Do You Have an Egocentric Personality?
An egocentric personality is usually linked to arrogance, ambition, and, in some cases, exhibitionism. People with this type of personality tend to think they’re the most important person in the room and that all eyes should be on them at all times.
People who couldn’t care less about other people’s opinions and only focus on their own are egocentric. When we say that someone is self-centered, we mean that they only see the world from their point of view. In other words, they lack the ability to empathize and don’t care about the consequences of their actions.
The development of egocentric personality
During the first years of our lives, we’re all self-centered simply because we have yet to develop the ability to consider others. However, as we reach maturity and our cognitive skills develop, those around us start becoming more visible to us. Thus, we start seeing others as individual beings.
Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget studied egocentrism as part of child development. He observed that young children seem cognitively incapable of assimilating another person’s perspective. Thus, for example, when they play hide and seek, they tend to cover their eyes, thinking that the other person won’t be able to find them if they can’t see themselves.
In adolescence, egocentric personality becomes more evident, especially when it comes to teens’ relationship with their peers. Young people think they’re more special and much more important than others. Teens consider that they’re the only interesting people in the world. In addition, they feel misunderstood because they believe that others, mainly adults, have never felt what they do.
Once we reach maturity, that feeling of exclusivity fades away while we learn to understand that there are different points of view and perspectives. However, this doesn’t happen in some people, which results in the development of egocentric personality. In psychology, this is considered a cognitive bias; which refers to a distortion in the processing of information that leads to a misinterpretation of what’s really going on.
Five traits that define egocentric personality
Now that we know what egocentrism is and that we’ve all experienced it in our childhood and adolescence, we’ll now explain the main characteristics of an egocentric personality.
Lack of empathy
Lack of empathy is the inability or difficulty to leave oneself aside to be able to understand or feel what another person experiences.
An unempathetic person lives immersed in their reality and ignores other people’s struggles, issues, feelings, or thoughts. They’ll look for their own good in a selfish and uncommitted way. They turn a blind eye to their environment and truly believe everyone should act, feel, and think like them.
Self-centered people focus on their non-stop pursuit of success, power, love, and wealth with the goal of standing out. As a consequence, their struggle to achieve unrealistic goals often leads them to frustration.
In many cases, this will result in severe distress and anxiety that will negatively affect their self-esteem. In addition, their unattainable goals will directly affect future enthusiasm when it comes to considering new goals.
Lack of self-esteem
Those with egocentric personality wear a mask of confidence in front of others. This disguise is actually hiding their deep feeling of insecurity, low self-esteem, and fear. They tend to transmit this false confidence so that others believe that everything they say is true. Egocentric people want others to validate their opinions at all times.
According to psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, egocentrism is a defense mechanism. In other words, it’s an unconscious psychological strategy people use to avoid facing reality and to maintain their self-image.
Egocentric personality also manifests itself in certain attitudes such as keenness for being flattered and admired by others. This is usually seen through the individual’s excessive desire for others to shower them with compliments. In fact, they use this strategy to prolong the attention they get. Let’s not forget that people with this type of personality are willing to do whatever it takes to be praised.
On the other hand, egocentric individuals want to control everyone else’s ideas, actions, and behaviors. And not only that, but they want to be admired for doing so.
Emotional manipulation or blackmail
Self-centered people use emotional blackmail and continuous manipulation to compensate for their feelings of insecurity. They only care about others when they’re going to get something in return.
Although egocentrism can affect relationships, identifying it is the first step to managing it and taking positive steps to change.