The ego’s control extends to something experts call psychological reactance – not many are big fans of being told what to do. Behavioral health therapist Jane Permoto Ehrman of the Cleveland Clinic explained that “resistance is engrained into our culture and brains from a young age. Everyone has some form of inner rebel that likes to question or do the opposite of what we’re told.”
Persisting in your obstinance, on the other hand, can feel pretty satisfying. A 2012 study found that refusing to apologize can boost your self-esteem and lead to “increased feelings of power/control and value integrity.” This may be due to the fact that apologies give extra power to those who receive them, explained the authors. This ego boost from refusal can be short-lived, however, and can ruin your relationships and cause backlash.