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If you’ve ever wondered why someone could be so cruel, it’s time to accept that selfish people just don’t care about you.

Selfish people will slowly disintegrate your self-worth, self-esteem, self-trust, self-love, and self-compassion, which is everything that makes up your power.

They want what they want and don’t care if you care.

My question to you today is:

“Is there a person in your life – whether it be family, friend, coworker, partner, whoever – treating you badly in some way that not only makes you feel bad, but makes you feel bad about yourself?”

That’s kind of where I go with emotional abuse and manipulation and any type of controlling behavior. When there’s control to the level that they want you to feel bad about yourself, I call that abusive, because what they’re doing is taking away your self-worth. They are doing their best at least to take away your self-worth, and your self-esteem, and your self-confidence, trust in yourself, your power.

Everything that I just described is a component of your power.

When you want to do something in the world when you want to take action in the world, your power is your self-esteem, your confidence, even your ego – when you have a healthy nurtured ego, not an over-inflated narcissistic ego, but a healthy nurtured one, where you feel pretty damn good about yourself and it’s okay.

When you have the self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-trust, and you have all these “self-whatevers” that are positive about you, you have your power.

Someone who wants to control you, manipulate you, coerce you, emotionally abuse you – many of these share the characteristics of the other – wants to take away your power. I want you to be very aware when any of these things in yourself start diminishing, then you might be able to notice the pattern forming or that has been formed over the months or years. When you see the pattern, you may not be able to see the signs. In fact, a lot of times, this is a very insidious process.

It’s insidious because most – and I’m going to say “normal people” – most people who don’t want to control you, most people that actually want you to be happy, and they’re happy when you’re happy, most people don’t want to take away your power. They want to see you full of self-worth, self-esteem, confidence, and being secure in yourself, and being able to tackle anything. They want to see that in you, that makes them happy. It makes them proud to see you accomplish something.

When someone is proud that you’ve accomplished something or succeeded at something or they’re just happy that you’re happy, you know you have someone that’s supportive. You know that you have someone that’s loving and at least leaning more on the selfless side than the selfish side.

We run into people that are selfish. They want what they want and they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want. They just do what it takes.

But then there are those people, the ones I’m talking about now, that will say, “Of course I care about you. Of course I love you. Of course you’re important to me. Of course, I want this to work out” yet their actions show differently. Their words say one thing but their actions show another.

This is probably one of the most important points that I’ve probably ever made when it comes to any type of unhealthy communication. That is, you have to look for congruence.

Congruence is when their words match their intentions which match their behavior. There is more to it, there’s body language and things like that, but when you find that there’s incongruence, where their words don’t match their behavior, or you discover that their intentions were different, then you have a gauge to go by. You have an inconsistency that you can look at and say, “Wait, this is incongruent. This doesn’t match what they said.”

Often I’ll find that people that are the victim of unhealthy

communication and all types of emotional abuse, they will ignore the incongruencies. Well, I shouldn’t say ignore because they notice it at first, like, “Hey, she said she was going to do it and she didn’t do it. He said he was going to go to therapy and he didn’t, or he came up with an excuse.”

I want you to be careful about the excuse machine people,

first of all. When they have excuse after excuse, they’re not going to do it and if they did, it’s only to do it for you. It’s not because they really want to do it. Could I be wrong? Is there a series of bad luck events that could happen to someone? Absolutely. But, you know, there’s a feeling that you get like, “Oh, there’s another excuse.” You feel it, you can see the incongruencies.

This is what I want you to highlight in your brain and note so that you recognize the pattern and you don’t go into A) denial and B) ignorance.

When you go into denial, you purposely put blinders on to what you’ve witnessed and then after a while, you tend to say something to yourself like, “Well, that’s just how they are. Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they lie. I don’t like it, but sometimes it happens.”

Now you’re developing a higher toleration for abusive behavior. Another vital point is that as you develop higher and higher toleration for abusive behavior, the abuse or unhealthy communication gets worse. Unhealthy communication in the way where someone is selfish and wanting their needs met or wanting to get what they want because that’s what they want and they just don’t care about you. They just don’t care how you feel about it.

It’s the most un-empathetic type of communication there is. It’s like walking down the sidewalk, and someone coming up to you saying, “Hey, do you have any change?” and then you pushing them out of the side physically so they fall over.

It’s that “I just don’t care about you. I just don’t care about your problems as long as I get what I want and right now you’re in the way of what I want.”

When you are dealing with somebody like that, you do have to question if they have empathy at all. Because empathy is the big one. When you are with someone who doesn’t have empathy or has very little or can’t access it (but they may have it), you need to be careful.

The reason you have to be careful is because, if you don’t matter to them, then they’re going to do things that just seem awful and wrong. You’re going to be questioning, “Why would they do this? What kind of person would do this? Why are they so selfish? I can’t believe they don’t even care that they hurt me. I can’t believe they don’t care.”

We start to lose sight that we might be dealing with someone who doesn’t have empathy. Perhaps they fake sympathy, perhaps they fake empathy, but look for the congruencies. Are they congruent? If they say, “You know, I really care about you and I just want to see you happy” but then they do behavior that makes you unhappy and they don’t seem to be bothered by that, you have to question these things.

You have to bring these things up. Highlight them in your mind and ask yourself, “Wait, is this how I want to be treated? Is this how I want to live my life, with someone who doesn’t even care if I’m happy?”

Or another way to look at it is, “Do I want to live my life with someone who doesn’t feel joy because I feel joy?”

Think about that; you’re so happy and you want to share your happiness, you want to share your positive experiences with someone, and they can’t connect with you because it doesn’t faze them that it’s making you happy.

This is a little bit of a gray area. I’m not saying that you have to be happy because someone else is happy. If you’ve done this and thought “Oh, they’re so happy, and I just don’t get it” – that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about people that you really look to, that you really connect with. Maybe they’re your friend, maybe they’re your partner, your lover, or even family that you really believe is supposed to be loving and supportive, and they just can’t be happy that you’re happy. They just can’t meet you there.

That’s not always abusive behavior but you look at it in the big picture. It’s one component of many things that are happening to you and your relationship. You look at that and you look at the other things that we talk about. You look at all the types of communication that they do, all the congruent and incongruent behavior, and you take note. You look at the compound effect of everything put together and you figure out if this is a healthy relationship or not. Is this healthy communication or not?

What I’m focusing on right now is the level of congruency or incongruency that you’re experiencing so that doesn’t go under your radar. I don’t want you to filter these things out. I want you to be aware and be observant.

Be acutely observant of these little things that deteriorate relationships – “Oh, he lied again. I don’t know why he does that. It bothers me.” But then you move on because you don’t want to deal with it or you believe you don’t have any options – “I have no options, I’ll just have to deal with his lies or her lies.”

As soon as you do start doing that, believing you have no choice, you end up accepting more layers of abusive or unhealthy behaviors. You become more tolerant of abusive and unhealthy behavior. And it increases every time you do that.

I want you to think of this show as a reminder of maybe some of the characteristics that you may have missed, you may be denying, you may not see well because you’ve been in it for so long or discovering it about people so that you don’t easily dismiss it.

As soon as you dismiss these things, as soon as you dismiss any type of flag – an orange flag, a red flag – and you just move on because you want to only see the positive, you go into that denial phase where you only see the positive in someone. You slowly disintegrate and degrade yourself over time.

You’re disintegrating and degrading all the components of yourself I talked about earlier – the empowerment components – self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, self-care, self-compassion, etc.

There’s a big one: self-compassion. Self-compassion is when you stand outside yourself and you look at your life; that person over there that is you, you look at that person’s life, and you notice what that person is going through. And you care about that person so much that you help them get out of trouble and unhealthy situations.

Does that mean you physically walk them out? Does that mean you leave a relationship? Does that mean you leave a toxic job or whatever?

Could be, but I’m not necessarily saying that’s what you do. I’m saying that after you are self-caring and self-compassionate and you have a good conversation with yourself, if that’s what the conclusion is, then by all means do what you need to do. But at the very least, acknowledge what’s happening.

Self-compassion involves acknowledging what’s happening to you.
Self-compassion involves looking at your life as your own best friend and saying, “Hey, look, what’s happening here is not fair to you. It’s not caring for you. It’s a very selfish thing and that person doesn’t seem to really care if you’re happy or not. That person doesn’t really factor in your happiness or upset. That person is just doing what they want to do. As your best friend, I hate to see that happen to you. I don’t want to see that happen to you because every day you go through it, you lose a little bit of yourself. You lose a bit of your power.”

I don’t want you to lose your power. I want you to keep it. Even if you are in a situation that is just a little overwhelming and you can’t get past it or out of it, just take note of these things.

Take note of the incongruencies.
Take note of the little ways that you disintegrate those empowering components of yourself.
Take note of when that happens.
Take note of your life.
Take note of the specifics.

Don’t bypass them. Don’t go into denial. Be aware. Be your own coach. Be your own guide. Be your own best friend.

Don’t let the bad behavior of others get so buried and dismissed that you almost forget that they ever existed because that’s how it’s been for so long. That’s when we really lose ourselves.

I don’t want you to lose you.

Share this with someone who might benefit.

Paul Colaianni

Paul Colaianni is a Behavior and Relationship Coach, and the host of The Overwhelmed Brain and Love and Abuse podcasts.

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Joe Joe

My cousin she’s thoughtless and she’s there for everybody else but she’s not there for me why is it? is there even a chance that she loves me and cares about me then what can I do to open her eyes and for her to start being there for me and caring for me and if not then why don’t she care about me ?

Paul Colaianni

That is the million dollar question! A friend of mine introduced me to his girlfriend once. She didn’t like me at all and I couldn’t tell you why. I wasn’t being weird, I was just being friendly. Yet, she couldn’t stand to be around me. To this day I have no idea what I did wrong but I’ve come to learn that some people simply have an aversion to some people. Maybe it was because I looked like her terrible uncle or I reminded her of an old boss she hated.

People have every right not to like other people, but it can be hurtful when it is us. All we can do is continue to be kind and show them that whoever they think we are, we are not. Don’t change who you are just because someone doesn’t like you. There are a zillion reasons people may not like us because there are billions of people on the planet and they can’t all possibly like us.

I have stopped focusing on people that don’t like me and started putting all my time and attention on those that actually care about me. I hope you are able to do that too. If you truly are a kind and caring person and she can’t see that, then she has other stuff going on that she needs to work out on her own. Maybe she’ll eventually come around, but try not to focus on her anymore if she won’t give you the time of day. Life is too short to focus on people that don’t want to talk to us.

If you really want her to see you’re a good person, never try to convince her you’re a good person. Just show up as that good person over and over again. She will either see it or not, but it’s up to her to come around not up to you to try to make her believe it.

Joe Joe

thank you but I don’t think she will ever come around because in 2019 she was 17 years old she went to school lied and said her uncle raped her but he didn’t rape her and also she got him kicked out of the church that he went to since he was a kid and you know that must have hurt him

MJ Johnson

I was ONLY thinking of my ex boyfriend this whole time… He is that way, very selfish person, doesn’t care about anyone but himself and wants to destroy other people’s happiness.
No one makes me feel bad about myself… I don’t let that happen. I won’t give up my self worth over someone else. Thats stupid. I know better. I learned all about narcissism and selfish people because of my ex husband… And currently my ex boyfriend that WON’T and CAN’T seem to stay out of my life!!!! The creep, I hate him, truly.

Paul Colaianni

Thank you for sharing this here. I hope you are in a better space now and those people are no longer being invasive in your life. Some people are just that: Creeps.

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