Earlier this week it was announced that the new version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual — the mental-health professionals’ Bible — will no longer contain narcissistic personality disorder, which was first defined in 1967 as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins in early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.” Sound like anyone you know? The Daily Beast thinks that they’ve jumped the gun, and in the age of reality TV, social networking, and instant celebrity, what we really need is an updated definition.
Which we agree with. But the part of Casey Schwartz’s article that we found the most interesting is how and why tweets, Foursquare check-ins, and Facebook status updates fit into the picture:
Justin Frank, a psychoanalyst and Daily Beast contributor, regards these new forums as a positive form of self-regard, an opportunity for psychological “self-repair” in which individuals can achieve the feeling of being applauded that may have been lacking in childhood. In this sense, Frank says, there’s something valuable about the availability of a venue for a fragile ego to pump itself up, without resorting to the dangerous behaviors so common among the personality disorders.
There you have it. The next time the click click click caused by your need to constantly update various social media sites upsets someone in your real life, you can and should explain that the behavior is actually completely out of your control, and blame it on a narcissism disorder that is a result of your crappy childhood. Or, if you’re a dude, the fact that adult women are “surging ahead” in their careers, because Schwartz mentions that too. Diagnostic Statistical Manual be damned.