7 subtle behaviors of self-centered people in relationships, according to psychology

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who can be self-centered, you know it can be a bit difficult to navigate at times.

The behaviors of a self-centered individual in a relationship can be subtle and often leave you feeling puzzled or overlooked.

You might notice them always putting their needs first, or struggling to empathize with your feelings. They may seem overly focused on themselves, leaving little room for you.

Keep in mind, being self-centered is not necessarily a mental health diagnosis, but more of a personality trait. And just like any trait, it can vary greatly from person to person.

Understanding these subtle behaviors and the psychology behind them can offer valuable insight into your relationship. It might even help you find ways to better interact with a self-centered partner.

So, let’s delve into exploring the subtle behaviors of self-centered people in relationships, according to psychology.

1) The ‘me-first’ mentality

This is one of the most common behaviors observed in self-centered individuals in relationships. They tend to place their own needs and desires above everything else, often disregarding the feelings or needs of their partner.

For instance, you might notice them making plans that only cater to their interests, or interrupting you frequently to steer the conversation back to themselves. This ‘me-first’ mentality can leave you feeling unheard or unimportant in the relationship.

Don’t mistake this for assertiveness or self-care, though. It’s natural to prioritize our own needs at times, but a constant pattern of this behavior could signify a more self-centered approach to the relationship.

It’s not about labeling your partner as ‘self-centered’, but rather understanding this subtle behavior that could be impacting your relationship dynamic. By being aware of this, you can take steps towards fostering a more balanced and mutually respectful relationship.

2) An unexpected display of extreme generosity

Surprisingly, self-centered individuals can at times appear extremely generous. They might shower you with gifts or grand gestures, but the motive behind these actions is often self-serving.

This behavior can be confusing. After all, isn’t generosity a sign of a giving and considerate personality?

It can be, but in the case of self-centered individuals, these acts of ‘generosity’ are usually designed to keep the spotlight on them, or to manipulate your emotions to their advantage.

For instance, they might make a grand display of their generosity in public to gain admiration and praise, or they might use their acts of kindness as leverage in future disagreements.

It’s important to recognize this subtle behavior and understand its underlying motivations. Remember, genuine generosity is about giving without expecting anything in return.

3) Struggles with empathy

Individuals who are self-centered often find it challenging to truly empathize with others. This is because empathy involves stepping outside of one’s own perspective to understand and share the feelings of another person.

In a relationship, this might manifest as a lack of understanding or dismissal of your feelings. When you are upset or excited about something, they might not share your emotional response or even seem indifferent.

According to research in the field of social neuroscience, our brain’s ability to empathize is linked to a network called the mirror neuron system.

This system allows us to understand and reflect the emotions of others. However, for self-centered individuals, this system may not be as responsive.

Seeing this behavior can be a stepping stone towards constructive communication. It might involve explaining your feelings more explicitly or seeking professional guidance to develop empathy skills.

4) Difficulty in accepting criticism

Nobody enjoys being criticized, but for self-centered individuals, it can be exceptionally challenging. They might react defensively or dismissively when faced with feedback or constructive criticism.

In a relationship, this can lead to communication barriers, as you might feel hesitant to raise issues or express dissatisfaction for fear of their reaction.

However, it’s essential to remember that their struggle with criticism likely stems from a place of insecurity or fear, rather than a disregard for your feelings. They may be protecting their self-image or trying to avoid feelings of inadequacy.

Approaching these situations with patience and understanding can help foster open dialogue. Instead of direct criticism, try expressing how their actions make you feel. This gentle approach could make it easier for them to hear your concerns and work towards resolution.

5) Tendency to dominate conversations

We’ve all been in those conversations where it feels like we’re just a spectator, rather than a participant. This can often be the case when interacting with a self-centered individual.

They might constantly steer the conversation towards themselves or their interests, leaving little room for you to share or engage.

In a relationship, this could mean that your stories, ideas, or feelings don’t get the attention they deserve. Your partner might be so focused on expressing their own thoughts that they unintentionally overlook yours.

But remember, communication is a two-way street. It’s okay to assert yourself and express your need for balanced dialogue. After all, your thoughts and feelings are just as important and valuable to the conversation – and the relationship – as theirs.

6) Overemphasis on achievements

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with your partner where it feels like a constant highlight reel of their achievements and successes? This is another subtle behavior of self-centered individuals.

For instance, let’s say you both had a challenging day at work. You start sharing your experiences, but before you could finish, they jump in to talk about how they tackled a difficult project or how their presentation was highly appreciated by the boss.

This constant focus on their accomplishments might leave you feeling as if your experiences and achievements are being overshadowed.

Understanding this behavior can help in addressing it, and perhaps finding a way to ensure that both your accomplishments and challenges are acknowledged and valued in the relationship.

7) Unwillingness to compromise

A relationship is a partnership, and like any good partnership, it requires a certain level of give and take. However, with self-centered individuals, you might find the scales often tipped in their favor.

If they seem to have an unwavering stance on most issues, from choosing a restaurant to making significant life decisions, it’s a subtle sign of their self-centered behavior. They might insist on their way without considering your preferences or feelings.

This isn’t about winning or losing. It’s about respect and balance in a relationship. Stand your ground when necessary and express your needs clearly. Your opinions and preferences matter just as much as theirs. There’s strength in compromise, and a healthy relationship thrives on it.

Remember, it’s not about blame

As we conclude, it’s essential to remember that identifying these behaviors isn’t about pointing fingers or blaming your partner. It’s about understanding the dynamics that may be affecting your relationship.

People can change, and self-centered individuals are no exception. With open communication, empathy, and in some cases professional help, it’s entirely possible to navigate these challenges and foster a healthier relationship.

Most importantly, your feelings and needs are valid. Don’t let them be overshadowed or dismissed. You deserve to be in a relationship where there’s mutual respect and consideration.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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