Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

I think that Social Anxiety Disorder and Narcissism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciss...ality_disorder and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narciss...8psychology%29) can be quite similar in some ways.

They both have a lot to doo with selfobsession, selfabsorption etc... Both narcissists and SA'ers are very conscious of themselves and care a lot about what others think of them. Both can suffer from low selfesteem and try to appear perfect to the outside world while in fact we know we aren't.

But where people with SA are socially anxious and don't feel confident around other people, narcissists are overconfident and (besides their lack of empathy) appear very socially skilled.

I'm curious to know what other people think.... it was just something that crossed my mind today... also because I think that if I didn't have SA I would be a narccisist

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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 03:40 PM
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Yeah, I do think it's possible to be both as I certainly am. In my case it's just something to do with an almost solipsistic world view, although I'm not sure how true that is with everyone else.

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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 03:43 PM
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re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

Arn't Narcissists outgoing and overconfident?
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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 03:48 PM
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I see what you're getting at, but I don't really think they are similar. Aren't narcicissts by definition almost the complete opposite of a person with social anxiety? They generally want to be the center of attention, are very extroverted, consider themselves superior to everyone else, etc.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 03:50 PM
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Yeah, I think that narcissists experience anxiety when they aren't having attention paid to them, while SAers feel anxiety when people are paying them attention.
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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 04:04 PM
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Nice analogy Drella. I think one of my ex's was a narcissist. She was super confident in a group of people, but when we were alone she really freaked out about what people really thought of her, and was quite down on herself.
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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 05:20 PM
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Re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

i think i am narcissistic...

I check myself out in the mirror...on good days when i think i'm Hot my ego is sky rocketed and i just feel like crap afterwards for all the negative things i might have thought about others

On bad days i just want to hide and put myself down

I find it very difficult to find a balance where I can accept myself and feel good about myself internally and externally and not have to be throwing any negativity around.

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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 06:20 PM
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re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

I certainly hope narcissism is nothing like SAD. I don't think I'm self absorbed at all. I'd be pretty offended if someone called me narcissistic. And I also agree with Drella. Nicely articulated
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drella's_Rock_Follies
Yeah, I think that narcissists experience anxiety when they aren't having attention paid to them, while SAers feel anxiety when people are paying them attention.
Nicely said! I think that's true, in that way SAers and people with a narcissistic disorder are the complete opposite. Because, of course they're two completely different disorders. But both have to do with attention. (although I also heard it's possible to be a shy narcissist...)

Hmmmm.. this is what I found when I googled "narcissim social anxiety":

The narcissistic solution is to avoid comparison and competition altogether and to demand special treatment. The narcissist's sense of entitlement is incommensurate with the narcissist's true accomplishments. He withdraws from the rat race because he does not deem his opponents, colleagues, or peers worthy of his efforts.

As opposed to narcissists, patients with Anxiety Disorders are invested in their work and their profession. To be exact, they are over-invested. Their preoccupation with perfection is counter-productive and, ironically, renders them underachievers.

It is easy to mistake the presenting symptoms of certain anxiety disorders with pathological narcissism. Both types of patients are worried about social approbation and seek it actively. Both present a haughty or impervious facade to the world. Both are dysfunctional and weighed down by a history of personal failure on the job and in the family. But the narcissist is ego-syntonic: he is proud and happy of who he is. The anxious patient is distressed and is looking for help and a way out of his or her predicament. Hence the differential diagnosis.

Brian: What are you doing?
Justin: Giving my friend Daphne a tour of your house.
Brian: This isn't the White House. George Washington hasn't slept here.
Justin: He's the only guy who hasn't.
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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 10:38 PM
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'As opposed to narcissists, patients with Anxiety Disorders are invested in their work and their profession. To be exact, they are over-invested. Their preoccupation with perfection is counter-productive and, ironically, renders them underachievers. '

This doesn't ring true for me. I think i'm a potential perfectionist, but lack the motivation, focus and determination. Hmmmmm....
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post #11 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-11-2007, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanchief
'As opposed to narcissists, patients with Anxiety Disorders are invested in their work and their profession. To be exact, they are over-invested. Their preoccupation with perfection is counter-productive and, ironically, renders them underachievers. '

This doesn't ring true for me. I think i'm a potential perfectionist, but lack the motivation, focus and determination. Hmmmmm....
What you said sounds like me, too.
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post #12 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 06:35 AM
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re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

Since I'd heard of narcissism before social anxiety, I used to speculate that this might be what I was suffering from.


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post #13 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaila
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drella's_Rock_Follies
Yeah, I think that narcissists experience anxiety when they aren't having attention paid to them, while SAers feel anxiety when people are paying them attention.
Nicely said! I think that's true, in that way SAers and people with a narcissistic disorder are the complete opposite. Because, of course they're two completely different disorders. But both have to do with attention. (although I also heard it's possible to be a shy narcissist...)

Hmmmm.. this is what I found when I googled "narcissim social anxiety":

The narcissistic solution is to avoid comparison and competition altogether and to demand special treatment. The narcissist's sense of entitlement is incommensurate with the narcissist's true accomplishments. He withdraws from the rat race because he does not deem his opponents, colleagues, or peers worthy of his efforts.

As opposed to narcissists, patients with Anxiety Disorders are invested in their work and their profession. To be exact, they are over-invested. Their preoccupation with perfection is counter-productive and, ironically, renders them underachievers.

It is easy to mistake the presenting symptoms of certain anxiety disorders with pathological narcissism. Both types of patients are worried about social approbation and seek it actively. Both present a haughty or impervious facade to the world. Both are dysfunctional and weighed down by a history of personal failure on the job and in the family. But the narcissist is ego-syntonic: he is proud and happy of who he is. The anxious patient is distressed and is looking for help and a way out of his or her predicament. Hence the differential diagnosis.
OT- Not to make light of this topic or anything, but how funny that you're talking about narcissists and you have a Brian Kinney avatar.

Gale Harold pretty. So pretty.

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post #14 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

Quote:
Originally Posted by odd_one_out
Since I'd heard of narcissism before social anxiety, I used to speculate that this might be what I was suffering from.
Me too.

A long time before I even knew what SA was I read something about narcissists/narcissism and recognised some of the following characteristics/symptons: Only relying on oneself, not trusting others, being paranoid, out of touch with reality, exagerrating, lying, looking down on others, envious of others, obsessed with fantasies of unlimited succes, arrogance, self-indulgent, selfdestructive. But when I looked into it more I knew I wasn't. (I can be quite narcissistic but I definitely don't have the narcisssistic personality disorder.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyramidsong
OT- Not to make light of this topic or anything, but how funny that you're talking about narcissists and you have a Brian Kinney avatar.
Hehe yeah Brian is the epitome of narcissism! I absolutely love the character... and, gotta love Gale!

Brian: What are you doing?
Justin: Giving my friend Daphne a tour of your house.
Brian: This isn't the White House. George Washington hasn't slept here.
Justin: He's the only guy who hasn't.
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post #15 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 11:39 AM
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re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

Sometimes I'm afraid that I don't have SA but I have Narcissism instead Actually it's a huge fear of mine right now and causes me a lot of worry and stress I think a lot of the symptoms are really similar.
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post #16 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 01:13 PM
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re: Thin line between Social Anxiety and Narcissism?

We are not attention seekers. There is no way that I could talk to anyone else in as much depth as I can with strangers on this forum. I'm the furthest thing from an attention seeker. I just have anxiety. I can't feel anxiety on this board because I am not in a physical social situation, this allows me to speak my mind however I want. I also know that the people here will understand what I'm going through.

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post #17 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 05:32 PM
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i've thought about this before, and i do think i'm narcissistic in some ways.. just think about all the times we consciously avoid social situations because we think they're "stupid" and that we're above it all.. like when a group of our friends goes drinking or bar-hopping we might feel it's so idiotic and that we have better things to do.. that's certainly a narcissistic point of view..

because we're often pessimistic, we're prone to criticize everything and everyone around us ("this place sucks", "i don't like him/her") and i guess we do put ourselves on somewhat of a pedestal at times..

so yes, i agree that we share certain aspects with narcissism, but more often than not, we just appear snobbish to other people because of our fear of rejection..
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post #18 of 40 (permalink) Old 01-12-2007, 06:29 PM
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I think I can be narcissistic sometimes....I never thought it was related to SA though. Interesting question indeed.


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post #19 of 40 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 08:26 AM
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Hey, I am glad to read this discussion. I definitely think some forms of narcissism can be similar to social anxiety. But this is only my own deduction, I ve never read anything scientific about this. If anyone has some info or good source I would be thankful.

As was mentioned somewhere above, yes, I think both disorders have few traits in common: selfobservation and selfobsession, and also hypersensitivity on what others think or how do they treat those people [wanted to say us, as I am something in between or combined ]. I've read there is a hidden form of narcissism when these people are sensitive on what others think and are rather anxious in general and shy and try to please others. This could be also something very similar to some forms of SA. Hm.
For discussion...

PS: This is just great quote: Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.
André Dubus Quotes

Last edited by Blobies; 11-28-2008 at 08:28 AM. Reason: incorrect spelling
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post #20 of 40 (permalink) Old 11-28-2008, 10:09 AM
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No, I don't think narcissism and social anxiety are at all the same. Narcissism is about entitlement and thinking you are above it all. SA is about insecurity and fears of inadequacy.
They are on opposite ends of the spectrum...only similar in the sense that they both involve thoughts that are out of touch with reality.

As long as we're sharing quotes, here's one I like:

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” - Albert Camus
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