The Laughing Narcissist

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

 

I recently read a Facebook post by a “friend” who began this way:

“Didn’t know I was a narcissist.” (Smiley face)

He explained that the “diagnosis” came from an article and posted the article. The article was about people who post their gym workouts and other exercise information on Facebook. It said that these people need attention and have psychological problems. Then it said they were narcissists. Here’s the quote:

“Narcissists more frequently updated about their achievements, which was motivated by their need for attention and validation from the Facebook community” (link below)

So the suggestion is that those people who post their exercise accomplishments are narcissists. That made my FB friend laugh. He thought the article was “hilarious.” Not only that, but he accepted the label of narcissist with no concern. When others commented on his post, they affirmed him and did not find the label offensive at all. In fact, one commenter wrote: “continue on, you narcissist.” Ha ha ha.

Well, I have written about this before. Three things are at work here. First, there is the unfortunate “study” that was done. The idea that posting your accomplishments on Facebook reveals that you are a narcissist is foolish. Facebook and other types of social media allow just enough anonymity and community for otherwise timid or quiet people to risk putting out something positive about themselves. Many motivational teachers tell people to go public with their goals and progress as a way of accountability. The encouragement that comes from a supportive community helps a lot. I do not doubt that some of the people who toot their own horn on Facebook are narcissists, but I know for a fact that many are not. For some of the people I know, posting on FB at all is a frightening thing.

The second thing that is obvious here is that the term, “narcissist,” has become so popularized that it is losing both its true meaning and its negative connotations. Some people think it means a person who needs attention or affirmation. But listen: we all need affirmation! That doesn’t make us narcissists. No, the narcissist will abuse you and manipulate you to get affirmation. He/she doesn’t care anything about others, except to use them. To be a narcissist is a negative thing. It means you are hurting others. Nothing to laugh about. Nothing at all.

And that brings me to the third thing at work here. When the narcissist is given a label, he/she may well accept it as a way to ridicule the person who gave it. If you call your problem person a narcissist, he/she will not be ashamed, nor be inclined to make changes. Instead, you may become a focal point for revenge or ridicule. “Oh, well, miss psychiatrist thinks I am a narcissist! Well, I guess that’s what I am then.” “Oh, I’m sorry, I guess that’s what you should expect from a narcissist.” (Read those words with dripping sarcasm.)

The friend on Facebook was not ashamed to find himself labeled a narcissist, nor was he moved to stop posting his accomplishments. Instead, he made it into a joke and a way to receive even more affirmation from his followers. Is he a narcissist? I don’t know because I have never met him or talked with him. I just read his posts. He is superior and insulting, I will say that. Not a particularly nice guy, but that’s another thing Facebook seems to bring out. My point here is that his reaction to the article was not to reject the label, but to embrace it.

This is why I have consistently suggested that the labels are for our understanding, not for throwing at the narcissists in our lives. It may help you to understand why a certain person acts a certain way. It gives you a category that you may not have understood before. But be careful when you use the word with others. Some will think it is funny; some will embrace it for themselves; almost all will misunderstand it.

(I do wonder, though, if my Facebook friend would have been as happy to be called a “parasite,” someone who gets life and energy from the exploitation of others. That might not seem quite so funny to him.)

https://www.brunel.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/articles/Facebook-status-updates-reveal-low-self-esteem-and-narcissism#

9 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

9 responses to “The Laughing Narcissist

  1. Cecilia K

    Ha ha ha, I love your last comment about calling them parasites, Pastor Dave! Probably no laughing then.

  2. Pamela Kay Shalom

    This is a great article, as they all are, every week !! I had the best chuckle over your last line too. 🙂 That was the BEST medicine for my day. 🙂 THANK YOU !! Blessings to you, Pastor Dave, and to all.

  3. Have to sadly agree that the term “narcissist” is losing its punch. I personally favor “malignant narcissist,” “seriously toxic personality,” or “severe personality disorder,” whenever I’m trying to explain to anyone the specifics of this terrible pattern of behaviors. “Narcissist” has taken on the connotation of a preening and foolish buffoon who’s nonetheless harmless. Of course, we know better.

    • Georgette

      Jezebel spirit is more appropriate considering they are evil to the core, which freaks most people out when I use this term. For those of you who have been in a relationship with Jezebel spirit, how long does it take for the pain of four years of lies, deceit and manipulation to go away? I have good days and then I have days where the pain is so excruciating that I have to cry it out to Jesus. It is going on two years. I wish I could just move out of state but I can’t right now. I am in counseling.

  4. Rebecca

    “No, the narcissist will abuse you and manipulate you to get affirmation.”

    When I read this, I thought, the only affirmation a narcassist gets from the abuse is from themselves. Interesting….

  5. Alabama

    These posts are quite insightful and helpful. They especially highlight the fact that others are not alone under the wrath of Narcissism. Moreover, and how to cope with their conduct. What I have come to comprehend is the depth of lying, deceit and manipulation existing within Narcissists projected onto others without justification. The spectrum of personality traits in narcissism regardless of occupational or philanthropy standing. I’ve learned by way of personal experience that some of the most wealthy will shield their multitude of sin behind charity work to justify their conduct behind the scenes. Lying with conviction is just an everyday part of their core being, their free will to operate in this light. On that note, what I struggled with for years is having a Narcissist’s own words in print confirming their absolute untruths and malfeasance, yet ignored by others. It was the “ignored by others” that I found perplexing. Core evidence of wrongdoing. It took me time to realize that it is far easier for others to believe (proven) lies than to accept to truth, as the truth is too evident. Of signal concern are others who can see through the false veneer of Narcissists but not always quick to address the issue for fear of retaliation by the Narcissist and those surrounding. As such, after realizing in my case that a devout Christian mother was threatened after her strict and rightful posturing toward her daughter for her destructive Narcissist behavior, she went dark for a period of time resulting from fear. She confirmed in writing, “my daughter’s conduct as well as that of my grandchildren bears heavy on my heart.” Based on that experience, I believe some are truly cognizant of shameful behavior by their Narcissistic friends, family or siblings but withhold remedy out of fear. While others absorb form in adopting the narcissistic traits by directly lying for their parents or siblings out of false protection. They not only withhold remedy but even go so far as to protect the Narcissist illustrating themselves as empaths and apaths similar to the Stockholm Syndrome. It’s quite a cyclical journey and one in which we as the targeted must prevail mindfully as we cannot control the ethics and morals of others behaviour. AS my family and friends convey often…… this life on earth is not as paramount or important as the life that awaits us in the future.

  6. Jodianne

    I myself have, in the past, posted my workouts and issues with achieving fitness goals. The support I got was very encouraging. It helped! So I understand embracing the idea of being a narcissist as defined by the article. And laughing about it. It’s silly. And sometimes sarcasm combats the absurdity.

    I have also posted sappy updates about my love interest. I reject the notion that a real narcissist, a parasite, can be identified by the sort of things they post on Facebook according to Facebook polls, analyzed by experts.

    My experience tells me narcissists do indeed exist and use Facebook as a tool. They look for weakness, an opening, by which they can manipulate you “off camera.” Narcissists, in my opinion, aren’t public with their cruelty. I closed my Facebook account because of it.
    I found the negative outweighed the positive. I questioned the support and affirmations I received from, in many cases, people I had never met, as apposed to the fall out from narcissistic friends and relatives that seemed to know, much more than I ever intended, and further, assumed things that were completely false.

    I craved likes and comments. I was in many ways obsessed with it, resembling an addiction. That frightened me. Particularly because most of the likes and comments were from “virtual” friends, people I had little or no contact with outside of the internet (off camera). I started to question the definition of “friend.” I determined I spent far too much time being concerned about what others thought of me.

    It’s been nearly a year since my last drink of Facebook. The quality of my life has improved. Narcissistic friends and relatives no longer freebase into my life. Nothing I say, via posts, can be misconstrued or used against me. My privacy has become paramount. My motivation to achieve anything is a personal reward. I give myself thumbs up. 

    I don’t like Facebook. I don’t trust it. It has a lot of great things, it has a lot of bad things. I caution those who use it. It can be addicting. And it can be a playground for parasites and sociopaths. If you have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, as most of us here have been, be very careful. No contact is a great mechanism to escape it. But that means Facebook too. Despite privacy settings, everything you write and post can be accessed. Do not be lulled into complacency by the supposed anonymity you achieve from the comfort and safety of your home, hiding behind a screen, or by the fact potentially harmful individuals that have access to you outside of Facebook seem approving, or silent, almost non-existent. Parasites lie in wait for the precise moment to pounce. Even the best pest repellant cannot block them 100% of the time. Be vigilant.

    Better yet, get off social media and live your life.

  7. joni24

    The one N in.my life just like sarcastic reaction in the article. The person will quotes implying they are alone and take credit for things that in actuality that can’t do themselves without help from others but claiming they do it all by themselves.

  8. I think narcissists are brainwashed just like the people they abuse.

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