you noticed that people who continually post messages of love, empathy,
and tolerance on social media are often the most judgmental,
intolerant, and bitter people in real life? Ever wonder why that is?
year when I wrote an article explaining why I don't use social media, I
touched on a connection between social media and mental health. It
generated some feedback, and since the topic of social media and
narcissistic personality disorder came up in recent conversation in
a discussion forum to which I belong, I decided to use my blog to shed
light on why we notice some social media users failing to live by the
mantras they preach.
is a graphic showing how emotionally healthy people see the world
around them. They generally see people as reflections of themselves —
mostly good-natured and harmless. Friendships and relationships come
with narcissistic personality disorder
(NPD), however, have a very different view of the world around them:
with NPD have very fragile self-esteem, and their Kryptonite is
criticism. Narcissists cannot handle the feeling of being judged or
deemed wrong. It doesn't take much for a narcissist's mind to perceive
benign, harmless comment as a hostile, personal attack. To
themselves from this perceived hostility, narcissists tend to keep
people at a distance and are very slow to trust anyone. In extreme
cases they may even choose to live in
a narcissist lives in constant fear of being judged, their threshold of
tolerance for other people's behavior toward
them is unrealistically low, as shown by the extremely thin friend zone
above. Very few people in a narcissist's life will ever make it into
their friend zone, and if they do, it's usually just for a short period
time. As long a person is in agreement with how the narcissist thinks,
narcissist will keep that person in their friend zone. But when the
person says anything that challenges or critiques the narcissist's way
of thinking, which
is guaranteed to happen at some point, the narcissist will perceive it
as an attack, snap, and
person into their foe zone. This is why narcissists' friendships and
relationships are often short-lived.
irony about NPD is that narcissists believe they possess a superior
of tolerance and empathy which makes them a perfect, lovable friend —
it's everyone else who's narcissistic, judgmental, apathetic, shallow,
and untrustworthy. The narcissist believes the size of their friend
zone is normal and their perception of what's required to be their
friend is also normal. They're unhappy because it seems like everyone
in the world is apparently too shallow, intolerant, and judgmental to
be their friend.
the disorder is the cause of the narcissist's unhappiness because it
warps their perception of people. There's nothing wrong with 99% of the
people in the narcissist's foe zone – they're adequately kind and
The narcissist's fear of criticism, however, causes them to vet
everyone around them with prejudice and be quick to cast them off as
foes for impractical, inconsequential reasons. This is what gives the
narcissist their judgemental, apathetic, intolerant nature, which they
project onto everyone around them.
key to a
finding happiness and contentment is rebuilding their self-esteem to
where criticism no longer affects them. Then they'll be
able to see and accept people as most of them truly are:
well-intentioned and harmless. Their victim mindset of "people
have hurt me" will change to "I
now understand why I felt hurt by people." Their friend zone
will widen to a normal state, and the reformed narcissist will then be
able to function normally
and happily in the world.
where does social media come into play?
the real world, narcissists can't hide their intolerant, judgmental
nature. Everyone in their life eventually sees who they're dealing
with. This leads to discord which
the narcissist internalizes as criticism. All this discord/criticism
makes the real world seem like a hostile place to a narcissist. Social
media, however, gives the narcissist a place to go where they can do
they can't do in real life: control what everyone sees and says. They
can create a facade to mask their undesirable traits, and they can
delete anyone or anything that poses a threat to their
self-esteem. In lieu of seeking professional help for their disorder, a
narcissist may choose to continue living with their disorder by using
social media as a crutch.
emotionally-healthy person (above) does not feel threatened by people,
they are accepting of them. Their social media world mirrors their real
narcissist (below) sees people as potential threats. Narcissists, due
their belief they possess superior tolerance and empathy, believe their
friend zone is the behavioral standard by which everyone ought to
conform. Those who do not conform are considered inferior and are
summarily deleted and blocked.
we've all noticed, narcissists
are known for filling up their social media pages with positive
affirmations, wishes of love and self-empowerment, and inspirational
quotes. They do this for two reasons: Portraying
the strong, confident, lovable person they wish they were makes them
feel better about themselves, and it reduces the likelihood that any
feedback they receive will negatively impact their self-esteem. By
nonjudgmental feedback and deleting anyone and anything that
makes them feel uneasy, the narcissist makes their online world a much
safer-feeling place to be than the real world.
to say, people who post daily messages of love, inspiration, and wisdom
are not all narcissists. [I hardly think the Dalai Lama is
a narcissist.] But everyone knows at least one person who incessantly
posts about the importance of being strong, tolerant, and
understanding, yet, when someone challenges one little thing
they say or do, they fly off the handle with a volatile, emotional
tirade, completely contradicting all the uplifting
messages they've been posting.
may even shut down and disappear from social media for a while to piece
emotions back together.
then they go right back to posting how important it is for people to be
tolerant, and understanding.
it may seem fun to push a narcissist's buttons and watch them flip
their lid, I recommend you don't do that. NPD is a serious mental
People with NPD are more prone to substance abuse, and one of the
symptoms of NPD can be depression. Substance abuse and
depression can be a life-threatening concoction. You can't gauge the
seriousness of one's depression by what they post on the internet.
last word of advice: If you find yourself debating a narcissist in an
internet discussion forum, stop. There's no point. Just like a bad
driver never misses their exit, a narcissist never loses a debate.