We’ve all seen them on social media. Posts that, even if they’re celebrating a person’s accomplishments. Posts that seem to somehow come off as arrogant. Things like, “My son has the highest reading level in his class! Not surprised though, since I was his teacher #GoodTryOtherMoms.” Or: “Obviously, I got that promotion at work. After all, you can’t have someone ugly as the face of the company #NotNamingNames #ButTrySomeLipstick.”
These posts rub us the wrong way for many reasons. It’s mainly because there’s something off-putting about them. They always seem to be all about tearing others down. These posts, often referred to as a “humblebrag,” aren’t just cringe-worthy. They can also be a sign of a developing narcissist.
In this article, we’re going to talk about how someone’s humblebrag social media posts or even comments in real life can be a sign that they’re becoming narcissists. Or, that they already are.
Understanding The Humblebrag
First of all, let’s get one thing straight: there’s nothing really wrong with wanting to share our accomplishments with friends. Especially in today’s world everyone is uploading selfies. They are peppering your Newsfeed with yet another picture of their child doing something “adorable and amazing!”
It can feel pretty darn satisfying to take your turn. Of course, the problem is that this cycle is entirely self-perpetuating. There’s a difference between calling attention to something you’re proud of/worked hard to get, and posting or talking about yourself in a way that makes you sound like you’re better than everyone around you.
The Humblebrag may also mask itself as a complaint. Like: “Can’t believe I had to wait for half an hour at Neiman Marcus to buy my Chanel bag! So frustrating :(” It’s obvious here that the person just wanted everyone to know that they bought a Chanel bag.
This makes the status even more annoying to read. It doesn’t make people want to celebrate what may have been a major milestone. Instead, it could have been phrased: “I’ve wanted this bag since I was 15, and after six years of putting aside an extra $20 when I could, I was finally able to afford it. Maybe it’s dumb, but this is what can happen when you work hard!”
We like the second post more because we all have something we want we can’t afford. We’ve all experienced the feeling of happiness that comes with treating yourself for working hard. The first status is an irritating humblebrag. The second is a person who is clearly excited and wants to share some good news.
While we’ve all said something humblebraggy in our lives, do you notice there’s a pattern of these types of comments online and in real life in a friend or yourself? It may be a sign they’re slipping into narcissism.
Understanding The Narcissist
If someone has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) they’re especially likely to the humblebrag. This is because, believe it or not, narcissists are often super insecure. They brag about their accomplishments to make others feel inferior. In that way they (wrongly) lift themselves up.
While mocking the humblebrag can be humorous (see the late Harris Wittels’ Twitter Account, @Humblebrag, for proof) it can also mean you might be overlooking a cry for help.
Though it may surprise you to learn this, one of the most common traits of the narcissist is that they’re fully aware of what they’re doing. They know that they are actually narcissists.
But often, instead of seeing how their behavior and speech hurts others, the narcissist thinks their bragging and oversharing is “cute,” charming, funny, or most of all, deserved.
That’s because they’re more special than everyone else is. Plus, the more reactions they get – good or bad – on social media and in person only fuels the fire for future humblebrags. As long as people are talking about the narcissist, in their minds, they’ve gotten what they wanted.
People with NPD are unquestionably difficult to deal with, and even pretty unpleasant to be around. Still, it’s likely that deep down, they want to break out of the cycle of meanness they’ve started. Platforms like social media, where their descent is happening in public, encourages them to play up their narcissistic tendencies.
However, doing so also makes them deeply safe for projecting what, deep down, they know is a feeling of inferiority for all to see. Instead of watching the narcissist spiral and screenshotting their most eye roll-inducing statuses, you may want to talk to them about seeking help. Be aware though, that this can backfire.
That’s why it’s sometimes best to make people close to the narcissist, like a friend, partner, or family member, aware of the situation. Since looking good in the eyes of others is so important to people with NPD, knowing their posts are having the opposite effect may be just the thing to push them into treatment.
Breaking The Cycle Of The Humblebrag
Of course, whether you’re the poster in question or if you’re just fed up of seeing them in your timeline from others, the best way to stop encouraging the narcissists in your feed from bragging is to stop commenting on them publicly.
Not giving them the reaction they’re looking for may actually help them to stop, and to evaluate their behavior. If you feel like you’re struggling with feelings associated with NPD, or if you can’t seem to break yourself out of the instant gratification/praise cycle of bragging, you may need help. That’s where we come in.
Whether it’s for yourself or for your loved one, our website offers lots of invaluable advice on different types of treatment for NPD. We also advise those close to the narcissist on how to take care of themselves, and how to recognize the signs of the disorder in those they live or work with.
You don’t have to suffer with these feelings for one more day. The reality is that no one cares about your life as much as you do, and that they’re not scrutinizing your every move.
But when you have NPD, this can be difficult to understand. Get help now, before you spiral further.