Sam asked in Family & RelationshipsFamily · 2 years ago

My parents think I’m selfish and I don’t know if I am?

Hello! My parents are really good people, they just have really short fuses and, in my opinion, a skewed view on what is disrespect.

Today my mom told me about all the times she felt hurt by my selfishness. She mentioned food that I made and didn’t offer her but I normally cook food after everyone else has already eaten dinner because I’m picky. They also told me that they’re upset that i have to be asked to do chores and that i should just volunteer. If my parents tell me to sweep or clean the bathroom, I’ll do it, but they get upset that they have to ask. My parents tell me that they can’t read my mind if I need something, but I also can’t read their mind with what they want me to do. I’d never walk by a mess purposely, I’m just not home very often and don’t normally eat there. More than that, if something pops up that i genuinely have a reason for not doing they assume the worst of me. They think that I’m extremely disrespectful and selfish when i try and explain and i really don’t know what to do about it. If I try and have an adult conversation, they assume that I’m trying to undermine their athourity and get even angrier.

Am I selfish because I forget about others? I don’t do it maliciously, it just doesn’t come up in my mind. If something goes wrong in front of me then I will help and I recognize when my help is needed in a moment, but it’s hard for me to predict future needs/concerns. If I am, are there ways I can improve on this?

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  • Janet
    Lv 7
    2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, you cannot read their mind.

    But they just TOLD you ..

    - they want you to clean without being asked

    - they want you to share food you have cooked, without being asked.

    Are you selfish? Yes. Maybe not extremely selfish, but you ARE wrapped up in yourself and don't pay much attention to what others might need.

    Psychologists tell us that being focused on ourselves (self-centered) makes us neurotic and more unhappy. And being focused on others makes us happier and more emotionally-balanced.

    I think you come up short in that ..... forgetting about others comes FROM being selfish/self-centered.

    Malicious behavior comes from being mean. You are not mean. Just self-centered.

    As for your parents' opinion of you. It was formed over a long time and many repetitions of the same behavior. It is NOT going to change overnight. In fact, with anyone (parents OR spouse), once an opinion is formed, it can take 5 years of deliberately going in the OTHER direction before you start to change their opinion of you.

    Three ways to improve on this:

    - Before you start to cook, ask anyone around you if they are hungry .. cook for them too, if they are.

    - NOTICE the house .. when you see something that needs to be cleaned or attended to ... do it. You don't have to become a full-time housekeeper, but it wouldn't hurt to do something once every 2-3 days .. without being asked. More than just picking up after yourself. You don't need to predict ... you just have to stop moving through the world as if your needs are the only ones that matter .. you need to NOTICE what is going on around you.

    btw .. you need to develop this if you ever hope to be happily married. It is even HARDER to get along with a spouse than it is to get along with our parents.

    - Stop making excuses for your behavior. Be honest with yourself.

  • 2 years ago

    I’ve gone through the same thing, my parents will get annoyed when I didn’t even realize I forgot to do a certain chore! Anyways you don’t sound selfish, just self focused and that’s not always a bad thing. Just try to remember the bigger picture and ask yourself: “is what I’m doing helping other people in the house? Or am I putting a burden on others?”. Ask yourself how you’d feel if you were someone else in the house. You’d appreciate having someone offer you food or pick up after themselves right? So try to pay the same respect you’d like to receive. I know this isn’t always realistic, sometimes you’re in a rush, but communicate that and apologize if you mess up

  • 2 years ago

    Hard to say without knowing more, but I do know young people who are fine with others, but take their parents for granted. They've been coddled all their lives, and don't understand why they need to step up now and treat their parents with as much respect as they give their friends. You shouldn't have to be asked to clean the bathroom or sweep. Do it because you want to make life easier for your parents. They cared for you through sickness and tantrums, and all the problems of growing up- now take care of them a little.

  • 2 years ago

    i dont think youre selfish, just try to think about others

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  • 2 years ago

    You could say that it is selfish of them to have these expectations in their mind, and assume you live up to them without ever making you aware of it. Honestly, selfishness and selflessness are not states, but points along a line. You could be so selfless that you are killing yourself doing things other poeple want, and never do anything for your own good, but that is kind of crazy. You could do the opposite, but that is going to make no one like you. So that means most times you are opperating somewhere inbetween.

    How you should see this situation is a bit more transactional. You obviously want to try and make your parents happy, but realize that you won't automatically know ahead of time what to do. So you have to allow that sometimes things you do are going to annoy them. When that happens, you then know what they want, and you can try to do that in future. There is no need to beat yourself up, just use that experience as a way to learn how to do things that make them happy. Then realize that they are not entitled to the things they want to happen. You have to live your life, and that will mean that sometimes there will be things where if you give others too much of what they want, it will block you from getting something you want. You will have to develop the skill of knowing where to set boundaries. An example of a boundary you should set for yourself is to not allow yourself to feel shamed if you do something they feel is selfish, if you did not have that intent. If you do it again, knowing that it will upset them, then you can feel shame or not at that point, but the first time you are not going to be manipulated into feeling bad. Going through this mental gymnastics a bunch of times, will build up your radar for when people might be upset by certain things. This will help you to know when you are about to do something, that might make someone upset. Even then, though, it is still going to happen sometimes. Life is often accidentally bumping into people and things. Sometimes you will offend people who have no right to be offended by what you did. Can't control everything.

    Lastly, being selfish isn't always bad. You can and should be selfish sometimes, it's more a matter of knowing when, where, and how much. That is something you figure out by just living, failing, learning and trying.

  • 2 years ago

    The older you get, the more you need to start thinking of your parents as room mates and the less you should think of them as servants.

    Think of it as an exercise.

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