Does Social Media Create Narcissism with Selfies?

The word narcissism comes from a Greek fable about a man who fell in love with his own reflection, his name was Narcissus. Many critics speculate today that the advent of social media and selfies has encouraged more and more self promotion.

What are Selfies?

Selfies are another example of our preoccupation with ourselves. The word “selfie” was chosen as the “Word of the Year 2013” by the Oxford English Dictionary. If you don’t know what a selfie is, it is defined as: a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website. Some psychiatrists are saying that these selfies may actually be linked to mental health conditions that focus on a person’s obsession with his or her looks.

Psychologist Pamela Rutledge wrote this in Psychology Today, ”Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectra of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.”

The bigger problem with this narcissistic behavior is that it puts enormous pressure on people to achieve unfeasible goals. Wanting to be a superstar is bad enough, but the unwillingness to work for it plus the combination of high self-entitlement is a recipe for self destruction. These manifestations of narcissism may boil down to people searching to compensate for their own poor self esteem, but when these efforts are reinforced and rewarded by others they can create a distortion of reality that can lead down a path of narcissistic delusions.

Signs & Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Everyone has a little bit of healthy narcissism or self esteem. However people who have been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have an inordinate amount of self occupation. This is a condition in which people have an excessive sense of self-importance, an extreme preoccupation with themselves, and lack of empathy for others. People with a high degree of narcissism are angry at the world because of the world’s failure to recognize their superiority. They are generally incapable of forming the kinds of deep meaningful and lasting relationships with others that we all need in order to live happy, emotionally secure lives.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school. When combined with addiction to substances we call it a dual diagnosis.

Narcissism and Society

Narcissism is a serious social and psychological problem. A world full of narcissists would be a sad world indeed.  We humans are, by nature, social animals; we absolutely depend upon each others good will and care. Narcissism is bad not just for society as a whole, but also for the individual narcissist. Want to see if you have the personality of a narcissist? Take the Narcissistic Personality Inventory test.

Balboa Horizons is a top dual diagnosis addiction treatment center located in Orange County, California. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction combined with a mental illness, please call us for more information today.
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