It seems like every day there is a new article calling out millennials for being over-indulged and narcissistic. Then you log onto any social media outlet, they are flooded with selfies and updates on trivial, day-to-day information like restaurant check-ins. It’s enough to make you start to believe all those articles claiming that millennials are the most narcissistic generation we’ve seen yet.

But are millennials truly narcissistic or just a product of their environment? Because alongside those articles accusing them of narcissism, millennials also apparently are suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders at a higher rate than other generations.

So have we created a generation of narcissistic monsters who care for no one but themselves, or has overwhelming pressure for success just taken a toll on the rising generation?

Basis For Diagnosing Millennials As Narcissistic

Without having several fancy degrees in psychology, it is impossible to diagnose someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. Yet we all seem to do it pretty quickly.

There are two types of narcissist: overt and covert. The overt narcissist which is what most millennials are considered:

  • Demands special treatment
  • Often an exhibitionist
  • Ruthless when seeking control/power
  • Materialistic

Now, according to many people’s narrow view of millennials, that list describes millennials perfectly. Yet, aren’t these things we’ve taught our children?

Pushing For Success May Develop Narcissistic Tendencies

I know, no one wants to think about why millennials are considered narcissists. We would much rather blame the internet and phones with cameras. But if you take a critical look at parenting tactics, it is clear that the narcissistic-like tendencies were likely started at home.

Think about the above list. Doesn’t it correlate to many of the things success-driven parents have emphasized to their children?

  • Demands special treatment - We taught them that “You’re unique” and then handed out the participation trophies to everyone who was involved in the event.
  • Often an exhibitionist - As cameras and video cameras became available for the average homeowner, we parents started to document every moment of our children’s lives. Selfies are the natural continuation of this habit.
  • Ruthless when seeking control/power - We told our children, “You can do anything you can put your mind to!”. Maybe we pushed that lesson too hard.
  • Materialistic - Parents showered their millennial children with gifts and made sure they had the latest gaming console, computer upgrade and introduced them to cell phones.

Supposed Narcissism Can Be A Cloak For Other Mood Disorders

Clearly, in some ways, we have created the narcissistic tendencies that millennials are struggling with today. But some of the supposed narcissism may be cloaking other mental illnesses.

A study has shown that out of the surveyed college students, 62% were struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. The drive to succeed had pushed many of these students into using negative coping methods.

So before we throw out a whole generation as a group of useless narcissists, maybe we should look at what our success-oriented world has done and how we can fix it.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn