Egocentric Thinking

As I described in my last post (see “What Were They Thinking? – Part 2”), persons with disturbed characters don’t act the way we do largely because they don’t think the way we do.  

Stanton Samenow was among the early researchers to catalog the distorted thinking patterns or “errors in thinking” which some of the most severely disturbed characters (those with criminal records) display. Over the years, I’ve adapted and modified several of the erroneous thinking patterns he and other researchers brought to light and added several of my own that I came to realize played a crucial role in the problems created by the disordered characters I have treated. The first erroneous thinking pattern I’ll be discussing is one I label “Egocentric Thinking”.  

The disordered character thinks so much about himself that it’s second nature. His concerns are almost always with himself and for himself. Whatever the situation or issue initially is, somehow it ends up about him. Disordered characters so frequently think about things that they want because that’s what’s important to them. They hardly ever think about what someone else might want or need, because they attach such little importance to that. Because he thinks the entire world revolves around him, he often thinks that others should care primarily about what he desires and what interests him.

When the disturbed character wants something, he doesn’t think about whether it’s right, good, legal, or whether his pursuit of it might adversely affect anyone — he only cares that he wants it. His incessant concern for himself and the things that he desires creates a pattern of thinking which embodies an attitude of indifference to the rights, needs, wants, and expectations of others. This attitude of indifference fosters a complete disregard for social obligation, and in some cases, as Samenow notes, an ardent disdain for and refusal to accept social obligation. As self-centered as he is, the disturbed character believes the world owes him everything and that he owes the world nothing. He has extremely high expectations for everyone else, but feels no concomitant sense that he should subjugate himself to the expectations of others or society in general. His thinking patterns, attitudes, and their resultant behaviors prompt him to lead an extremely self-centered lifestyle.


19 thoughts on “Egocentric Thinking

  1. It’s odd how the paper assumes that the wrong thinker is a male and not in a non sexual content. I have see this issue in both men and women.

    1. Hi Frank, it’s been pretty well discussed and agreed upon that this issue is not exclusively a male issue. To what degree the percentages fall on the male gender is a hot topic of debate and has also been kicked up and down the field here and I’m sure in many other discussion forums. When it comes to “facts” that would “prove” which gender is deserving of which percentage that becomes a multifaceted, tangled up ball of yarn to tease apart.

    2. Frank, I don’t believe the author is making the assumption the wrong thinker is a male as much as he is using the “he” as a dominate possessive term to describe anyone. It’s more natural for a writer to label a “he” over a “she” instead of a “they” because it allows the article to flow in a more natural setting.

    3. I am a woman, yet I did not simply assume that the subject being discussed was male because the pronoun “he” was used. This is how people traditionally wrote about subjects. Because of the present obsession with gender identity politics, that is all YOU chose to focus on. By “you,” I could mean any gender. Do you need the gender of “you” to be specified in order to understand your own gender? Try to get out of your own way when learning something new. You might start to appreciate the thinking and writing of others without being distracted by your disruptive gender identity politics. I found the paper interesting, useful and informative. You made it about you. That’s egocentric thinking at its best!

  2. In my experience, Mexican/Chicano males are actually raised to be egocentric. They are raised, especially by single mothers, to be served hand and foot. First by their mothers and sisters, then by their wives. Meanwhile, the girls are raised to be servants.

    1. Tanya:I don’t know if this is Mexican/Chicano problem… Or may be, you are just discriminating,I am Mexican,I’m married with a good Mexican man, same thing all my sisters,and we weren’t raised to be servants. I’m sorry if you feel that way…this problem is affecting every culture,but probably your twisted way of thinking don’t let you see the reality.

  3. I have a friend who fits this to a tee. Whenever we go out everything has to go his way, if it don’t it’s wrong. Trying to talk to him about it only starts an argument. Nothing we say or do is wright.

  4. My father was a very egocentric man. Growing up with him, no sibling or mother, I picked up on. Perfect home, no shoes in the house, correct lids on cups, and clean so I can see my things. YES, I said it, MY things. I was taught to share. I was taught to take over what I wanted. I wasn’t allowed to cry, that was too girly for my dad. My afternoon fun was watching the the news and reading about current events.
    I wasn’t raised to be a servant and I certainly would never became one. Yes I had servants I see nothing wrong with that. They were paid well.

    1. I was amazed reading this article. I always wonder about the way the human mind thinks. I know a lot of people that show all the signs of being an Egocentric thinker.

  5. I have dealt with some people that had egocentric tendencies, but if they have a good heart I can deal with it because you can rationalize with them their thoughts. If they don’t have a good heart and are a self centered egotistical fool, I don’t think I would bother conversing with them, cause their is no getting through to them on any level. I would just go my way and them go their way, and that is okay.

  6. I think it’s hilarious that the article puts the egocentric thinking outside the writer. The egocentric thinker is one’s self. We all naturally think egocentric thoughts first and foremost. Responsibility always lands somewhere outside of ourselves at first thought. Then only after we mentally are able to handle the facts and rational logic can we see that every thing is multi-faceted and has many contributing factors. Numerous of which, land squarely within our own power to control. When we say “Those people” or “He” is egocentric we’re missing the point about thought models and modes. Think back to the last time you had an argument or debate with someone. You had needs and wants that you desired be met. What were they, and how did they influence how you handled the flow of discussion. They’re important. Those wants should be acknowledged. Happiness to all in equal amount! Have a good one.

  7. I do think that this is mostly a male issue. If you were to take a look at the records of
    domestic violence it is the male who at most part commits this crime. Just look at the red figures that are displayed on court house lawns. At least 90% of these figures are females. Very seldom do you see cases of domestic abuse that involves women against. Look at the U.S. that is mostly run by men it is a mess. This is mostly a male problem.

    1. Susan,
      Really, a male issue??? Where do you get your figures from? Did they include all the males who would be stereotyped, stigmatized, laughed at and looked down upon should they open their mouths?

      I know of women I can guarantee you would not like to cross your path. Would they show up in a shelter and complain, you bet they would. There is a silent minority of men that can’t speak out and I know plenty of them, you noticed I said can’t and then there are ones that don’t, won’t due to the children, pride, by this time it may be the only thing they have left intact. In going through my own personal ordeal it was the very men that didn’t go to the shelters and ate humble pie that walked me through and helped me.

      In all courtesy for the males that have ventured to post on this site, I thank you for courage.

  8. I deal with egocentric people all the time and I do say that just being around these attitudes can be unbelievable some time listening and seeing the same things they do year in year out gets boring. They think that their life is more important to them than your life. I have learned to keep my distance of those who holds these traits and move around, because I don’t owe no one anything. What’s important to me is my children and not them. I treat people according to how they treat me and my family. All I can do is pray nothing bad happens to me or my family and them.

  9. Currently I’m in the process of divorcing a CDN. His position is that after this 30 year marriage everything is no marital and he contributed everything while I contributed zero. Amazing since I worked full time all but four years which were part time while raising our two kids and keeping the house clean with no help from him. Amazing how I managed to contribute nothing isn’t it? And that is the way these characters actually think.

  10. I have lived with an egocentric before, and he was never wrong according to him. You would think that he was handicapped the way he would sat down and ask me to bring him a cup of water.

  11. Wondering how this might impact cross-cultural issues. I had a friend who was going abroad to a country I grew up visiting over the summer, my mother’s native country, with which I’ve had a lifelong connection to. I suggested more caution there than where she previously had stayed abroad and her response was shocking to me, essentially telling me to keep any concerns to myself. I don’t think she wanted to see where I was coming from at all, and preferred to view my comment as an indictment of her capacities, which it was not.

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