I discovered a self-absorbed person in my space recently and so after studying him and learning to navigate my way both around and through him, I got the inspiration to write this piece. Soo… uuumh yaah! Let’s gossip.
It is a natural instinct of we human beings to think of ourselves first, we have to agree. Infact it is a nature thing, all across board, for survival’s sake in this crazy and cruel world. But inspite of that, even animals have some level of regard for their fellow members of their species. Now, shouldn’t we as humans, having been accorded with the one thing that animals do not have, Empathy, be in a better position to live in greater harmony? Do small and even big selfless acts for each other? NOTE: Selfless.
Put other people’s feelings and emotions into consideration when we say or do something for ourselves, people that might be on the recieving end of that ripple effect? Human beings, as a species have evolved over the course of existence into very social creatures and it is crucial for each one of us to exist in a social set-up. This gives us some level of security and some form of moral support from that system. Living alone in isolation may erode our being and expose us to the threats of our survival. Perhaps this explains the recent surge in mental health numbers in this digital age of: Social media, working from home, online shopping and ordering practically everything from the comfort of our spaces, mobile banking, online dating and so on thus very little human connection.
To begin with, let me first put into context that there is absolutely nothing wrong with self interests. We all need to survive and thrive and so it is important that we pull to ourselves resources and people that are crucial to our survival. Often, “gods and godesses of self-esteem” will tell you powerfull ego inflating quotes like,‘You Come First.’
I have no problem with you looking out for yourself and your own best interests and needs first. You can never give from an empty cup. True. The problem with such a philosophy is that it ends up creating the basis for a purely capitalistic society or what we call The Man Eat Man Society. Like what I see in my country, right from the government and the leaders all the way down to the shoe cobbler. A rotten society living under a social conditioning of greed and opportunism inherited from its colonizers which is tearing down our economy and derailing our potential plus corrupting our value system and devouring the humanity in us.
Somebody says, “When a man gets wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package.”
Another writer says:
“It is this balancing which is important. It is like blood pressure. Too high; we die. Too low; we die. Same with body temperature, weight and a thousand other balancing acts of nature. If we have too little self interests, we don’t survive as individuals, and if we have too much self interests we don’t survive as a species.”
If someone chooses themselves, acts in their own best interests, it is usually not enough to call them Self-Absorbed. Doing so without regard for the needs, feelings and the rights of others is what makes it a problem. You can have a voice without shutting down the voices of other people. You know what’s even better and more human? You can have a voice plus a voice that encourages other people to voice out theirs also. Normal non self-seeking people are able to create a safe space for everyone around them.
No one likes a self-absorbed person. Atleast most people that I know don’t. Self absorbed people potray aspects of narcissism and getting close to such people can wreck your self esteem and reduce you. Realizing a few ‘what are the red flags?’ can make you more prepared for dealing with them.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritties of those:
Have you ever sat with someone for a moment or even been in a relationship or friendship with someone and everytime you guys have a conversation, feels like it always revolves around them? Anytime you try to tell your perspective of things, how you view the world, your life story or just a random story about you, little obsessions and guilty pleasures that excite you, hobbies that are important to you, the kind of TV shows you like to watch and taste of music, and anything else you and would shift the focus to you, they are either absent-minded, they rudely interrupt, negatively criticize or somehow always take control of the conversation and twist it round back to them? And you are left there in your thoughts like, ‘Wow! This guy is so unpleasant’?
Have you ever been around someone and you felt like just shouting to them,“Hello! You are sucking the air in the room man. You are suffocating us”? But you probably decided to be a good human and let them fill y’all with bad vibes in y’all systems. I swear my daring crazy ass wouldn’t take the chill pill in such a situation. Those quoted words are exactly what I would say to them and win the moment for everyone to be comfortable in that space.
I am talking about that someone who is just too boastful, boisterous and/or overbearing. Yes, the person who is always praising themselves and shows up great in every story they tell and expect you to be a good servant and be supportive in backing up their self-praise by praising them some more. They always feel like the world is watching and admiring them so they work themselves out to put on a show. Normal humans have weaknesses and shortcomings and aren’t ashamed to admit them.
The behaviour of a self absorbed individual is all about them. It is so deeply entrenched in their mindset that even something they do or say on impulse is selfishly self-serving. The only time a self absorbed individual will act in someone else’s interests is when it is their own best interests in the long run. In simple language: They buy you with good deeds. Like when politicians pay bills and help people infront of everyone as it serves their political image and future ambitions. You know that person who helped you a while back then later at some point said to you, “you forgot I helped you.” kggvsysginsgyondjqsins. Dude! What? That was uncalled for. You probably didn’t even knowingly trigger it. Yeah, it was a favour strategized to serve them in the long run. In real sense, they expected you to understand you are enslaved.
They lack empathy. Empathy is simply the natural awareness of the needs and feelings of other people and considering them like they were your own. It is like an emotional mirror. Empathy is like a nature voice inside each of us that calls out to us to mind our fellow humans and the rest of creation. It varies in intensity in each of us- as you know empaths and HSPs are more sensitive to the pains and joys of the world than other people. Narcissist are too pre-occupied with themselves to hear this voice of nature. Their display of sympathy or compassion is usually conditional. It is difficult for them to understand the depth of true empathy or what this concept really means. Of course I wouldn’t expect someone to understand if they are more pre-occupied with being understood.
They are imposing in the sense that they want to dominate in any relationship that they are in. In their relationships(and when I talk of relationships I mean all social connections like friendships) they tend to try to posses and consume others. They enjoy being in command: Giving orders and bossing other people. This kind of person is only okay in a relationship with you if you are always doing things their way or how and what exactly they tell you to do. They don’t care about you, they see relationships as a tool for getting what they want and making themselves the centre of attention. Don’t assume that they are overly concerned with the friendship that they have with you. You are only there because you are a bridge to something today or someday.
Another not-so-obvious thing that I put across when I started by posing introspective questions a few paragraphs up is that they hide their insecurities behind a cloak of success and authority. Jackpot! These people always look good in how they potray themselves. Some thing are true, others exerggeration. Yes, I know y’all have been told to not show your weaknesses but personally, scars inspire me more than shiny silver trophies. They consistently hide who they are. They will present the best and most exciting parts of their personality to you but I hope after this piece, you will be able to call them out or simply keep quiet and be the good human you’ve always been, but know how to deal with them by drawing very thick boundaries.
As they are so self-absorbed, they do not want you to see the hidden elements that make them feel secretely insecure.
Behind every Egomaniac, there is an empty space and a voice constantly saying, ‘you are not good enough.’ They know they are not complete, they feel empty and insecure. They use people to fill the gaps they have in their worlds. They have a history of exploiting others in relationships and its very usual that they are prone to anger, maybe even including violence.
They think they are superior to others or they have some talents and abilities that set them apart and make them more special than others. They are so consumed by their own world and self-image that it’s near impossible for others to measure up to their standard. As a result, I could say they live at the top of the mountain and am sure it does get lonely up there. The Superiority Complex is so deeply entrenched in them that most commonly leads them to devaluing others in their striving to dominate.
They think they are great and the world out there is wrong. With this, it may be extremely harder for them, than normal non self-absorbed people, to self-heal. This is because if they’ve been hurt, they find comfort in rebuking the world than holding up the mirror towards themselves if there is a pattern. The problem always is either you or someone else, it’s never them. Normal self-loving humans are aware of both their strengths and weaknesses. We all have them both. We just maximize on and play to our strengths and work on our weaknesses to make sure they don’t slow or bring us down or worse still, sabotage our relationships with people around us.
Finally, they are extremely opinionated. Whoa! For a moment I almost tangled myself in on this one. This because I am very opinionated myself on topics and fields that interest me like socio-psychological trends and patterns, entertainment and showbiz, fashion and style, mental health, entrepreneurship and a little bit of politics. But, if I wasn’t opinionated then I wouldn’t be a writer and a lover of banter and debates in real life. I love winning the damn debates by the way, haha! Anyway, I always read and do my research on most of these things just to make sure my personal opinions sit well with the truth. Other times I have strong divergent views, but I call that thinking out of the box.
In the case of self-absorbed people, it is always about them and their opinions. It is always their own point of view, self-image, desires and prefferences and it can never come down to a conversation that leads to a consensus.
If you’ve felt like you know these signs from somewhere, you may be dealing with a self-absorbed person. Or, you may be one yourself.
Social set-up commentators and thinkers have termed our two generations as one very entitled and narcissistic one. When I talk about our generations, I’m reffering to we The Millennials and The Gen Zs. This is kind of true and it means that if you are sorrounded by youngins then alot of people around you are likely to be self-centered and nagging. I’m not a big fan of stereotyping but… This is the most narcissistic generation but there’s hope for them.
And if you do realize that you are one, it’s never too late to change. Like I’ve been explaining, being big on being self-absorbed is usually a matter of deep-seated low self-esteem and personal fears(probably an aftermath of being brought up by a self-absorbed parent, an absentee parent or lack of one) that makes you obsessed with pushing yourself down people’s throats – an act of overcompensation. That is why you get offended when people call out your bluffs dressed as fake kindness. Also, you may have found yourself once in a while getting offended or aggressive when people either not praising you like you are used to or would want to or when they prick your ego and call you from the top of that pedestal.
No human is bigger or better than any other. We are all just a bunch of clueless idiots travelling while trying to do good and make sense of this world and our individual lives/purpose inside this arena of a chess game between God and Satan.
You can work on your mindset and start to improve your relationship with yourself and others. And like I have always reiterated; Anything you are trying to get past begins with Acceptance. Acceptance of your own share of the blame in getting to it and advancing it this far.
No one is a complete lost cause. Life is not linear, we can always learn, unlearn and re-learn. Be as ruthless with correcting yourself as you often are with blaming and criticizing other people. After it sinks, now you can accord yourself with the compassion of self-healing that you now can freely give to the world expecting nothing in return, even gratification and/or credit neither in the short-term nor in the long-term.
Anywho. No human is perfect. You just need to sorround yourself with people who are humble enough to admit to their mistakes, failures and shortcomings plus are swift to re-invent themselves for the better. People who do not view accountability as slavery.
A cool book you might want to read; Know Thyself – The Science of Self-Awareness by Stephen M. Fleming.
That’s quite a catchy title. I haven’t landed my fingers on it yet but I read a few reviews on it and it sure is a must read for me.