19.05.2021

How to build a relationship with an egoist?

The word “egoist” has long gone beyond psychological terms and has become a kind of curse. How else can you name a person who is guided solely by his own interests and neglects the desires of others? At the same time, psychologists tirelessly prove that self-love is necessary as air and that it is the key to successful interaction with the surrounding world. Where the line between selfishness and love for oneself and how to build relationships with the egoist, SHE correspondent was told by psychologist, psychotherapist of the European registry, Gestalt therapist Alena Sagadeeva. 

How to build a relationship with an egoist?Who are such egoists?

Egoists call people who love themselves and do not like others who live in the conflict “I’m okay – you’re not okay.” This is a serious psychological disorder, which has nothing to do with true love for oneself. The healthy skill of loving oneself provides an opportunity to truly love others. In a healthy person, love of others is a natural consequence of self-love. 

Egoists from where do they come? They are somehow raised in a special way?

Of course, egoists are not born! And if the parents say that their child was such since birth, it’s just their desire to absolve themselves of responsibility for mistakes in education, and at the earliest age. Errors are usually the following. Parents pay insufficient attention to the child, and he is forced to take care of himself at the age when he is not yet ready to do it himself. Plus, there is a grudge against the parents. Or vice versa: parents love the child, regardless of their needs, i.e. do not like themselves, and the child learns such an attitude towards himself as the only true. And who else should he learn from ?! And it happens at such early stages of development that the sense of unhappiness and wrongness of what is happening is erased from active memory. A person lives on in full confidence in the correctness of what is happening.

Is it possible to be an egoist from time to time (for example, to be an attentive friend, and in the family to think solely of yourself) or is this vocation encompassing all areas of life? 

Egoism can extend to those areas of life where a person has received a psychological trauma. Sometimes this attitude expands for life, includes all areas of relations, and sometimes some of its parts. And if an egoist includes someone or something in the concept of “I,” then his attitude may change. But this is possible only if in the period of the formation of personality in his environment there was at least one significant person who loved him for real.

Altruism is considered the highest virtue. But is not this a mask under which self-love and the desire to be a great benefactor hide? 

Altruism is a form of self-love. The question is only in specific details. If love for oneself is pure and full, love for others will acquire beautiful and unselfish forms. And for the fact that others allow themselves to love, such a person will feel gratitude himself. It’s like a shopping trip with an unlimited amount of money. You buy everything that you like, and your hands are already occupied, and you also want this and this, and some goods have already poured out of your hands, and you do not really want to raise them – there’s better. But still if someone raises – thanks to him. Do not lie in the mud!

There must be a lot of love for yourself, and it must be real. Then altruism manifests itself, because it is considered a virtue. A modern person usually waits for gratitude or recognition, or even some bonuses. 

And you can understand this: if you do not know how to love yourself, in desperate need of love, a person gives someone else what they need most desperately. It immediately becomes important to treat the gift, the donor, to yourself, etc. If, in response to the manifestation of someone’s love, you have a vague irritation in half with a sense of guilt, you can be sure – this is manipulation to obtain any benefits. 

How to build a relationship with an egoist?

Relations with the egoist is important to build so that he did not have the slightest opportunity to violate personal boundaries. Such a person does not know how to exchange with the environment. Can only take, not realizing that the sources can be exhausted. And when they (the sources) are exhausted, the egoist simply proceeds to other sources, accusing the previous ones of deceiving expectations, not reflecting or refusing to think about why this happens. And this reluctance is aggressive – because the egoist is afraid that he will not be given what he wants, or give little, or will have to strain. Therefore, it is necessary to accurately discuss all possible cause-effect relationships and not expect either nobility or gratitude. For example, if an egoist is late for a meeting, he needs to report what will happen if it happens again and fulfill his promises,

The notion of a “relationship”, adequate to reality, does not exist for the egoist. There is a significant one and insignificant others. Wait that the egoist will give you flowers on March 8, it is possible only if he knows exactly what it is profitable for him.

And each time the egoist steps on the same rake: trying to do the most profitable way for himself, overlooks such a component as the benefit from the compatibility and voluntariness of the investments of both sides. Because of this, the construction of really close relations, to put it mildly, is difficult. 

What factors can completely turn the self-love consciousness (for example, love)? Or it is impossible to change?

Completely turn the mind is possible only when a person sees that his ways of interacting with the environment do not work. Outwardly, this can be done in different ways. But in any case, the egoist needs to see that the usual ways of obtaining love do not work. And this is not easy – it is the danger of destroying the entire worldview. Nobody will voluntarily agree to this, let alone an egoist. In his picture of the world and so no one will give him love just like that, and so everything is bad around, and so the only one who can be trusted is himself. In such a world, letting someone get close enough to be heard, it’s almost impossible. And even more so with such a tool as love, in the form in which it exists in modern minds. Namely – the desire for codependence. This is a direct path to the further development of pathology in both – until it becomes so bad that he wants to break everything. But “guilty” again will not be an egoist.

Where is the line between rational egoism and unhealthy love for oneself?

The line is thin, but it’s possible to track it. True love for oneself harmonizes the personality of not only those who can do it, but also those who are close. Even if there is a conflict on the surface. For example, my friend asks me to help him, and I refuse him. He reproaches. I explain that he has asked me for the eighth time already, that I see my own costs, but I have no results. And I do not want to. Selfishness? By no means! In this case, a person has the opportunity to think about what is happening in his life, how he builds his relations with the world, etc. And often the result of these reflections is a valuable change for the person, which gives an opportunity to continue the relationship. And sometimes love manifests itself in such forms that it is not obvious. But ONLY the self-love gives an opportunity to build adequate relations with the world, including with the egoist.

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