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when people tell you, your selfish
September 29, 2005
3:30 pm
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balancesekr
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So, I have heard from different people that I am selfish. I wanted to know, what makes someone not selfish and where do you draw the line between being to giving and taking care of yourself?

I understand why some people can view my behavior as selfish. I have had to take care of myself and reparent myself most of my adolescent to adult life.

I just get really down sometimes because I feel it is a losing battle. At any time, someone can be considered selfish I guess.

Any thoughts on this topic?

September 29, 2005
3:36 pm
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catamount
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Everyone's selfish from time to time... Being completely selfless is probably an indication that there's some sort of deeper problem being sublimated/dealt with in that way. We all have to take care of ourselves, physically, emotionally, intellectually. Giving too much of that up for the sake of others can be really damaging.

That said... it is also possible to be too selfish. I think the way I define that is that someone is either completely unaware of the needs of others, or is completely unwilling to take them into account. I can't draw a line for you... it's too nebulous a definition, even within my own head.

Why are you asking? Is it for the sake of feeling guilty for being selfish? Or is it that when someone points it out ("j'accuse!") you're taken off guard because you perceived your behavior differently?

September 29, 2005
3:41 pm
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CAMER
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part of Robin Norwoods book Women who love to much, talks about being selfish...and for being Codep. its good to be selfish at times...its doesn't mean we don't care about others, we are just caring for ourselves more.

September 29, 2005
3:42 pm
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addicts wife
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Well, Apparently there is a fine line between codependant and being selfish. Pleople either seem to want you ro rake care of yourself first, make sure your needsd nad wants are taken care of independantly,etc.. ((ie: selfish)IF yoiu can take care of your own needs and thennn have tine after for others I dont know how that is viewed as selfish.
Do you drop everything when someone calls and needs something? or do ytyou say "well, I have to do this first but i can be there at such and such a time." either way, I think Im doomed. I HAVe to consider my health and well being first. thats part of what makes or keeps me as healthy as possible. IF i drop all that i need todo t obe there for others then Im not taking very good care of myself am I?? And If im not putting myaself as priority #1, then how could i possible have the energy or wits about me to be very useful to others or myself? I guess the trick is keeping in mind that we shouldnt let wht others say and do to us so personally, becasue there is ALWAYS going to be someone who has an issue with us. "You cant please all the people all the time." So why not [lease our needs firsdt. the rest will sort itself out. ?? Or something??

September 29, 2005
3:43 pm
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addicts wife
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Well, Apparently there is a fine line between codependant and being selfish. Pleople either seem to want you ro rake care of yourself first, make sure your needsd nad wants are taken care of independantly,etc.. ((ie: selfish)IF yoiu can take care of your own needs and thennn have tine after for others I dont know how that is viewed as selfish.
Do you drop everything when someone calls and needs something? or do ytyou say "well, I have to do this first but i can be there at such and such a time." either way, I think Im doomed. I HAVe to consider my health and well being first. thats part of what makes or keeps me as healthy as possible. IF i drop all that i need todo t obe there for others then Im not taking very good care of myself am I?? And If im not putting myaself as priority #1, then how could i possible have the energy or wits about me to be very useful to others or myself? I guess the trick is keeping in mind that we shouldnt let wht others say and do to us so personally, becasue there is ALWAYS going to be someone who has an issue with us. "You cant please all the people all the time." So why not [lease our needs firsdt. the rest will sort itself out. ?? Or something??

September 29, 2005
3:47 pm
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mamacinnamon
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let me try....

I have been told I am one of the most giving persons folks know. But, my husband always tells me I am selfish. My opinion? He's projecting himself onto me. (sounded funny didn't it, but sadly true.) Actually he doesn't fight fair and he turns things around to be me when I'm not stupid enough to accept it.

I think selfish is when YOU will get your way no matter who or what you hurt or step on in the process.

I think selfish is not taking anyone else's thoughts or needs into consideration, not that you give into them, but that you do consider them.

I think alot of times folks will say a person is selfish because nobody wants to be selfish and that is a mechanism to get them to give in to their own wants. (make sense?)

You do deserve some time to yourself. That's not selfish.

You need to take care of your responsibilites. That's not selfish.

Giving your thoughts, needs, opinions on things. That's not selfish.

Check this out.

Selfish according to Merriam-Webster:
1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2 : arising from concern with one's own welfare or advantage in disregard of others

September 29, 2005
3:57 pm
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balancesekr
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wow, lots of responses!

Hi everyone.

Catamount, I am asking because I always look to improve myself and I don't mean to be selfish. I just have had to do so many things for myself. I mostly hear it in working environments and also, I heard it as a teenage with some friends and I know it upset me then alot. I was kind of selfish. I almost didn't realize other people had their own problems. Mine always seemed so BIG I suppose. So now when I hear it, I feel like it is tattoed on my soul or something, like I am the worst!

camer, thanks for the reminder

Addicts wife, you are so right about not pleasing everyone. I hate how I let other peoples words bug me so much

mamac, I agree about the projection. I feel some people use this to control. This is where I can't tell if I am being selfish or not!

I definitely regard others, just maybe not as much as a should. I guess I feel I will wind up bankrupt!

September 29, 2005
4:08 pm
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mamacinnamon
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WHOA Hang on there... What was that last comment... I guess I feel I will wind up bankrupt. WHAT???

If someone is tellin you that you are selfish coz you won't pay for things or hand over money then that is WRONG

Let me give you an example of non-selfish.... My hubby and I loaned a couple $300 so they didn't lose their home. ok. no payment in toward the loan in the last 2 weeks. That's ok these folks are having a hard time. Now... Can they borrow $400 for the electric bill getting shut off. If I had it to give I would consider it. But, I just had a hysterectomy, my daughter had surgery, my son needs an attorney which is $1,500. Do I give up what little I have? NO. I cried when I told her no coz I felt bad. I have offered her the use of a charcoal grill, blankets, anything else I have that I can give. BUT... am I selfish because I didn't hand over the $400? NO. lol... probably wise.

IF someone is making you feel bad because you will not hand over money that YOU worked hard for and that you need then NO you are not selfish. IF you had a million dollars and refused to give someone $5 then that might be selfish.

Folks will take advantage in multitudes of ways. And most will say you are selfish for not giving. That is MANIPULATION!! (if this is what is goin on w/ you)

September 29, 2005
4:14 pm
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balancesekr
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hi mamac,

That was nice of you to lend them money in the first place. I don't like doing that, things can get ugly.

I meant emotionally bankrupt. My mother always robbed me of my feelings as a kid, so I guess sometimes I just focus on what I am doing b/c that is what I had to do to survive

balance

September 29, 2005
4:20 pm
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catamount
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First of all, I think all adolescents are a bit selfish - it's part of learning who you are and what your own needs are at the same time as learning to balance that with your family, friends, society's requests of you.

You don't sound selfish to me. You sound like you're feeling guilty for simply doing the things you need to be doing to live your life. There should be no shame or guilt in that. No one else is responsible for your life - only you are, and you have a right to see to that first.

Of course, saying all this I feel somewhat like a hypocrite, because I'm so scared of behaving selfishly I go way out of my way and allow my own things to fall behind in order to take care of others.

Be selfish in this way. Be self-reliant and responsible and be joyful for it, not guilty.

September 29, 2005
4:26 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Balance... šŸ™‚ woops.

Sorry. I saw bankrupt and thought of money.

Emotionally, don't let anyone rob you of your feelings. They are yours to have and to act on. sorry your mom was like that.

šŸ™‚

September 29, 2005
4:37 pm
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veggiemom
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I think there are those that will call you selfish (or lazy or insane or whatever) as a way of manipulating. If they know it is something you fear being, it can be a way of attempting to control you--so maybe you need to look at who is calling you selfish and what their motivation is.

September 29, 2005
5:09 pm
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rmckayx2
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Being selfish is a word most co-dependant people have to confront if they want to take better care of themselves. In my family being selfish is a "taboo" word since it implies- ungrateful- self centered and complacent.

I think the context in the way the word selfish has been pointed at you is important. Usually I hear that word when I am detaching from an unhealthy relationship that might have been comfortable for someone else. Anyone who connects with me in a co-dependant way- knows what to say to sting me or pull my strings. Perhaps it's the same for you.

Now from a spiritual stance. I believe that god(if there is such a thing) wants people to give or provide from a place of safety, compassion and acceptance. Meaning you can't give what you don't have. Trying to provide for someone or something when you aren't happy yourself- causes resentment and bitter feelings. This I can attest to.

September 29, 2005
5:17 pm
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Anonymous
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I think that if you go from being a very giving person to withholding giving because you are working on setting boundaries and not being a doormat - people will see the change and say it's selfish - cuz you are different.

I think that you would need to cite things your husband calls selfish to really know....

overall - in recovery, the book recommends being selfish to a fault - you need to rebalance your life and shift the focus on your own needs.

that being said - I know that as persecutor, once I was done being the rescuer - I focus on my needs - because I was so giving to my partner, and the results didn't become what I wanted from the situation, I then became persecutor and it became ALL ABOUT ME - what I wanted, what I needed, what I deserved - what my partner was NOT giving me - I was a controlling manipulator - and MY needs were first - and it was a VERY BAD SCENE - what I saw as my needs, my boundaries, was really an ultimatum - and when I didn't get it, I became the victim cuz my needs weren't met.

there is alot about this in the melodie beattie book codependent no more - it's what helped me realize the difference between healthy selfish needs and codependent persecuting needs.

September 29, 2005
9:33 pm
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Rasputin
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I agree with the views expressed here. I believe as long as we love ourselves, we have the right nurture, nourish and cherish ourselves, esp if we were brought up in environment where we did not get much love. Here become our own parent become primordial.

I do not pay much attention to what people say and think, tho I love people. I know that when folks say things like that it is usually coz they are the ones who are selfish. They are projecting their own problem on us.

~Ras~

September 29, 2005
10:12 pm
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balance-

It's good to see your name again. From all the posts I've read of yours I've never got the selfish vibe.

You have been posting here for a while, and have gone through changes on your pursuit of healing, health, and higher spirits. People in your life might not take to the "newer you" too well. These are those individuals who are used to "benefiting" from the things you denied yourself. They may feel disturbed by things even as simple as asserting your opinions, taking time alone (away from them), and paying attention to yourself in any way THEY don't see necessary.

They will have to adjust. If they don't... guess who's problem it is? Not yours.

This is all very abstract, I'm not sure exactly what is going on with the people who said you were selfish. You CANNOT always address the needs of others. You can be sensitive to the fact that others have problems without having to become involved, or be distracted from caring for yourself. You have always impressed me as being one of those people that took the time to respond to posts, express empathy and share experiences. I would imagine you are like that in life "out there."

It is true, we are all selfish sometimes. It is a necessity at times. But always consider the source of this accusation, and their agenda.

hugs,
ella

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