It's Not Just You -- Psychoanalyst Calls Out The Selfie-Obsessed

If I were the typical self-obsessed selfie taker I'd probably be relaying a message along the lines of "OMG, someone totes gets it," but as i am a middle-aged loather of selfies for the sake of selfies and dumbing down our mother tongue, I'll settle for this. That thought you've been holding at the back of your mind to sum up the self-obsessed narcissists on social feeds who post a never-ending line of selfies is correct -- they really are simply looking for validation through "likes" and "shares." It really is that simple.

Everybody has them as a friend or maybe a distant relative or contact. They mostly turn out to be women, in my case, but apparently there are plenty of guys posting selfie after selfie too. However, now, the people who raise their eyebrows with every selfie -- usually accompanied by a pile of hashtags and love heart emojis -- can take solace. The selfie obsession is being offered as proof that people are unwittingly taking themselves straight back to adolescence. This is not just a bunch of middle-aged grumps talking -- it's the finding of celebrated psychoanalyst Elsa Godart.

The pictures that are so often wrapped up under a headline of showing the person at a venue or with a new hairstyle or outfit are, she confirms, thinly veiled attempts to get validation from friends. It is this, "do they like me" or "am i popular" question that takes persistent selfie posters straight back to the days of high school. The thing is, Godart points outs in her book I Selfie, Therefore I Am, we are too nostalgic about our adolescence. It is a time of great uncertainty and change where we don't feel in control as we look for comforting words and reassurance from those around us. That is exactly the phase selfie-obsesses people are taking themselves back to, and it's not necessarily a good thing.

Interestingly, Godart points out that people obsessed with their own image probably are narcissists, but argues that's not too bad a thing because we all grow up fascinated by our reflection in the mirror or our image in photographs. It's more the stage that comes next, of constantly worrying about what people think about us and looking for validation, which is far more uncomfortable for a social media user to revisit.

By the way, a self-obsessed Millennial is likely to take more than 25,000 self portraits in their lifetime, she estimates. In so doing, they may actually expose themselves to real danger, far worse than nobody liking their latest "just back from the gym" look. It turns out that more people will die from selfies than shark attacks. Not that pictures kill, of course, but apparently there have been a spate of people walking into roads, trains and falling off cliffs as they struggle to get the perfect angle and get the best shot of their surroundings. 

So just in case you were a fellow grump wondering "is it just me", you can rest assured that a well-known psychoanalyst has taken a look back down the lens at persistent selfie takers and found they really are self-obsessed narcissists who, unfortunately, are unwittingly revisiting a stage in life that most of us are pretty glad to have behind us, and not spattered throughout our social feeds. 

2 comments about "It's Not Just You -- Psychoanalyst Calls Out The Selfie-Obsessed".
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  1. Elle Mac from Not Applicable, May 24, 2016 at 12:36 p.m.

    I can't wait to read the book. But I wonder if someone is going to do research on the growing number of bloggers.  Aren't they exhibiting the same type of behavior as the "selfie obsessed"? They assume that what they think deserves to be shared and commented on by legions of people on the internet.  The interesting thing is bloggers are a bit worse because they often stand in judgement of others "Hey, what you do is stupid. My proof?  I disagree with it.".  And just as the selfie taker isn't a professional photographer or model; just someone with a cell phone. Bloggers aren't necessarily great writers, just someone with access to a keyboard that often doesn't even have time to use spell check.  So who can really throw stones?  Let's face it, we are all living our own personal version of the "Ted Show" where we are the star.  There's no need to audition for a reality show when all we need is a computer (or smart phone).  Hmm.  I should write a book about that :-)

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 13, 2016 at 12:14 p.m.

    They are called selfishies. The sticks are called selfishie sticks. Call'em as you see'em.

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