Oh, man. “I told you so” is one of the most action-packed phrases of all time. As the Modern Manners Guy aptly said:
“I told you so” is the equivalent of kicking a person when they’re down, pouring salt on a wound, or getting a group of people together to laugh and point at someone who just slipped and face-planted, like it was the grade-school playground.
~From Quick and Dirty Tips: Stop Saying “I Told You So”
Yeah, we all hate it when someone tells us, “Well, I told you so.” But what if we’re on the action side? What if we have an urge to say it after finding we were right after all?
Well, as you can probably tell from the title of this post, I had the really strong urge just recently. 😅
As some of you may know, I play an online war-based strategy game with my husband (and a bunch of friends); think of it as an ongoing paintball game with hundreds of players and over a hundred teams. Because we’re playing with friends, we do spend a bit of cash for in-game items to enhance our gaming experience.
A couple of weeks back, there was a pretty good purchase package that both my husband and I bought (after it passed his value-for-money test). But here’s the thing; mine went through, and his didn’t. The horror! 😱
Despite numerous tickets raised with the game developer, he didn’t receive the purchase. I did some reading online and told him the results of my research; that we could raise a ticket with iTunes support (this was on iOS) and/or dispute the charges with our credit card company. My husband expressed his doubts and continued to raise tickets with the game developer.
Fast forward to earlier this week; a friend of ours (who had the same problem) mentioned he was able to get his missing purchase after raising the ticket with iTunes support. It turns out I was right, after all!
Well, as always, I had the really strong urge to give my husband the action-packed phrase this week, though luckily he was on a business trip when I found out, so he didn’t receive POW! from me. 😅
Him being away also gave me a little quiet moment to reflect – what was I feeling about the situation and why?
The answer really surprised me. Like 😱😱😱 kind of surprised.
Upon finding out I was right after all, the first thing I felt was this rush of anger. A heavy kind of anger, a little suffocating. A deeper reflection revealed that I felt slighted, defensive, like it was an attack on me in a “What?! First you told me I was wrong, but I was actually right after all!” kind of way.
That was strange. Because I remember my husband wasn’t being mean about it when he expressed his doubts, more like a “Nah, I don’t think it’ll work” way.
An even deeper reflection revealed even more – this was because of my childhood conditioning.
You see, my dad is pretty headstrong and always insisted he’s right. Well, he is usually right, but I really don’t like the antagonising way he does it. Whenever he isn’t right, he’ll just remain silent and won’t admit it. And yes, he likes to say, “I told you so.” Sorry, Dad, but it’s true.
My mother isn’t that headstrong and I can see she tries to avoid directly saying, “I told you so.” But, well, she has a pretty not-so-subtle way of saying it anyway. Sorry, Mum, but it’s true too.
Being around a person who is always right produces frustration and anger. Events are constantly being turned around in his or her favor. You begin to think there is no justice in the world, since the other person never has to admit his or her error. More important, you may also begin to believe that he or she has been right all along.
~From Psychology Today: I Told You So
And the reason for the rush of anger after finding out I was right? Well, I’d always thought of myself as a good kid, the type who always follows orders and whatnot… but it turns out I actually have a bit of a rebellious streak. The kind of rebelliousness where if I’m driving on the road and another car tailgates me, I have the urge to hit the brakes. Yeah, and I only realised that recently. Oops? 😅
Resisting the Urge
I really try not to deliver that action-packed phrase, because I know firsthand the kind of damage it does. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else! I’d usually swallow the urge and express it elsewhere (like banging a loud tune on the piano 😆), but this week I tried to do it differently – I tried to understand what I really want.
It turned out what I wanted was just a loving validation that I was right, not to belittle my husband or tell him he was wrong. That made things really simple, because I have just the thing!
Whenever I wanted a loving validation from my husband, I form it in a me-question. I’d say, “Hey, so what I said before was right! I’m pro?” (Pro in onling gaming slang basically means really good or awesome.) Being the dear he is, he obliges and says, “You’re pro!” And a hug seals the deal. ❤
So when it happened this week while my husband was away, the text messages went this way:
Me: “Oh, hey, it turns out [insert friend] managed to get his purchase items by raising a ticket to iTunes support! [Insert links and how-to.] I’m pro? 😄”
Husband: “You’re pro. 😄”
And the problem was solved just like that. 😆
Did you ever have the urge to say “I told you so”? Did you have a way to handle it? Do comment below!
A Short Self-Compassionate Letter
Wow, I’m proud of you! It’s incredible how you stopped yourself from saying that damaging phrase and replaced it with something nicer. And how nice of dear husband to give you that loving validation. ❤