Millennials are known as the most narcissistic generation of our time. The overindulge attention, special treatment for nothing special, and excessive emotional tolerance that parents gave their kids have not resulted in a more productive generation but rather one that seems apathetic. 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.
How did this happen? Some research has suggested that the lack of severe economic downturn during the childhood of millennials is to blame. Other hypothesis points the finger at parents who reinforced the idea that their child was so special that they didn’t have to adhere to the standards of society. While others 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 to this generation (generally speaking). Yet despite the similarities, Millennials are not the typical grandiose or covert narcissists. Rather, the traits of narcissism, not the disorder itself seems to be more characteristic.
It is important to note that every Millennial has these narcissistic traits. The purpose of this article is to highlight how the traits of narcissism manifest within this generation, not to diagnose them as such. Here are the symptoms of narcissism re-written by Millennial traits.
- Grandiose sense of self-importance – This sometimes manifests in an attitude that Millennials don’t have to work hard to prove themselves. Such as working at a low paying job before expecting to rise to the top. Instead, they believe they can achieve anything without having accomplished even a basic hurdle. The result is they don’t even try.
- Fantasies of unlimited success – This may be a consequence of substituting video game fantasy, social media status, 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 fantasy over 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 and therefore are special. 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, signing up for medical insurance, 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 Millennials that the ultimate goal in life is to maintain a constant state of happiness. It is as if they believe that they deserve to be happy all the time and should not be made to do activities that don’t bring happiness. Some tout the unhappiness of their parents as an example of what they don’t want to be as they age.
- 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. Some don’t leave home until their 30’s, others need financial assistance long into adulthood, and still, others expect their parents to bail them out of problems. 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. Some Millennials postpone marriage or partnering well past the psychosocial age.
- 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. Even the slightest amount of discomfort is likely to stall them.
- 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, growing from their own errors, and seeing innovative ways of doing things.
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.