Selfie-absorbed: tech has given us a new age of narcissism

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Selfie-absorbed: tech has given us a new age of narcissism

Egomaniacs are happier, say researchers, and they're everywhere. We ask the experts when it became the new normal

Hannah Betts

Research published in the journal European Psychiatry (https://www.europsy-journal.com/article/S0924-9338(18)30187-1/fulltext) last week argued that narcissists tend to be happier than the rest of us. In addition to the egomaniac’s inflated sense of self-worth, they may also lay claim to a mental robustness shielding them from anxiety and depression.

I was reminded of the moment years ago when I reached the end of the money I could afford to spend on therapy. As we said our farewells, my psychologist handed me a page photocopied from the standard psychiatric manual. “We’re not supposed to do this,” she said shiftily, “but it should help. This is about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) – aka, your mother. Any time you don’t understand what’s happening in your relationship, read this.”

Last week’s findings might explain why I was an emotional cripple, while she strode on resplendent. My mother is dead now, alas, whether or not this diagnosis in absentia was accurate. Moreover, 15 years on, society at large has caught up and it might now be rather difficult to define someone as having NPD rather than merely being normally narcissistic. For we live in an age in which red-hot self-love has become so routine as to barely raise an airbrushed eyebrow...

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