Heart, Spirit & Mind

Selfishness often destroys relationships

Baby cryingWhat happens frequently is that the selfish partner dominates the relationship with their needs and wants and burdens their partner with loads of expectations. The selfish partner often deny the feelings of their partner and has trouble believing that their needs and wants may not be the same as their partner. As a result, they have trouble seeing that there is a problem, and that they could be the root of it. Problems intensify, when the suffering partner is unable to stand up against the selfish partner. Selfishness in relationships can cause significant pain for the partner.

Selfish partners treat their partners as objects, rather than as people. Any talks and arguments about the situation are refuted, invalidated or turned upside down hence leaving the suffering partner unhappy, lonely, unfulfilled and misunderstood. The suffering party retaliates in covert and passive aggressive ways. People that allow their own selfish desires to overtake their relationship are at greater risk because the relationship is filled with dishonesty, manipulation and controlling behaviors. Infidelity and divorce normally come as a result. Another side effect is that selfish parents often are overly permissive to their children, teaching their children to become selfish and disrespectful adults.

It can take some people a long time to determine that selfishness is a part of their relationships especially when their partner invalidates their point of view. Often times, the selfless person is made to believe they are being selfish simply because they have needs and wants too. Many conflicts are long standing before selfishness is identified as the root problem. Many couples won’t be able to identify this without relationship counseling. Counseling can help the couple discuss their problems and work on fixing them as a team, rather than as individuals. In it, both partners will be encouraged to help each other overcome selfishness and will learn how to quickly recognize selfishness and address it.

Sometimes ones partner is unable to recognize their selfishness and the role it plays in the demise of the relationship. They will often blame their partner and everything else, but not look at their own behavior and attitude.  Being told you are selfish brings up feelings of anger and resentment. Everyone has difficulty facing their problems and their weaknesses and it is particularly hard to hear it from someone you love.  One of the hardest things for the other partner to do is stand firm against their partner and avoid being controlled by the selfish one. Have courage and trust in yourself. Setting boundaries and setting consequences is the only way to stand firm against the behaviors of the selfish partner.  In turn you can motivate them to change and encourage them to become a better person. Don’t just point out their selfishness, but point out the good qualities to encourage them to be a better person and motivate them to change. Being polite and firm in your request will hopefully have an impact on your partner’s behaviors. Try to understand what motivates your partner to become selfish and look for ways to problem solve. Relationships counseling or help from a therapist can help your partner recognize their own selfishness as well as help you recognize your own. Therapist have the ability to teach the couple how to understand one another and help them make steps toward a positive outcome.

In some cases, people will not change their selfish ways without some type of major change in the relationships. A relationships in this state will need intensive work from both the couple and a relationship counselor.  It may already be too late to be saved.  Selfish individuals often like to be in control and they will have difficulty changing their behaviors. It will not be easy on the relationships and if change is only initiated by the threat of divorce or separation, it’s often a losing cause. Change shouldn’t be the consequence of a serious threat of ending the relationship and will often result in only temporary changes to quiet the dissatisfied partner.  These changes are rarely long-lasting. In those cases, partners are better off without people are who are unwilling to change their selfish desires and it is advisable to end the relationship as quickly as possible.

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