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Selfish People: 20 Ways To Spot and Stop Them From Hurting You

Selfish people are some of the worst people you can surround yourself with. All they do is think about themselves. So, how do you deal with them exactly?

how to stop selfish people from hurting you

We all have a natural tendency to be selfish from time to time. However, selfish people think of themselves by default. They prioritize nobody else but themselves so if it’s anywhere near inconvenient for them, they wouldn’t do it for you.

These people make a habit of making themselves the center of everything, and they do that by pushing you out of the spotlight.

The thing about selfish people is that they’re also experts at hiding their self-centered nature. 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. Don’t worry – you’re not alone there.

Another trait of selfish people to be aware of is their ability to suck you into their little circle of happiness. Everything is about them so they’d try to involve everyone in this self-centered belief. Why else do you think they’re so draining to be around?

[Read: How to deal with selfish friends and recognize the ones that hurt you]

How to deal with selfish people

If you’re traumatized by a selfish person in your own life, don’t hate yourself for it. A lot of people have been deceived by this selfishness and it’s not something you should hate yourself for. 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. A selfish person rarely ever changes until they actually see an issue in their behavior.

What makes a person selfish?

A selfish person cares only for their own pleasures, even if it causes pain to someone else. A lot of factors should be considered when asking what makes a person selfish.

Maybe they were so hurt to the point of changing their heart entirely for the worse, maybe it’s in their nature, maybe they had a terrible childhood, or maybe they just lack empathy to care for others. Understanding the factors doesn’t change the facts, but it can help you see things from their perspective. [Read: 20 signs of a lack of empathy that shows they don’t care what you think]

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 so long as they get something more back in return from the people around them.

No matter the reason behind their selfishness, nothing is valid enough to excuse their painful behavior. Selfish people are incapable of compromise and understanding, no matter how hard you try to get your point across to them.

Don’t take it personally – it’s just who they are. 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.

You’re always the one who ends up exhausted and empty rather than the other way around. Ironic, isn’t it? [Read: How to tell if someone is clearly using you – 16 signs a real user just can’t hide no matter what]

Selfish people aren’t selfish with everyone

Selfish people subconsciously pick and choose the people they want to use and trample on. They don’t go looking for people to hurt. Their selfishness levels vary from person to person, depending on your level of intimidation.

For instance, if they feel intimidated by you, they might not bring out their selfish nature. Rather, they’d choose someone innocent and naive. Selfish people are people pleasers, and appear needy and vulnerable, to begin with.

They’d pamper you, care for you, and pretend to love you until you drop your guard down and welcome them into your life and give them your whole heart. This sounds extremely harsh, but it’s a terrible truth.

This is why it’s so important to know the signs of selfish people – to actively avoid them before you get sucked into their trap. [Read: 10 types of toxic friends you need to avoid in your life]

The mind of selfish people

If you’re in a relationship with someone selfish, the best of luck to you as it’s practically impossible dealing with them. As long as they don’t benefit anything from a situation, they wouldn’t give you anything in return.

The thing is, even if a selfish person ends up giving you something, but they always expect to get something more back in return. This is the exact opposite of what unconditional love is, which makes them the worst friends and lovers.

When you’re in a relationship with a selfish person, they would continue to extract your love and your affections. However, they’d stop giving any love or affection back in return eventually which would leave you feeling weak, unappreciated, and miserable.

Selfish people want the world to revolve around them and nobody else. They want everything to be done on their terms and conditions without sacrificing what they want. After all, they’re incapable of compromise. [Read: The 25 types of bad friends you must unfriend immediately from your 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.

You fell into this trap because you thought they were genuinely sweet and caring, or maybe you thought you’d have a real relationship with them. They make you feel on top of the world and loved when it matters but you failed to realize, this is all a facade.

It’s frankly easy to fall for a selfish person, but it’s much harder to get out of that relationship. Selfish people are very much capable of manipulation and as long as it benefits them in some way, they’ll want you to stay.

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.

Manipulation is their expertise and it’s not a game you can win against them. [Read: Psychological manipulation – 16 signs and tactics real manipulators use]

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.

What’s worse is they make you doubt your self-worth and why nothing you do seems to be enough.

Their selfishness is reflecting your inadequacy, which has been their plan all along. 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. Honestly, there’s no winning against a selfish person. It’s either you avoid them early on in the relationship, or you find a way to beat their own game *which, you have to admit, is close to impossible*.

[Read: The right way to let go of a relationship that’s bad for you]

The 15 most important signs to recognize a selfish person

There’s no easy way to recognize a selfish person. It’s almost impossible to catch the signs early on, which is why we’ll be guiding you through every one of them. Use these 15 signs and ask yourself if that special someone is nothing but a selfish and bad person who doesn’t deserve you.

1. They’re friendly at first – until they’re not

Expect inconsistency from a selfish person as it’s one of the areas they particularly excel at. They seem sweet and genuine, but it’s all a facade. After all, how else can a selfish person pull you into their track other than by putting their best foot forward?

They put this facade up until they’re sure you trust them enough. That’s when they start to reveal their true colors. [Read: 14 ways to instantly recognize fake people and stay away]

2. They always ask for favors

A selfish person doesn’t feel the slightest shame or remorse when asking for favors. Whether it’s something big or small, they’re not shy in asking for favors. You may think it’s sweet because they feel comfortable enough to ask you small favors, until you realize they were never feeling awkward in the first place.

3. They excuse themselves from helping you

When it comes to helping you, they also come up with the lamest excuse to avoid delivering. Maybe it’s an emergency with their family or their schedule is packed *even when you practically know their schedule.*

Whatever it is, selfish people give the lamest excuse when helping you out – and it’s pretty obvious.

4. They’re two-faced

Even when talking to someone they hate with extreme passion, they act completely nice and friendly towards them. They’re completely fake when interacting with them, but yet, they’re completely okay with insulting them behind their back.

Selfish people are the biggest two-faced people you’ll ever meet and they’re excellent at it!

5. They make a hobby of using people

Selfish people will do anything to get what they want, even if it means using people. They’ll even share a laugh or two with you and admit they’ve used someone else to get something done.

This should be a red flag for you and if I were you, I’d run from the friendship or relationship. [Read: How to know if you are being taken advantage of by people around you]

6. They’re people-pleasers

We’ve mentioned above that they’re the biggest people-pleasers, but to what extent exactly? They’ll put their best foot forward when you meet them, and everything is flawless and clean. It’s as if they actively made sure you won’t see any warning signs that’ll cause you to run.

Only when you’re in the relationship deep that they’ll reveal who they really are and it’ll shock you completely. It’s as if the person you initially liked and the person you’re talking to right now are two different individuals. [Read: 20 signs you’re a people pleaser and don’t realize it]

7. They’re excessively friendly

Remember we’ve talked about them putting a perfect front? Selfish people will do everything to get your trust and friendship. That could mean compliments, fake smiles, or basically anything to pull you into their trap. Don’t fall for it, no matter what.

Even if it seems genuine and sweet, they’re not to be trusted. Excessively friendly people almost always have selfish, ulterior motives.

8. They never commit without a selfish benefit

The concept of friendship or love is to give what you can without the expectation of anything in return. A selfish person doesn’t know this concept or just chooses to ignore it altogether.

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

9. They don’t care – about anything

If you’re talking about your feelings or you’re opening up about a sensitive topic, they’re not the best person to talk to. In fact, don’t ever talk to them about anything important because they just don’t care.

They’ll tell you you’re just being dramatic or you’re imagining things when you tell them something personal. So much for friendship and love, right? [Read: Emotionally detached? 15 signs they don’t really care about you]

10. They’re liars and manipulators

Selfish people are experts at manipulation and you can’t expect anything less from them. Whether it’s gaslighting, playing the blame game, twisting your words – you name it, they’ll use all of it against you.

They know how to turn things in their favor and still get what they want. 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]

11. They’re control freaks

As a selfish person, they want to control everything and everyone around them. After all, it’s the only way to ensure that they still get their desired outcome.

They love holding on to power, and they’ll try everything possible to have the upper hand. It may be in a subtle way, but they’re always trying to control people and things around them.

12. They can’t do teamwork

Obviously, you can’t expect selfish people to work in a team as they’ll only want you to go with their ideas and concepts. They’ll dismiss everything else that isn’t their own and convince everyone why their idea is the best.

Open-mindedness? Consideration? Collaboration? A selfish person doesn’t know any of those things.

13. They want the world to revolve around them

Call it whatever you want, but they’ll make the world turn only for them. They want things to go their way and situations to happen based on their conditions alone. Other people’s opinions and outputs aren’t welcome, similar to the point mentioned above.

They’re the most self-centered, narcissistic, egomaniacal people you’ll ever meet in your life. The worst thing is, you’ll never see it coming – not until it’s too late. [Read: Super self-obsessed: 22 secret signs you’re dating an egomaniac]

14. They’re entitled to a fault

Entitlement means you think you deserve everything, even when you don’t. Selfish people own the meaning of entitlement as they think everything they have is because they deserve it.

If they ask something from you or want you to do a favor, they probably think they’re entitled to it. [Read: How to get rid of that sense of entitlement that’s ruining your life]

15. They never show vulnerability

No matter what, you can’t count on a selfish person to show their vulnerability and transparency. They assume you’ll use it against them so they always hold their cards close to their chest.

Most importantly, vulnerability means you’ll have power over them, which is one of the biggest fears of someone selfish. Even if their life depended on it, they’d rather suppress their emotions than reveal it.

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 used. Thankfully, there are ways to regain your strength and stop a selfish person from hurting you.

1. Realization

This is the hardest step, and as much as this friend or lover means a lot to you, you need to ask yourself if you’re being used in the relationship. Realizing you’re dealing with someone selfish is the first step and you should be proud of yourself for that!

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. [Read: Am I being taken for granted? The biggest signs you should always look for]

#2 Detachment

Cutting a selfish person out feels like cutting a part of your body – it’s that painful. Even if they’re toxic and you probably hate them at this point, they have a hold on you that you can’t begin to explain. After all, you did love them and care for them.

Confronting or breaking away won’t help you, because a 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.

Similar to an addiction, you take it one step at a time until you’re no longer longing for them in your life. [Read: How to stay away from someone and recognize the signs they’re bad for you]

3. Retain your personality

Anyone who’s been in a relationship with a selfish person will tell you one thing – it’s the easiest thing to lose yourself in that relationship. They’ll make you change the essence of who you are, without you realizing they were behind it all along.

The best way to have power over the selfish person in your life is to remain who you are and stay grounded to yourself. When they realize they can no longer control or manipulate you, that’s when you know you’ve won.

However, the selfish person may also 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

Why shouldn’t you get to treat them the same way they treat you? 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.

Think of it as a simple form of revenge and mirroring their actions.

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.

Of course, you don’t have to do this to get back at them. But you need to do this so they learn that they can’t manipulate you anymore. And once they realize that, they’d either act meek all over again, or they’ll walk away from you. Either way, that’s a good step for you. [Read: How to handle a narcissist without falling apart or losing yourself]

5. Drift away

Okay, this is very important, so read this carefully. Selfish people never change. They just look for someone to use, and quite frankly, they can’t help it themselves. Don’t try to change them. It’s not your place, they won’t do it for you, and you’ll only end up traumatizing yourself in the process.

No matter how much you love them, it’s not your responsibility to make them better. Forgive them for using you, and most importantly, forgive yourself for not knowing better when you met them. Afterward, walk away and don’t even think of looking back.

[Read: How to ghost someone when you’ve never ghosted anyone before]

So, do you have a selfish person in your life?

A selfish person is one of the worst people you can encounter. They’ll make you feel empty and void all because they sucked the life out of your existence for their own selfish needs and desires. And all they want is to feel desired, needed, and important. If that means they need to step on you and stamp you out, they’ll do it without a tinge of remose.

[Read: How to read the early signs of self-centered people and learn to avoid them]

You can’t build a relationship with selfish people who can’t love you. So do yourself a favor and run, because a selfish person’s affections only come with conditions, and it always ends in one way – them walking all over you.

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Preeti Tewari
A true believer in the beauty of life and the world we live in, Preeti Tewari finds every excuse to lose herself in nature, be it smelling flowers on a street c...