In today’s world, the value of the concept of “we” is rapidly declining. More and more people are thinking self-centeredly: “There is my opinion and wrong opinion. Individual rather than societal interests are prioritized.
Advances in technology and the popularization of social media are catalyzing this process and people are looking for the best christian dating apps. Phone or computer skills are becoming more important than social skills. Think about how often our attention is turned to gadgets when we meet our loved ones.
How does this affect relationships?
It is impossible to call a healthy relationship in which everyone thinks only about himself.
John Gottman, an esteemed family psychologist and professor at the University of Washington, has studied more than 3,000 couples, their behavior and their habits. He developed a diagnostic system that makes it possible to determine with a high degree of probability whether a couple will be together in the future.
In something as complicated as marriage, the answer decides whether or not a couple will break up. The more selfish their actions, the closer they are to breaking up.
The temptation to make decisions alone is very great. The desire for independence and freedom is rooted in human nature. But in family life, permanent autonomy is destructive.
Thinking and behaving in a “Me! Mine! Me!” destroys relationships. Egocentrism is funny in Family Guy and The Simpsons, but in life it leads to collapse. The first couple of years you may not notice it, but after a long time you get so tired of your partner’s ego that you are ready to break up with him. In 97% of cases, people divorce after seven years.
Gottman did another study. This time in collaboration with Robert W. Levenson. The scientists analyzed past studies of colleagues and determined that the seven-year mark in the seniority of family life is the most vulnerable.
In searching for the cause, psychologists found that self-directed thinking leads to the crisis. Egocentrism generates almost daily quarrels, which, in turn, erode the foundation of the relationship. It also affects the intimate sphere: emotions and desires of the partner are ignored, and sometimes there is physical or psychological violence.
Having children increases the chances of maintaining a marriage. But if the spouses are bound not by love but by moral duty, they will divorce as soon as the children are older. If there are no children or other mutual obligations (such as a mortgage), it is unlikely that the couple will last even seven years.
What about “healthy selfishness”?
Is thinking of oneself a bad thing? After all, without a strong “I”-concept there is no self-confidence and sense of self-worth.
Indeed, everything has its positives and negatives. But life as an individual and life in marriage are somewhat different things.
Self-esteem is like yin and yang–a balance is important. Being able to value yourself is a good thing if you don’t fall into narcissism.
A simple example. You bought a cool sports car without consulting your spouse or ignoring her or his opinion. In your eyes you are a happy man, whom everybody envies. This purchase increased your self-esteem and perhaps even your social status. But how does the wife (husband) feel?
On the other hand, buying a video game you like, for example, does not require a discussion at the family council. (Of course, you’re not so financially constrained that the choice is between food and a game?) Spouses should a priori respect and support each other’s interests.
I’m selfish! What am I supposed to do, kill myself?
Many admit to being selfish, but few feel remorse. Is that a bad thing?
The truth is, people always act in their own self-interest. We are selfish even when we help someone. No matter how altruistic a person is, they still expect to be rewarded by sharing joy or receiving praise. This is what is called ethical selfishness. It is seen as a motivating factor–that which compels us to do things for those around us.
However, the urge to help one another is atrophying in today’s society. The population is growing in proportion to the increase in narcissism. A phenomenon such as selfies accentuates personality on one’s own self, and the absorption of television content causes us to compare ourselves to the characters on the screens. “Why the hell are they rich and I’m not?”
We’ve been comparing ourselves to others since childhood. Me and relatives, me and classmates, me and passersby. But the media sets the bar high, forcing us to compare ourselves to movie stars and models. Hence the narcissism and the need to continually put yourself out there.
Narcissism is also characterized by a lack of empathy for people. Such personalities show no sincere pity or sympathy, even swearing to be with someone for better or worse until death separates them.
I have no pity for anyone. Am I a narcissist?
External indifference can be caused by various factors: grief, depression, resentment. It can also serve as a mask to hide vulnerability.
Science has established that true narcissists have a missing or malfunctioning amygdala in the brain.