About the Rebel Personality Subself
Have you known someone who was notably rebellious? Are you? Some adults and kids can be dominated by a Rebel personality subself who tries to help them by "breaking the rules" (shoulds / musts / have to's / ought to's) despite painful consequences.
This well-meaning subself's key goals can be (1) to protect or assert a sense of identity in the face of a controlling, neglectful, and/or shaming envir-onment; (2) to punish someone who is disrespectful, and feel potent; (3) to feel powerful or superior to offset another subself's feeling weak, worthless, and inferior, and/or (4) to create excitement to distract from relentless inner pain. Punishing and/or lecturing such a tormented person will rarely reduce their defiance, and often increases it.
Options for reacting to an overly "rebellious" person are (1) compassion-ately seeing them as wounded and controlled by a false self; (2) clarifying your primary needs, and asserting respectful boundaries and consequences, vs. shaming, blaming, or ignoring the "rebel;" (3) honest self-evaluation to see if your attitudes or behavior are promoting the "defiance" (e.g. disrespect and/or over-control); and (4) encouraging the "rebel" to learn about harmoni-zing their subselves under the wise guidance of their true Self, over time.
Lesson 1 in this nonprofit, ad-free site focuses on doing just that. If the "rebel" is a teen, you can see their "rebelliousness" as a normal, uncon-scious way s/he is trying out their exciting/scary new young-adult indepen-dence. This does not mean tolerating or excusing unacceptable behavior! More detail