A relationship with a self-centered person can have serious emotional and mental repercussions. Recognizing that someone is self-centered is thus the first step to maintaining your own health and well-being and developing a healthier relationship.
According to F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. in Psychology Today, there are two defining characteristics of selfishness: “Being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; Having no regard for the needs or feelings of others.”
Whether a relationship is platonic or romantic, partners give and take from each other in equal measures without keeping count.
A self-centered person, however, extracts love and affection without giving back in return. Here are some signs of a selfish person, and what you can do to create positive changes in your relationship:
- They have one-sided conversations
A self-centered person tends to monopolize the conversation and has little capacity to be curious about other people’s issues or concerns.
- They don’t reciprocate effort
The relationship shows a clear pattern of you giving your time, energy, and attention, but these gestures and efforts aren’t returned. They are uncaring and neglectful of other people’s needs.
- They consistently lack perspective
A self-centered person usually lacks empathy, refuses to see the other side of a disagreement, and disregards others’ views, beliefs, or opinions.
- They think rules don’t apply to them
Selfish people feel a sense of entitlement and frequently break rules because of carelessness, arrogance, or a lack of empathy, which prohibits them from seeing how their behavior affects others. They will perpetually do things their own way.
- They’re inconsiderate
A self-centered person will not consider other peoples’ needs or desires and will do everything on their own terms. They tend to push their preference in any activity regardless of whether you like them or not.
They always put their own goals ahead of other people. In some cases, they are not even satisfied with being the priority – they also want to put you down.
- They’re controlling
Self-centered people are rigid, controlling, and manipulative since they want things to go exactly their way. With a selfish person, all situations and relationships are about them. They don’t question themselves and if there is a problem, it is always because of someone else.
They believe that their way of handling a situation is the only way because their needs are being met, and that’s all that matters.
- They’re unable to receive or respond to feedback
Selfish people don’t accept constructive criticism and won’t take responsibility for their behavior. They think that you are devaluing their work and potential, which then makes them defensive.
- They criticize others behind their backs
Rather than reflecting on their own behavior, it is easier for selfish people to judge and criticize others since they believe they are better than other people.
- They find sharing and giving difficult
Caring, sharing, and giving are not easy for a self-centered person. And when they do those things, inevitably they want something in exchange.
- They do not show weakness or vulnerability
Selfish or narcissistic people believe that they are close to being perfect. A self-centered person is thus scared to show weakness since this might demonstrate internal insecurity. They do not realize that everyone has weaknesses, and this is what makes us human.
- They believe they deserve everything
Selfishness also brings a false sense of entitlement. Selfish people expect to be continuously rewarded even without doing anything since they believe they are perfect and deserve everything.
- They may plot and scheme against you
This may happen if a self-centered person happens to be a full-blown narcissist and may want to get something out of you for their own benefit.
What can you do if you find out you are in a relationship with a self-centered person? Here are some tips to make interactions a little more pleasant:
- Set boundaries
Setting boundaries with a self-centered person can help you interact on your own terms and prevent situations that drain your energy or monopolize your time.
- Find ways to cope if you cannot disengage
It is not always easy to disconnect from a self-centered person, who may be a family member or coworker. It would then be best to find ways to cope with their behavior, such as by reminding yourself to not take the things they say or do personally, changing the topic when they begin to monopolize the conversation, or by discussing your emotions with a friend or a therapist.
- Be realistic with your expectations
Do your best, but don’t expect selfish people to change their behavior. You can instead reframe your relationship or spend more time with other non-toxic friends.
- Tell them how you feel
A self-centered person may be truly unaware of their impact on people. Voice your concerns if you want to continue your relationship and avoid any resentment.
- Know when it’s time to cut them off
If a self-centered person refuses to change regardless of your attempts to help them, then it might be time to sever the relationship.
Everyone is self-centered, to a degree, but relationships are meant to be mutually beneficial and connective. A one-sided romantic relationship or friendship will ultimately take its toll on one’s mental health.
Still, selfish people usually don’t know that they are being selfish. Attempting to change their behavior is thus an act of compassion.
But if a self-centered person refuses to change their behavior, it is also important to practice self-care, prioritize your own needs, and focus on your own emotional and mental health.
Life is just too short for people to be limited by selfish people and tied down in toxic relationships. Recognize the selfish people around you, learn to deal with them, and protect yourself from being hurt or taken advantage of.
(Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion or diagnosis.)