Relationships are a space for you to be yourself, open up, and receive as much love as you put in. They’re an opportunity for a deeper connection. A sense of belonging.
So why does it feel like you’re a walking mirror? Like the person behind the veil isn’t relevant, like your partner only cares about their own reflection?
Chances are, you’re in a relationship with a self-centered person. Keen to learn more?
Here are the 9 signs.
1) You constantly cater to their needs
Sometimes, relationships work on the basis of push and pull – you both need something, pulling in opposite directions, only to realize that a compromise is the best step forward.
This leads you to push back, finding the ideal spot somewhere in the middle.
Compromises aren’t always possible, of course. Sometimes, you just have to let the whole rope run through your fingers, leaving you with nothing.
However, it’s easier to accept this fate when you know your partner will do a similar thing for you in the future.
Let’s say you’re choosing between attending a wedding of a distant relative of yours and going to your partner’s book launch.
Making a small sacrifice to offer your partner 100% support seems like a good deal, especially since they would have done the same for you.
The issue comes when you’re the only one making those sacrifices. What if it’s your best friend’s book launch and your partner’s relative’s wedding?
Before you know it, you’re listening to wedding vows instead of cheering for your friend.
A self-centered person will push you to prioritize their needs over anyone else’s, time and again.
2) They count on your 24/7 availability
The inability to make compromises isn’t just about big events or trips – it encompasses everything in life, big and small.
Your personal space included.
A self-centered partner is so very engulfed in their own universe that they don’t take the time to consider your boundaries.
So what if it’s 2 AM and you have an important call tomorrow? They ring you up because they’re bored on their way home from the club.
So what if you’re tired and want to spend the day alone? They feel lonely, have some things planned for you to do already, and that’s that.
So what if… the wheel keeps spinning on and on. They are the Sun, and you’re a planet that can’t leave the orbit under any circumstances.
3) They prioritize themselves over the health of the relationship
You may be chained to the Sun through its immense gravity (i.e., your love for them), but that doesn’t mean the Sun feels the same sense of duty towards you.
When it decides to stop shining, it does. Simple as that.
A self-centered person has a skewed perspective on which rules apply to whom – while you are supposed to give all of yourself to the relationship, they always have their best interest at heart.
Even if it means seeing you shiver from the lack of light.
If there’s a disagreement, they leave to spend the night with their friends and ignore your calls.
If you’re feeling crushed by something that’s happened in your professional life, they won’t reschedule their gym session no matter how much you cry.
But if they are sad, feel under the weather, or bump their elbow, God forbid you’re still going on that trip you scheduled months in advance.
In other words…
4) The rules don’t apply to them
I once had a flatmate who created a cleaning schedule. It was imperative we all stuck to it lest the days were out of sync and there was a 24-hour extra bit of dust.
One day, I tried my luck. I had to go to work soon, was feeling exhausted, and asked if I could clean the bathroom the next day.
It’s safe to say I was on my knees scrubbing the toilet five minutes later.
About a month after that incident, she asked us if she could postpone her own cleaning task because she felt sick. We shrugged and said “sure” because we didn’t want to fight and listen to all the reasons why this time was completely, absolutely, totally different.
Relationships with self-centered people are precisely like that. They set down some ground rules, only to break them when it suits them.
When you confront them, they bombard you with excuses.
5) They twist everything in their favor
Excuses, rationalizations, passive-aggressive remarks, or even tears – self-centered people know how to gaslight so masterfully that by the end of the conversation, you’re the one apologizing.
When you try to point out that their backhanded comment hurt you, they twist your words and end up having a breakdown over how much you hate them.
When you say you’d like to spend the day by yourself, they “hint” at how much of a lone wolf you are and how weird it is (and not in a good way).
Their number one goal is to always bring the attention back to themselves, always make you feel worse if that’s what it takes to come out on top, and always feel like they’ve won whatever battle they think they’re fighting.
6) They don’t properly celebrate your accomplishments
Speaking of winning battles, your own victories – be it career, study, or personal life related – seem to not matter as much as they should.
“Oh my god, I got an A on my university essay! I thought I did quite badly, this is such a great surprise!”
Is that it?!
A self-centered person hates it when you stand in the spotlight, even if for a moment. They might be jealous of your success; they might feel their own problems take priority over your life; they might simply not be interested in things that don’t directly affect them.
Whatever it is, their reactions usually leave you feeling deflated and empty, like your happiness has run down the drain.
You may even end up wondering if it’s worth telling them about your success at all – and then you keep it to yourself in the future.
7) You feel like a springboard for their ideas
Speaking of bottling things inside, conversations with self-centered people are challenging to handle, to say the least.
One word: reciprocity. When chatting with your partner, you often don’t feel heard, which then encourages you to stay quiet about things that trouble you.
Why would you bother, anyway? Speaking to them feels like listening to a monologue. You’re just a springboard, waiting for their words to jump off of you.
Your job is to ask follow-up questions, say “uh-uh” and “I see” and “makes sense”, nod, and send them on further tangents once you offer your own opinion, which gets completely trampled on.
8) They always impose their own opinions on you
Self-centered people tend to be strongly opinionated individuals. There’s nothing wrong with having strong principles and views, of course – the problems arise when you think your perspective is the only correct one.
And having a partner with different opinions just won’t do.
Do you often feel like whatever your opinion, it gets dragged through the mud time and again just so that you finally change your mind?
I’m sorry to say, but you might be dating a self-centered person. They won’t give up until you say, “Okay, maybe you’re right.”
“Agree to disagree” simply doesn’t have a place in their world.
9) They can’t stand critique
Remember how we said the number one goal of self-centered people is to always bring the attention back to themselves?
Well, there’s more to it. The attention has to be positively charged.
As soon as there’s even a bit of negativity – you tell them you didn’t like how they acted during a family dinner, you critique the way they spoke to you yesterday, that sort of thing – the world sets on fire.
Being able to handle constructive feedback is a vital part of any relationship, but when you feel like your perspective is the only one that counts, it’s difficult to accept other people’s interpretations of your behavior.
And that leads to fights, breakdowns, emotional withdrawal, and blowing things out of proportion.
After some time, you learn not to critique anything your partner does because you’re afraid of another potential argument. Unfortunately, this poisons the relationship with resentment and bitterness, both of which lie at the source of eventual deterioration.
So what do you do?
Well, if you see your partner in the nine signs described above, it’s time to make a decision.
Will you spend your life riding shotgun, playing a sidekick to the main character? Or will you take the driver’s seat even if it means going it alone for a while?
The choice is yours.