The Self-Absorbed Person

Self-absorbed or selfish people have narcissistic tendencies but are not full-blown narcs. They are nice people in general but they can also act out of character, especially when they are stressed, triggered or somehow threatened. My mom is a self-absorbed person and I tend to find myself surrounded by people who are much like her. Today at lunch, for instances, my mother had her music playing and the exact same song played at least five times in a row. Everyone was bothered and yet did nothing. I disconnected and stuffed myself with food because I had already been triggered earlier in the morning. My mom didn’t bother to turn the music off, and the other members of the family didn’t do anything as well. My brother left the table as soon as he finished his lunch, my dad enabled my mom, and my sister laughed about it.

This week I understood that the reason why I overeat is linked to feelings of lack of comfort which is your regular cup of coffee when dealing with self-absorbed people. In other words, I overeat when I feel there is a lack of comfort and emotional support. No, I’m not saying that my addiction is other people’s fault, but it is a byproduct of feeling uncared for by the people who I feel emotionally closer to and who happen to be self-absorbed. Self-absorbed people live from a self-centered place and they lack the capacity to effortlessly take others into consideration. They might not be aware of it, but they act as if the world revolves around them, and when it doesn’t they get upset, become vengeful, spiteful and mean. No matter what good you have done to them, it doesn’t really matter. You will always start from zero and feel like you own them the attention they crave. If you don’t comply, you’re worthless.

DemandingSeeks the easy way outPeople blaming
Changes one’s mind easilyDistorted sense of selfInability to take care of others
Acts irresponsiblySeeks constant attention and careNo tolerance for other people’s faults
Arrogant attitudes Focus on their own interestsDouble standards
The Psychology of the Self-Absorbed Person

I grew up walking on eggshells around my mom. It was impossible to know whether she would be happy or vindictive. One moment she would be fine, the other she would be aggressively closing drawers and making noise with pans because someone didn’t follow her script – usually my dad. Until today, my dad has to say the exact words she wants to hear or otherwise she will flip. She also doesn’t have friends because she never really has the initiative to know whether people are doing alright or not. She wants to be taken care of but not care for others. While we were growing up, she rarely had the adult attitude of solving problems. She never did something about noisy neighbours or her children’s obesity. She complains and yells at the neighbors from her comfy seat but she never solves the problem. And you can’t talk about her weaknesses. She’s always right and gets defensive upon feedback.

Thanks to her inability to show genuine care for others, her friends never sticked around. If this wasn’t bad enough, she often talks about others in a demeaning way. Other people are always wrong and faulty, but not her, and if you insinuate she did something wrong, she will snap and bite you. I don’t think my mother is aware of her childish behaviours and that’s why she has never changed. The whole family takes her behaviour as part of the norm and each member gets to play at least one of the 5 dysfunctional roles I already briefly described on the blog. There was a time in which I played the Hero and I tried to make my mom happier. No one can make another person happier though. We can share our love but we can’t fix people. Each one of us needs to choose the path toward healing and do the work by ourselves. We can be there for others, but we can’t do their work, and we can’t certainly put ourselves at risk while trying to rescue others.

I have a lot of inner work to do at the moment. I have been struggling more intensively with food addiction lately and since I now know more about my main trigger I must have a good talk with my inner child and find a solution as an adult. My main goal now is to be more aware of my own limitations and seek healing. Do I mean we should throw self-absorbed people away? No. I can’t throw my mom away, can I? I don’t think that’s a solution. I must keep trying to accept and lover her. I think I ought to focus more on what I need to do for myself though, instead of running after other people’s problems. That has been my favourite main distraction – to look after other people so that I don’t have the energy to face my own problems. I’m not getting any younger though – or healthier -, so I want to break the cycle and be a healthier person. I’m tired of being in this loop and I’m tired of being afflicted by these soul consuming feelings. I want to solve my problems and heal.

Personal Development Exercise

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Carl Gustav Jung

I deeply believe that what bothers us in others is part of our own shadow. So a good self-development exercise is to ask ourselves the following: in which situations am I self-absorbed? I tend to be self-absorbed when discussing ideas and perspectives. If I have a hunch that what the other person is saying is not accurate, I will raise my sword and make my point prevail. This doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not able to agree with another or even give way to their take on reality. And if I take a good look at the table, I’ve engaged in all the listed behaviours at some point in life. The quest is to be aware of this and be committed to improve oneself on a regular basis. Personal development and personal growth are not cool trends, they must be part of your lifestyle, if your intention is to evolve as a human being. If not, that’s ok. No point in seeking answers or reading and writing blogs such as this.

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