How Does A Person Become Self-Centered?

It’s popular to accuse people of being self-centered. Some claim our entire society is self-centered and this is why we have the problems we do.

Some feel that is right to be self-centered. Who else should I center my life around, they ask.

How do you think a person becomes self-centered? Are they born that way? Can we see this in a chart? Or are they taught to be self-centered?

Aries and the first house are associated with being self-centered but it’s opposite sign, Libra, is nice because they don’t want to be alone. Are they not thinking of themselves as well?

How does a person become self-centered?

59 thoughts on “How Does A Person Become Self-Centered?”

  1. Another great, thought-provoking post, Elsa.

    I think all humans are born self-centered. Babies are the center of their own universe, as they must be. But most grow out of it as their circle of experience widens to include concern for others too. Love (and good teachers) will do that for you!

    As to your question – how do we become self-centered? I think it could be a number or a combination of things: like most animals do, when we are wounded we focus our attention on that wound, i.e., ‘lick your wounds.’

    Unlike most animals, though, we humans can get ‘stuck’ with that as our only focus; or, we could have been raised to be self-centered, never taught to share or care for the concerns of others; or, we could be bitter about an event in our life, and through bitterness, develop the world view that “I’m out for myself and myself alone, no one else cares about me, why should I care about them?” kind of thing.

    Edgar Cayce used to say ‘the Self is the Builder,’ and we ‘are always meeting our Selves,’ and I think he had it spot-on. To that extent we retain some self-centeredness, as we must. The trick is not to get stuck there.

    As in all things, moderation is key. We need our self-awareness and introspection, but not to the exclusion of everyone/everything else.

  2. I don’t think they so much as become self centered as stay self centered. Most grow out and away from that, but there are some who don’t. I would daresay lately, many.

    If I hear one more person celebrating Ayn Rand…a complete narcissist. And for all her spouting off, she collected social security. Ugh!

  3. Moon in Aries? Sun in the 5th?

    My mom was very protective of me and I didn’t get a lot of opportunities to socialize when I was younger. I’m also an only child.

    The world doesn’t revolve around me, but I pretend it does.

  4. As numerous philosophers and gurus have pointed out, correctly in my experience, we cannot love others fully until we love ourselves. That does not mean obsessing narcissism, or ignoring our many imperfections. But you can love yourself (and I do) when you are acting selflessly for the good of others. Is that self-centered? If so, it is a good thing.

    1. I don’t buy that. It is absolutely possible to love others while hating oneself. Goes back to Elsa’s other post about psychological programming. I was programmed to hate myself by my mother as she resented my existence. I’m a wife and mother now and can’t imagine not loving my family. I love them so much i’m still alive, in therapy and working to move beyond my pathologies and heal.

      As for self-centeredness, there’s a difference between being selfISH and self-CENTERED. Understanding/recognizing one’s position IN the group (family, school, work, community, gender, humans being, and so on) and one’s effect ON the group is being self-centered. That’s a good thing.

      Being selfISH includes understanding or recognizing one’s place in the group but disregarding or not considering one’s effect ON the group unless it is beneficial/advantageous to the individual. That may or may not be a good thing but one doesn’t care.

      1. I could have written this, so thank you. Some people, I believe, are born knowing how to be a good mother. By that I mean, loving, caring, supportive, demonstrative, etc. But also, modeling correct behavior so that the child doesn’t become a pariah in society. My mother resented me but also informed me many times that she suffered greatly at the hands of her own mother, and that I (me) should suffer too so that I would know how she felt. I sat my daughter down when she was 17-18 years old and told her the story(ies), and that I would never want unhappiness for her, or unfulfillment. She’s gone on to have great love in her life, and became an uber athlete who trains other people.

        I know now that those wounds will always be there. Earlier in life I had a fair amount of success, but in old age it’s a challenge not to feel invisible and worthless. These feelings have come up due to being on a fixed income with a lot of health issues. It is what it is.

        I think the Aries/Libra axis is the most equipped to learn the balance between self and others. Cancer/Pisces runs a close second, and perhaps even parallel.

  5. In my opinion, I wouldn’t say that self-centeredness spawns from someone’s chart alone. Being wound up withing ones self, I hope, is when one is growing, learning about themselves and reflecting. Certainly, this can become toxic and create turmoil within their relationships and livelihood.

    I can say that within my age group, decade wise, there’s a LOT of self-centeredness, especially due to the way we socialize. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Pininterest, etc., where it’s all about what I’m wearing, ate, or went.

    Also, again from my viewpoint, the idea of community is changing. The notion that “it takes a village”, seems to either be taking a new form, or is just non-existent.

    I do know some poeple who are all about them, but either because they had it rough when raised, or they’re parents or whomever aided in that thought process.

    It seems that self-centeredness can spawn from fear of being let down, being dependent, not being on par with others, or the desire to feel special or wanted.

  6. I also think that humans were born self-centered. Then life beats you down and that self-centered person becomes the self-conscious person. IMO!

  7. Staying self-centered is key, as brizo wrote. Perhaps it’s how you are raised:first born, only child, most accomplished kid, spending your life only concentrating on yourself? Although in some charts I notice Mercury close to the Sun there are self-centered behavior characteristics. The farthest Mercury is away from the Sun are the least self-centered I can think of in charts I’ve seen.

    1. Most interesting, Windsaloft! Just minutes ago, I was googling around to read up on my Tenth House Pisces Sun opposite Neptune in Libra. I was made rather uncomfortable by the near-universal outpourings about my inability to know myself, my suppressed ego and consequent lack of capacity for self love, my apparent and antagonising insincerity when the problem is that I don’t know who I am so I cannot externalise my real self, my self-defeating sense of my inferiority, rardira. Now you come up with the ‘Sun-conjunct-Mercury the most selfish’ gem!I needed this antidote. Thanks a million. :)I’d rather be selfish than an amorphous blob.(I cannot be both, can I?)

  8. @Peppermint and DarkAquarian:”Cheers”..
    I couldn’t agree more and nicely stated.At some point being self centered becomes a choice.Turning away from our own selfish nature builds respectable loving character that transfers to the lives we touch.It is a maturity process and a choice.I have a stellium(Venus,moon,sat,merc in the 1st close to the ascendent in Leo with a close by Mars.If based off of a natal chart alone,I would say I could be judged as the epitome of self everything.However being Leo is to be loved and you don’t get that love through being self centered in a negative form.

  9. Bunny’s post: “At some point being self centered becomes a choice.”

    Some people aren’t even aware they are self-centered. They are so trapped in their own mindset they can’t see or relate to anything or anybody outside of their own world.

  10. Exactly Winsaloft.
    It seems some people who never marry or never have a long-term relationship find it more difficult to put themselves aside…as time goes on they maintain the Teenage-Mode where The world revolves around them.
    It must show in the BirthChart, I know so little Astrology. Isn’t it true the Eastern Part, on the Ascendant side, shows the person’s ego, will, magnetism, and vitality. The Western part, on the Descendant side, symbolizes other people, communication, relationships and their influence.
    Wouldn’t a more Self-Centered person most likely have fewer planets on the Descendant side of a BirthChart? Or certain negative aspects from those planets on the Descendant side causing more of a challenge?

  11. “Setting that aside, how do you think a person becomes self-centered? Are they born that way? Can we see this in a chart? Or are they taught to be self-centered?”

    Hey Elsa! I truly think we come into this Life with those “imprints”… With that being said, I think I was born this way. I have a 1 degree Aries Sun (that’s pretty much saying ME!). My mom is a Libra (Um, my Moon is in Libra) so I got a dose of how-not-to-take-center-stage-and -remember-everyone-else’s-feelings..

    I can honestly say that the world does NOT revolve around me. TOO MUCH LIBRA..

    As far as having planets splayed across the chart, I have all of my planets everywhere so I don’t think having the chart concentrated will give any indication…

    I feel that is a GIFT with my 1 degree Aries Sun since I can be so Selfish!!!

    1. i think we are missing one…
      self-absorbed… with stellium on my IC… i am and appear so often… but this is how i do my work ThrougH this self analysing & improving to serve the world/society/others.
      i use to … actually am still very triggered by selfish people & would be on my egotistical soapbox [in my head]… but astrology helped me understand the human conditions & complexities.. there is no good or bad.. there is complex & context..
      i do not respect astrologers or wannabe social media astro stars who sell very generalised statements as law. that is dangerous equivalent to doctors gaslighting & misdiagnosing. [which full disclosure is my lifelong pattern/curse/jinx & current plutonic pain i am figuring out what the hell to do about it] & teaching others to do so also.
      every person needs to become self-centered in some ratio at some stage in their life to grow their correct ego/pure nature.
      but its the stating in that mindset /lifestyle which i find the damaging parasitic side to the affliction. we are all born with different genetics/socialisations/environments. and meant to give back in often fascinating & out of the norm ways at times….
      something like that…
      as someone coming to terms with the reality of a neurodivergent brain still at nearly 50, after all this time i still live by the adage Context is Everything… we are all a drop in the ocean, & the ocean has a drop in each of us…

      1. and that was brought to you by my adbreak of procrastination of meant to be writing document for disability of all the events ive been ProveN over my lifetime of medical negligence/ misdiagnosis /abuse.. i have to stay in selfabsorbed to do this. but supposedly its for the greater good to stamp this shit out>>> ignorance & gaslighting of neurodiverse; neglect & injustice of children under govt systems/care/authorities… & middle age women ConstanT misdiagnosis & via lazy, bias insulting attitudes of professions in power roles….

  12. Avatar

    I agree completely that there is something on the collective level. Look at the American culture versus the Japanese culture. There is definitely and emphasis on the “I”, the individual, in the American culture. Just watch commercials or look at the ads surrounding you on a daily basis: they are catered to what YOU want. What will make YOU happy.
    In the Japanese culture the collective takes the forefront. The importance is the bigger “I”, the “we”, as a people.

    Both have their pros and cons. Look at how much we have accomplished in the terms of individual, gender, sexual, religious freedoms. But, of course, we shun obligations and responsibility. It’s a give and take, we have to strive to be less self-centered, not only on the individual level but on the cultural level.

    Ind. level self-centerdness comes in various forms: the first house, the fifth house, Aries Sun or Moon, or being an un-evolved human in general. When the ego is suffering it can manifest itself in many ways including being self-centered.

  13. @ Windsaloft:I agree with you as well.This topic is so deep and if anything I’m not sure it’s possible to sum up the answers in a few cut and paste answers.There are many degrees and variations at play here.

  14. I think it comes from being alone a lot. Solitude or just being one person most of your time being alive. People who arent married or have children.

    You don’t function like other folks who have 5 or 6 people depending on them. You take care of you and so then your awareness of others might shrink.

  15. I think everyone is self-centered, but the extent of what is considered ‘self’ ranges. Some people are easily satisfied and can ignore others with ease, while others are more ambitious or more far-sighted and can see how being considerate and more mature can reflect well on their self. I know we talk about maturity and what is right or wrong in a social sense, but I think everyone has a right to be themselves. It’s a matter of awareness or personal choice. You can be aware of others, but also know your position and needs are nonnegotiable.

    That’s how I see the twelve astrological sun signs, anyway, as manifestations of how we choose to view our selves in the world.

  16. I have a metaphysical more cosmic view. Since the lucifer rebellion, people have rebelled against their creator and it is all about coming back to that awareness of loving self in god’s image, your brothers and sisters, and god itself. In doing so your bound to not be so self centered. A self centered act is not sharing your wealth per month a loving act is sharing your wealth. That is what the goal is for every human to realize. That took me some understanding and research to get there. Also lucifer and his fallen angels will do anything detract us from this path as unseen beings and even incarnated bad beings. But if you live in love they can’t touch you really because they are repulsed by it. Back to astrology, I have no idea how astrology would work but even the practice itself is a bit self centered unless you use it as a tool to help yourself and others and not for the ego’s gratification.

  17. Self-centered is another concept with a negative connotation that is actually positive to me. When someone isn’t self-centered, they are easily led down a self-destructive path. Self-serving is much more damning to me.

    Many planets in Aries or the 1st house indicate that the person should focus on developing the self.

    I’ve found that people with Sun-Moon and/or Sun-Mercury and/or Sun-Venus are the most self-centered, self-absorbed and self-serving. Getting them to consider others is difficult.

    One of my fav songs is “I Give Myself Away”. I overly identify with that theme, though… Some who don’t know my journey to developing a strong sense of self with firm boundaries may think I’m self-centered. I’d take that as a compliment. 😉

    I have Neptune in the 1st, no planets in Aries and Sun makes no major aspects to inner planets. But I have Mercury in Leo! 🙂

    1. yes! all SO true!!!

      oh… & yes i have pondered myself the last 20 years noticing & asking for eg are we persons [women] from severe abuse or DV etc becoming self centered to first cope but then to heal .. is it a necessary step ?

  18. There’s different degrees of narcissism. At the extreme end of the scale are people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and these are the ruthless predators that we need to beware of. My belief is that these people were born that way (nature).

    Otherwise I think that other levels of narcissism evolves thru a combination of nature and nurture. Alice Miller’s classic book “The Drama of the Gifted Child and the Search for the True Self” provides insight about how someone can be raised to become narcissistic.

  19. I think I was born self-centered. Though as someone else pointed out, if you are not a mom in charge of taking care of multiple people and live alone, how could you not be. Nature and nurture, I guess.

  20. I am learning to be more self-centered. Saturn is transiting my 5th house right now and I’m rediscovering what is so special about me. I have a tendency to focus on others and I forget about myself in the process. Always thinking about others will not fulfill me if I forget what is so unique about me. I don’t think being self-centered is that bad unless it is unbalanced. Being at either extreme is unfulfilling in my opinion.

  21. I think not being mindful. It takes awareness to not be self-centered. And I agree with Peppermint. We may start out self-centered or may just be that way but the point is not to get stuck. I think maturity, life experience and mindfulness keep one from doing that. HOW we get that way…well maybe we are rewarded for it. When little Suzy does an inappropriate thing at the dinner table, for instance, and gets applause for it, they will start to think they are special. Like that little girl in that reality show, Honey Boo Boo. Sure she is cute but she is being groomed for narcissism.

  22. I think people can become self-centered if they don’t feel like other people are worth their time or attention, after experiencing too many disappointments.

    Selfishness and altruism are two difficult things to balance…Both extremes are detrimental.

  23. Paradox? I think Salamander your experience is as valuable as any. Whether you are able to engage with others or not – one lesson I’m learning is our own path enriches the whole path. Just your two words posted are meaningful. They remind me of a friend and extended relative who experienced severe abuse. And I am mindful that all of her qualities are valuable to me whether they suit me or not. <3

    1. Right? How do you keep giving energy out without feeling depleted? I think this must have something to do with how well you regulate energy. I think some people like too pull in energy for themselves, while others prefer to give it away. I think the later is a more conscious way of being, but I’m really not sure one is better than the other. It’s kindof like introversion vs. extroversion- i don’t think one is necessarily better than the other.

  24. I think the problem arises when you expect others to also make you their center as well. Theres an imbalance there.

  25. When you decide your self-interest matters more than what is available. Eventually it all comes back to where you start. Until then you evaluate and give other s a chance.

  26. So many good comments here.

    This post is cracking me up because when I was younger I would say well I’d never be with an Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and on through the zodiac until I realized that we’re all self-centered in our own unique way.

    It’s really about who you’d most be able to put up with when it comes to long-term relationships.

    I do think some signs are more self-centered than others, but Elsa’s point about Libra’s m.o. is interesting. I don’t think I’m a typical Libra (and a double to boot) but I see other Libras doing what Elsa describes. I adore being alone, while being an outgoing introvert. Have always loved solitary activities. I have to watch myself because I will say things that cause people to leave and I don’t even realize I’m doing it. But that’s another topic.

    1. oh yes… i despise that libran generality… as i would live in a lighthouse happily or on a farm without another soul…
      some would say its partly my autism traits but i dunno about that

  27. this could be a great topic and then again no one is hitting the chords, Narcissisim and being selfless are two different skulls on a cat, and Water signs are more prone to farming and Hospitals, where as Hollywood created the most Selfcenterd era there was Vanity and Films…so this is a complex and simple thought, as Adolph Hitler was very self serving, so was Napoleon having Saturn in the 10th house…see what else comes with Me first..

      1. Likely the Pluto in Leo square Saturn in Scorpio folks like me. Its humbling. I know quite a few who all selflessly give to the community in many ways. Being on stage,keeping up with the Jones’, power or control isn’t in the agenda.

    1. I was going to say just that, Elsa. It was great to read comments from Peppermint and some of the old time regular. The comments are so full-hearted and without short-takes and abbreviations. Like being in a kitchen at a table filled with character(s) with something to say to top off a great meal.
      I’d be refilling platters, loving that I could cook for all these folks. I miss that … didn’t realize how much.

  28. Well there are two concepts here. A positive and a negative. There is “enlightened self interest” i.e. my interests in the long term are best served by serving others, I make less enemies, I gain loyalty and benefits from a position of consent. It’s like ‘I will learn the best sexual techniques so my partner will have more incentive to sleep with me regularly’.

    Then there is narcissism. Which is where my emotional state is held as preferential over anothers reality, and of evidence based reason. So that one would go something like ‘I only want to do what I want to do and this other person does want to have sex with me even though they don’t admit it so using emotional manipulation and lying is only enabling them to do what they want to do anyway, they are lucky to be with me’.

    Narcissism then can only be said to be employing self interest from a low IQ position. Because it is self defeating. Eventually the girl in the second example will get wise and draft in an entire force to move against me.

    You can find these things astrologically. But free will is a factor. Another factor is things like psychotropic medication.

    As regard to narcissism people choose to prioritise their own reality to the rejection of evidence based reason because they cannot confront reality. Perhaps it is too painful (i.e. Chiron), and they have had to at previous times in the past, hide in their own created reality. People also respond like that to intimidation. So if it is implied that when you don’t follow my lead you will suffer then a lot of people will, even if there is a lot of evidence I am being abusive. If you are told to do things like ‘x’ you might not want to question that with ‘evidence based reason’ because that threatens your survival in some sense.

  29. Seconding what Birdperson said in first paragraph about enlightened self interest. Enlightened self interest is also an easy way to gain ‘voluntary compliance’. Compare voluntary compliance to forceful compliance. In respect to selfishness there’s the cynical way to see the world inherently selfish and self centered but there are also some studies showing that human brain is wired by acts of kindness, compassion and they are inherently ‘good’ for us compared to being mean or uncooperative. Of course on the other side this same example can be used to say we are wired selfish and self centered because there is this thing called ‘helper’s high’ and when helping someone we benefit more than the receiver, brain releases oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine , and reduces cortisol- stress hormone- that’s why it feels so ‘good’ to help, whereas the receiver doesn’t get to have his levels risen but I suspect the stres hormone is diminished because they received help, money, or an important favor for their well-being. But it’s not exactly ‘happy’ because you’re in a vulnerable position when you need help. They studied this when they had some people in a room and told them they get to play ‘dictator’ and share money as they wish without serious repercussions. Surprisingly people who played the dictators shared their assets. Can’t say the same thing happened in the other experiments, I know of one and the worst of humanity revealed itself in a couple of hours. So we’re brutal, violent and selfish but we’re social creatures, have tea in dainty tea cups and our brains will reward us only for good deeds.

    1. I heard the Stanford Prison experiment was largely fraudulent. Many of the people wanted to leave and were not allowed to and a few of them were pushed into the crappy behaviours.

      Milgrams experiment however, was legitimate.

  30. I am loving the termed ‘self centered’. I feel like a radiating sun. That aside, I think you mean self importance above all else and everyone else.

    My take is that a person got the taste of winning, felt some kind of power from that and will habitually seek to have that feeling. What struck me when I came to this locale were people bragging about how they screwed someone over, got the best of them. That supposedly made them smarter or something. Being a win win kind of person that shocked me. And it was always embarrassing to listen to. I kept books for 5 small businesses some years ago. They didn’t need to cheat to be successful, but that was always their goal. To get away with something. Screw people over. Competitiveness, having to beat someone all the time.

    There are two situations that blare in my mind. Number 1 was the alcoholic libra I hung with for several months . What a life lesson. She dated a married man who then left his wife for her. He was a handy guy and did a lot of remodeling of her house for her. As soon as her home was market ready she dumped him. No shit, he left his wife for her, she used his skills, and then dumped him. She told me her friend was dating a man who did a bunch of house repairs for her and then was appalled when he handed her a bill. The user’s comment was ‘some people always keep score’. Say what? You destroyed a man’s life!

    Person 2 was a former alcoholic. We trysted for a bit. He was self centered in that he was lousy in the sack. When I spoke to him anout how we might improve that, all he said was ‘that’s the way I do it.’ End of story,

    These people do not know the joy of true libra collaboration. There is a Scorpionic joy to empowering others. Sharing power. A win win scenario, being able to be happy about someone else’s well being. Must win. Must be in control. Must get what I want. At any cost. It’s a drive. Speaking of drives, I think they are missing the scenery.

    1. It may be a Mars saturn thing. Narrow (Saturn) focus (mars). Good for task accomplishment. Not necessarily good at shared experience.

  31. I have two people in my family who represent each end of the spectrum. One, nature. The other, nurture. The first one in my experience was always self-centered. The other, while showing some signs of self-centeredness turned out that way due to the family dynamic and bonding with a narcissistic controlling parent. A third person is somewhat self-centered (sibling of the second person above). They each have prominent Virgo in their chart. (two Sun sign; one Asc.) Looking at their charts, nothing really stands out as self-centered, although…. my brother, a sun sign Virgo has Mars widely conjunct the Moon which is exactly conjunct Pluto. All in Leo. Make of that what you will. I certainly have. 😉

  32. There is a lot of psychology and brain info out there on ‘want’. I think the stronger the want the more apt someone is to run over others to get the reward and dopamine high. Wanting, having to have, can be an addiction. Where all that want comes from I do not know. Some suggest it comes from a dissatisfaction with the present situation.

  33. This is like that pluto opp natal Venus bonus round. I am working the wanty people angle. With it,I can forgive them all. The odd thing about abuse is that somehow I was made to or just felt, that it was somehow my fault. Like I did something to deserve it. That was really the worst residual of the abuse. I am looking at the abusers as just being wanty. Wanting to re-establish some feeling of control in their life. Not that it excuses their actions, just the realization that it was (is) not my problem but theirs. I have a chance here to let go of all that. Just never know where these posts will go for me. It’s a beautiful thing.

  34. According to Alice Miller, “The Drama of the Gifted Child” , narcissism comes from a wounding done by the mother who cannot nurture the child as a self being with her own identity but sees the child as an extension of herself.

    Children who are wounded in this way develop a false self in trying to gain parental love.

    I know a couple of narcissists and although I feel pity for them, I have to keep my distance because they seem to damage everyone they come into contact with/

    1. I think your comment resembles me and
      I know that isn’t a good thing.
      I never learned what healthy give and take was and have never had a successful partnered relationship.

      Seems like illness of any type whether mental or physical creates a need for self-absorption by its nature. I was always told I am abnormal and I know that’s bad so I step away from the world to try to figure it out.
      I’m not very good at that it seems but I have no choice. It definitely creates problems the way I isolate myself but I think it’s for the best if I am sick.

      I have seen the same thing happen to people with diseases like cancer.
      Maybe people with robust support systems have a different approach.

      1. Agreed, good points. I do relate. Trauma appears like mental illness but it often isn’t really mental illness. It’s trauma, which results in differing behavior as a copy mechanism.

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