Wellness
Researchers say this one question will tell you if someone is a narcissist
According to researchers at Ohio State University, identifying narcissists is much easier than we imagined.
D.G. Sciortino
07.11.22

It’s probably safe to say that many of us are pretty tired of the pseudoscientific mental health and psychology tips and information we’ve seen on the internet.

It seems like everywhere you look online you’re being onslaught with information (most of it which you didn’t ask for) on how you should behave and how you should expect others to behave.

Some of this stuff is written by “self-help gurus,” self-proclaimed “life coaches,” or “Robot Influencer” AI profiles – all with no professional or medical background.

The uptick in mental health awareness on social media has reportedly caused people to diagnose themselves or others.

Sometimes with conditions they don’t actually have.

“People might seek the wrong kind of help or misdiagnose themselves. Algorithms tend to steer people towards the worst-case scenario, resulting in cyberchondria,” Rider University Psychology Professor John Suler told York University’s Trauma & Mental Health Report.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that teens were developing sudden tics after watching TikTok videos of others with Tourette syndrome. These kids, mostly girls, mimicked tics they saw on videos of people with Tourette’s syndrome. However, those who are officially diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome will often have their own unique tics leading doctors to believe that the TikTok videos had caused the onset of tics along with extreme stress and overwhelm.

“Initially, everyone thought they were seeing an isolated phenomenon, but it turns out that we’re all seeing it — a different age of onset, and disturbingly, an explosive onset,” Pediatric neurologist Dr. Mohammed Aldosari told Clevland Clinic. “In just a few hours, maybe a day or two, girls who have no history of tics suddenly start to experience a lot of movement and vocalization.”

When it comes to disseminating reputable health information online, GoodRx Health recommends having a “healthy amount of skepticism about online information,” reaching out to your own health care providers and checking the websites of reputable health institutions like clinics, hospitals, and universities.

“We want to give folks legitimate resources aside from people on TikTok. Otherwise, it’s going to be a pretty wild place where people can say anything,” Dr. Jeremy Tyler, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Penn University, told Penn Medicine News. “As we know on social media, with enough people saying it, then people may accept false information as fact.”

“We want to give folks legitimate resources aside from people on TikTok. Otherwise, it’s going to be a pretty wild place where people can say anything,” Dr. Jeremy Tyler, an assistant professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Penn University, told Penn Medicine News. “As we know on social media, with enough people saying it, then people may accept false information as fact.”

Still, social media discussions on mental health have been credited with destigmatizing mental health and helping those with conditions to feel more comfortable knowing they aren’t alone and providing them with a community of support.

Also, seeking an official medical diagnosis may be inaccessible to some without the means to pay for it.

Having these online resources have also allowed people to recognize that they need help and to seek it in a landscape where mental health resources were traditionally only available to those with upper-class backgrounds. And at a post-pandemic time when the country was facing a mental crisis, where 54% of teens reported having frequent suicidal thoughts.

But what about villainized mental health conditions? We’ve all seen the posts about how to identify narcissists and how they are likely to harm their victims.

Narcissistic personality disorder is defined as: “one of several types of personality disorders — is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

Now, that could be a lot of us at certain points in our lives and doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily harming others, especially not intentionally. Narcissistic abuse is, however, a different story.

Psych Central defines narcissistic abuse as “the intentional construction of a false perception of someone else’s reality by an abuser for the purposes of controlling them” and categorizes it as a “serious form of abuse” that can affect between 60 to 158 million people.

It can include elaborate, covert deception and psychological manipulation created over a long period of time.

The abuser pretends to be someone who has the survivor’s best interests at heart and is beneficial for the survivor in an attempt to extract something of value from their partner whether its attention, admiration, status, love, sex, money, a place to stay, or another resource.

Usually, these relationships will begin with a honeymoon phase where the perpetrator loves bombs the victim and then slowly inflicts their abuse. Their “hidden” deception tactics which rely on societal norms that assume everyone participates in social relationships with a basic level of empathy make it difficult for survivors to recognize abuse and escape it.

Apparently, you don’t really need social media to identify a narcissist. They’ll identify themselves, according to a new study at Ohio State University.

It asked a simple question: “To what extent do you agree with this statement: I am a narcissist.” If you got a yes to that question, you could very well have a narcissist on your hands.

“Narcissists have no problem admitting they are narcissists,” study co-author Brad Bushman told Los Angeles Times.

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

The test also found that narcissists were more likely to have low empathy, have less committed relationships, prefer non-social rewards, have higher aggression, and believe they should be paid more than colleagues.

“Narcissists are very bad relationship partners and they are bad team players,” he said. “It might be nice to find out how much of a narcissist someone is.”

But is it too easy to label someone a narcissist using these qualities? But is this helpful to protect us from being abused and harmed by others or is it creating a witch hunt where we point fingers and turn the people around us into the “other” because the internet tells us to?

Pixabay
Source:
Pixabay

“Stigmatization of mental illness in media is abundant. For example, certain mental health conditions such as schizophrenia are seen as being so disruptive that people with those conditions must be isolated from society. Media accounts tend to focus on the individual with mental illness rather than framing mental illness as a societal issue. Consequently, media consumers are more likely to blame an individual for the illness,” Dr. Naveed Saleh writes for Verywell Mind. “Stigma happens when some person is viewed as an ‘other.’ A person who is considered an ‘other’ is denied full social acceptance.”

According to this study, a true narcissist will straight up tell you who they are and what they’re about. But definitions of narcissistic abuse tell a different tale of covert, intentional affliction of psychological manipulation in order to oppress others.

It seems the only healthy way to determine whether you or someone you love is suffering from mental illness or the victim of narcissistic abuse is to directly seek the help of a trusted mental health care professional.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By D.G. Sciortino
hi@sbly.com
D.G. is a contributing writer in Shareably. She's based in Connecticut and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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