Pride is considered one of the deadly sins by Christians and much of society. It is also regarded as a piece of resistance, a dignified and victorious attitude, and in this sense to have pride is to have dignity. This antagonistic meaning results from applying the concept, the definition of pride, in two different situations.
The proud one as a sinner is the authoritarian, who denies one's own evil deeds, who hides one's weaknesses and flaws exuding probity, and in this sense, pride is a set of lies, authoritarianism, arrogance and vanity. The other sense of pride is almost synonymous with dignity. It conveys the idea of having pride, not giving in and not showing weakness, that is, hiding injuries, fears and difficulties. Hiding one's own faults equates one with the lie of the authoritarian sinner. In both cases, the processes of non-acceptance of oneself and non-acceptance of the other make individuals hide their own weaknesses.
Pride is always a symptom, an attitude of non-acceptance of non-acceptance. Keeping one's appearance, being strong, not weakening, in short, denying one's own problematics, this behavior itself structures pride. In “Change and Gestalt Psychotherapy” I already wrote:
Not having been accepted for what one is, but for what one should or has to be structures division, partialization, fragmentation. The other is always perceived as a witness for the prosecution or a judge, or even a savior or protector; a human relationship thus structured oscillates between these basic poles. Experiences are gathered as proof of these aspects. The concern with being approved, not being abandoned or rejected creates dependencies, points of support-oppression, establishing fears, guilt, shyness, aggressiveness, omnipotence, impotence, shame etc. The existential meaning starts to be drawn through certificates, flagrant situations considered positive when represented by the valued status of those who accepted them, by tolerance, complacency, understanding and help; and are considered negative when they imply disagreements, questioning, openings, and affective giving of self not guaranteed by appearances and socially accepted values. Valuation and devaluation are constant experiences always centered on adhering and contingent criteria.
In that same book, I explain how the non-acceptance of non-acceptance also structures, among other things, shame:
To be ashamed is to experience one's alienation in relation to what is not accepted, to the stain that has to be hidden, mobilizing tensioning forces. This accumulation of tension divides, fragments and partializes. It is the fear of being rejected, discriminated against, stigmatized and despised, as well as the concern to be accepted, to keep the lies, the constructed images and the enactment of behaviors and attitudes. All this leads the human being to adherent or alienated experiences, leads to appearances.
Pride considered vanity is always framed by what is evaluated as good looks, an adequate and polite attitude, that is, for the purpose of “not being ashamed,” not letting the problems appear that, therefore, need to be covered up. Shame and embarrassment hidden by the structuring of pride are the vanities that appear, for example, in the feeling of being proud, in the victorious air found after overcoming difficulties, in the pride of being a mother, in the proud father of his offspring, in the gay pride parades. All this always makes apparent the idea of great struggles, great paths taken, failures and victories experienced and applauded.
The more pride is maintained, the more one struggles to keep up appearances, to deny difficulties and problems. Therefore, in psychoanalysis, pride is a defense mechanism that sometimes appears in a narcissistic form in which, for example, family crests run through (“my traditional and aristocratic family,” “my grandfather war hero” etc.), and these resources, titles, and experiences make their owners proud. During the psychotherapeutic process, one notices, in the displacement of symptoms and problems, how many weaknesses these appearances, support and pride cover-up.