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How to Stop Selfish People from Hurting You

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How can you recognize a selfish friend or partner, and how do you stop them from affecting your life? Find out how to deal with selfish people here. By Elizabeth Arthur

selfish people

Selfish people are always lovable, nice and really sweet.

It’s true, they really are.

For all you know, you may be in love with a selfish person right now, or perhaps you have a best friend who’s selfish.

Unfortunately for you, the traits of a selfish person aren’t easy to notice, because they cover their darker side so well.

But as the relationship starts to grow, you’d start to feel emotionally weak around this person.

And before you know it, they could suck the happiness out of you, and all you can do is watch helplessly.

[Read: 15 subtle signs of a controlling boyfriend]

How to deal with selfish people

If you’re traumatized by a selfish person in your own life, don’t hate yourself for it.

It’s not your fault that you didn’t see the signs.

No one really realizes that a partner or a friend is selfish at the beginning of the relationship.

You’d only see the signs when it’s too late, and there’s little you can do to change their behavior after that.

What makes a person selfish?

A selfish person is one who cares only for their own pleasures, even if it causes pain to someone else. They have no consideration for anyone else, and worry only about their own comfort. Selfish people are well mannered and nice to everyone, but they’re nice only as long as they get something more back in return from the people around them. [Read: 10 signs your partner is only using you]

The irony of it all is that a selfish person wouldn’t even know they’re being selfish. They’d just assume they’re nice people who care about their own happiness more than anything else. But in their pursuit of their own happiness, they carelessly and intentionally walk all over the shattered hearts of any loving person around them.

One of the easiest ways to recognize a selfish partner or a friend is their trait of always extracting more from you, and yet, they never give anything back to you in equal measures.

Selfish people aren’t selfish with everyone

Selfish people subconsciously pick and choose the people they would want to use and trample on. They don’t go looking for people to hurt. But just like a wild animal’s inner instincts, if they come face to face with a caring and emotional person that they see as prey, they use them and abuse them until the relationship eventually falls apart or they find someone better to prey on.

If you come across as intimidating or emotionally closed off to a selfish person, they’d never ever dream of using you. Instead, they’d suck up to you and try to win your affection.

Selfish people are people pleasers, and appear needy and vulnerable to begin with. They’d pamper you, care for you and love you until you drop your guard down and welcome them into your life and give them your whole heart. And once they have their hooks dug deep in your heart is when you’d start to notice a difference in their behavior. [Read: 10 types of toxic friends you need to avoid in your life]

The mind of selfish people

A relationship is an exchange of emotions. In every successful relationship, both partners give and take from each other in equal measures without keeping count. And everything’s just perfect.

But when one partner stops giving back to the relationship, the relationship starts to fail.

When you’re in a relationship with a selfish person, they would continue to extract your love and your affections. But they’d stop giving any love or affection back in return which would leave you feeling weak, unappreciated and miserable. [Read: 12 signs you're walking on eggshells in your love life]

So why did you fall prey to this selfish person?

In a perfectly happy relationship between friends or lovers, both the involved people consider each other as equals. But when a selfish partner or friend starts to believe that they’re more important than the other partner in the relationship, they’d convince themselves that their partner needs them more than they need their partner.

It is very important that you understand this fundamental idea, because this is the foundation of all selfishness. If your friend or lover believes they don’t really need you but you need them a lot, that’s when they expect you to do all the giving, while they extract everything you can give.

A selfish person will behave selfishly around you only when they truly believe that you need them more.

Selfish people are skilled manipulators by instinct. If you’re being used by a selfish friend who sees you as an emotionally weak target, you may even find yourself confused and lost. You may wonder why you’re the only one feeling miserable around this selfish person while everyone else thinks so highly of them. But that’s only because you lovingly handed over the strings to control you like a puppet to them. [Read: How self respect affects you and your relationship with others]

Dealing with the hurt and the pain

When you’re in a relationship with a selfish person, no matter what you do, they’d constantly make you feel like you aren’t giving enough back to them. Even the love you have for this person would feel one sided and painful, because none of your feelings would be reciprocated.

A relationship with a selfish person would make you feel like you’re living through a heartbreak every day. No matter what you do, they’d still pick flaws with you or overlook your nice side. And even your nicest friendly or romantic gestures would be treated as ordinary and nothing spectacular.

And while you try to please them by bending over backwards, their expectations from you would constantly increase all the time. Their lack of appreciation for the things you do for them too, would be apparent. And before you know it, you’d be hurt all the time and craving for the smallest sign of appreciation from this selfish person just to feel noticed or feel like you’re doing something right. [Read: The right way to let go of a relationship that's bad for you]

10 signs to recognize a selfish person

It doesn’t matter if you’re dating a selfish person or best friends with one. The signs to recognize a selfish person are almost always the same. Use these 10 signs and ask yourself if that special someone is nothing but a selfish and bad person.

#1 A selfish person is excessively friendly and will go out of their way to be nice to you, though only at the beginning of the relationship.

#2 A selfish friend or partner always asks for favors, big or small.

#3 They always squirm out of helping you when you need their help.

#4 You can sense a selfish person’s fakeness when they talk to others. They try to appear very friendly and sweet to everyone, even if you know that they hate the person.

#5 They use others all the time. And they share a laugh with you and tell you how they used someone else to get something done.

#6 Selfish people are people pleasers. But once you get to know them well, they start to show their lazy and aloof side.

#7 If you meet someone who’s a kissass who’s always eager to please you with compliments or fake smiles, stay away from them. A truthful person may seem harsh, but they say things the way they see it. Excessively friendly people almost always have ulterior motives that are selfish.

#8 A selfish friend or lover never commits to anything unless they can get some benefit or favor out of it. They would never do anything selflessly for your benefit.

#9 A selfish person always has a carefree attitude and takes nothing seriously. Even when you talk about how hurt you feel, they make you feel stupid for making a big deal out of nothing.

#10 Selfish people are liars and manipulators. They never want to apologize because they think you’re beneath them. Instead, they resort to lies. [Read: 15 types of toxic relationships to watch out for]

5 steps to stop a selfish person from hurting you

A selfish person can hurt you a lot and leave you on the floor, feeling miserable and wretched. But there are ways to regain your strength and stop a selfish person from hurting you. Read these 5 steps and use them to stop a selfish person from hurting you.

#1 Realization. This is the hardest step, and as much as this friend or lover means to you, you need to ask yourself if you’re being used in the relationship. If you feel like you’re doing all the giving while the other person only takes, big chances are, you’re being used in the relationship. Learn to see the signs and more importantly, learn to accept it when you think you’re being used.

#2 Detachment. If you’re not happy in a relationship, you’d definitely feel miserable all the time. It’s not easy to break away from a selfish person, especially when they mean so much to you. Confronting or breaking away won’t help you, because this selfish person may not care whether you exist and that would hurt you more.

Instead, learn to detach yourself slowly, a little more with each passing day. As you start the detachment step, you’d be more aware and you’d see this person’s selfish side even more clearly. And that’ll give you the strength to move away soon. [Read: The 80 20 rule in relationships and your love life]

#3 Retain your personality. Don’t change overnight. If you change overnight, your selfish mate may walk away from you the next morning and that would hurt you more and leave you feeling weaker.

On the other hand, this selfish person may realize that you’re starting to stand up for yourself and in the fear of losing you, they may start to show more affection to you just to change you back to the meek old self. Don’t fall for that ploy. Pretend like you’re still the same person, but within yourself, start the change to become a stronger you.

#4 Replicate their behavior. When you feel like you have the strength to stand up for yourself and face the situation, let your selfish lover or friend see themselves in you. Replicate their behavior, and start behaving just like they do. Try to use them or be fake, just like this selfish person. It’s time they get a taste of their own medicine.

By doing this, it would help you in two ways. It will help you get back at this selfish person. And at the same time, it will help you see for yourself how you were being manipulated by this person.

#5 Drift away. Selfish people never change. They just look for someone to use, and quite frankly, they can’t help it themselves. So if you’re in a relationship with a selfish someone, don’t try to change them. It will never work. Get back at them by behaving just like how they would behave with you, and whenever you feel like you’ve got your vengeance and have the strength to move, walk away for good.

[Read: When is it time to end a bad friendship?]

You can’t build a relationship with selfish people who don’t have the ability to love you or care for you ever. So really, why bother?


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Have your say!
  • D
    November 15, 2012 | Permalink |

    their are two types of people.
    givers and takers.
    in order for a relationship to work you have to have a balance between the two

    two takers will never work for obvious reasons

    two givers will work but only for so long until

    a giver is a person that likes to please people, and will go out of their way to do so, givers

    how ever want appreciation in return, and two givers wont work because they will fight for

    appreciation , i know it sounds ridiculous but its true.

    the reason why a giver and a taker work so well, is because they compliment each others

    personalities. one will be appreciated, the other will be content,

    the fact is that there are more takers in the world then their are givers, identify who who are

    and be honest with what you want, all humans are selfish in the end

  • billy sulllivan
    February 28, 2013 | Permalink |

    Don’t try and get even, that only turn you onto a selffish path. I agree with slowly remove/detach yourself, you’ll feel better about yourself ever second you get a foot further. Once you know the person is selfish, stop letting them talk down to you in a demeaning way by just walking away. If you’r living with someone just move out, break your lease and move out, a month extra in a toxic relationship will only add more pain to your life. It’s hard when your being used, but it feels somuch better when you just move on. I don’t agree with the comment from nov 15, sound like this guy has rationalized his behavour, selfish poeple are experts at not being held responsible for thier actions. Move on and don’t change the world needs you.

  • Spider Plant
    May 19, 2013 | Permalink |

    Oh crab, this article describes my grandmother.

    And It looks like I might be a selfish person. :(

  • swati
    May 23, 2013 | Permalink |

    hi i just wanted to discuss with u why friends r so selfish

  • May 27, 2013 | Permalink |

    Hello, Thank you so much for this article. I just realized that I have been the exact architype of a selfish person my entire life. Seriously. It is time to make a change. It will take lots of time. But I am going to do it. I will send you an update. Thank you endlessly. I appreciate this so much.

  • May 28, 2013 | Permalink |

    WOW!!! I am just blown away thou I do not agree with retiliation. Standing up for yourself and moving on is the only way to free yourself from this type of behavior. If you are not the selfish type you can”t even began to understand just how sick It trully is. Now forgive yourself, never stop praying and thank GOD the battle is over.

  • Caves
    June 26, 2013 | Permalink |

    This is the best article I’ve ever read, I have been a victim of selfish people again and again, I am recently half way through the 3rd stage of this recommendation without even knowing there was such an article, the predator in this case is someone who is everything this article describes, nice, charming and likeable, I knew there were traits of selfishness, I could feel and see them but I was just enjoying the attention because I didn’t want it to end, but now its obvious it was all a ploy, because now I found out I was abandoned because I wasn’t needed immediately till in some months time, I knew it was going to happen but I was too stupid not to accept it fully, now the time is coming when I would be needed again and the predator has shown up but i’m trying to keep away, reading this article has just given me the best next step which is 4 and 5. Thanks a lot.

  • Kelly
    July 21, 2013 | Permalink |

    This describes my husband of 20 yrs, it’s not worth trying to negotiate with a truly selfish person. I have wasted my youth with this person who never appreciates anything has an entitlement attitude and is emotionally dead. The other day my car broke down in a heatwave. With my 2yr old grandson in the car and he asked what I wanted him to do about it when I called him. It hit me: a man who loves you would be concerned about your safety and if I’m going to be stranded on the road with no support while married, I can do the same damn thing alone with the same results!

  • Joanna
    August 14, 2013 | Permalink |

    Yep, this describes “him” to a tee. Very charming and flattering in the beginning. Acted the same way around my parents, yet when they are gone he trash talks them. Complains about my parents and how they are ruining our relationship (they are 2000 miles away). I quit my job to care for his son for 2 months, the day my stepson leaves guess what, he asked me to “get the heck out” of the house that I helped pay for.
    He constantly used my overseas tour of duty as an excuse for his bad behavior. Apparently it was so hard being by himself and having women constantly throwing themselves at him, but he resisted them all and so now I owe him EVERYTHING.

  • Hanna
    September 11, 2013 | Permalink |

    I don’t exactly agree on retaliation. Being a victim of a selfish friend for over many years has caused me to become lost. Funny thing is she describes me to other people she knows being lost as well and not knowing she is the cause of it. With all the anger and frustration built up inside, I wouldn’t seek retaliation. I believe not letting her know how she is behaving would cause her continue to perpetuate her selfishness and ultimately she would build a name for herself. She will be her worst enemy.

  • Sam
    September 13, 2013 | Permalink |

    Wow,this is incredible,my best friend to a tee,she tells me that I am too sensitive because I am not selfish enough,and thats why my feelings get hurt easily,I couldn’t believe when she told me how to think like her in order not to get hurt,She went on to tell me it is all about Ego,and how you have to look after number one,Choices and Egos,I called her twice and she didn’t answer the phone both times,now her way of thinking was its her choice whether to answer or not,she chose not to so its ok,she made the right choice for herself,in the meantime I was wondering why she wasn’t answering and she said that it was my ego being bruised because she wasn’t answering therefore I was sensitive and got hurt by it,I was totally confused then she went on to say that if she had called me and I chose not to answer the phone that she wouldn’t be offended one bit,cause she’d think that I would want to be left alone,so be it,and why would she allow my choice to bruise her ego,.I was blown away by all this,so I said what if it was a life or death emergency and someone died because your choice was not to answer the phone,wouldn’t that be your fault that person died,she had no answer for that,but I can’t believe these people think totally the opposite of a non selfish person,wow,I need to move away from this person now,I cannot deal with this type of behaviour,I am glad I saw this article,you have put it into perspective for me,and for that I thank you.

  • not so selfish guy
    September 17, 2013 | Permalink |

    I dont know but this article looks like someones been watching
    all the things from somewhere..
    This describes My best friend .. And yes letting her go isnt gonna be that easy..
    The best thing I can do is.. Live my life.. And show her how far and awesome I can be even without her..
    And abt the 4th point thr.. The one who published this deserves an award
    It IS BLOODY DAMN TRUE.. !!!

  • Realizing the truth..
    September 24, 2013 | Permalink |

    This article describes the man i have been seeing for years.. I have been having trouble describing how he has been ..Lately the more I tried to be kind and loving to him.The more he pulled away.. It was confusing.. Because its what he said he wanted.. Yet his reaction has been to be cool and aloof.. Almost rejecting of it..
    When i offer up the breaking up solution..He gets mad.. Says I am wrong.. He is working hard and has no time.. But its more about the secrets and the attitude.. He has a nasty attitude when ever the suggestion that I am alone and his erratic time schedule is making me miserable.. Honesty and some respect would be a solution, putting me into the decision making equation.. But he decides when and where and how much time we will spend together..NOt me.. But all he thinks he needs to say is he is “working” and the hours and hours he is away “working” should be no problem for me. I see him a couple hours a night ..And thats it..And t hat should suffice.. He gets mad if I want even 2 more minutes than he has aloted me.
    I never see what he makes.. He doesn’t allow me access to what is his.
    Breaking up makes him angry.. Yet what does he even want ??
    It feels like just a nice place to sleep when he is done living his life. And a woman that NEVER and I mean never thinks of herself as an equal. Worthy of being treated like anything more than a pet.
    This is a side of him I saw a little of here and there. But lately he has no excuse.Other than the ones he makes up.. Because hIs kids are grown now.. And so now its “work” keeping him away 18 hours out of every 24.Sometimes more.
    But breaking up? he claims he loves me..
    Its been confusing.. That this guy who does’t act like he loves me at all. Claims he does..
    After all these years.. I have lost he ability to judge.. I just feel confused by his total lack of concern and compassion.
    So I find here that selfishness is a lot like being a narcissist ..
    This is how he is.. Totally self absorbed and arrogant and nasty at the suggestion that he is not giving enough of himself..~!
    You would think he was a rock star..Instead of a old kind of homely man. who should be glad any woman would want him.
    well..
    So I am breaking up with him.. For good..
    I don’ think I will feel so bad about it either..

  • Realizing the truth..
    September 24, 2013 | Permalink |

    When I said he is a old and kind of homely man..I am serious..
    I think that needs to be mentioned to..
    Sometimes.. possibly many times. People think homely people would be more humble, kinder and less likely to think of themselves as “all that”..
    But the truth is.. A lot of people have ego’s that don’t see that they are not so attractive..
    The kindness people feel , keeps them from treating homely people bad..Thinking it would be cruel to hurt them ..
    Well.. Trust me.. Some homely people think they are rock stars.. And are just as arrogant, if not more than someone who is actually good looking..
    Being kind to them, might actually feed the beast ~!
    Its what is inside that matters. Cliche’ But totally true..
    Homely people can be just as self indulgent and arrogant as any beauty queens out there..
    And in fact might even be worse to some degree.. Wanting to drag the good looking ones down to size. (so to speak) trying to level the playing field..
    Watch out .. I am with a really homely guy and he fancies himself a rock star~!!

  • jk
    September 27, 2013 | Permalink |

    I wish “the selfish person” was my lover or a friend. It’s my mother in-law. And make the matter worse, I live with her. Before I read your article, I thought, “I never met such a selfish person in my life!” But obviously, there are plenty out there…. It kind of made me feel better.
    You are right! every thing you pointed out! I MEAN EVERYTHING YOU WROTE! I tried to change her, I tried to explain to her how much I care, tried and tried everything. I really think she doesn’t give a shit if I am exist in her site or not. Though I take care of her. See how bad the situation looks?

  • User5
    October 8, 2013 | Permalink |

    OMG, seriously, like *every* single point you made is the very person I’m living with , a room mate / “friend”. Literally, he gets upset when I don’t do for him. He’s incredibly lazy, and will use me *any* chance he gets. I’m not even sure if he is aware, but I know he is because of the manipulation he has to go through to pull some of this off. My other friends, he treats 100 percent different, he almost respects them and would never ask for them to do certain things. Literally *today* I have to pick him up for work, it took me 3 months to convince him I couldn’t take him anymore *to work* and he would have to take the bus. Finally we settled on I will just pick him up. You seriously think someone would pick me up every day? Heck I wouldn’t even want to ask, I have a bit more pride( good or bad). He eats all my food, even my favorite stuff in which he knows is my favorite. If we goto get food somewhere at a restaurant it’s always me paying , he never brings money, literally.

    Just recently, he’s been working more and more, bought some car or something, (I still have to pick him up, because he’s to cheap to have the taillights fixed) + free gas, never gave even 1 dime for gas.

    Now mind you, I’m a pretty well paid Software Engineer, he works at a warehouse, I always felt bad for him, but now I look at it different, he’s worked for years and years to just use me.

    Oh and did I mention he’s never gave one dime for rent?

    I’m going to fix this.

  • Yogagurl
    October 31, 2013 | Permalink |

    I believe I just had a hurtful experience with a selfish lover. We both felt a strong attraction…he came onto me first with feelings of “connected”, etc. He was my type…artistic and sensitive. I broke the rules to be with him and we became lovers (his request). In being lovers, I mistakenly assumed that would mean some kindness, some attentiveness to feelings, perhaps sharing of food? The guy made a very low income, I accepted him and understood that. I would go over there, look very good for him, give him affection and openness and later, I find out, he can’t even share a tiny bit of food with me or give me any emotional support. He confirmed with me later it was “sexual relationship only”. My heart dropped. I asked for a bit more…some attention to my feelings. I brought up my feelings one morning in a calm way and he calmly said “this is too much work”. Five minutes of talking about my feelings, after giving him nights of affection and tenderness….it was “too much work”. I brought this up to him and he got irritated “we are not bf and gf”!!! I told him “I get that, but can I get some tenderness”? No. I was asking too much. Wow, such a shock to the system. I can’t believe it.

  • Michele
    November 7, 2013 | Permalink |

    Too bad I am a selfish person magnet. I’ve recently said to myself “no more”. They will have to find their own way. I actually agree with the retaliation. They need to see how it feels to be the recipient of such selfish behavior. Just once or twice. No, you don’t have to stoop to their levels, but they will be so thrown off and will not understand why you are not “being yourself” b/c you are usually so nice and let them wipe their feet on you. Being that they are selfish, they will not change. It’s just their character and it would be VERY hard for them to change especially if they are older. After giving them “a taste of their own medicine”, leave them right there, dumbfounded. Walk away and carry on and live…without the mess. I have moved on…negative and selfish people have been let go….slowly but surely gone.

  • D
    November 11, 2013 | Permalink |

    Wow I am blown away you just described my bf who I have now been dating for 4 years and allowed myself to have to children by him. Where was this article 4 years ago… everything you have described is true especially the part where the selfish person disguise their selfish behavior and once u let them in your heart you are doomed. The worst part is he used to be selfish with me but now is not only towards me but also towards our kids especially our 2 year old who he only wants to take to the park when i go so that i can play with him and watch our 2 month old while he plays basketball is sad im going to leave him for good im 24 and im not going to waste my youth on him or let him treat our kids that way i will.protect them from his selfishness so that they wont have to go through what i been going through.for the last 4 years. I completely lost who i am and my happiness in this relashionship I dont want my kids to get hurt like me I pray that God will be with me and my children during this change my son love his father a lot i feel so bad and guilty bt i know is for the best in the end so gio when you read this you will know that is over for good i love you but Ash and Nima comes first I know you will never understand bt i see you for who you really are and we are two very different people. It has never worked and it never will maybe one day you will change i pray you do. Because your kids are always going to need you for the rest of their lives. Im gonna be the best mother i can but unfortunately i cant be a dad.so I pray that the Lord changes your heart one sweet day. I will always be your friend because after all you are the father of my children and I respect that. God bless.

  • giovanni
    November 14, 2013 | Permalink |

    Omg the best article I have ever read in my life I’ve been through the exact same thing this article describe what a selfish person is WOW I’m am really amazed I change my whole being I was a very nice n kind hearted person I easily forgave never like arguing i never judge the way how a person looks I’ve always smile n enjoy being myself I never said no if the person wanted to travel or eat out ect..never liked asking for money or swearing to god when ever I had money in my pocket n if I se someone homeless ill give cuz ill ask myself what I’m ma do it buy food I have food in the house now I’m the opposite I don’t give a hoot of what happen to ppl everybody is a lier I d ont trust no on I’m broke down n I can’t get back up I have an attitude like no other I just don’t care nomore

  • Krystian
    November 14, 2013 | Permalink |

    This article has been a help. It took me a year, a move to another state and thousands of dollars spent on him to realize what kind of a person he is. We lived two houses from each other and he would only come around when he needed something or he was bored. He knew what things to say and buttons to push to get me to give in because he knew him and his family were the only people I knew in town and loved spending time together. He never held down a job and his family lived on disability (which nothing is wrong with). He even got me to pay for all five of them at a resturant when the bill came. I am at fault here too because I let that behavior continue because I wasn’t strong enough. The end came when I had a serious accident and had to go to the ER and had to find a ride on my own and him stating that he was “to busy”. I moved back to my hometown and it still takes time, but I am slowly riding myself of everything that reminds me of him and I promised myself to never let someone do me that way again.

  • Riz
    November 17, 2013 | Permalink |

    Oh iam Dick And tired of mybf. We santés to get marries but his fâcher isagreed 1,5 yearling ago, se ring him potential unknown appropriante match And instead of défendent us hé just sais That we where not of éther à more And o me bat hé will talkies to thème later. So many lies, the obéir day hé was explaining to his rude sister how hé d’identifier want her to be like me. I had à surgery today And hé didnt think to spoil me he didnt bye anything hé gavé me one smashed potato for the entire day And cookies à Nice dinner to his sister who was mad at him.. In the beginning ii thought That it was bécaus hé never expérienced à GF before. I have to stop making a fool of myself afternoon 3 years of his usuel béhavior. Good luck to theothers. Iam on m’y détachement path

  • Jamie B
    November 23, 2013 | Permalink |

    I am 6 months pregnant and have had an easy pregnancy except my boyfriend has not been supportive or helpful. If I ask for his help, Im nagging him. He comes home in what seems to be a good mood turns bad quickly. He goes straight to his room and plays video games (which he never played in the last 2 years we have been together). Ive always had better connections and made more money. Now that hes doing great, I get the feeling that hes better than me. I have to remind him SEVERAL times that the bills are due and I need money. He doesn’t even like getting groceries unless its what he wants. He makes plans with his friends to go out to eat when he should be asking me about dinner plans. Im the one carrying his child. Hes not concerned on whether or not Im fed. It became apparent to me that he is VERY selfish and I am in an unhealthy relationship for me and my baby. Im just playing along at this point so I don’t have to move to another state where my parents live and change doctors. After I have the baby, Im returning back to work from maternity leave and starting my life without him. He will be made to contribute financially but that’s it. Im so ready for this to be over with.

  • Sheri J.
    December 28, 2013 | Permalink |

    I have a relative who is selfish, doesn’t contribute to help the family, and is passive aggressive. Obviously, she doesn’t get reprimanded for her actions because she will just justify herself, delegate her responsibilities onto others, put her charm and sweetness on, and if you confront her she can become passive aggressive. I understand we all “teach” each other. I learned not to become like her. She is not selfish to people she likes like her own twin sister. I do not have a relationship with either her or her twin sister and do not hang around them because I do not like their energies. I wish I had more advice but trying to vent here.

  • Sean Lee
    February 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    I am surprised how negative this article is. Lots of generalizations and basically telling you to stay away from EVERYONE except the one person who is.. a faker. Yeah, in a lot of ways, this article doesn’t make any sense.

    But, I’m pretty blown away by some of the responses. I guess I am also being negative by saying this, but to the comments of like “I made only selfish friends my entire life”, or “i was the selfish person this article is talking about” is a display of extremely low self-confidence.

    Watch out, that’s how you will KEEP making “selfish” friends.

  • Olga
    February 9, 2014 | Permalink |

    Seems like the world is full of selfish people. My husband is what the article describes and more. Just yesterday i asked if we could go out to watch movies and he laughed the ideas off, this morning he woke up with a list of requests for me to fulfill. I went to visit my parents two weeks ago and when I came back he had bought a car that costs $100,000. Not discussed with me at all. I am too furious to even find myself in it

  • Serina
    February 11, 2014 | Permalink |

    not to mention that selfish people are quite good actors as well! they’ would’ve cry fake tears to have you back!!

    loved this article!

  • Amanda
    February 13, 2014 | Permalink |

    My boyfriend and I were in a bad motorcycle accident fairly early into our relationship and he lost everything as a result. We started to live together and I just don’t know if I want to continue with this anymore. It has been seven months and he is still in a lot of pain but he went back to work after about 5 months. This weekend is valentine’s day and he is going to be gone all weekend long because he is an over the road truck driver. He doesn’t think it is a big deal… I said it was he would get pissed. I feel like he is manipulating me and needs me to do things for him that he cannot do while he is gone. While he does spend time and money on the weekends when he is home… you can’t buy my love. I want genuine time with him and that never happens. I don’t know what I am going to do. He tells me he loves me all the time and tries, but I am in constant pain with this man. I am not happy anymore. He is very selfish and I am all wrapped up with his adult children and he with my younger kids. I feel like I cannot walk away, but I am not happy anymore. I tell myself everyday that I am going to just quit this. I go to bed more nights than not just thinking that life was easier before him. He is funny and has a good heart, but he is most concerned about him. Sigh!

  • Joan
    March 24, 2014 | Permalink |

    Interesting article. I was searching the internet for answers (always a mistake as there is so many opposing views) but some things did describe the friend that worries me. I’ve known her for years but still don’t feel I really know her, but when I see her I always seem to take a submissive role. I don’t know why I do that! But she is all the things you describe – charming, a people pleaser, always makes sure she lands on her feet whilst others around her flail.
    But I don’t agree with some of the comments, for instance, I don’t think it’s selfish not to answer the phone if you don’t feel like talking. If it’s an emergency surely a message could convey that, or a text. I often don’t answer my mobile if I’m talking to someone in real life, or if I’m just feeling like I need time out. I think the phone is a hugely intrusive thing at times!
    So no, I don’t think that’s selfish behaviour. Everyone needs space sometimes! Or I do anyway!

  • #freespiritnow
    April 15, 2014 | Permalink |

    this article definitely helped me, I.met this selfish crap four months ago when he was going through a lot of Shit in life to say so in his words, I stood by him and pushed him to pursue music which was his passion n he got through best school for music in the world, the day he got through n told me about it I was overjoyed n trust me the happiest person in the world n then I asked him what about us, well he never replied properly n rather said I asked you to be ready for the future n those words kept ringing in my ears for five days n nights which I spent literally awake without eating a morsel, he didn’t give a damn n rather said he can’t handle my sensitivity, well sensitivity my foot I read this article n it gave me the courage, I asked him for a break tried to pull myself together which would have been impossible without my great friends n today it has been 15 days when I met him again n trust me he doesn’t care. all I could hear him talk was about himself, he didn’t ask me once how m I, I’ve decided to be with him by convincing him that I am not lookin for a future, well future my foot this guy Is not worth even a minute of my precious life, but I just want to follow the detachment step n I suppose one meeting was enough, I’ve just burnt all his pseudo lover kinda letters n pics, I’m so Happppppppppy n a free spirit. ps; he ain’t sure of taking the music school thing because he hasn’t got the scholarship but he’s just an asshole that’s all

  • EK_US
    April 19, 2014 | Permalink |

    More than half of the traits listed above for identifying a “selfish person” are applicable very often to the rest of us–or those who wouldn’t usually be characterized as excessively selfish. Many of the supposedly telltale signs of selfishness listed can also be attributed to other psychosocial experiences besides selfishness. More to the point, human beings are fundamentally selfish animals, our ability to exhibit altruism notwithstanding. What we define as “selfish” is a class of behaviors common to all humans but which not only exists on a natural spectrum, but also is then largely culturally and contextually evaluated, further complicating reliable assignation.

    None of us likes to feel used, but the propensity to exploit is a conserved behavior among humans, and in many circumstances this predilection serves the group and the individual very well. Cavalierly labeling people as selfish and therefore bad is more than merely simplistic and inaccurate. It’s disingenuous. Furthermore, I’d hope we can do better in giving advice about dealing with the inevitability of encountering particularly selfish people than to indulge in the very ill behavior that supposedly prompted the author to write this article. There is no objective evidence that replicating the behavior of selfish people is effective at either teaching culturally appropriate behavior (which I recognize the author mentions), or alleviating emotional (or otherwise) distress the used party may feel. It’s hard enough for clinically trained behavioral specialists to give productive, responsible, pertinent lifestyle advice. It appears it’s even harder for the lay to do the same.

  • Sel
    May 18, 2014 | Permalink |

    Jamie B: I am going through the EXACT same situation as you except I’m not pregnant!

    I am taking the necessary steps to get out and start a new life..

  • Carole Heath
    May 18, 2014 | Permalink |

    I don’t know why some people are so selfish and keep hurting others. Women can be just as selfish as some men I think. I have an ex-friend who will be nameless who was all self used others for her own ends. Asking favours and never giving anything in return
    I soon found her out and moved on. She used to say why can’t I keep friends they all move away. Because your a user I said people don’t like being taken for granted. But she is still at it but I won’t be in her inner circle anymore thanks goodness.

  • Sue
    May 18, 2014 | Permalink |

    This was such a helpful and insight article. I don’t agree on the retaliatory aspect because selfish people don’t have introspective skills and really don’t care bout others so it’s not going to change them just reduce u to their level of actions. My ex-boyfriend of a year has many of those traits and aspects to him; in addition my mother does also. I recognize them and know them for what they r; but, I don’t think they truly reflect on what they do or how they act. Although they have been told their actions r selfish and painful it doesn’t change the fact that they attempt to continue anyway. I don’t know what the answer is, possibly surrounding yourself with only giving, loving people as much as u can ejecting selfish people once there true nature comes to the fore,
    and tolerating selfish family members (by setting limits) only as long as they r present after all they r loved.

  • marie
    May 20, 2014 | Permalink |

    I have done all of those things and have been in a roller coaster the last week with lots of self discovery and have realized how much hurt i have caused and how much of my life needs to change. Don’t give up if you are selfish. It is just as destructive as a drug or alcohol abuse, and should be looked at seriously. I have learned where all my behavior has come from, i have learned that i have some pretty amazing people in my life that have pushed away from me, but they are happy I am finally on this path. This is a better life where i am going. showing my partner love instead of concentrating only on what i get and don’t get. I’m very excited about this new life and concentrating on my partner’s needs when making decisions little or big. I am LUCKY and BLESSED to have some amazing people in my life but most of all that I found a man who stuck with my horrible behavior for 2 years. He gave me an ultimatum
    to find out what is important to me and we were not to go any further in the relationship unless I could respect him, address his needs and be a partner, instead of a convenience. And I had to look deep inside and be honest with myself if I could really show love. And so this is a long road, i will mess up, but I’m trying and there is no going back. It took me 34 years to figure this out, and 2 years of his telling me but i just wasn’t ready to listen. A person will not change unless they are ready. And I am lucky and not going to take people for granted anymore.

  • John
    June 2, 2014 | Permalink |

    Great article. I am one of those guys who gives my last dollar in my pocket to a homeless person and tells them to have a wonderful day, hug them or shake their hand, even when I’ve had a horrible day with selfish people. My ex is nice to me when she needs a ride, money, or assistance with taking care of our child. I don’t mind because I will always care for the welfare of the mother of my child and especially my sibling. (using that term to keep this private). But it seems that my kindness is being taken for granted). The only time I am called is when a favor is wanted. My roommate does the same. She is a serious manipulator who is kind when she has her way. But once I try to talk about anything related to my life, she clams up and makes excuses to leave. I have no friends who visit me nor family who visit. Co workers have never invited me anywhere and I have tried everything to be friendly. But I guess being an older, latin American male is a turn off for many. Even Hispanics don’t socialize with me because I mainly speak English and don’t indulge in drugs, smoking, and very little alcohol. Oh well I guess my only way to feel better is working out, watching tv, and fantasizing I have an imaginary friend. Now I know why older men talk to themselves. Lol.

  • lindagail
    June 2, 2014 | Permalink |

    Excellent article. My bff thinks otherwise but I know better. We are a product of our upbringing. Thanks to therapy support groups my own self help and self care. Today I am ready and have the tools I need. My mother didn’t. She became a suicide.

  • Gabriele Campbell
    June 15, 2014 | Permalink |

    Thank you so much for this article. I am in a relationship for 3 months and felt like I can’t breath anymore and started noticing things. This describes exactly the man I am dating and myself . Now I know why I have felt like he is sucking the life out of me. I am so glad I have figured it out early into the relationship. But it does not hurt any less. I sure will follow the advice to distance myself, to make the break up easier on myself.

  • c
    June 20, 2014 | Permalink |

    I agree with most of it except solution steps. I think it’s not good to lower yourself to their level by lying or seeking a form of revenge. I think just letting go is enough.

  • Andre
    June 21, 2014 | Permalink |

    what can I say? that is totally me and my flatmate. he has been using me for almost two years now. cold, arrogant, detached. always thinking ONLY about himself.
    I am already in step #3. somehow, by instinct, I knew what to do. I feel free now. stronger and a better person. he is never going to change. but the blame is all mine. I’ve been a fool for showing that I cared about him. I would not change myself for him though –he lives for the moment, looks quite unhappy and spends too much energy trying to find new ways to use people. I wish him well, but in a few weeks I will be saying goodbye.

  • Alexis The Dragon
    June 25, 2014 | Permalink |

    I agree with a lot of this but when you started talking about the “kiss ass” thing.

    I found that a little offensive and cynical, I’m a VERY compassionate and more importantly empathetic person, I’m just not happy unless I’m I know I can make the world a better place.

    So not everyone that is relentlessly kind is selfish, they just might have a unique soul.

    Also that 5 step process at the end isn’t necessary imo its overly petty, just walk away thats all that needs to be done.

    By having some self discipline and consoling your heart then just leave the relationship, it can take a minute.

  • Giles
    July 23, 2014 | Permalink |

    I have known the happy, smiley, I want to get to know all about you and be your new best friend kind of people before and they do indeed want to be right by your side, and it is typically because you have something they want or you are doing something they want to do. They want to get near you so that they can get their foot into the door. Give them that inch and they will take a mile. Once their foot is through the door they will walk all over you if they can, and it will only make them feel taller, because in their mind, now they have won.

  • Giles
    July 23, 2014 | Permalink |

    Oh, yes. As far as the people pleasures and ass kissers go, some people are just thoughtful. If and when I give to someone, I don’t necessarily and usually do not want anything at all in return. People who are giving as such, have to watch out for the users, abusers and takers, because they are looking for people who give without the expectation of receiving anything in return! The trick to it is to give sparingly and only where it is truly needed. Sometimes just a little bit of advise is sufficient to aid another person. When you do aid others, also be aware that some other party may resent what you have done and call it interference. I had a selfish and incompetent coworker who was always taking credit for my ideas. I’m talking about fairly petty and routine things I would do to make the job simpler, he’d take credit for these ideas by presenting them to our employer as his own. How pathetic, right? Most people are fairly crude and are operating at a pretty darn base level. That is what I have concluded over time. At any rate, I was able to aid another coworker by pointing out to him that he could move into a nicer and safer neighborhood, nearer to his job, and that his rental amount would be the same or even slightly less. He acted on the advise. And he was glad to take it. And this guy is an envious person. So, even though he felt greatly benefited he still remained an envious person. And he was on close terms with the really petty envious coworker. The petty envious coworker claimed that I was interfering in the life of the person I benefited, to the person who received the benefit. Meanwhile, the person who received the benefit would generally side with the person who was otherwise presenting my ideas as his own. That is why I am stating that people operate at a very low and crude level. I’ve attended professional seminars, lectures, courses or all kinds, and it is something that I often note in the professors or instructors, or coaches as well. Just think about a professional athletic team, for instance, as a metaphor: You have guys out there who are pushing, shoving, grabbing, kicking, tripping, slapping, elbowing and biting one another on the field and in front of the cameras. Are they demonstrating the idea that it isn’t whether you win or lose but how you play the game, or are they demonstrating that it’s all pouring out your emotions, no matter how negative they might be, and acting out in any form you can, in order to obtain advantage any way you can.

  • Bright
    July 28, 2014 | Permalink |

    I found this interesting! I am in the process of divorcing my husband. If you want selfish try a sex addict!! We were married for 30 years. He used a persona all that time . Playing Mr Nice Guy. Opening doors for me holding my coat for me pulling my chair out etc etc but all the time acting out behind my back without a single thought for me or our children. I found out 2 years ago. I was trying to forgive and he went for treatment which didn’t really work as he didn’t do the emotional stuff . So he decided I was the controlling one and the manipulater. He deflected all his guilt on to me and basically ran away. This apparently is what addicts do when they can’t face their own guilt. How selfish is that. He walked out after 30 years of marriage. Apparently he has another ‘victim’ now. God help her.

  • Maria
    August 3, 2014 | Permalink |

    While reading the article I realized that I was a selfish person who’ve hurt many victims.

  • Shweta
    August 4, 2014 | Permalink |

    Agreed to “Bright”. Had similar kind of experience but thank God I am not married to him. Before my life goes hell, just realized that I have been the exact architype of a similar selfish person. Seriously. It is time to make that change. It will take lots of time. But I am going to do it.
    Appreciate your article and the realization it has given me.

  • Ankit SAM Madan
    August 7, 2014 | Permalink |

    You owe me big time

  • Nitish Rathi
    October 24, 2014 | Permalink |

    This is one of the best articles I have read and to be honest only that person will appreciate this article who has been a victim to such selfish people. I have been in a relationship since almost 5 years now. The starting 4 years were great. But after the end of our college my girlfriend has become a totally different person. She ignores me and never realizes how much pain it causes me and wants me to be more mature and less emotional as she says that she is very busy. However whenever she is sad due to some problems in life she calls me and only discuses about herself. I always assumed that she is the one. But this article has made me realize that she is not. Thanks a lot to the author for giving me the strength to get out of this crappy relationship and saving my life.

  • Ms. Kay
    October 26, 2014 | Permalink |

    Wow, wow wow. this article is the bomb.com I am in a relationship with the biggest self absorbed person I’ve ever known. unfortunately In the beginning I thought it was only his family members, specifically, his mother. she’s ill (but indulges in behaviors that significantly lmake her ails worse), kind and open but will talk about like a dirty dog if u denied them anything short of your last, and lives by the motto “closed mouths don’t get fed, you never know till you ask” that is, I will continue to ask even if I haven’t returned the last favor I’d ask for. My bf who I currently live with is highly looked upon from others and will jump to opportunities to help ppl which makes his image hold “true”. It’s all a lie. as he acted like that at first but now I live with him and see who hereally is.This man will spend our last solely on himself waste all his money on everything but responsibilities and will ask me for whatever I have left on top of it. when I may have just told him, we’re broke or we have no more food, or I need it for transportation. I’ve asked can we spend a couple hours together at a movie or go to the park, he becomes the king of excuses, I’ve asked can he be more considerate about not coming home trashed.n leaving every door unlocked, I’m over exaggerating. I’ve repeatedly requested that he not take the Only house cell charger (the last of a few in which he wore out or lost including his own) out of the house leaving anyone at home with a dead cell phone for many hours- I’m acting crazy! We’ve been late on rent, have no food or even basic toiletries, and he would still buy himself a pack of cigarettes first and anyway. I do not smoke. I always fill in the gaps bc it’s necessities that r needed or we were so close to a goal. when I stood up for myself it’s only resulted in negativity and abandonment (becuz he’ll often run to his mom to complain) Ive begged, fought, cried, ignored—only to be emotionally bankrupt..but all of it is starting to get old and I realized the struggles that i endure could be done alone or not at all! and I just found out I’m pregnant so I have more motivation to get out now before my child gets involved in their sad selfish cycle. Retaliation sounds great, but selfish ppl will only use that as a blame card and use it to their advantage by redirecting the focus..thus making the victim more appalled.

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