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Posted by Nicole Bullock on March 21, 2011 25 CommentsIt’s time for some head shrinking! Does the use of Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media make us appear more narcissistic than we really are? I also know people with narcissistic personality disorders, and I sure hope I’m not as egotistical as they are!
But like Velda pointed out, it’s not like a true narcissist who are incapable of considering others feelings. I have heard several older people talk about how social media is all about drawing attention to ones self (as opposed to connecting with others — how I see it) so I was wondering if he was weighing social media into the equation at all. I don’t think this navel gazing and self focus thing is entirely BAD in social media, though. It’s hard to expose your whole self to a new therapist, and I think he made a lot of incorrect assumptions in the 45 minutes I met with him. The post your have written and the corresponding replies are all about denial, and you can take this evaluation and use it as a springboard to do one of two things – gain insight and change or validate your current self-perception and remain the same. As for your question, I think that social media does not make people appear more narcissistic than they really are.
I think it’s extremely difficult to explain the appeal of social media to people who have little or no experience with it. As for narcissism and social media, I think there is danger in investing too much emotionally in the feedback you (speaking generally) receive online (whether on Facebook, Twitter or in blogging). Ultimately, for me, regardless of how much time I spend online, I try very hard not to invest more of myself than I can spare.
Old research and older mindsets have lots of trouble wrapping their heads around social media. I agree with Gabrielle Valentine in that social media provides stay-at-home moms an outlet, a way to socialize and connect with other moms, and a sense of community, which they may not otherwise have. I think that social media attracts different types of people who use it for various purposes. I see how excessive use of social media can create an addiction and encourage narcissism, but I also see how it is beneficial because it provides a platform for discussion and the exchange of varying opinions.
The more extreme case of narcissism, called narcissistic personality disorder, affects just 1-2 percent of the population, and is only diagnosed in adults. In a jumble of health problems, sleep deprivation, writing my story about surviving lung failure, travel, sticking up for a friend and other controversial conversations (not to mention trying to wean myself off caffeine) I’ve been a little more emotional than usual. They psychologist asked a lot of questions about my support network, past medical and mental health incidents, body image issues, and I feel like I answered openly and honestly. According to Freud, healthy narcisissm is natural part of the human makeup, but also a characteristic that if taken to extremes can prevent us from having meaningful relationships.


Even when things are not going well for you, you take time out to think and do things for others, which is certainly not self-love. It makes a huge difference and it’s worth paying more to have people who are current.
It was more to rule out something like bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, which I blatantly didn’t have. Social media does have a tendency to encourage more navel-gazing time for anyone who indulges in it. I’m learning to let go of what people think, which I suppose helps me not think so much of myself. As with anything in life, when you move from moderation to excess, there is a higher likelihood for problems. If we have the chance to raise awareness on a specific topic, or to educate on topics we have experience or knowledge in, social media platforms are an extremely effective way to get the word out. It’s taken a lot of counseling to build up my self-confidence enough to write a post like this. The evaluation was to rule out other disorders (such as BPD and bipolar disorder) and I clearly don’t suffer from those.
Doing the latter actually strengthens the narcissism diagnosis as it is doing what narcissists do. I think it allows people who are narcissistic to act more on their tendencies and receive the sort of feedback they desire and therefore strengthen those tendencies. Twitter, in particular, is nearly impossible to explain–you have to participate to understand its value (and even to understand what it is!). One moment you could be elated because of a compliment or a retweet or some other sort of notice, and the next in misery because a recent post has no comments or you think a negative tweet might be directed at you. However, there is an underlying unreality to the online social world–an impersonal, transitory element that must be acknowledged. I deliberately took a step back from Facebook when I decided my emotional investment was unhealthy. I think many moms turn to social media and blogging because it gives them the opportunity to relate to other moms who are experiencing similar challenges, hardships, and triumphs of motherhood, creating a support system and a means to meet new people (it does for me!).
There are certain people who use social networking for self-promotion and attention, and engage in superficial conversations and connections (in which case it feeds narcissism). A scroll through social media can reveal narcissists in a constant stream of selfies; you might even be one.
But after a year and a half of teetering on the edge of my sanity, I decided to get a full psychological evaluation. A week later I got an 8 page summary of the psychologist’s impressions and recommendations for me.


When I tried to explain how social media works, and how it connects people, he was flabbergasted. I like people who are up on the research, who have the highest tech equipment and are efficient.
It’s hard to stay focused when so involved in my words, my stories, my posts, my comments, my updates, my tweets, etc.
I’ll admit that I have a hard time balancing how much time I spend on my social media activities, but I take comfort in the fact that I still spend time several times a week with friends and family. I like the opportunities I have to lift up and compliment others, and try to make a contribution for good. Social media is a tool which reflects personality, and the more one participates, the more accurate that reflection will appear.
If you invest too much of your sense of self in what people think of you online (or, more likely, what you think they think of you), you will inevitably get burned to some degree.
People used to write letters about their goings-on… so not MORE so just more obviously so. Narcissists think they're better, smarter, more important than the people around them, and they want to be treated as such, experts sayPsychologists define narcissism as an 'inflated, grandiose self-image,' and it has persevered through the centuries as a personality trait and, in extreme cases, a psychological disorder.Narcissists have a tendency to act selfishly, according to the lesson by W. Without having this knowledge, I can see how he’d think that I had an overwhelming sense of self. They are maps showing you where to dig to start understanding the roots of your unhappiness. You have to be comfortable enough with yourself (and this goes for IRL human interaction also) that you can withstand the buffeting. It strikes me as funny that I could be considered narcissistic when I struggle so much with insecurity and my self image. I try to balance the needs of myself and my family, and fill in the cracks with fun and interaction.
Do you think that people uninvolved with social media misunderstand the sense of support and community that websites like Twitter and Facebook provide?
If this is the coping strategy you developed, you can start figuring out why and how to develop a more effective strategy that leads to greater personal understanding and peace.



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