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Healthy Selfishness........
January 14, 2007
12:21 pm
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truthBtold
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my mantra for 2007. Puts everything almost into immediate perspective - for me anyway 🙂

January 14, 2007
5:05 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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I want to know more about this. Can you explain more?

January 15, 2007
7:08 pm
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truthBtold
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Hi Tiger Trainer,

Whenever I think about doing something that is in my own best interest(being selfish to an extent)....I get an immediate negative reaction and it keeps me stuck.

Therefore, I have come up with this new term for myself - which I call healthy sefishness and it helps me to get unstuck and move forward.

TBT

January 16, 2007
12:10 pm
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gracenotes
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I think if this more as self-care, taking care of myself vs. selfishness. To me, selfishness kind of implies negative things, that I am doing something at the expense of other people.

But, framing it as self-care, I think about how the nice things I do for myself, and I am talking about simple things such as getting enough rest and relaxation, eating right, exercise, taking time to have some fun, giving a compliment to someone, leaving to go somewhere in plenty of time so I don't have to drive like a madwomen to get and be all stressed... all these little things make me feel better about me, and these things cannot help but have a positive effect on others.

Especially these past few days, with word of my cat being gone to the other side, I needed to take the time to grieve this loss and be nice to myself, to relax and not be so busy.

How can I truly be nice to others if I am not nice to myself? This lack of self care is so much a part of the codependency problem, another example of how "me" gets lost in the equation and, being stressed, I cannot have the kind of communications with others that I would really like to have.

I was wondering how others here take care of themselves, if there has been any difference since working on problems, etc.

January 16, 2007
1:00 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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interesting post, and it leads me to ask this question...only cuz I got really confused recently when someone posted to me on another thread.

When is it being healthy selfishness, or assertive, and when it is being unhealthy selfish?

Cuz here was the scenario.

I asked BF out to eat. He agreed. He fell asleep, woke up at 6:30. Said he wasn't hungry (big lunch) but wanted to go anyway.

So, being that he had no interest in where we ate, I picked chinese, knowing he didn't like it, but not that it mattered cuz he wasn't eating anyway.

So, he says he has to go to his house, get clean clothes and take shower before we can go. I figure it should take an hour max, so we'd be out the door by 7:30.

I told him to get a move on cuz daughter and I did NOT have a lunch and were hungry.

So, he leaves, comes back an hour later. He is in shower now and I am urging him to get going.

He is ready to go at 8:15 which is awfully late for me and daughter to be eating. I am a little miffed, and had a snack before we left.

We get to chinese around 9:00. Buffet is picked over. Again, miffed.

I had offered to go without him, but he wanted to go. I think because I made a big stink earlier in the week about wanting a "night out"...and this was our only night free.

Anyway, we get there, and he doesn't eat...I am fine with it. I ignore him sitting there like a lump. He makes mention he wants burger king when we leave (across the street). Again, ok with it. After I go up for second plate, he decides to eat after all. Fine, no problem.

Well, on my other post, someone said that he was being selfish by making me wait and by exerting his preferences on my decision....that he should have adjusted to "my needs" cuz that's what partners do.

Now - herein lies my confusion.

If me, a woman, a codependent, wanted to go out for dinner, but needed a shower and asked boyfriend to wait for me...it would be "assertive"...and it would be codependent if I skipped the shower to hurry it up to accomodate him.

But here is my BF, a guy, telling me he needed a shower before he went, and by asking me to wait, he's selfish?

And I was told that he was being selfish by saying he didn't want chinese and not eating it.

But if I "asserted" my choice, I would be practicing assertiveness or healthy selfishness...and if I changed my choice cuz my boyfriend didn't want chinese - would I be codependent or considerate?????

I guess I am curious how other people see the difference between being codependent and considerate.

Cuz, the way I see it - he made a compromise - he would go with, but would not eat what we ate...and wasn't angry or nasty about it. And his only request was to pick up burger king on the way home. As far as the shower, yes, he could have moved quicker, it didn't have to take him two hours to get ready...but overall, he DID need a shower, and I was happier that he took one and didn't go out scuzzy.

Where is the line?

What defines healthy selfishness and unhealthy?

What makes a person assertive and what makes them just plain selfish.

In the end, I realize that I am "sensing" that this guy is increasingly more selfish...because he beginning to become "overly assertive" about his tv choices and food choices...and it IS starting to bother me now.

but as an isolated incident, how does the chinese dinner qualify as selfish?

I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say.

January 16, 2007
1:02 pm
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blondie30565
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This guy sounds like he has a passive spirit and needs some motivation. Unfortunately, this has to come from within.

January 16, 2007
1:30 pm
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Rising,

I feel that you were much kinder and more patient with your second description of the Chinese Dinner... When you described it the first time... it came across that he was resistent to your suggestions that he hurry up and ignored your assertions that you and your daughter were very hungry because you hadn't eaten lunch. He sounded selfish. Not because he is a man, but because the way the story was told, led me personally, to come to the conclusion that he was behaving selfishly... Here is a piece of the first story. Tell me if you see a difference...

** He was home on Saturday. And he agreed to go out with us for dinner. But because he moved so slowly, dinner was a flop. We didn't leave the house until after 8 p.m... despite my urgings that I was hungry and so was daughter...he kept saying he wasn't. I told him that we WERE. And that if he didn't want to go, I would take her and go, and meet him later. He said he wanted to go.

So, we went to china buffet and he didn't want chinese...he was going to get burger king on the way home. I was on my second plate when he decided he was hungry. He got a small plate of rice and some chicken.

He said it tasted gross, and went back for desert.

Later that night, he woke up having a coughing fit cuz of acid reflux. I could hear it bubbling in his throat. I know the feeling.

He tried telling me it was the chinese making him sick. **

Can you see the difference in the tone? That was the version of the story that led me to believe that he was behaving selfishly. I don't think that men are selfish and woman are assertive any more than I believe that men are self-confident and women are bitches. Same concept, sexes reversed...

January 16, 2007
1:43 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I can see how the tone could be "heard" but it really wasn't when I typed it.

hard to hear "tone" in typed word, but yeah, I can see how it came across.

There wasn't any kind of "tone" to our convo - just me asking him to hurry up.

guess we all have to be careful about what we read, how we take it and how we write it.

I am starting to see "sparks" of selfishness...it's starting to surface...until now, he's been very passive and easy going...I think he's becoming comfortable with me enough to really let it all out...and dinner was just the tip of what I see as a huge iceberg.

January 16, 2007
2:22 pm
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truthBtold
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Rising,

The fact is that neither you nor your daughter had lunch and he did and he knew that.... so you told him to get a move on...and he ultimately dragged his feet.

That was simply being inconsiderate had he have been your boyfriend or anyone else for that matter.

(Another thing that might "nip this in the bud" in the future is to set a time frame. Like, we are both very hungry and want to leave no later than such and such time.)

That's just my opinion.

January 16, 2007
2:26 pm
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truthBtold
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gracenotes,

So glad to hear you taking actions of self-care. I am glad that it is working for you.

For me, for some reason, the term "self-care" just didn't do it for me.....I don't know why - it just didn't. I had a therapist suggest that one to me several years ago. (That's why I personally respond to Healthy Selfishness...it just works for me.)

January 16, 2007
2:29 pm
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soprano2
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That is a tough question--there is a fine line between these two things.

I guess it is totally in your perception. You have to ask yourself with what kind of attitude or heart is he making his actions????

If you feel that he is taking advantage of the situation, then he is being selfish. (like if he did a whole bunch of things that he could have done later before his shower.)

If you feel that he did not do it on purpose, then it may be excusable.

The problem is excusable can lead to taking advantage unless you are open and honest in your communication. If he doesn't know that bothered you, then is he really the one responsible the next time he does the same thing?

Goes along with the saying...fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Just a thought. He might not even be aware of the inconvienence.

January 16, 2007
3:42 pm
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horsefly
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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truthBtold, I like the two concepts of healthy selfishness and just plain selfiness which I guess would unhealthy. I guess I never thought of it like this before...But I strive for a balance myself But it is tricky. I always feel selfish when I don't pay attention to the needs of others and try to just focus on myself. Balance has to be there somewhere..horsefly

January 16, 2007
4:41 pm
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Tiger Trainer
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i can't tell the difference between assertiveness and selfishness until after the fact. If I am angry for a long time after doing something or not doing something I decide that I should have done what I wanted. Other times I realize that I should have done the unselfish thing.

Luckily my partner and I have been together long enough that I am figguring out which is which sometimes. (like having pepperoni pizza when I want supreme) I usually let him have his choice. but I am going to church, pay tithing etc. because that's important me.

I don't know about the chinese dinner. I probably wouldn't have chosen what he didn't like which probable a co dependent decision.

January 16, 2007
6:24 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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tiger, if he HAD been hungry, I would have found a compromise.

but given he said he would not be eating, but just going along for the ride, I figured that it didn't matter much what he wanted.

it wasn't until we got out there, drove by burger king and he said that he'd like to stop after chinese.

now, I wanted a REAL dinner...I didn't want fast food...junk...which he seems to have an affinity for...SO...even IF he said "I'd like burger king tonight"...I'd tell him he would have to come up with something more substantial.

He is on the road all week long, he has plenty of time to fill up on junk...when we go out for dinner as a family, I want more substance...fast food is only for times when you don't have time to sit down and enjoy it.

anyway, I don't typically assert my needs, but I also don't roll over and allow them free choice over what I eat...I usually give options. Some nights I care where I eat, some nights I don't.

Pizza - good example...I can NOT eat anything with spice - sausage or pepperoni...and I have told him more than once...but he still asks. So, I tell him he can have it, but we have to get something else I can eat also and he will have to pitch in. It's not something I CAN compromise on. He is usually happy with whatever I pick and I usually give him options of two or three things.

I think I am pretty good when it comes to compromising like that.

I used to often find myself in situations I didn't want to be in. For example...when I was dating the ex-ex, he enjoyed going to bars...I did not...some I tolerated, but most I didn't. But because I knew that if I didn't agree to go with him, I wouldn't see him for a few days, I sucked it up and went. Some times I enjoyed myself anyway, other times I was MISERABLE.

My FEAR of not seeing him made me agree to do things I didn't want to do...and going forward that won't happen...if he doesn't find time for me outside the bar (or whatever) then he doesn't see me...and it will show me how much he values the relationship. And I won't be teaching him that if he threatens to not come around, I will give him what he wants.

I'm learning...I wasn't always codep. when it came to asserting what I wanted.

But I am very codependent when it comes to "doing" something for someone cuz I think I can do it better, or I want to "help" and don't think they can do it...or that they need me to fix it. that's where I have to draw my own "boundaries".

rambling...thanks for listening.

January 16, 2007
6:44 pm
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horsefly
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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Risingfromtheashes, My take on all is that you are very aware of yourself and him and the chinese dinner and all. Plus you have been asking yourself reasonable questions. I think sometimes we already know who is being selfish and who is compromising. Sometimes we need a little input and validation. Personally I think you are doing just fine , you are very aware of your relationship, horsefly

January 16, 2007
7:55 pm
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gracenotes
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truthBtold,

Doesn't matter what we call it anyway, I think it means about the same thing.

My comment about the restaurant incident: He said he didn't want to eat. If I were hungry and wanted to feed my child at a reasonable hour, I probably would have asked him to meet us there when he is ready. I personally cannot stand eating so late, and this involved two people waiting. So, if its doable, why not let him show up when he is ready.

I don't see anything wrong about choosing Chinese. After all, he stated he did not want to eat, so it could have really been any food choice. And, Rising, I think you handled it just fine. I wouldn't want Burger King fast food for dinner, and I would prefer that my child eat someting healthier, such as the Chinese food.

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