.

You might know full well that you’re right. Maybe you commented on something that’s in your area of expertise, or you simply know the subject matter inside and out.

Either way, they’re not correcting you because you’re wrong, but because they want to mess with you.

Maybe they like to gaslight others into second-guessing themselves. Or they want to make those around you think less of you and more of them by putting you down.

If either of those are the case, do not engage.

Instead, pretend that you don’t actually give a damn and offer a simple, “If you say so,” as a response.

Then turn your attention elsewhere and don’t let them draw or goad you back into the discussion.

They might try to rile you up some more in order to fend off irritation or anger as you defend your stance, but don’t give them that satisfaction.

Simply smile, remain silent, and go back to what you were doing.

Don’t bother to dignify their nonsense with a response.


As we touched upon earlier, it’s important to remember that nobody will be able to get through life without making mistakes.

None of us learned to walk without falling on our backsides, nor were we born learning how to use computers or smartphones.

You will mess up, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a failure, just a person.

Still not sure how to feel less aggrieved when being corrected by others?

Speak to a therapist about it.

Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours.

They can help you to examine your thoughts and gradually change your mindset to be less bothered about being corrected.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address.

And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Online therapy is actually a good option for many people. It’s more convenient than in-person therapy and is more affordable in a lot of cases.

And you get access to the same level of qualified and experienced professional.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

About The Author

Catherine Winter is an herbalist, INTJ empath, narcissistic abuse survivor, and PTSD warrior currently based in Quebec's Laurentian mountains. In an informal role as confidant and guide, Catherine has helped countless people work through difficult times in their lives and relationships, including divorce, ageing and death journeys, grief, abuse, and trauma recovery, as they navigate their individual paths towards healing and personal peace.