Fuelling Your Inner Narcissism With Social Media

What Is Narcissism?

You know that wee bit of narcissism we all have inside of us? The part of us that hates being criticised so much that we will redirect focus onto others if we feel like we might have to admit some weak spots? It’s that low self-esteem and insecurity which drives us to prove ourselves, by looking for admiration from others, or bragging about our achievements. It’s that tendency to be over defensive – to react to alternative viewpoints with anger – to hide that anxious, hurt and humiliated part of us inside. That little grumble which projects onto others those qualities that we won’t accept in ourselves (am I really a geek/slut/VSCO girl?) – yup! That’s the narcissistic monster within all of us baring its teeth.

True narcissists don’t have great boundaries – they see others as there to serve their own desires, and so they can dominate conversations and overshare those intimate details about themselves. They require excessive admiration from others, have a great sense of self importance, and aren’t great at identifying with the feelings of others.

Now, there is a huge difference between the mental health disorder of narcissism and having some narcissistic personality traits, but we all live somewhere on this spectrum, and when it comes to narcissism, social media seems ideally primed to bring out the worst in us.

I'm Enough Charitable Trust. Narcissistic and Online Behaviour. What Is The Role In My Life Of Narcissism With Social Media

What Is The Role In My Life Of Narcissism With Social Media?

You know how adults have always “been there, done that”? For us old people – we do it on Facebook. And we do it vicariously through our children. And so we model to our list of “friends” (who, for the record, comprise possibly less than 10% of those with whom we have had an actual, face-to-face personal conversation with in the past 6 months) how effective we are as people and parents, from our rose-coloured vistas, to our illustrious careers, to our highly achieving children.

But for you, a young person in today’s digital world, taking it to a whole new level is the vicious world of Instagram or Snapchat. That sense of heightened anxiety that we only have 3 likes of our recent photo… the ability to withhold that positive reaction from others if they have upset us by refusing to double tap, or to block or unfollow. The ability to quickly share any behaviour that might cause the humiliation of others, or as someone not all that far removed from myself did recently – to hop on someone else’s account and get a lovely kid to spill their feelings, then quickly humiliate them for it.

How Do I Improve The Relationship Between Narcissism And My Social Media Experience?

Social media can be a wonderful form of communication, enabling us to transcend borders. However, social media also needs to be treated with all the care and planning of a UN peacekeeping force. Double taps on your Instagram selfie do not and cannot compare to hard work, achievement and all that is true about a person. True connection is between brain and heart, not eyes alone. So please think if you are feeding the narcissistic monster inside of you each time you open up your app, and consider opening up your interpersonal social world instead.

It’s normal to have feelings of insecurity and anxiety, especially when the glossy world you see on your screen suggests that everyone is having such a great time. To be truly honest, everyone feels exactly the same as you – that’s why you see the best and most admirable parts of the lives of those you follow religiously on social media. You’ll find that most everyone experiences the same insecurities about their lives, achievements and looks, posting the best parts of their lives (just like you only post the preferred aspects of your life online) to combat those feelings of anxiety.

If those negative feelings are leading you to really dark thoughts, then reach out to Youthline or the 24/7 free Lifeline (0800 543 354) or talk to your GP about support services in your area. But before things spiral too low, take preventative action to ensure the best opportunities for your mental health going forward. Consider using social media for good by celebrating the people who are actually present in your life just for being them. Why not try practising acceptance for others by sharing on Instagram a post of why you care about a person – share a memory of a kindness someone did for you, share on Snapchat a moment of compassion you will never forget. Because as you do this you get the neurons in your brain to start wiggling towards genuine regard and acceptance, all those positive soothing hormones will start flowing, and you will start to be able to appreciate the true positives in your life outside the number of likes you see. Allow media to not only be social, but to become a pro-social tool in your life, and don’t stand for the interference of your inner narcissism with social media.

Dr Fran Brinn (DClinPsych), Registered Clinical Psychologist and supporter of the I’m Enough Charitable Trust

CONTACT US NOW

Emergency and help lines

APP – MyRivr
Description:

Everyone knows someone in need, whether it's a family member, a school or work friend, an associate or someone that you meet as you are going about daily life. Perhaps you do not know where to find help. MyRivr uses your location details to be able to provide you with the exact service providers close to you should you need support or need a nearby agency.

About MyRivr

As an ex-cop and gang member, Akerei (Rei) Maresala-Thomson has spent time witnessing the struggles and challenges of the New Zealand community

After 12 years serving with the NZ Police, Rei resigned from his role as Senior Sergeant in Charge of the Pacific, Ethnic and Asian portfolio for Counties Manukau in March, 2017.

He has made it his mission to continue confronting issues, and trying to improve Pacific wellbeing in NZ – but this time he is using technology.

Rei is now the Technical Advisor for free app MYRIVR, a self-funded and volunteer managed concept from the community which was developed and released in 2015 by Corefusion Limited as MASA (Multi-Agency Services Application) to assist in a successful trial with Counties Manukau Police.

MYRIVR is now NZ’s largest in-app directory of community services, enabling visibility and instant access to more than 20,000 helpers and over 7,000 health and social services around the country.

Website Address: Click Here
New Zealand Police Call in emergency 111
Description:

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

Website Address: Click Here
Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline is New Zealand's original telephone counselling service for all kids up to 14 years of age. Kidsline operates from 4pm to 6pm Monday through to Friday. When kids ring they will speak to a Kidsline buddy – a specially trained teenage telephone counsellor.

Website Address: Click Here
Youthline
Description:

Need support or want to talk? Contact Youthline.

Free Text 234

Email: talk@youthline.co.nz

Website Address: Click Here
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline's telephone counselling service provides 24 hour a day, 7 day a week counselling and support. Calls are confidential and free and you will speak to a trained Lifeline counsellor.

Phone: 522 2999 (within Auckland)
Phone: 0800 543 354 (outside Auckland)

Website Address: Click Here
Keeping Your Kids Safe Online
Description:

Information for parents on creating a safe online learning and social environment for your children at home.

Website Address: Click Here
Netsafe Cyberbullying
Description:

Information and advice about cyberbullying for young people, parents and teachers.

Website Address: Click Here
Police Kia Kaha bullying programme for schools
Description:

Kia Kaha is a school-based programme that aims to help schools create environments where all members of the community feel safe, respected and valued, and where bullying cannot flourish.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression helpline
Description:

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 (to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions).
This includes includes The Journal online help service.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression helpline
Description:

An online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

Website Address: Click Here
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

Provides confidential telephone support.
Helplines for children and young people

Website Address: Click Here
Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm.
Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Website Address: Click Here
Depression Helpline 24 hours a day
Description:

Depression Helpline (8am to midnight) Phone: 0800 111 757

Samaritans Phone: 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline Phone: 0508 828 865

Alcohol and Drug Helpline
Description:

Alcohol and Drug Helpline – 0800 787 797 or online chat

Website Address: Click Here
Family Violence Helpline
Description:

Are You OK – 0800 456 450 family violence helpline

Website Address: Click Here
Gambling Helpline
Description:

Gambling Helpline – 0800 654 655

Website Address: Click Here
Anxiety
Description:

Anxiety phone line – 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)

Seniorline
Description:

A free information service for older people
Phone: 0800 725 463

Wellbeing Service
Description:

0508MUSICHELP – The Wellbeing Service is a 24/7 online, on the phone and in-person counselling service fully funded by the NZ Music Foundation and provided free of charge to those in the Kiwi music community who can't access the help they need due to hardship and other circumstances. Call 0508 MUSICHELP.

Domestic abuse helpline
Description:

Shine – 0508 744 633 confidential domestic abuse helpline

Smoking cessation help
Description:

Quit Line – 0800 778 778 smoking cessation help

Vagus Line
Description:

Vagus Line – 0800 56 76 666 (Mon, Wed, Fri 12 noon – 2pm).
Promote family harmony among Chinese, enhance parenting skills, decrease conflict among family members (couple, parent-child, in-laws) and stop family violence

Women’s Refuge Crisisline
Description:

Women's Refuge Crisisline – 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE) (for women living with violence, or in fear, in their relationship or family)

Shakti Crisis Line
Description:

Shakti Crisis Line – 0800 742 584 (for migrant or refugee women living with family violence)

Rape Crisis
Description:

Rape Crisis – 0800 883 300 (for support after rape or sexual assault)

Website Address: Click Here
Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Canterbury and West Coast
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Canterbury and West Coast – 03 379 8415 / 0800 899 276 (1pm to midnight, seven nights)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Wellington
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Wellington 0800 200 207 (7pm–1am, Tuesday to Sunday)

Warmlines for consumers of mental health services – Auckland Central
Description:

Free peer support services for people experiencing mental illness or those supporting them
Auckland Central 0508 927 654 or 0508 WARMLINE (8pm to midnight, seven nights)

Mental Health Crisis Helpline
Description:

Mental Health Crisis Helpline - 0800 800 717

Depression
Description:

Depression and anxiety affects us all differently.
Free 24/7 Helpline: 0800 111 757 Text 4202

Website Address: Click Here
Lifeline
Description:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Youthline
Description:

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat

Samaritans
Description:

Whatever you're going through, call us any time on 0800 726 666.

Website Address: Click Here
Suicide Crisis Helpline
Description:

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds).
Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline
Description:

Kidsline – 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Sexuality or gender identity helpline
Description:

thelowdown.co.nz – Phone: 0800 111 757 or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626

Website Address: Click Here
Supporting Families in Mental Illness
Description:

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825.