As predicted, amateur online content claiming to offer insight into psychopaths and narcissists has been multiplying for a few years.
Obviously, there are content creators out there who have done intense research on the matter and have analysed it from any angle, including the problem of false identification (off-the-cuff diagnosis based on superficiality). However, they share the platform with a sea of dross.
A few years ago, such content was relatively rare. Now a large array of blogs and YouTube channels predicate inside knowledge into the “minds of the disordered”. On a mere glance, the vast majority seem founded by individuals with no qualification in this field or in depth study of the issue. I dare assume that many were started as a result of a sour break-up or childhood-related resentment.
Though the term “psychopath” is sometimes used, “narcissist” is far more prevalent. Perhaps because it has been a lay term before becoming clinical and appears more relatable.
A few quotes picked up just through a quick search on YouTube:
- How to spot a narcissist in five minutes/ on the first date. Pardon my doubts yet I think that unless someone is extremely disturbed it’s very difficult to tell, and most people do manage to make a good impression on a first date, if for no other reason than their conscious effort to do so. Such guidelines would be better worded as “how to ruin a first date by constantly checking for signs of narcissism”.
- Is the narcissist watching you right now (the narcissist may be stalking you in any number of ways). So you’ve successfully distanced yourself from this person and all you need now is a dose of paranoia regarding what they might be doing. Very healthy indeed (excellent for triggering people who have been stalked in the past, by the way).
- 121 things narcissists say while gaslighting (collected from a support group of people believing to have been targeted; most are extremely common in arguments; one of these things is “whatever”). This is on a large channel, by the way. Predictably, the first comment is “OMG I’ve been told 90% of these”. Absolutely unrelated, unscientific crap.
- How to torture a narcissist. Better yet, why try?
- 6 strong signs you have narcissistic abuse syndrome. This is directed at women and invites them to imagine that if they have certain emotional problems that is a strong indicator of their partner being a narcissist (no mention of the possibility of preexisting problems at all, or them being caused by other factors). The first two are “feeling alone” and “not feeling good enough”, which are par for the course with abandonment and anxiety issues and not necessarily caused by others in real time.
Moreover, this “support” has seeped into neutral environments. After watching someone seek out confused people to “help” on a forum, where they would pop up to ask for relationship advice (being told each time they were being abused, regardless of the details), I did a quick Google search with specific keywords, to try to see how prevalent this is.
Doubtlessly, some who soak up this material, with a clear self-gratifying intention, try to sway unsuspecting strangers into thinking they are in a hopeless situation or even in danger. They actively search the internet for psychological fodder in other people’s temporary problems. And unlike content creators, who often have a financial interest, they gain nothing but the satisfaction of having potentially “saved” others from “Cluster B types”, regardless of how little they know about them.
Hence, some disciples of sites such as Psychopath Free, Out of the Fog & Co now try to influence people outside of those environments, who are merely looking to vent online or obtain objective advice (which is an illusion as most respondents simply project their own life experience). Disorders were not even an issue in discussions I’ve witnessed until said faithful disciples brought them up.
If sifting through broadly-themed forums was too time-consuming and lacked efficiency, I did have a look on other platforms. On Quora, for instance, there are many threads enquiring about the new general obsession with narcissism.
It’s definitely a mass phenomenon, not reserved for platforms one only ends up on when specifically seeking answers. Many reputable publications have covered the lists of behaviours and red flags, though to their credit, they tend to seek out professionals when putting out articles.