Wrapped Around Their Wounds: Personal Resources and Self-Involved People

In travelling through life, you meet at least two kinds of people (although you tend to meet many more): those who are expansive and aggressively helpful, and those who are needy and self-obsessed. While the former can have the issue of being domineering, the latter tend to annoy us much more. We all look at the world from behind our own eyes, and, from the simple fact of having a physical perspective, experience all things as relating to us. Having some other person carry on endlessly about herself and show no interest in us can be a major turnoff. This is why self-involved people, unless they are celebrities, tend to end up isolated and not wanted anywhere, by anyone.

Yet why is it that celebrities, who tend to be the most self-centered people around, seem immune from the isolation that tends to afflict their less-well-known counterparts? The answer is simple: celebrities are resources. Contact with a celebrity can provide a wide range of personal benefits, so that, no matter how repulsive we find a celebrity’s personality, many people still try to contact her for the sake of getting a piece of the action. If someone is obscure, however, there is no action to get a piece of. Very often, the self-involved obscure person is a drain on our resources, depleting us while giving little in return.

This points to something important: the correlation between level of personal resources and degree of self-involvement. Personal resources does not mean only fame and money; it means strength both physical and mental, reserves of energy, time available to assist, knowledge and wisdom. I find that the most generous people, who give freely of their time, attention and assistance in ways that are not necessarily financial, are those with high personal resources. They have taken care of their own needs and wants, and they still have personal resources left over, so they bestow those on others. other people are desperately low on personal resources, not having enough of what they need to take care of themselves properly, so they spend their entire conscious lives wrapped around their hurts, thinking and talking only about themsleves, and exacting the penalty of other people’s resources that they need in order to keep their own body and soul together.

There are three things you can do about self-obsessed people who are self-obsessed because of low personal resources. I’ll tell you the first one last. The second thing you can do is evaluate your own level of personal resources and see whether you are in a position to help them. If you are, chances are that you will, by simple human nature, want to do it anyway. The third is to help them to the extent that they merit donations of your personal resources, and walk away from them to the extent that their demands are excessive. But the first and most important thing is to understand why they are the way they are. With understanding comes clarity about how you yourself should behave; so that, instead of just having an emotional aversion to such people, you can decide rationally how to relate to them. After all, even the lowest-resource, most self-obsessed people are potential resources to you should your help and the help of others enable them to achieve a personal resource surplus; and, more importantly, helping other people just feels good, and is of benefit to both the helper and the helped.

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3 thoughts on “Wrapped Around Their Wounds: Personal Resources and Self-Involved People

  1. I think this is good. There are definitely people who are so self absorbed that they are a drain on even the strongest of people. In the early stages of my diagnosis, I was one of those people. I drained friends, family members, and anyone who dared to get too close. My own mother banned me from talking to her, coming to her house, calling her unless it was an emergency, for about a year and a half. After about 6 months of being really angry, I realized that she needed to take a break from me, and I needed to learn how to deal with my emotions and symptoms on my own as well as working with my therapist and psychiatrist to become a more stable version of the madness that I was at the time

    I really like your point about celebrities being the most self-absorbed people, and their being resources for other more obscure people.

    I have found that most self-absorbed people are really unhappy with their lives, or the way it has progressed (or not progressed), they tend to think their problems are the worst on the planet, and they lack a vital quality or resource that people who aren’t wrapped around their selves. They lack empathy. I have discovered this is a quality that some people have because they themselves suffer or have suffered at some point, or it is learned. But, compassion for others and respect for others problems is definitely lacking in people who are only interested in themselves. It is a quality you will find in people who have found strength in dealing with their personal demons, and overcoming them.

    You should see my post on self-centeredness versus selfishness. http://songtothesirens.com/2012/11/16/exploration-is-being-self-centered-the-same-as-being-selfish/

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    1. I read half of your post but, because of its length, am taking a break before reading the second half. You do have a point that being selfish and being self-centered are not necessarily the same thing. In terms of having alienated people with personality issues, yeah, been there, done that, bought shares in the company. But nobody can live for half a century without figuring certain things out, so of course I eventually did–as, it appears, did you. Welcome aboard.

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      1. Well, I have lived with this for about 25 years. I was late in being accurately diagnosed. I was about 32 when I was diagnosed, and that was about 11 years ago. So, as I slowly approach “middle” age, I have picked up on a few things 🙂

        And, yes, when I feel like writing, i tend to write until my thought process stops. Sometimes, it is a few lines, other times I write full fledged “term” papers. It just depends on what I have to say.

        It took becoming Buddhist for me to realize certain aspects of my world, and that’s been about 6 years, and I am still learning. Which is good. One should never stop learning.

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