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10 Ways To Assess and React To a Selfish Individual

“Selfish people never cease to amaze me.” “Narcissistic people are unattractive, to say the least.” “Selfish people annoy me.”

These are statements I have heard in response to my community presentations on relationships. Quite frankly, I can agree with them all.

I see most of my clients on a weekly basis. The number one complaint they often present with is that someone they know (personally or professionally) is engaging in behavior that undermines them, overwhelms them, or undercuts their values. Discussion typically revolves around how to identify the behavioral patterns of people who display narcissistic and selfish behaviors. We also discuss ways to cope and redirect these people.

This article will discuss some of the tips I share with clients which are tips supported by research and my own experiences.

6 Comments to
10 Ways To Assess and React To a Selfish Individual

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  1. I note that the article mentions not to feel indebted or responsible to the selfish person. However, on my copy here there was nothing more than the title “Avoid Feeling Indebted or Responsible:” followed by the colon and then no text.

    Are there pointers detailing how this is done? Thank you in advance and thank you for the thought provoking article

    • Hi “The Oregaskan,”
      Thanks for pointing this out! Whoops! I totally let that one slide.
      Thanks also for the kind comment. Glad it was helpful!

  2. Hi Tamara,
    Once again, a great topic and article! I think selfishness is just plain ugly! I have witnessed it in a few family members, friends and complete strangers and while I do believe some people don’t MEAN to be selfish, I also am convinced that some get some sort of pleasure or “pay off” from it. I am thinking of my brother in this instance — as you have likely guessed from my previous comments lol.
    Ironically, he used to be just the opposite–even as a little kid he showed a caring and generous heart beyond his years. Over the past few years he has changed due to addiction and mental health issues. Today is one example. It was our mom’s 77th birthday. Mom is not the type to seek out gifts–even though we have always celebrated her birthday (as she has ours) with cards, a few gifts if at all financially possible (when my sister was between jobs a few years ago she couldn’t do anything beyond a card and a flower but that was fine with mom!) and often, we’ll get together and have a cake for the celebrated family member.
    My brother didn’t even call her today and oddly enough, neither did my 23 yr old niece/mom’s first grandchild and this is the 2nd year in a row my niece has done this and probably the 3rd for my brother. My mom actually felt bad enough to mention to my brother that it was her birthday and he said rather hostile “I don’t have any money.” I KNOW that is a lie because he just got paid, he has money put aside AND he’s not making mortgage payments. Mom said “that’s okay, all I wanted was a ‘happy birthday, I love you mom.'” He said sort of mockingly those exact words but then when she was needing to get off the phone and told him she would call him later, he hung up on her for no reason!
    I really am beginning to think that for SOME people, it’s a power and control issue as well as just desiring to be mean/inflict pain, a passive aggressive thing. Could that be the case do you think? It’s almost like he (and maybe my niece for some reason?) is saying “I know what you want/need and you can’t have it from me!”
    Being human, I imagine I have had a few selfish thoughts or actions but that truly is not who I am or what I am about, so when I see selfishness in this world –even in situations where someone has a great deal of wealth without being purposeful in using even a SMALL portion to bless others, it hurts my heart. I believe God wants us to be good stewards of what we have been given. Can you imagine what a different world this world be if EVERYONE tried to pay it forward?

    • Hi Lori,
      Thanks so much!
      I agree that some people seem to get something from being this way. However, I also believe that there are a lot of people in the world today who don’t have the ability to see themselves “clear” enough to see they are selfish. I think most people today fail at being considerate of other’s feelings.I don’t think this is something we talk enough about as a society. Our society is narcissistic and there are red flags popping up everywhere on a daily basis. And yes, I agree it is a power and control thing as well. I’m sorry to hear about this. This is terrible. I think perhaps this incident may far exceed selfishness and be narcissism.

      This would be a wonderful world if everyone were stewards. Agree! But sadly, this wasn’t the plan from the start, from a little garden called Eden.
      Take good care!

  3. Would love elaborations on number 8. Use opportunities to teach them? Can you give an example?

    • Hi Renee,
      Thanks for your comment.
      #8 was referring to modeling better behaviors. For example, if you are living or working with someone who fits the descriptions here you can certainly act in ways that display you are thinking about others and not just yourself. You can display, with your behaviors and your words while around that person, how they should interact with others, consider other’s feelings, and change their ways. I typically use myself as an example when dealing with a selfish individual. When I’m asked to help the selfish person or they are requesting something of me I will say something like “I wish I could help but I’m feeling really tired right now. I know we all feel like that sometimes.” You’re being a model.
      Take care


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