Let’s Get Social: How the Internet Is Linked to Vulnerable Narcissism

vulnerable narcissism

Social Media is an integral part of our daily lives with 2.789 active billion users in the world. Even your grandma might have an account on one of many social media platforms.

More and more youngsters use different platforms to share their everyday lives.

Selfies are the most popular type of content on social media. There are more than 3 million selfies on Instagram, and the number grows each day!

According to the research, there are 93 million selfies taken each day. Every 3 out of 10 pictures 18-24 year-olds take are selfies. This converts into 25,700 selfies in their lifetime.

Are those who post selfies narcissists? Is social media turning us into publicity-hungry narcissists? And if it does, what link does it have to vulnerable narcissism? Or are we inherently self-absorbed?

Different studies show the direct link between narcissistic personality disorder and social media.

Narcissistic personality characteristics are when you want to attract more followers. You share everything about your life and portray a positive image of yourself.

Are you interested in learning more? Let’s dive into some more details!

The Characteristics of Vulnerable Narcissism

All narcissists see themselves as superior and lack compassion. They seek attention, lack reliability, and are manipulators.

They show arrogance and hatred toward others. They have negative emotions when others don’t see them as superior. They can’t take personal feedback and are often unaware of their effect on others.

But, there are different types of narcissists. The distinction is in their ability to feel genuine emotions and the way they see themselves.

Vulnerable narcissism is more hidden and carries negative behavior. They are more sensitive and feel helpless. They worry when others don’t treat them as an authority.

Those who suffer vulnerable narcissism have concerns of denial and abandonment. Some deal with difficult circumstances or disagreeable people in passive-aggressive ways. When they receive a request from someone, they might agree to do it. But will do nothing. And when asked why they might shrug it off with an excuse.

Depending on what’s happening in their lives, they either feel authoritative or inferior. Crises, such as laid off from work, for instance, can lead them to therapy, but when the setback is over, they stop it.

Not every millennial is a narcissist. Only 6.2 percent of the U.S. population suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The Behaviors of a Social Narcissist

Social narcissists tend to update their profile pictures often to gain attention. People with narcissistic traits pay attention to their photos. For instance, they might wear flashy clothing in photos, which shows a lot of preparation behind it.

They overshare not only pictures but create more self-promotional posts in general, which have no value to their followers. They also check their accounts more than 100 times so that they don’t miss interactions with their posts.

Additionally, they tend to have more friends on networks than an average user and are very friendly with followers they don’t know much about. They are not looking to gain friends, but they do it for numbers and engagement.

They also display significant anger from comments or general disagreement on certain posts.

Why do People with Vulnerable Narcissism Depend on Social Media?

How people use social media depends on what kind of needs they are fulfilling. Everyone enjoys posting selfies, but narcissists seem to take it to an extreme level. Their selfies are often inappropriate and show how their lives are great.

Vulnerable narcissists are more insecure during face-to-face communication. They have lower self-esteem and a higher level of insecurity. Thus, social media give them a possibility to gain admiration and approval faster.

A study notes that vulnerable narcissists are most likely to engage in social media. The platform seems like a safe space to seek comfort and attract attention.

The report stated that vulnerable narcissists showed more problematic internet usage. This means that they had difficulty refraining from going online. They also showed a stronger inclination for online social communication.

Online communication tends to have an indirect effect on an individual’s social self-esteem. For instance, when it comes to sharing an image, 39 percent of selfies are enhanced and edited. People erase any imperfection they have on their face. Sometimes they even change the shape of their face and skin tone.

What Scholars Say about Social Media and Vulnerable Narcissism

Social media is a perfect platform for narcissists to show themselves. So, those networks attract a lot of people who suffer from narcissistic traits.

Past studies have investigated the connection between social media and narcissistic tendencies. All have contradictory results. Some stated that there is a positive relationship between use of those platforms. Others say the opposite.

A new study shows a weak to moderate link between narcissism and social media activity.

The scientists reviewed 57 studies involving more than 25,000 participants. Scholars believe that networks give narcissists an easy path to a broad audience. It enables them to post information for self-promoting purposes.

Grandiose narcissists who are less sensitive use social media more than vulnerable narcissists.  

There’s a link between the number of followers, frequency of photo sharing, and the characteristics of the narcissism. Narcissists spend more time on social media platforms than an average user. They show distinct behavioral patterns.

Psychologists at the University of Georgia performed similar research and summarized 62 studies. They discovered a small but strong and positive relationship between narcissism and social media actions.

Many friends, the recurrence of statuses and selfies have the biggest influence on those suffering from vulnerable narcissism.

Both narcissistic behaviors – vulnerable and grandiose – revealed different relationships on the use of the platforms.

For instance, grandiose narcissism positively correlates with time spent on social media. Vulnerable narcissism didn’t show any link to it. But, there was little research on this type of narcissism.

Scholars also suspect that social media attract those who have pre-existing narcissism traits. But the existing evidence only establishes the relevance of the two.

Conclusion

The research suggests that social media don’t fuel narcissism. But it’s attractive to those who already display such traits.

After all, social media wouldn’t be so popular if we weren’t narcissistic at some point. We all share some facts of our lives on social media and seek for acceptance. That’s completely okay!

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