This is the final of the three killers of a relationship. Selfishness: the opposite of team and community.
"My way or the high way."
"I am always right. I am never wrong."
"I don't want to do that. I do things this way."
"That's not me. This is just who I am"
All of these statements are not inherently bad. Some of them may in the proper context be useful for self-acceptance and building boundaries. However, we all know someone (even if that someone is us) who uses these is the selfish way.
Selfishness is concerned about me, my problems, my comfort. A selfish person takes no account of others feelings, wants, needs. Others don't matter. In actuality, for the selfish person, other people in the community or relationship exist to fulfill the selfish persons needs and wants!
selfish (adj.) Look up selfish at Dictionary.com
1630s, from self- + -ish. Said in Hacket's life of Archbishop Williams (1693) to have been coined by Presbyterians. In the 17c., synonyms included self-seeking (1620s), self-ended and self-ful.
If the other cannot fulfill the selfish persons needs or wants, frustration, annoyance, and anger can arise.
"Why isn't this done? Why can't you/don't you/ won't you do this?"
"I asked you to do this. This is what I want. If you loved me you would do what I ask/say!"
Selfish people never take responsibility for their actions. It is always someone else's fault. They are never wrong. They are always wronged.
At the same time, selfish people are good at pointing out the flaws in others, but are loath to openly admit and acknowledge their own flaws. If they do acknowledge they are wrong, it is again never their fault. Someone is picking on them. Someone set them up.
Selfish people in a relationship tend to drain the energy of their significant others, and yet they continue to demand more from them. If relationships are about mutual giving and fulfillment, a selfish person is anathema.
sacrifice (v.) Look up sacrifice at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "to offer something (to a deity, as a sacrifice)," from sacrifice (n.). Meaning "surrender, give up, suffer to be lost" is from 1706. Related: Sacrificed; sacrificing. Agent noun forms include sacrificer, sacrificator (both 16c., the latter from Latin); and sacrificulist (17c.).
sacrifice (n.) Look up sacrifice at Dictionary.com
late 13c., "offering of something (especially a life) to a deity as an act of propitiation or homage;" mid-14c., "that which is offered in sacrifice," from Old French sacrifise "sacrifice, offering" (12c.), from Latin sacrificium, from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (properly neuter plural of sacer "sacred;" see sacred) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious).
Latin sacrificium is glossed in Old English by ansegdniss. Sense of "act of giving up one thing for another; something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1590s.
This is the ultimate balm of a relationship. It comes after acceptance and forgiveness.
Let me say this up front: this is not some sort of codependent self-martyrdom i am speaking of. If one has accepted a person for who they are, if one has forgiven the person for who they are or what they have done, if one's one personal esteem is healthy, then one is free to be in or out of relationship with another.
If I choose to be in relationship with a selfish person, the person who hurt me, I do it with eyes wide open. I do not enter in or remain in relationship expecting them to change. I can hope, but I do not expect. if I expect them to change I am basing my being in the relationship, and therefore my satisfaction with it, off of their performance or lack their of. However, once I have accepted them and their issues, myself and my issues, and have forgiven us both, I am now free to either walk or way or remain.
Relationships demand sacrifice. They must be a joining of ideas, of goals and dreams, of methods. This joining is a sacrifice. We sacrifice for those we love or value. We give up freedoms, time, energy, affection, monetary and material resources because we value this relationship.
Sacrifice is a giving of the self. This is not me giving because I need or want, but because I love. I am secure in who I am, and accept who you are, and I give myself to you.
Sacrifice is dangerous, I will admit. Sacrifice makes one vulnerable to being used, misused, or abused. Sacrifice is not to be done lightly. It is giving of the life for the benefit of another.
Sacrifice is beautiful as well. Sacrifice has the ability to birth in the heart of others the desire to give as well. Thus, when I give myself, I open myself up to receiving what I have given. Others can sacrifice for me.