No age limit for narcissism

Published 8:28 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You know how you wonder if people really believe the earth revolves around them?

Apparently, if they’re under the age of 30, they do.

A new article has been posted on CNN.com suggesting that the reason more young adults/twentysomethings are waiting to get married is their own narcissism.

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A recent survey solidified this notion when it showed that “nearly 10 percent of twentysomethings reported symptoms of narcissism compared to just over 3 percent of those over 65.”

The article went on to say that these twentysomethings (which, by the way, would be me and my peers) have grown up with Oprah-like sentiments of “you have to love yourself before someone else will.”

“The result seems to be a generation of young people who view everything — especially relationships — in terms of the happiness it brings them and how good it makes them feel about themselves,” according to the article. “This is a problem, the experts say, because relationships are about compromise, about sometimes sacrificing what makes you happy for what makes your partner happy.”

After I read and re-read the article a couple of times, I walked away uneasy. Something about this was just not right in my mind.

Maybe it was the fact that reading the words on the screen, in black and white, felt like hearing “Hey, Lauren, you and all your friends are self-centered commitment-phobes who are ruining a good thing.”

But, let’s be real, we’ve been called a lot worse.

Then it hit me: I’m not upset about getting labeled a narcissist. I’m upset more people are not.

People think it’s just my generation that struggles with vanity. Are you kidding?

This week, we learned of a middle-aged governor who left his state ungoverned so he could fly to Venezuela to hook up with his mistress. That’s not egotistic?

Or how about Michael Jackson? People can call me a naysayer, but the man had $400 million of debt and three children with no ties to biological parents, because he lived life without thinking about any repercussions. That’s not selfish?

And what about Oprah herself? She has pretty much single-handedly created this mentality of soul/spirit’s awakening first, responsibilities/others second. That’s not creating a nationwide sense of self-importance?

We are living and breathing in a culture of narcissism, and that is evident in everything from the television shows we watch and the movies we see down to the latest technological advances we make to avoid interpersonal communication.

So, try and point fingers at one age group if you like, but I have the question: Where do you think we learned it?