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Unprepared for Parenting (Ezzos, Pearls, Etc.) *Public* Support and information for those affected by the Ezzos, the Pearls, and other punitive and adversarial methods of child-rearing.
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23. No posts harshly dissecting parenting moments of others since we desire to humbly cultivate a heart attitude of grace and not judgment towards other mamas. We all struggle at times as parents and have much to learn, and GCM's focus is to provide tools and information for each of us to parent more effectively. Posts voicing some frustration regarding choices made by others can be okay, but it needs to be within the overall context of seeking understanding or ideas for better responses in the future.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:33 AM   #1
ShiriChayim
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Default Common sense and intuition

"People should just use their common sense and intuition to know when to stop doing, or not use something. Chew the meat and spit out the bones."

I've heard this comment quite often from people when discussing parenting methods gone awry. Often it's used in defense of a particular book: "They didn't use their common sense to know it wasn't working for them" (most recently that one has been used ALL the time from people defending the Pearl's teaching); other times it comes judgmentally towards another parent's decisions for their children.

I know for a mother who is very good at using their own intuition it seems like an obvious answer and is genuinely confusing how someone else wouldn't see it that way. So I thought we could discuss 1) the fallacy of the idea when discussing a specific topic or book, and 2) why certain people really do struggle with it.

So for number 1: Well I think Crystal mirrored my own thoughts very well in a previous thread when she said that a book or teaching isn't judged on how people DON'T do what it tells them to do, it is judged on the merits of what it actually tells people to do. This is especially important if one of the things it tells people to do specifically is ignore their own instincts. That is one HUGE flag of caution that I note and to which I pay special attention. If a person must tell others to ignore their own gut to follow the advice being given, I have to ask why.

For number 2. I hope other moms will come help to describe it, but I can only share my own experience. The following is a list of teachings that I had accepted as Truth when I was a young new mother:

1) Babies are born with a sinful will that is evidenced from the day of their birth.
2) At times a parent who truly loves their children will do what is hard for them to do because it is in the best interest of the child. This I applied to vaccinations, CIO, and all sorts of things I was TOLD BY PROFESSIONALS was in the best interest of my baby
3) Parenting is the hardest thing you will ever do, you cannot be prepared for what it will do to you, you will be lost and not know what to do, so listen to those around you and do what they tell you to.
4) The heart is deceitful above all things, God's will is HARD to do, but whatever you do don't listen to your own heart if it "contradicts" what you "should" do. (This is insidious, it directly undermined my own instincts in every aspect of my life). That one is directly paired with: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to destruction." This is such a wonderful verse that is very easy to pull out and throw at ANYONE who doesn't want to do what has been determined as GOD'S WILL for them

On top of that, I was very directly prepared by circumstances in my life (an abusive relationship among other things) to have completely rejected my own intuition and accept what anyone else told me as truth, even if it went against what I was certain I had known. Throw in a MAJOR bout of PPD, PTSD, and anxiety into the mix and well...that's why I didn't use my own intuition when people told me to do what was wrong. Thankfully I didn't get ahold of some of the worst books at that time in my life, and I had specific people in my life encouraging me towards a more gentle way of parenting. It wasn't until I saw Dr Sears on an episode of Dr Phil (of all things ) and heard him actually ENCOURAGE a mother to do what I wanted to do (instead of calling it lazy self indulgent parenting) and then even MORE told her, "wherever everyone gets the best sleep is the best sleeping arrangement for your family-do what works best for you" that it even occurred to me that I COULD do what I wanted to do.

Then I found GCM. And the mommas on here encouraged me in so many ways; including affirming over and over that I could and should listen to instincts I thought were long dead and gone. Now that's just my own story. I'm sure many other mommas can come and share. Overall though I have to say that while I will at times accept an intellectual exercise of digging through a teaching I disagree with to analyze and learn: when dealing with a topic I am unfamiliar with or uncertain about if I'm having to put that much effort into LEARNING-well I figure there's got to be something better out there that doesn't require all of that on my part KWIM?
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
allisonintx
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

I think that when you're trying to reconnect broken parts in your brain, its perfectly ok to go"out of balance" wrt study/intuition in order to re-learn the trust/faith in the intuition. It is justlike any arrested development...you cant go around or over it, you have to experience it.

If you abandon academic pursuit in favor of re-learning/building trust and faith and you are doing it in a safe and healthy environment where when you go awry, someone you love/ trust can say "hey, whats up with that?" I think you'll find that you havent actually given up the academics at all, but chosen a season of studying a different way, prayerfully, in order to achieve a balanced surrendered life.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
forty-two
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

Interesting topic . To me there's two/three separate categories here:
*People whose intuition/common sense has been warped by crappy teaching/upbringing - they're using it, it's just calibrated wrong.
*People who are naturally inclined to place ideas over reality, and so ignore/plow through reality-based evidence that their beloved ideas aren't working out - i.e. ignore common sense by nature. I think Ns, particularly introverted Ns, are prone to this (no, I don't resemble that remark ).
*People who've been trained to place ideas (usually a certain idea or a certain leader's ideas) over reality, and so ignore intuition/common sense despite themselves. This is probably more likely to happen in people-pleasing types and obedience to authority types.

I do think that intuition/common sense operates in most people unless they're been trained out of it (which takes time), or are one of the relatively rare types that ignores it by nature (and even they have it, they just don't want to listen to it sometimes, and can kind of train themselves out of it). The thing is that it is calibrated by life experiences, and if they weren't healthy, then your intuition/common sense is likewise not healthy, and can in fact steer you wrong. You have a false sense of what is normal.

Personally, I mostly relate to #2 - I find it easy to get carried away with being logically consistent, and if it weren't for my common sense having been trained up by a very realistic and practical mom, I'd have gotten into a *lot* of trouble. (Also, the fact that I'm naturally lazy has saved me a lot, too - I've had tons of Grand Plans that were probably ill-advised that I would have jumped into with both feet except that it was too much work . Seriously, saved me from a possible bout with anorexia in high school - had everything but the willpower to carry it off .)

To me Vision Forum and their brand of patriarchy falls under this - it is the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood position taken to it's logical extreme. There is *nothing* but common sense keeping CBMW from VF. But the fact that way more people are CBMW-style complementarians than VF-style patriarchs illustrates that, for most people, most of the time, common sense functions well enough to keep people from going (entirely) off the rails.

Anyway, the ideas you said contributed to your ignoring common sense - most of them I'd agree with, at least in certain situations. #1 - I *do* believe babies are born sinful - but that doesn't mean I believe that *I* can do something about that sin (let alone that spanking is what can do something about it ). And #2 - that *is* true, in some situations - but it gets horribly misapplied. And people can and do honestly differ on what is necessary . #3 - Parenting *is* hard, and seeking out wisdom from others *is* a good idea . It's just that uncritically adopting that wisdom against your better judgement isn't a good idea. And #4 has some nuggets of truth, but is totally twisted around and abused and does so. much. damage.

This is why doctrine *matters*. Slightly wrong foundations can lead to really, really dangerously wrong applications. There's a *reason* why the early church slugged it out over minute differences in doctrine over Christ and the atonement - that is the core of our faith, and differences there, far from not mattering b/c they are so (apparently) far from our daily life, are the most important thing to get right because everything else flows from it. We don't give a book/parenting philosophy a pass b/c common sense prevents most people from going overboard with its bad ideas. Why do we give theologies/churches a pass, excuse the excesses *that came directly from carrying their doctrine to its logical conclusion* (as opposed to those that came from ignoring or changing doctrine)?
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

This may sound snarky, but who decides what is common sense? What I think is common sense is earth shattering to some and vice versa. With new parents who did not spend a lot of time around babies, common sense has to be spelled out. Even experienced parents will be thrown for a loop by something that to some should be a plain as the nose on their faces. The idea that new, insecure, unlearned and sleep deprived parents should just know that they were taking a book to far is harsh in my opinion.
Our society does not prepare parents for parenting. Children and babies are props on tv or in movies. In the pulpit you hear how sinful babies are and that you must use the rod to save their very souls. Many Christian parenting experts insist that you must break the child's will at birth or they will end up in jail. If you are a Christian, you have heard some flavor of this most of your life. Add in your neighbor, grandmother, sister, mother or whomever agreeing with this and how are parents supposed to know? What are they supposed to know?
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Old 01-15-2012, 10:30 AM   #5
forty-two
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

IDK, but to me, barring really bad abuse, some things are innate to just about everyone . It is just *not natural* to hit a small baby . Heck, it's not even natural to CIO. Sleep-deprived or ignorant people might do either out of desperation, but they still know/feel that it's not right. That's why all those people advocating it have to make a big deal about ignoring your intuition and how parents have to do hard things for the greater good - *because* it's not natural.

And why even a lifetime of indoctrination isn't enough to keep people from struggling with it. How many times do you see people firmly entrenched from birth in the Christian spanking subculture feel upset and uncomfortable with the "necessity" of spanking once they actually are in the middle of it? And all the encouragements from others about how they know it's hard, but it's Biblical and necessary and God will bless their efforts .

I do have lots of sympathy for them - they've been lied to and stripped of the defenses that would have protected them, all in the name of God . For me I'm more amazed that common sense *does* function for the vast majority of people most of the time, and so even with all the crap, taking bad teaching too far is still the minority .
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

But see, that is just you. You just know things. I don't. I need to have things spelled out for me. That may be odd to you, but the idea of just knowing something or acting on a feeling is scary to me. I need facts. When I first heard of cio, it was at a shower for my sil about eight years ago. All the women said it was hard, but it was vital to fostering an independent child. And also, that not doing it lead to bad sleep habits. That made a lot of sense to me. Especially since the only people I knew that did not cio, were exactly the ap families Ezzo depicts in his books. Couple that with my mother discussing sleep training us and memories of my brothers being sleep trained and it made even more sense. Those words and warnings still ring in my head and I have to fight not to do it even though I do know better. Not because I just want to sleep, but because I do not want to make her neurotic. When Ivy commits acts of "rebellion", those words about her sin nature hit me and I have to fight not to hit her. Not because I am angry and want to lash out, but because I do not want to her to end up in jail. If I had not read about age appropriate behavior and things about child development, then I could not practice gentle discipline. Only because I have read strong arguments that refute spanking and rebellion am I able to not strike her. Only because I know that I have good information. How many times have we heard that nothing worth doing is easy? Parenting is certainly worth doing and it is far from easy. Hitting Ivy would not have been easy, but because Ivy is worth keeping safe, I would not have batted a lash at swatting her for running out in the road. Yes, hitting her to keep her safe is very convoluted at best. But, if that is what you heard your entire life and saw modeled your entire life, why would it feel wrong? Why would it look wrong? Everything you saw says this is right, do it. I don't think hitting a small baby is normal. But if you grew up with the Pearls and their ilk, then it just might be. I knew several families that did spank newborns as in they just came home from the hospital newborns to teach them not to cry at night. I was horrified when I heard about it, but those families thought they were nipping rebellion in the bud. I suspect, that they were programed the same way I was, but the punitive ick was taken to a new level. I have a lot of compassion for them. Because I know very well that but for the grace of God, I would have done some of the same. (I would not have hit a baby for waking up, but you get the idea). Just in case it is not clear, I want to say that I do not defend the hitting of babies or children. Nor do I defend CIO. Ever. I am against it in any form and have will not allow it in my home.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
forty-two
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

Quote:
But see, that is just you. You just know things. I don't. I need to have things spelled out for me. That may be odd to you, but the idea of just knowing something or acting on a feeling is scary to me. I need facts. When I first heard of cio, it was at a shower for my sil about eight years ago. All the women said it was hard, but it was vital to fostering an independent child. And also, that not doing it lead to bad sleep habits. That made a lot of sense to me.
You're probably right that I don't really get Sensing types (I'm really trying, but I haven't found the right explanation yet, I guess). But there's a difference b/w being scared to go on a feeling and not even feeling it in the first place. You kind of confirmed my theory, in that they all said it was hard but necessary. That kind of means they felt an inclination to not do it - they just then dismissed it, b/c they were trained to distrust all feelings/instincts . But they *had* them, even though they didn't want them or believe in them. I get that over time you can dull them to the point of invisibility, as well as normalize dysfunction - but that takes a long time or serious dysfunction. If *multiple* people in your circle really and truly hit *newborns*, then wow, that was a really, really, really, *really* dysfunctional environment , and I'm not surprised that your sense of reality got seriously warped .

I've never been in a situation in which my sense of right and wrong got systematically trained out of me, that I really, truly *felt*, to the core of my being, that what I was doing was right when at one point I had felt it to be wrong. I've been mistaken, but part of me knew it was wrong, and screamed for attention (and trying to stuff it down and ignore it both didn't work and triggered years of depression). Even with my seriously skewed view of *how* wrong and messed up I was, I still knew I was messed up. And though I ended up with several damaging habits, that my go-to "natural" response was not good (deal with stress by mentally escaping), that my natural thought patterns weren't good (feeling like I wanted to die whenever I was stressed), I still knew they were fundamentally not good, even when I had no better way to deal with it.

I totally get the difficulty of having to retrain your "natural", go-to responses and thinking . I just really and truly don't get not feeling, at some level, at some point - whether you listen to them or not - that something about this is just not right . I get that a lifetime of believing that spanking is right would have you dismissing that feeling as wrong/misleading/Satan's-influence - you'd be pre-primed to ignore it. But it was still there, right?

And seriously, I do have a lot of sympathy for those unable to break out - I get why they don't listen to their instincts/common sense, and doubt I'd do any better in their shoes . Heck, given my personality, I can see doing it to myself, against my better judgement, with no extenuating external factors needed . I totally get not listening to your instincts when you've been taught all your life to distrust them . But that's still different from not feeling them in the first place .

ETA: I'm not trying to invalidate your experience , just trying to understand b/c it's really foreign to me .
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

Quote:
Originally Posted by allisonintx View Post
I think that when you're trying to reconnect broken parts in your brain, its perfectly ok to go"out of balance" wrt study/intuition in order to re-learn the trust/faith in the intuition. It is justlike any arrested development...you cant go around or over it, you have to experience it.

If you abandon academic pursuit in favor of re-learning/building trust and faith and you are doing it in a safe and healthy environment where when you go awry, someone you love/ trust can say "hey, whats up with that?" I think you'll find that you havent actually given up the academics at all, but chosen a season of studying a different way, prayerfully, in order to achieve a balanced surrendered life.

If this is too off-topic let me know:

How do we know fi we're suffering from arrested development in the area of intuition or just score really far to the sensing side? Or in the area of devloping more intuition, does it even matter where we're starting from?
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
forty-two
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

As for what common sense is, I'm using it in the "law written on our hearts" sense. Everyone is born with it, even though it gets warped by whatever dysfunctions you might experience growing up, gets miscalibrated and isn't infallible on it's own. Certainly newborns have instincts - to nurse, to emotionally bond with their caretaker - and they have a sense of "my world is right" and "my world is not right", the latter of which leads to crying. Their response to not-rightness is to communicate, and I believe they innately expect that someone will care about their world not being right and do something. Certainly a systemic failure on that front leads to a sense of something missing that can haunt them for life .

The point is that I believe that dysfunction can warp and twist and generally screw people up, and the earlier it starts the worse the effects - but ultimately people aren't blank slates and underneath all that dysfunction is an innate sense of rightness/wrongness that, however warped it may get, can never be entirely erased .
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

I knew you were not invalidating my experiences and were trying to understand. (MY INTJ husband and I have had similar conversations on other topics).
The hitting newborns were homeschoolers that moved in the same circles, but not close family friends. My family was shocked at the very idea of striking a young baby like that for waking in middle of the night. My family was more of a mainstream punitive, you know spank for open rebellion and teach them to fall asleep by themselves, but not to expect a four month old to sleep all night.
I think that even when you have a more standard "Christian" upbringing, if you cannot just know things like you do, then people like me who need to see something are going to get sucked into BW. Ezzo writes very well. His warnings are dire and jibe with what you have heard. He then offers you a formula that will work.
I did not get sucked into it, but I know a couple of women who did. And his books made them feel like this whole parenting thing won't be so bad. They both regret it. One has a child that is very like Ivy and she did not thrive to say the least. (I shudder to think what would have happened to Ivy) and one has a very angry toddler she is having to relearn how to parent. Neither woman is all about herself and making her kids not inconvenience her. In fact, I would not hesitate to say that both are excellent mothers. One was away from her support system and liked the reassurance the book gave.The other did not ever have a good support system to begin with, when the only mom she knew told her to do it, she did it. But unlike me, she has the intuition to figure out that this was not a great program. Unfortunately, it took her baby losing serious weight before her husband was willing to listen to her and get on board with something else.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerlily View Post
If this is too off-topic let me know:

How do we know fi we're suffering from arrested development in the area of intuition or just score really far to the sensing side? Or in the area of devloping more intuition, does it even matter where we're starting from?
In some ways, I think of common sense being the S version of N's intuition . One's coming from inside you, the other's coming more from outside you - explicitly the collected common wisdom of your culture (overlaid on humanity's collective wisdom). Now I don't really get the S thing at all, but my mom's an S and she's very common sense-y, and it prevents her from being taken in in the same way that my intuition, my inner knowing, protects me. Both of them are, imo, a combo of nature/nurture. And the real issue in both cases is having them properly calibrated, as well as healthy balance in how to use it - trust it, but not uncritically, just as you shouldn't trust others' judgement uncritically.

---------- Post added at 02:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:59 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjy9343 View Post
I think that even when you have a more standard "Christian" upbringing, if you cannot just know things like you do, then people like me who need to see something are going to get sucked into BW. Ezzo writes very well. His warnings are dire and jibe with what you have heard. He then offers you a formula that will work.
See, I'm not sure it's *just* a function of having intuition . My mom's a very S person, also mainstream punitive, and very common sense-y. And when I was a baby, the prevailing expert opinion was 4 hrs b/w feeds, and that the baby "can't" be hungry before then, and if you just let them cry when they wake up early, they'll go back to sleep. But I wanted feeding every 2 hours . And Mom had no trouble basically saying that the "experts" had never met me, that I gave clear evidence that I would cry the entire 2hrs until I was finally fed, and the sensible thing was to feed me when I wanted to be fed . There was no "knowing" or anything, just the common sense analysis that reality was disagreeing with the experts, and the experts' reasoning was specious compared to the evidence of her own eyes.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

am i the only one who was told that Christians were not supposed to be "common" so "common sense" wasn't applicable to us? I didn't become a Christian until I was an adult.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

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Originally Posted by klpmommy View Post
am i the only one who was told that Christians were not supposed to be "common" so "common sense" wasn't applicable to us? I didn't become a Christian until I was an adult.
I wasn't raised that way (thank goodness ), and haven't really seen it in person, but in books and online, totally seen the general sentiment, though not the exact words . Way to be stupid for Christ - what happened to wise as serpents ? (And of course the potential for abuse here is *high*.)
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

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Originally Posted by forty-two View Post



See, I'm not sure it's *just* a function of having intuition . My mom's a very S person, also mainstream punitive, and very common sense-y. And when I was a baby, the prevailing expert opinion was 4 hrs b/w feeds, and that the baby "can't" be hungry before then, and if you just let them cry when they wake up early, they'll go back to sleep. But I wanted feeding every 2 hours . And Mom had no trouble basically saying that the "experts" had never met me, that I gave clear evidence that I would cry the entire 2hrs until I was finally fed, and the sensible thing was to feed me when I wanted to be fed . There was no "knowing" or anything, just the common sense analysis that reality was disagreeing with the experts, and the experts' reasoning was specious compared to the evidence of her own eyes.
Perhaps it is not intuition or common sense or what have as much as it is having confidence in your judgement? My mother is also very mainstream and punitive, but she has good sense and has said something along the same lines as your mother wrt feeding.

---------- Post added at 03:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:33 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by klpmommy View Post
am i the only one who was told that Christians were not supposed to be "common" so "common sense" wasn't applicable to us? I didn't become a Christian until I was an adult.
I never heard that. But I can see how we are not of the world could translate into that. Or check the Word could be twisted into that as well.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:40 PM   #15
forty-two
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Default Re: Common sense and intuition

Quote:
Originally Posted by rjy9343 View Post
Perhaps it is not intuition or common sense or what have as much as it is having confidence in your judgement? My mother is also very mainstream and punitive, but she has good sense and has said something along the same lines as your mother wrt feeding.
I think you're right, that confidence is a big thing. It would take a lot more to get someone who trusts their own judgement (in general or on a given issue) to doubt it than someone who, for whatever reason, didn't feel very confident about their judgement to start with.

Flexibility of mind might come into play, too - very confident people would be less likely to dismiss common sense or intuition because of outside influence, but they might be perfectly willing to ignore reality b/c it doesn't match what they very confidently think/feel ought to be the case .
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