Author Topic: How do you deal with very self-centered people?  (Read 4422 times)

2microsNH

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How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« on: June 24, 2018, 12:19:19 PM »
My mother-in-law is one of the most self-centered and self-referential people I've ever met. Ninety-five percent of any conversation we have revolves around her life, her opinions, her career, her travels, her-her-her. Virtually nothing my husband or I say gets any traction. I've even tried "ideas talk" (not politics) instead of "me talk," and even ideas don't get any traction (surprising, because she's educated and has a brainy career). I can spend about three hours with this woman until I become utterly bored and annoyed and start tuning her out; quite literally, I stop making eye contact and ignore her. It don't want to be cruel, but I can't help it -- she's exhausting.

How do you deal with extremely self-centered people? Do you have any tips for making our (non-optional) time with her more tolerable? My husband sees the dynamic, but he's more accepting of and patient with his invisible-man role in the relationship than I am; thus, he's not going to rock the boat by trying to 'work on' the relationship dynamic.


Mon€yp€nny

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2018, 12:55:01 PM »
A lot of people talk and talk cause they feel insecure or not heard in my experience. There are limits to what one can tolerate though.
I have found that really listening and asking questions helps. My inlaw family is full of ladies and some gentlemen that talk or talked into the air. Everyone is telling their own story and nobody listens to each other. It's annoying and  comical at the same time.
When I really listen to them, make them feel heard, they calm down. I suspect that while many are in a long marriage, have been single their whole life and have (volunteers)work and social contacts, a lot of them rarely have someone that really listens to them, gives them attention. Hidden loneliness.
After I really listen to them.for a bit, they also seem to accept it better when I say 'Sorry, one moment please' when I'm talking to someone else or when I'm trying to say something. And I feel better doing that too.

rdaneel0

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2018, 01:05:34 PM »
In my experience the best way to deal with this kind of thing is to alter the way you feel internally about the situation. My inlaws are like this too, and when we see them I just go into it knowing:

1. everyone will talk about themselves
2. i will not have any interesting conversations
3. no one will ask me anything about my life

I expect to just be nodding and smiling and a little bored for a few days. Setting it up this way (mentally) rather than trying to figure out a way to change it (I did that too at first) makes it much easier. I sorta just turn off my brain, and try to be grateful that DH's family likes to spend time with us and that he is such an awesome man at least in part because of them. That makes me have more compassion for them, when I'm at my best of course. Sometimes I feel like my eyes are glazing over and I'm just melting into the couch, lol. I feel your pain.

OtherJen

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2018, 01:45:35 PM »
In my experience the best way to deal with this kind of thing is to alter the way you feel internally about the situation. My inlaws are like this too, and when we see them I just go into it knowing:

1. everyone will talk about themselves
2. i will not have any interesting conversations
3. no one will ask me anything about my life

You pretty much described my interactions with my dad's side of the family (with a few notable exceptions who are truly delightful people). There have been several scheduled family events already this summer. I've skipped all of them to save my mental energy for the family reunion. At least the food will be good.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2018, 02:14:45 PM »
If she's trying to deal with and your husband refuses to do his part in handling his family (which is lazy and cowardly and very childish), then the only answer is to limit your time accordingly, and politely say "no, not gonna deal with your shit."

If you know she is going to talk about herself constantly, then take a book or podcast or something to amuse yourself for the duration of the visit, do the basic 15 minutes of "catching up" since last time, then excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, check something in the car, or whatever and when you come back, get your book/earbuds and tell them you're going to let your husband and her chat and you're just fine by yourself.

But really, you have a husband problem, not an in law problem. You can't change your inlaws, but your husband should be dealing with this shit, and if he won't, then he's the problem here... and this is bad for a marriage long-term. Having a passive husband that won't step up when you need help because he's too timid or avoidant... you have no idea how terrible that feels and it could end a marriage if he's so passive that he basically refuses to help out when the chips are down.

So if it's his mother, then his problem. He gets to be her audience for the next 3+ hours. "Hey honey, I'm gonna go get some stuff from the car/next room, but you and your mom can go ahead without me and chat away! Have fun!"

And if you want to leave after 2 hours, then stand up, announce to them that it's time for y'all to get home and thank them for a lovely visit and gather up your shit (and your husband) and leave.

But the big thing is that you don't have to go as often, or stay as long if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Your husband isn't "non confrontational" - he is a wimpy little child boy who hasn't learned to relate to his mother as a peer - adult to adult. He's still allowing her to call the shots, and treat him (and you) as if you were still children. He doesn't have to stand up and scream at her to get it across that the dynamics need to shift, but he should be telling his mother "hey mom, you've spent the last hour talking about yourself. So how about you ask 2microsNH about her job? She just had this really cool thing happen and I'm really proud of her." and then redirecting his mom if she starts back on the one trick pony routine "hey mom, I think we've heard enough about your thoughts on this subject. How about I tell you how I'm doing with this new hobby thing for a while?" and then refuse to let her hijack the conversation back onto her favorite subject. But since he won't, you need to. Otherwise you're trapped in a limbo of dealing with this shit and then it will lead you to start resenting your husband for being so passive and abandoning you to deal with HIS shit... not a great recipe for success in a relationship.

Although I'd put my foot down about spending that much time if you truly are tired of it. You don't have to be there every time. Hell, I have an extremely self-centered MIL, and I stopped going to visit with the husband many years ago due to her incessant bullshit. He stopped going too, once he didn't have me as a buffer - interesting, right?  He even cut her off for years because she was a bit of a bitch.

At this point, I don't deal with assholes, black holes (this type of person that sucks the life and craves every bit of attention) or any other types that are draining or treat me poorly. Even if they're family. ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE FAMILY.

You are allowed to cut out of visits, to leave early, to go amuse yourself after making a small amount of small talk... just because you're female, it seems expected that we're supposed to be the ones smoothing things over, doing the listening/gossiping/dealing with the family (even when it is the inlaws) while the menfolk were allowed to take off and watch TV, go to the back porch or garage and tinker or take a nap... fuck that noise. It is possible to develop a polite spine where you say "thanks but no" to the expectations for your interactions. As long as you're not being a bitch, you can excuse yourself and go do something else any time.

You didn't buy a ticket to watch your MIL's one woman performance, and you sure as hell aren't being paid enough to sit through another momalogue so any time you feel like ditching, just excuse yourself and GO.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2018, 02:24:19 PM by Frankies Girl »

Cranky

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2018, 02:29:07 PM »
I'd rather listen to somebody else talk than do the talking myself. I always take knitting with me, and it's fine. (I don't have anything all that thrilling to say, either.)

Letj

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2018, 04:47:48 PM »
Just change your mindset and keep the peace. Is your mother in law an otherwise fine woman?  I would leave it alone and don’t put your husband in an uncomfortable position by complaining about his mother.  None of us is perfect. Cut her some slack; she may be totally oblivious. Sounds like she lived an interesting life and doesn’t mind sharing her experiences. You too have habits, mannerism and behaviors that others may find irksome. Practice love and acceptance toward your MIL. You may need those favors when you get to her age.

EmFrugal

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2018, 05:07:09 PM »
I have a MIL who is absolutely exhausting and used to drive me insane, but I got over it. Instead of fighting her habitual ways, which were in no way harmful or abusive (just annoying), I chose to focus on her good. I also put myself in her shoes and practiced my empathy muscles. You never know the full picture. Even with family. Because of my change of heart and perspective, I really enjoy my MIL now. Especially now that I have openly communicated that I need some time to myself to recharge after being with her for a long time. It is possible to strike the right balance with empathy and kindness and also being clear about your needs.

Johnez

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2018, 05:33:22 PM »
It's funny how many people in here are talking about their in laws. I wonder if this is like the unconscious bias issue being dealt with in workplaces lately-basically it's easier to spot bias in others than personally. Are we spotting other's more annoying selfishness and ignoring our own family's?

Anyway I find people usually behave this way because they are desperate for attention. Nothing you do as an outsider/acquaintance is going to reverse years of social issues. Better to accept and deal, and limit the time spent.

MayDay

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 06:14:52 PM »
It's funny how many people in here are talking about their in laws. I wonder if this is like the unconscious bias issue being dealt with in workplaces lately-basically it's easier to spot bias in others than personally. Are we spotting other's more annoying selfishness and ignoring our own family's?


I think it is 2 things:

1.  With your own family you are used to it and it is very ingrained, so it doesn't bother you are much,

and/or

2.  It is much easier to call your own family on their shit in person, vs. feeling like you need to be polite.  (This is my issue- if my own mom is obnoxious I tell her to quit that nonsense, and with my MIL I bottle it up inside and am miserable the whole visit).

SwordGuy

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2018, 06:44:14 PM »
But the big thing is that you don't have to go as often, or stay as long if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Your husband isn't "non confrontational" - he is a wimpy little child boy who hasn't learned to relate to his mother as a peer - adult to adult. He's still allowing her to call the shots, and treat him (and you) as if you were still children.

Yep, that about sums it up.

My mom was a complete horse's ass when I started dating the woman I later moved in with and then married.

We had a number of very brief and unpleasant phone conversations in which I had to be very blunt.   

She had to learn how to be civil to the woman I loved or lose a son.   Her call. 


*************************** FUN SUGGESTION **************************


Anytime you are "blessed" with someone who drones on and on and on about stuff you could care less about, instead of turning them out, tune them in.  Completely in.  Get so invested in what they are talking about that you just can't control your excitement and just have to blurt out questions.


Them:  "So, we ordered our meal and ..."

You:  "What did you order?"

Them: "What? Oh, Chinese fried rice and egg rolls.   So, we ordered our meal and..."

You: "With hot mustard and duck sauce?"


Just keep asking pointless questions that interrupt the story.

The key is to look totally invested and excited about their story.   


Such fun, such fun!!!



rdaneel0

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2018, 07:39:38 PM »
But the big thing is that you don't have to go as often, or stay as long if you don't feel comfortable doing so. Your husband isn't "non confrontational" - he is a wimpy little child boy who hasn't learned to relate to his mother as a peer - adult to adult. He's still allowing her to call the shots, and treat him (and you) as if you were still children.

Yep, that about sums it up.

My mom was a complete horse's ass when I started dating the woman I later moved in with and then married.

We had a number of very brief and unpleasant phone conversations in which I had to be very blunt.   

She had to learn how to be civil to the woman I loved or lose a son.   Her call. 


*************************** FUN SUGGESTION **************************


Anytime you are "blessed" with someone who drones on and on and on about stuff you could care less about, instead of turning them out, tune them in.  Completely in.  Get so invested in what they are talking about that you just can't control your excitement and just have to blurt out questions.


Them:  "So, we ordered our meal and ..."

You:  "What did you order?"

Them: "What? Oh, Chinese fried rice and egg rolls.   So, we ordered our meal and..."

You: "With hot mustard and duck sauce?"


Just keep asking pointless questions that interrupt the story.

The key is to look totally invested and excited about their story.   


Such fun, such fun!!!

Bahahahaha, that's gold.

pecunia

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2018, 07:49:58 PM »
I've wondered about something.  If someone came along and essentially "stole" someone I loved, I guess there would be a bit of conflict.  When mothers and fathers love their children, it is sometimes it is hard to let go.  When wives love their husbands, it can be hard to share even a little piece with the mother.

I wonder if this sort of thing would be so bothersome if the person wasn't a relative.


OtherJen

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2018, 09:03:19 PM »
It's funny how many people in here are talking about their in laws. I wonder if this is like the unconscious bias issue being dealt with in workplaces lately-basically it's easier to spot bias in others than personally. Are we spotting other's more annoying selfishness and ignoring our own family's?

Anyway I find people usually behave this way because they are desperate for attention. Nothing you do as an outsider/acquaintance is going to reverse years of social issues. Better to accept and deal, and limit the time spent.

I dunno. My parents are great (as are husband's parents), but I generally find husband's extended family to be much more pleasant than my own.

flower_girl

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2018, 09:39:48 PM »
LOL @SwordGuy, cool idea!

@OP, I have a few relatives like this myself and it really is very trying.  Me, me, me, me, me, me, me....

I don't think you can change her.  She sounds like she may have narcisstic personality disorder.

I'd absolutely put limits around my interactions with her though.  Three hours? Ah I don't think so.  An hour would be enough for me!

albireo13

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 07:23:36 AM »
For me it's my Mom.  She is totally obsessed with ill health and always talking about her ills and aches and pains.  She's always calling the doctor and panicking over  nothing.   It's exhausting spending time with her.


Tris Prior

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2018, 07:27:03 AM »
I have a family member like this. I get so sick of being told "oh yeah, what about ME? Put 30 years on you and see how you handle that!" any time I mention anything less-than-great going on in my life. If I mention something positive that's going on in my life, I get "oh, well, I can't have/do that, I'm too old/poor/overwhelmed." I pretty much stopped talking about myself entirely, uh-huh and mm-hm my way through one-sided conversations, and get off the phone as quickly as I can. I reached the conclusion that I cannot change this person, so I gave up. It's so exhausting, though.

Livingthedream55

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2018, 07:46:42 AM »
I have family members like this and while I choose to still spend time with them, I do so in a way that is protective of me as well.

1. I limit my "exposure" (i.e. I set a frequency and a time boundary in advance and stick to it). There are some family members I see just at holidays.

2. I do try to get in a few statements about myself and my life (just out of sheer politeness) -- which sometimes means talking over them -- and then after that I just let them do their thing (knowing I cannot change someone else's long-ingrained pattern of behaving/attention seeking).

3. I do not take it personally!

4. I plan self-care if the interaction is particularly toxic (being around constant complainers is very tiring and can impact my mood). Self-care can mean the rest of the day I do something fun/restorative/joyful.




tipster350

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2018, 07:54:05 AM »
I have played Mr. Sword Guys game on occasion. It can be mildly amusing, for a twist on dealing with the self absorbed. What's awesome is you're interrupting their monologue, which they don't want, yet on the surface giving them the attention they want. It creates some tension for them which they can't resolve.

Most of the time, however, I limit my exposure. It is ok to check out as suggested, either by leaving altogether or retiring to another room. It's your life and it's up to you how much of it you're willing to let others steal.

To the point about this being a spouse problem, I agree. Spouse is basically trying to make you absorb the discomfort so he doesn't have to. So how much you want to take on for him is a personal decision but if you do take it on, I suggest going all in for the amount of time and peace you give away for the sake of his. Be intentional and define the limits for how much is ok to give away for the sake of his comfort.
 Otherwise it will just turn into a festering sore.

mak1277

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2018, 09:17:46 AM »
I think pretty much everyone I've ever met is self-centered and only interested in their own stuff. 

scissorbill

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2018, 11:07:51 AM »
I started knitting and now I have something I thoroughly enjoy doing that is conducive to carrying on conversation.  Is there a similar hobby you could try?

tipster350

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #21 on: June 25, 2018, 11:20:05 AM »
I think pretty much everyone I've ever met is self-centered and only interested in their own stuff.

Wow, that is quite a statement! Has no one showed any interest in what you had to say?

mak1277

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #22 on: June 25, 2018, 11:22:13 AM »
I think pretty much everyone I've ever met is self-centered and only interested in their own stuff.

Wow, that is quite a statement! Has no one showed any interest in what you had to say?

There's a difference between asking someone what they think or how they're doing because that's what is expected socially and *genuinely* caring what someone else thinks.  I find most people are good at asking because they're supposed to, but few are good at giving a crap.

madgeylou

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #23 on: June 25, 2018, 11:24:37 AM »
I have ended relationships over this kind of behavior. Because, when it comes down to it, in these situations I am basically being used as emotional toilet paper, and I have better shit to do.

Definitely am willing to cut old people more slack on this, but it's happened to me one too many times that I'm expected to be a receptive audience, offering non-stop emotional support and receiving nothing in return and at this point, it's just a big nope for me.

crxpilot

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2018, 11:29:43 AM »
Might I suggest you tell her fuck off?

marble_faun

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2018, 12:09:36 PM »
It's hard to change the dynamic with someone like this. You become their captive audience, and they hold forth for hours.

What works for me is changing my own attitudes and perceptions. Like, I'll imagine how Charles Dickens would have described this person if they were a character in one of his novels. This leads me to pay more attention to them and the details of how they are expressing themselves. I can stay mentally engaged as they are droning on.

If three hours is your limit, maybe have something planned after 2 hours that you need to go and do.  Maybe it's errands, or exercise time, or some other event. You can leave your husband there to catch up with her while you take a break.  And feel free to make these breaks last the rest of the day.

Also, when things get extreme, it's okay to meet impoliteness with impoliteness.  Tuning her out and becoming less responsive after three hours is not horrible, because she herself is ignoring social norms.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 03:21:14 PM by marble_faun »

2microsNH

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2018, 01:50:14 PM »
Thanks for your thoughtful posts, everyone. His mother is not a terrible person, and I don't really think she has narcissistic personality disorder as defined by the DSM... she's just very self-centered and a bit of a doofus interpersonally and emotionally. It helps me to consider that she may be lonely... a definite possibility, given what I see when I look beneath the surface of her life.

I agree that limiting exposure is a good solution, but it's difficult because currently we don't live close -- she lives in a distant state, so visits are extended overnights. Also, the norm in my husband's family is to spend entire days together during visits, but I do think I can be more creative about taking space periodically and politely. Even an hour-long breather helps me to be more patient and accepting when we come back together. Plans are for her to move closer to us (within two hours drive) within a year or two, which I see as mostly positive, because then I'll be able to limit time with her to half-day trips and fewer, if any, overnights. I'll also be able to bow out of visits on weekends when my husband can visit her alone, while I have other "plans."

As for this being a husband problem, there is some of that, but he's not totally clueless. He's aware that he's passive with his family, and he feels a lot of shame about that; he has a complicated history with each of his parents and deep fears of abandonment. He does have work to do, and he's doing it, although it's slow. I try to practice empathy with him, too, and remind myself that I'm still terrified of my own father despite all of my own emotional work. Regarding this specific issue with his mom, my husband knows it's not my 'job' to humor her when she's talking incessantly about herself. He sees the dysfunctional and exhausting dynamic and is supportive of my taking space and setting boundaries. My challenges are to not over-function and to set my boundaries non-aggressively.

marble_faun, this comment is very assuring: Tuning her out and becoming less responsive after three hours is not horrible, because she herself is ignoring social norms. It helps me to consider that my responses to her aren't unreasonable or cruel. Thanks.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2018, 01:56:32 PM by 2microsNH »

Zikoris

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2018, 01:51:39 PM »
I mostly just avoid them. I'm pretty selective about who I spend time with, and fortunately, we have a relationship dynamic where neither of us expects the other person to do things they don't want to or spend time with people they don't like. On the rare occasions where I need to, I put on my receptionist hat and be pleasantly polite while my brain goes elsewhere.

Clamdigger

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2018, 06:12:03 PM »
Never stay overnight at a relative’s house, even when they insist.  Both sides need a break to rest and reset.  That is what hotels are for.

At some point your relatives will pass away.  So it is always important to understand the family history while they are alive.  Also, if your relatives have a skill, you should learn as much about that skill as possible.  Think about things you might want to know in the future.  For example, we never really discussed their teenage years in the past, but they have some interesting stories about the 1950s.  Also learned about investing from my father in law.  Dig out the family pictures and digitize the ones you want to keep.  Same with family recipes.  Maybe you can even teach them something about electronics.  Have some sort of mission in mind when you visit so you are not just there to chat.  Go for a walk together.  Help them fix something.  Have them help you with something.  If you think this may be the last time you see your relative, what would you want to know, share, or do with them?

Noodle

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2018, 08:25:53 PM »
She isn't going to change. These are very long-ingrained patterns that would take a lot of work and powerful influence to change, and you don't have the leverage to get her to do that. So all you can do is change your perspective and actions.

In terms of perspective, you can try to reframe to see her through a lens of pity and compassion. She's probably lonely (because self-centeredness doesn't really attract people). She might be insecure. She's almost certainly missed out on opportunities and relationships because people don't like to be around the obsessively self-centered. She may have social anxiety, or just awkwardness where she is afraid of asking the wrong question or saying the wrong thing about your life. Talking about herself is safer! Maybe she had a mother or mother-in-law who was hypercritical, or nosy, or hurtful and she's clumsily trying not to repeat that pattern with you.

You also have control over your time together. Staying somewhere else entirely might be a bridge too far, but you can make sure that you have your own transportation. No matter what the "expectations" of spending whole days together, you can step away to go for a walk or run an errand, or after X amount of time that you have decided you can handle, say "I have a few things to take care of, so I'll let you and Son have some time together." It doesn't matter if what you have to take care of is checking the Internet to see what Megan Markle Windsor is wearing this week. Or you can even send your husband to visit on his own, or ahead of you, and you come for a shorter period of time.

gerardc

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2018, 10:22:42 PM »
My mom is like that, it's really annoying and disturbing. She talks and talks and I don't even listen (I can't), she must realize I'm not listening I can't believe... but still keeps talking. Until I snap and tell her to shut the F up, then she's super offended. Sometimes I'm feeling extra patient and I listen. Otherwise I've become very efficient at nodding and humming so she keeps going. I haven't really found a solution and I'm not sure there is any. I can't really fix her, I can only control my own frustration and emotions. Which would leave her sad anyway if I'm unaffected. My sister has the energy to try to reason with her and teach her better ways but I just can't. So, limited contact with her and she's aging mostly alone, as unfortunate as that is.

Pigeon

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2018, 06:30:11 AM »
I started knitting and now I have something I thoroughly enjoy doing that is conducive to carrying on conversation.  Is there a similar hobby you could try?

I took up self=defense crocheting to deal with dh's relatives.  I don't hugely love doing it otherwise, but it's really great to work on during uninteresting family conversations.  You have something to keep half your brain occupied while the other have spits out an "uh-huh" periodically, and at the end of the day you have something positive to show for it.

flower_girl

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #32 on: June 26, 2018, 06:39:36 AM »
I love you guys "self defensive knitting and crocheting".  That's the coolest thing I have heard all week!

Sibley

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #33 on: June 26, 2018, 07:50:04 AM »
I don't knit or crochet, but I do needlepoint. I have definitely been known to take a project with me to visit family. I either get nothing done, or a TON.

pecunia

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #34 on: June 26, 2018, 05:27:54 PM »
gerardc:
Quote
I haven't really found a solution and I'm not sure there is any.

Just look at her and remember she won't be with you forever.  This may give you a new appreciation of her now.

GreenSheep

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2018, 01:06:16 PM »
sit through another momalogue

I see what you did there. And I'm going to start using that, although in a different context. My mom is a very attentive, interested conversationalist, but when she's just puttering around the house, she keeps up a constant chatter about nothing, whether anyone is listening or not. It's her not-so-internal momalogue. :-)

begood

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2018, 01:56:56 PM »
I have a close friend whose husband is like this. He only ever talks about himself, and waits for you to finish talking so he can one-up you with a story from his own life.

I finally just decided he must be somewhere on the autism spectrum because otherwise he would be able to pick up social cues, interact more, engage more. Once I did that, I had a lot more patience with him, and it allowed me to keep my close friend.

So even if your MIL isn't on the spectrum, her interaction show social deficiencies, which can be pitied. And I'm ALL for the idea of having a craft of some kind to take your focus while she yammers on incessantly. My in-laws wanted us to spend all day every day with them when we visited, which included watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune every night, and it was a blessing to have a cross-stitch project to work on for the duration.

Frankies Girl

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2018, 02:22:29 PM »
sit through another momalogue

I see what you did there. And I'm going to start using that, although in a different context. My mom is a very attentive, interested conversationalist, but when she's just puttering around the house, she keeps up a constant chatter about nothing, whether anyone is listening or not. It's her not-so-internal momalogue. :-)

LOL. I wondered if anyone noticed. :)

My MIL is a one woman show... the most boringest show ever, so I've sat through quite a few of these.

Another fun thing is to think they put the SOL in soliloquy. (for those not familiar - SOL can also mean "shit out of luck;" as in the case of the poor listener that is trapped during the performance). Words are fun.


mathlete

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #38 on: June 27, 2018, 02:51:31 PM »
Grin and bear it.

profnot

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2018, 09:19:57 PM »
My mother used to talk, talk, talk about nothing.  She was a nice lady but lived in a small bubble, especially after she retired.

When she came to visit, I always took her places so she didn't have 100% of my attention. 

I always had us ride the subway to a fancy English-style Afternoon Tea in San Francisco.  I told her how the English invented tonic water to help their soldiers and diplomats in India with the symptoms of malaria.  So she was convinced every Tea came with a Gin and Tonic.  (She didn't drink.)  I'd drink mine then I would drink hers. 

When she got too old to travel, I would talk on the phone with her for an hour 2 - 3 times a week.  I would sit in my favorite comfy chair, put the computer on Skye News from London, turn off the sound, and dial Mum.  She would talk, talk, talk about her neighbor's elbow, the color of the new bike of the kid down the street, yada yada.  To end the call, I'd just take the phone to the front door and ring the bell.  Gotta go, mum.

I've tried friendships with a few gals with ADD.  Couldn't get a word in edgewise.  Decided I would rather listen to National Public Radio.

Sometimes when I'm stuck with egocentric talkers, I plan things in my mind.  Upcoming dinner parties, notes for a book I'm writing, design idea for sewing a blouse.  Sometimes I take paper out of my purse and jot down a few words.  "That's interesting" I say, as I jot down something not related to whatever the human radio is saying.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the defensive crocheting and knitting.



Roadrunner53

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Re: How do you deal with very self-centered people?
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2018, 09:37:12 AM »
First off, I know this may seem old fashioned but have any of you tried distractions like board games like Monopoly or card games? I am sure there are tons of board games out there that are interesting and fun to play. Thus, stopping the incessant yapping.

I worked with a man who came from another culture and was first generation in the USA. He came as a college student. He was a smart guy but when he got his head wrapped around his hobbies, that was the main focus of his personal conversations. I tried to talk normal stuff like vacations, pets, children but he didn't seem to have anything to say about them. The conversation always went back to his stupid hobbies that were totally non interesting to me. I guess my conversations were of no interest to him either. He has changed hobbies over the years and still keeps in contact with me. He would LOVE for me to go out to lunch with him or visit or view his hobby junk. I live more than an hour away and no way I am going to do anything with him. In fact, he sent me something from his hobby collection at Christmas time so I had to send a thank you for it. I have to leave out all the details of my life like not revealing my Hub retired or that I don't work. If I did that he would be inviting me to his home and I do not want to go there! I worked with him for probably 6 years and that was a long enough torture. He is a very nice person and would do anything for someone but I just find him beyond annoying and would just rather not socialize with him. He is not my relative so I am not forced to socialize with him like others have discussed about MIL's etc. When I worked with him I was forced to spend 40 hours a week with him. UGH!