Have you ever heard someone say this? Do you silently toss labels around like “narcissist” or “self-absorbed?” If so, I guarantee you didn’t mean it as a compliment. According to Merriam-Webster, the term “self-absorbed” means to be “absorbed in one’s own thoughts, activities, or interests.” I think good old Merriam should have started out her definition with the word “selfishly.”
Obviously, we’ve all been in situations where there’s no alternative but to put ourselves first. Waiting on medical test results or a performance review are two examples that, by their very nature, have end dates. The concern, however, comes when our self-preoccupation is constant. Imagine sitting next to someone on a four-hour flight who, despite noticing your ear buds, talks non-stop about himself for the entire duration of the flight. Is that someone you might want to see socially? Would you hire him?
In my divorce practice I frequently hear the term “narcissist.” If you think you’re married to one, raise your hand. Were there warning signs? And what if you’re getting ready to commit to a long-term relationship? Are you ignoring any of these red flags?
Red Flag #1: Your person is extremely opinionated, and everyone else is always wrong.
Red Flag #2: Your person doesn’t show enough interest in you and your world.
Red Flag #3: Your person has a lot of rules, for you and for others.
Red Flag #4: Your person assumes you’re always available and gets angry when you’re not.
Red Flag #5: Your person lacks empathy.
Red Flag #6: Your person constantly interrupts you and others.
Red Flag #7: Your person is better than everyone else.
Have I touched a nerve? Or is the relationship too new for you to see it clearly? The blunt truth is, you shouldn’t have to accommodate your person every single time. It’s okay for you to be the lead actor and your person to be cast in a supporting role from time to time.
If you’ve decided to be honest with yourself, and if at least one of the red flags I’ve listed above rings true, let’s talk a little about knowing for sure that it’s time to let go of the relationship. Obviously, if you’re experiencing abuse of any kind, whether physical or verbal, you know what you need to do. And if you’re fearful of any sort of emotional blackmail, please click here and read some more.
There are many other, more subtle signs that it’s time to say goodbye. Catching your person in continual lies, not knowing your person’s whereabouts on a frequent basis, and feeling as though you’re doing all the giving and your person is doing all the receiving are also signs of a broken relationship. Do you genuinely like, not simply love your person? Have your core values grown apart?
Dealing with a self-absorbed partner is kind of like a life sentence for a crime you didn’t commit. Can you live with that? If not, please reach out to me if you think I can be of help.