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How do you determine what is simple introversion vs. what is selfishness?

I have had an ongoing debate with a (fundamentalist Christian) long-term friend, and tonight she accused me of being narcissistic and self-centered. My discomfort with her increasing fundamentalism has created many contentious conversations, with me frankly wondering if it is worth continuing the friendship. She says that I need relationship counseling because, among other things, I have a hard time carrying on a relationship with someone who is different from me. She says I used to be a friendly and more open person, but now I am bitter. That may be true, but I don't know how one can UNDO that feeling once it has taken hold.

In my friend's view, and she may have a point, I am ignoring her needs and not asking her about how HER life is going. I am probably guilty of that. But I am afraid to ask her about anything because I don't want to hear what God is going to do about it, how he will handle it, etc. I finally said, "Do you want to know why I don't ask you? You've got God, so everything must be perfect." That brought a swift end to the conversation.

How do I assess the validity of this accusation? She wants me to turn to God for help; obviously, THAT is not going to happen. I am willing to accept the fact that I have limitations in my ability to relate to others; how do I assess where to draw the line in determining whether this is simply a personality trait vs. whether it is a flaw that needs to be fixed.

Sorry, I don't know how much sense this makes. I am going to post this on the mental health group site also.

citronella 7 Aug 4
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8 comments

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1

I walk away from Fundies. Debating with them just leads to a headache.

SKH78 Level 8 Aug 12, 2019
4

Of course it would be difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who is talking god all the time. I have a brother I can barely talk to. No topic is safe. Everything winds up being about religion or some conspiracy thing. Kinda boring to have to limit conversations to things like the weather.

It sounds like she also might not be respecting you. Why keep the relationship?

I agree, why keep this relationship? if someone's company does not bring you joy, (to me) it is not worth it. It's obviously her God-orientation which gets in the way of all she sees, she wants to change you, to bring you to the "light" and the 'joy' of her belief system. I don't have friends who are immersed in their religion: I do not enjoy debating them ... just keep them out of my life.

2

I think it's your friend who needs relationship counseling. She knows you're not a believer but keeps inserting god into the conversation. I doubt you keep bringing your lack of belief into every casual conversation - I've never met a nonbeliever that does that - so why is it reasonable for her to keep making references to the bully in the sky, whether relevant or not?

dan325 Level 7 Aug 5, 2019
4

I think it’s an opportunity to examine your other relationships in light of what this person has told you.
Do the same things happen with others, or are they unique to this relationship?

Haemish1 Level 8 Aug 5, 2019
4

Perhaps the reason you can't relate to her anymore , is because she isn't relating to you . She's trying to change you , to meet her own specifications . There is absolutely no reason , since you both are aware that you have religious differences , for either of you to contineuly introduce it into the conversation .

Cast1es Level 8 Aug 5, 2019
4

If you're an introvert, walk away. Your friend won't 'get better.' You're fine, she's not worth the energy.

MojoDave Level 9 Aug 5, 2019

said short, sweet and succinctly 🙂

3

From what you have said, sounds like a serious issue with projection on her part. She seems to be unable to tolerate YOU being different from her. Whether this causes her to be bitter, can't tell from the info given but if she is basically attacking your character, I would bet she is.

I can't say whether you are an introvert as I feel this kind of attitude would turn off people of either bent. I am an introvert and this approach from someone would put a quick end to the friendship as I would not be able to put up with the judgemental interactions. Sadly, some of this has occurred in my family and I find myself unable/unwilling to deal with the person involved.

Note, this is not particularly uncommon behavior in people who become fanatically religious (even mildly). They take that whole "go spread the word" thing to heart and think it is their mission to "save" all the "heathens" meaning anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. This can make them unbearable, abrasive bores.

All this is just my opinion, take it for what it's worth.

DotLewis Level 7 Aug 4, 2019

It's not so much that she wants to convert me (although I am sure she DOES), it's that (at least, it seems to me) she talks about God every other sentence. Does God want her to go to this or that event; if she is having a problem, she will pray for God to take care of it. I don't even see my old friend in this woman; I see someone I don't recognize. I guess I haven't been honest with her about that. I owe it to her to explain, I suppose.

1

It's difficult to say without specific examples. What about other relationships you have?

bingst Level 8 Aug 4, 2019

Agreed if it's one relationship and it's the religiousness of the person - that makes sense.

But if it's almost everyone you encounter - she could have a point - and maybe you want to speak to a therapist about it and find out?

I'm not sure if it's possible to do a self assessment for becoming selfish? We need to be "selfish" (setting boundaries) to some degree - to be healthy individuals. Your friend just might not like that you're setting a boundary with her. (People seldom do).

A recent example is that a gentleman indicated an interest in me, and I jumped in eagerly, only to get cold feet after I did more thinking. I told him I couldn't see him (mostly because I couldn't believe he actually WAS interested in me; I figured he had to have an agenda of some type), but it never occurred to me that he actually MIGHT have been interested in me and that my abrupt turnaround might have hurt his feelings. I was all about protecting myself.

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