Ex says I made everything about me....

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    Sep 28, 2011 4:03 AM GMT
    So the ex BF said that one of the contributing factors to the demise of our relationship was that I made everything about me. I would reduce everything down to how it affected me. He also admitted he was guilty of the same thing but in opposite, refusing to be the focus of attention to vehemently that the ensuing black hole was quite attention grabbing. Now after a discussion I realised that he was most likely right, but also that I didnt realise I was doing that. But here's the kicker, it is very difficult to try and even ask questions without putting th econtext on oneself. So how would a person change this behaviour if they didnt realise it existed in the first place? Also, would even asking this question be drawing attention to oneself, thusly creating a vicious circle? Can one even express themselves at all without being guilty of this?
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    Sep 28, 2011 5:52 AM GMT
    We all have the ability to be empathetic, to understand the experiences and emotions of others. Can you remember instances where you understood his position?

    I think in our culture their is a strong emphasis on self. So of course you are going to look out for yourself. The rare moments are when you can think of the other person and do what is right for them. I think its one of the hardest things to learn when maintaining a relationship and you either do.. or you don't.
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    Sep 29, 2011 1:28 AM GMT
    Oooh. I briefly dated a guy like this. It really sucked...because you really can't learn empathy even if you think you're considerate.

    Chances are you did make everything about you. And chances are it's pretty annoying. I agree with what jprichva said though - usually people do that when they don't care about anyone but themselves.
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    Sep 29, 2011 2:18 AM GMT
    Some people just aren't hardwired for empathy. We usually call these narcissists and sociopaths.

    But, I'll hazard a guess that you're more Generation Me. It's a symptom of an unfortunate trend in parenting and education that insisted on making everyone a winner in every contest, commencement ceremonies for every grade K-12 and instilling a general perception that you and only you are the center of the universe.

    This can usually be cured with a little self reflection, but more often by your real world adult life repeatedly bitch slapping you into the realization that there are in fact other people in the world that want to be something other than a reflection of who you think they should think you are.
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    Sep 29, 2011 3:19 AM GMT
    ouch, well most of those comments hurt and perhaps its because you dont know me that they were said. I am a very empathetic person, I put family and friends before myself in alot of ways, including financially. The ex was going through a lot of things, from alcohol and drug abuse, to losing his job, depression, and an injury requiring surgery. I would constantly try and ask him how he was doing, letting him kno i cared about him. I would constantly try and help him in any way i could, but i would be rebuffed. He would always say he didnt matter, and force the subject to change. I am not denying that in some ways i did make things about me, I found it easier to put things in terms of " i feel like you are shutting down" " i feel like you are pulling away" "i dont know how to help u" etc. When he cheated on me, i internalised that to mean there was something wrong with me. He said Id try to make everything my fault somehow so that the attention would be back on me. I would have to say i was certainly interested in him. i stuck around through alot of difficult things, and put up with a lot of verbal abuse, and cheating. He seemed to be more pissed off if i mentioned myself in anything. For example, saying I understand how u feel, was a no no, but saying its understandable how you feel, was fine. Perhaps all this is an attempt to minimise myself in his life? Im rather confused by it, but he cannot offer a good explanation.
  • Jerebear

    Posts: 329

    Sep 29, 2011 3:37 AM GMT
    Well....it *is* all about you, because all you live, all you think, all you know is your own self. That concept and the concept of empathy are not mutually exclusive.

    What you might want to change, though, is assuming that what other people say and do is rooted in a motivation that has anything to do with you. Think about it: most of what you say and do to anyone, anywhere, in any situation, is either automatic, from a lifetime of habits, or it is motivation from within, for your own reasons. So why would it be any different for anyone else including your ex?

    You cared for him and he cared for you and there might have been alot of empathy between you and him, but he did what he did for his own reasons, and he will continue to do what he does for his own reasons now that you are apart.

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    Sep 29, 2011 3:50 AM GMT
    4176KQEubML._SX385_.jpg

    Just Kidding!!!

    I just really wanted to use that image.

    Seriously though, none of us were there. We can't tell you whether you make everything about you. Only you can decide that. Spending some "me" time to evaluate a personal problem isn't a bad thing. If you think you have a problem, take some time to evaluate what you do, why you do it, and what you can do to fix it. It's not narcissistic to engage in some introspection. You'll be a better person for it, and you'll be a better person to those people involved in your life.
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    Sep 29, 2011 3:58 AM GMT
    LoneRanger09 saidThe ex was going through a lot of things, from alcohol and drug abuse, to losing his job, depression, and an injury requiring surgery.


    So was "making it about you" your way of telling him his behavior/endless-loop-of-failure-and-misfortune had a negative effect on you? If it was, you might be better off.
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:29 AM GMT
    It sounds like you sought a lot of feedback from your ex, and he was not comfortable doing this. Communication is the most difficult part of a relationship and if one half of a couple is at a different level when it comes to communication techniques and styles this makes it difficult.

    It does sound like you are a little co-dependant which can become dangerous for yourself. Especially if you put yourself out there frequently and often accept the other person "no matter what". This is one area that may be good to think about?

    You sound like a really decent guy - open and willing to talk and discuss things, and if you bring this into a relationship.. good on you! when looking into the future discussing this with a potiential partner - that you talk about feelings, and can they cope with this. There was a good comment that your ex may be insecure with your comments, which could be the case adn his response could be his defence mechanisms kicking in.

    I would suggest good communication ground rules when developing your next relationship - asking them how they best express themselves or talk about "stuff" so that things are kept out in the open.

    Remember - you don't deserve to be in a relationship with anyone that cheats on you, abuses you verbally and makes you feel bad about yourself. You are worth MORE then that!!

    Kia Kaha/Stand Tall

    Neil
    (my own post relationship learning icon_eek.gif about myself ) icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:33 AM GMT
    I realise in certain ways i could have been selfish. Perhaps I was trying ot draw attention back to me after feeling like i was always fixing his problems. I dont think I am narcissistic (sp?) because i dont much like attention, it actually makes me rather nervous, and i care deeply for those around me and put them before myself. I dont think a narcissist woul do that, tho i could of course be wrong, and could possibly fall into that category then...I dont know. I really do not have a good image of myself, i realise im not all that, and routinely think i am nothing. But i concede that i could have been trying to get attention for myself, and that was bad given everything that was going on with the ex's life.

    Thomas suggests that narcissists typically display most, sometimes all, of the following traits:[18]

    An obvious self-focus in interpersonal exchanges
    Problems in sustaining satisfying relationships
    A lack of psychological awareness (see insight in psychology and psychiatry, egosyntonic)
    Difficulty with empathy
    Problems distinguishing the self from others (see narcissism and boundaries)
    Hypersensitivity to any insults or imagined insults (see criticism and narcissists, narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury)
    Vulnerability to shame rather than guilt
    Haughty body language
    Flattery towards people who admire and affirm them (narcissistic supply)
    Detesting those who do not admire them (narcissistic abuse)
    Using other people without considering the cost of doing so
    Pretending to be more important than they really are
    Bragging (subtly but persistently) and exaggerating their achievements
    Claiming to be an "expert" at many things
    Inability to view the world from the perspective of other people
    Denial of remorse and gratitude

    I can see where i do posess a couple of those traits, the self focus in interpersonal exchanges, hypersensitivity to insults. But the rest i honestly do not think fit me. But i suppose those two traits are most telling. Those were what the ex was talking about. So I should refrain from referencing myself in discussions and grow a thicker skin?
  • trugh

    Posts: 27

    Sep 29, 2011 4:36 AM GMT
    -I- think this a very interesting subject and agree that it is a cultural (American youth, generation Me) issue. You describe the issue well; I can relate to your ex actually. There are instances in which I thought of someone (a significant other, a friend, a family member) being self-centered even when they said things like "I understand how you feel". I remember times when I was terribly down and my best friend was asking what She could do to make me feel better...and I thought how she was making it about herself again.

    I think jprichva's words are a key. I don't know if they are the key to solve your problem, but they are the key to understand what your ex feels. He's telling you that he doesn't see the genuine interest for him in you.

    "I understand how you feel" can actually be self-centered. It is a conversation finisher. You are telling the other person that the conversation is over, message received. Instead, if you ask more, with a genuine curiosity, and let the other open up to you...and then, only when the other has actually delivered, you say "I understand how you feel"; it might turn out to be a powerful moment to connect with him.

    As a side note, you sound pretty well aware, self-conscious, and self-doubting to be narcissistic. I think you are too healthy to be one.
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:39 AM GMT

    Well, I'll probably get in supreme shit for this but,

    "I dont know. I really do not have a good image of myself, i realise im not all that, and routinely think i am nothing."

    But you shouldn't think of yourself that way, because I, who don't know you very well other than your posts, think you are OK. And NOT nothing. In fact, I think you are very something. icon_wink.gif

    -Doug
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
    (The supreme shit I get in is over my sunshine and rainbows edge, lol.)
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    Sep 29, 2011 4:54 AM GMT
    yes i get whats being said with the "i understand" vs "its understandable" type of speech. I have started referring to myself less in convos, making attempts to ensure the focus doesnt shift onto me. And i have to say, its difficult, lol. Its become such a manner of speech for so many people, not just my generation either, that convos seem to take on this bi-polar-ness: "i did this" "oh cool, well i did this" "i like this" "well i dont" This back and forth me no me no me no me thing. So i at least am realising it, and trying to change. As for the percieved insults thing, well ive never had a thick skin, i internalise everything, but do realise that i am quick to take offence to things. Unsure how to change it, but im trying to refrain from jumping to conclusions. Since i started this, the ex has taken the opposite approach and just says nevermind when I ask him to clarify something so that i dont take offence. But nonetheless, its probably the right approach to use.
    ive thought about therapy but likely dont have enough money for the myriad amount of sessions required to make any progress, so im holding off for now. But thank u to everyone who posted. The rapport has helped me clarify alot of things and is much appreciated.
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:01 AM GMT
    I guess I don't see this as different than most relationships, gay or straight. Its probably the number one reason why couples break up...the relationship is one sided. We all have blindspots. Relationships, friendships, and all other interactions help you determine what others see, perceive, and experience when they are around you that you may not be aware of. Once you're aware, you're able to make better choices. You learn to ask, "how do you feel?". "What's going through your mind?" and "How can I help?" You may even get to the point where you won't have to ask those questions because you'll be able to interpret or predict.

    It's called "EQ/EI" or "emotional intelligence" and its the emotional version of "IQ". It's the ability to understand yourself and others and we try to teach it to trainers, managers, leaders, teachers, coaches, mentors etc.... In other words.... you're normal. Just keep asking questions to people about how they feel and how they percieve you and others and you'll be blindsided less and less. Good luck.
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    Sep 29, 2011 5:28 AM GMT
    Brownale saidI guess I don't see this as different than most relationships, gay or straight. Its probably the number one reason why couples break up...the relationship is one sided. We all have blindspots. Relationships, friendships, and all other interactions help you determine what others see, perceive, and experience when they are around you that you may not be aware of. Once you're aware, you're able to make better choices. You learn to ask, "how do you feel?". "What's going through your mind?" and "How can I help?" You may even get to the point where you won't have to ask those questions because you'll be able to interpret or predict.

    It's called "EQ/EI" or "emotional intelligence" and its the emotional version of "IQ". It's the ability to understand yourself and others and we try to teach it to trainers, managers, leaders, teachers, coaches, mentors etc.... In other words.... you're normal. Just keep asking questions to people about how they feel and how they percieve you and others and you'll be blindsided less and less. Good luck.


    I reallllly like this post.
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    Sep 29, 2011 6:11 AM GMT
    LoneRanger09 saidEx says I made everything about me....
    ...and so you post a thread about you. icon_lol.gif
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Sep 29, 2011 7:51 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    LoneRanger09 saidEx says I made everything about me....
    ...and so you post a thread about you. icon_lol.gif


    icon_lol.gif I'm glad someone said it!

    If this was Family Feud survey says #1 answer.....ding
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    Sep 29, 2011 11:14 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    LoneRanger09 saidEx says I made everything about me....
    ...and so you post a thread about you. icon_lol.gif


    lol. talk about going for the low hanging fruit there.
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    Sep 29, 2011 10:37 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    LoneRanger09 saidEx says I made everything about me....
    ...and so you post a thread about you. icon_lol.gif


    I was simply seeking input to try and better myself.
  • trugh

    Posts: 27

    Sep 30, 2011 5:24 AM GMT
    LoneRanger09 said
    paulflexes said
    LoneRanger09 saidEx says I made everything about me....
    ...and so you post a thread about you. icon_lol.gif


    I was simply seeking input to try and better myself.


    Yes, it looks like an attack, but there's something here. Your ex complains about something. You have two possible reactions (posts):

    1. How can -I- make -myself- better?

    2. What do -you(he)- mean when -you(he)- say that?

    First reaction isn't a bad reaction. But the second is more to the point in this circumstance.