Narcissists are right at home in the selfie generation

Illustration by Terry Pontikos.

With the rampant rise of social media, narcissism has become increasingly transparent.

Thousands of filtered selfies give the vain game away for the obviously afflicted.

There are entire jam-packed platforms crammed with sculpted faux beautiful, narcissistic navel gazers who are utterly obsessed with themselves.

Narcisism is, by definition, “excessive interest in or admiration of oneself”.

Every day life is about how they’re feeling so they show no empathy for those around them


Physical appearance is just one strand of this ugly personality trait; it’s not just about staring in awe in the mirror.

The ominous reality of having a narcissist in your inner circle isn’t merely about vanity – it’s far more challenging.

For instance, while many call on their mother for advice or shopping trips, a close girlfriend of mine has a bizarre creature at the end of her speed dial. She’s self-absorbed, has little empathy and zero interest in hearing about her daughter’s life.

She’s volatile with a scarily short fuse, egotistical and draining.

“This is typical of narcissists,” says psychologist and author Meredith Fuller. “They don’t have the same moral code.

A narcissistic person is the centre of their own universe.

Every day life is about how they’re feeling so they show no empathy for those around them.”

Narcissists come in both genders. While gynocentric media often focuses on the agony of narcissistic male partners and their obsession with power and control, this, like violence, is not a gender-based issue.

It’s a human issue.

Any narcissist can strip a person of self-confidence and there’s an incredible amount of accommodation you’ll engage in when you’re around them.

Whether you have one as a mother, a partner or boss, be prepared to become a slave to their sense of entitlement.

Anything and everything that impacts their carte blanche can cause them to kick off.

These are people with impossibly high expectations.

They may seem wonderfully charming at dinner parties entertaining the crowd. It won’t be until later you realise that these socially agile, confident beings spent the whole night talking about themselves.

When that guard slips, look out.

Narcissists have little ability or desire to take responsibility for their own emotions.

“I may be quick to anger – but when I get angry it’s because of you,” they will say, or, “You criticised me therefore my anger is your fault. You know not to do that.”

What’s that like to live with?

“It’s destabilising as you stop trusting your own instincts,” says Fuller. “It can feel as if you’re a servant to their emotions. You’ll constantly find yourself doing mental maths to avoid ending up with them being irritated.”

As with many issues, the roots of such personality types can be rather sad. “Often, if you trace this right back to childhood, you find these are people who didn’t feel safety and protection when they were very young,” Fuller says. “There is often a fear-based component underneath the narcissist such as experiencing losing love at a young age or fear of being abandoned.”

Imagine a dinner party with Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Mariah Carey, Madonna and Donald Trump.

Feel that intense bragging.

There would be no active listening; none of them would be interested in real genuine conversation or connection. They would all want to talk about themselves.

Genuine self-esteem around that dinner table would be more fragile than the china. Who would get a bespoke serving of special treatment first?

The mere thought of it makes me want to double lock my door and ensure no one comes near to drain my energy.

Watch any chat show and you’ll spot the excelling narcissist. They will be the one who doesn’t want to pass the conversational parcel.

They may stare off blankly while anyone else is talking, impatient to speak again because they are the most important.

They’ll talk over others and can’t let go of the limelight. In their mind, all their boring stories are fascinating.

Who wants to waste time creating an impression rather than enjoying genuine warmth of connection?

No thanks.

Show me the real, authentic people please.


Illustration by Terry Pontikos.

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