How Narcissism Is Adversely Affecting Our Social-Media-Fueled Generation

by Vanessa Choot

My boyfriend told me to take an online survey about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and my results were shockingly high.

However, I wouldn't be surprised if the rest of our generation scored around the same number.

According to Psychology Today, individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder generally believe the world revolves around them.

This condition is characterized by a lack of ability to empathize with others and a desire to stay focused on the self at all times.

With our generation's desire to be special, to stand out and to be unique, you don't need to get formally diagnosed by a psychologist to see this "disorder" is affecting an entire generation of social-media-fueled attention addicts.

Let's look at a few statements from the online quiz I took about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and see how they affect Millennials:

"I know that I am good because everybody keeps telling me so."

When your self-esteem can be made or broken by the click of a "Like" button, you naturally seek positive affirmation from those around you.

Hashtags, like #LikeForLike ("If you like my photo, I will like yours back."), on Instagram show how contrived our online reputations are.

"I will be a success."

Studies conducted on Millennials in the workforce indicate we are an entitled bunch.

We apparently have inflated views of ourselves, and our managers from a different generation find we are often resistant to anything that doesn't involve praise and rewards.

We tend to credit ourselves when things go well, and we blame others when things go wrong.

"I like to show off my body."

A quick search of "bikini bridge," "thigh gap" or "skinny arm" will result in thousands of photos of young women who idolize the perfect body part (not the perfect body). And, they will show it off.

"I like to look at myself in the mirror."

Selfie: Need I say more?

"I can live my life in any way I want to."

#YOLO, right? We were raised on a sense of unbounded possibility and the advice, "Follow your passion."

To live life short of indulging in the things we love means we are settling.

"I like to start new fads and fashions."

With the influx of Gen-Y fashion bloggers, it seems like everyone wants the world to see his or her style.

A few seasons back, there was a lot of controversy about whether fashion bloggers should be banned from the front row at NYFW.

Simon Doonan was quoted saying, "...designers will put a buyer in the third row and some blogger in the first row who's still in diapers."

"If I ruled the world, it would be a better place."

Our outspoken generation was raised to always share opinions and to stand by them, solicited or not.

Because there are now so many outlets to share our thoughts — from Facebook comments to starting a blog to blasting out tweets — our opinions can suddenly reach the entire globe, which gives us a sense of grandiose importance.

"I wish someone would someday write my biography."

I once confided in my friend that based on my relationship experience, my ups and downs and my successes and failures, I had enough material for a book.

Her response? "Me too!" She also had enough interesting life stories to warrant a book being written about her.

If everyone thought this, we would be the only ones reading our own biographies.

So, with Generation-Y’s tendency for a bit of dramatic flair in conjunction with technological advances, our upbringings, environment and circumstances, we have naturally become narcissists.

If everyone suffers from a bit of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, is it still a disorder?

Or, is it just the new normal?