It’s a toss-up between who is more confused: millennials because the world does not work the way they envision it should or other generations because they don’t understand how millennials think. All of the extra attention, special treatment, and emotional support that parents gave their kids have not resulted in a more productive generation but rather one that seems apathetic. This is why the subtext to the title of millennial is often the most narcissistic generation.
How did this happen? Some research has suggested that the lack of severe economic downturn during the childhood of millennials is to blame. Others, point the finger at parents who reinforced the idea that their child was so special they didn’t have to adhere to the standards of society. And some believe society is responsible because every child received an award even when they came in last place. Whatever the cause, the traits of narcissism seem to apply.
But millennials are not the standard grandiose narcissists. Rather, there are more subtleties in their characteristics. It is important to note that every millennial is not narcissistic, nor should they be considered as such. The purpose of this article is to highlight how narcissism manifests within this generation, not to diagnosis everyone as a narcissist. Here are the symptoms of narcissism re-interrupted by millennials.
- Grandiose sense of self-importance – This sometimes manifests in an attitude that they don’t have to work hard to prove themselves. Rather, they believe they can achieve anything without having actually accomplished even a basic level. The result is they don’t even begin.
- Fantasies of unlimited success – This maybe a consequence of substituting video game fantasy or media idolatry for harsh reality. In the gaming and media world, there are unlimited possibilities of achievement. But real life takes into account talent, determination, motivation, persistence, environment, and timing. Millennials prefer the fantasy over the reality.
- Believes they are special – It is not unusual for a millennial to tote their non-judgmental attitude as evidence of how they are set apart from other generations. Ironically, by stating that other generations are judgmental, they are making a judgment. But this argument is frequently lost on them.
- Needs excessive admiration – It is shocking how millennials expect praise for normal responsibilities of adulthood (known by millennials as “adulting”) such as paying bills and cooking basic meals. Instead of viewing this as a customary part of being an adult, many of them expect admiration for standard practices.
- Sense of entitlement – There is an attitude amongst the millennials that the ultimate goal in life is to maintain a constant state of happiness. They believe that they deserve to be happy and should not do activities in which don’t bring happiness.
- Exploitative of others – While millennials are excellent at not taking advantage of each other, they seem to have no difficulty in taking advantage of their parents. It is almost as if only those in their generation deserve respect.
- Lack of empathy – The inability to feel empathetic with others translates into relationships that lack true intimacy. This in turn brings about a limited desire for making or maintaining a long-term commitment to a partner.
- Envious of others – Hidden beneath the surface of many millennials is a jealousy of other’s success. Some even believe they should have success without any effort or that success comes without struggle, time, persistence, sacrifice, and even pain.
- Arrogant attitude – Sadly, many millennials mock other generations and their subsequent decisions believing they could do a better job. This arrogance prevents them from learning from the mistakes of others and even growing from their own errors.
Not all millennials fit this profile, but when narcissism is added to the mix, this is frequently how it manifests. As with every generation, there is a learning curve and hopefully they will see their error and self-correct before they make a negative impact on the next generation.