The Overuse of Narcicissm
November 28, 2023
The overuse of Narcissism: A closer look at societies favourite label:
In recent years, the term "narcissist" has become a buzzword and a causal label, often thrown around to describe someone who is egoistical or self-centered. While the term comes from solid foundational research in personality pathology and psychopathology literature, its overuse in daily conversations and social media dilutes its meaning. The line becomes blurred between self-confidence and narcissism.
Overusing the word narcissism diminishes its meaning and undermines the experience of those who have come across narcissistic people. Pathological narcissism is harmful and presents an array of manipulative behaviours, often using language and wit to outmaneuver others to gain selfish and self-grandiose goals.
In today's digital age, media platforms encourage self-expression without boundaries or consequences. Social media encourages self-promotion and a constant display of what we do almost every moment of the day. It is easy to misconstrue what true narcissism is in a world where everyone is encouraged to have a constant display of self. Labelling someone a narcissist purely by their online presence is easy. Still, we must remember that not every self-assured and confident individual is a narcissist.
To be labelled a narcissist also brings a stigma that can lead to social exclusion and prejudice, impacting the well-being of relationships – especially among parents and intimate partner relationships. We may be tempted to move toward hasty judgments of people, failing to recognize that a person's actions do not constitute a narcissist; instead, the intention behind the action is what describes a narcissist. Thus, the overuse of "narcissist" makes recognizing genuine signs of the disorder difficult and sometimes confusing.
While it's natural to observe varying levels of self-centeredness in individuals, and indeed, we live in an age where self-centeredness is all around us, it's crucial to learn how to differentiate between self-assurance and narcissism. As a society, if we strived to refrain from overusing the term "narcissist," we can perhaps understand more of its nuances and promote empathy and understanding rather than disdain and discrimination. We can also better recognize those cases where people have experienced the harm that narcissism can bring, and we can do more for those people in those situations. Perhaps narcissism is not as simple as our society has made it out to be, and maybe that is better for all of us as we try to grow into a healthier society.