Warning: Signs You’ve Become a Verbal Narcissist

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

You sit down at your desk, hoping to write up a quick blog post. Then an idea hits you. It’s vague at first, but you recognize the distinct voice of possibility: this could be really good. So you start writing a post, becoming more convinced with every word that you’re onto something.

The feeling grows and grows until your fingers are flying across the keyboard.

You’re really punching those damn keys.

The words are flowing, and you’re saying exactly what you want to say, exactly the way you want to say it. You bring the post to a close with an ending that you can only describe as, “Perfect,” and then pause to read what you’ve just written.

A smile spreads across your face. It’s clever, original… brilliant. Not even a second of hesitation before publishing it on your blog. “I can’t wait to see what they say about that,” you think. You walk away from the computer, sure you’ve written a masterpiece.

A couple of hours pass and you come back to reread your post. Uhm… this post isn’t brilliant. It’s arrogant, disconnected, and desperate for attention.

“What was I thinking?” you ask yourself. And I’ll tell you: you weren’t thinking. You were drunk on your own words.

Verbal narcissism, or getting drunk on your own words

Good writing is hypnotic. It draws readers in, using its flow and rhythm to change one’s state.

But it’s a two-way street.

When you’re writing, you can put yourself into the same state. You can get drunk on your own creation.

It’s happened to me lots of times. Fortunately though, I’ve learned to recognize it and walk away before posting something foolish to my blog. Here are the 7 warning signs that you should look for:

1. You think your post is brilliant

I’ve noticed that, whenever I finish a post and think it’s brilliant, there’s at least a 50% chance that it’s not. Frequently, it’s just begging for attention, and I’ll regret posting it later.

2. You think your post is hilarious

Humor is dangerous. Not only do people have drastically different opinions on what’s funny, but there’s a fine line between making your readers laugh and offending them to a point where they unsubscribe.

The only way to know for sure is to run it by someone. Comedy writers work as a team for a reason. Sometimes, you’re being funny. Other times, you’re just being an ass.

3. You’re actually drunk

Alcohol can impair your judgment on whether you’ve written something worth publishing to the world. Be forewarned.

4. Your heart is pounding

If your heart is pounding, then you’re definitely in some sort of heightened state, and it’s easy to move too fast.

5. You can’t wait to see how your readers will react

Thoughts like, “I can’t wait to see what kinds of comments I get” and, “This should get some conversation going” are surefire indicators that you’ve written something risky.

It could be bold, but it might just be brash.

6. Your stomach tightens up

Sometimes, you’re writing something that makes absolute sense, but you notice your stomach starting to tighten up. This is your subconscious trying to tell you that a part of you disagrees with what you are saying. Pay attention.

7. You hesitate before publishing your post

If you hesitate, then you’ve written something that you know is risky. You should probably hold off and figure out what’s bothering you about it.

If you’re going to drink, you’re eventually going to get drunk. Similarly, if you’re going to write, you’re eventually going to say something stupid. Nothing in the world can change it, and you might as well accept it.

You can, however, take responsibility for your words and avoid subjecting your readers to that stupidity. Just like you shouldn’t drive if you think there’s even a chance that you’re drunk, you shouldn’t post your writing if you think there’s even a chance that it’s not what you really want to say.

Instead, you should:

  • Sober up – Walk away from the post for a few hours and give your internal editor a chance to wake up.
  • Find a driver – If you can’t afford to wait, ask a friend to read the post and give you honest feedback. Regardless of how euphoric you are about it, trust their judgment.

Sometimes, the post really will be as good as you thought it was, but frequently, you’ll scrap it, or at least make some revisions. Either way, your writing will be better, and you’ll avoid the embarrassment of posting something you shouldn’t.


22 thoughts on “Warning: Signs You’ve Become a Verbal Narcissist

  1. You know, you make a very valid argument for what I feel has happened to the blogosphere. In some ways, it has turned into a pseudo-Facebook.

    I have been blogging on & off for a decade and, I remember the days before all the “like” buttons. I also remember that, the only way you knew your site was getting traffic, was the hit stats or visitation numbers.

    Now, everyone “expects” their likes & comments. Might as well be posts on Facebook…*sigh*

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Narcissism is a term I never really had an awareness of until recently; eventually I was seeing so many promoted social media/news feed posts about the term:

    ‘How to tell if your living with a narcissistic…’
    ‘What to do about your narcissistic…’

    To be honest, for me it feels like something that’s a little out of control. If I think about the people I know/work with, how many people would I describe as narcissistic?

    Very few, honestly.

    So I wonder whether the term is being overused; for me it’s something of an extreme.

    Yes, I agree with the article, but also I feel that we shouldn’t cast everything under the same umbrella.

    If we want attention from others, why can this not be valid? If we have made something genuine, a healthy desire for this isn’t bad – it’s a question of balance.

    But you are right in that we should take a step back and keep ourselves in check.

    Maybe I am just fortunately not part of the culture making narcissism a reality.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we just have become a lot more aware of the mental aspect of things/humans. It’s neither good nor bad. It just adds a different perspective.

      And some terms are overused. Like introvert. Feels like being one is some sort of disease and people should treat you with extreme care or something.

      Maybe it’s the same with narcissism.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I honestly think it’s a really complex social and almost psychological thing. I feel we live in a world where people try too hard to classify things, and this tends to backfire.

        It’s possible to exhibit qualities that may be similar to narcissism, without actually being narcissistic. But, rather than learn to deal with others, people are becoming so sensitive that a blanket term of description becomes the norm.

        Definition of narcissism: excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

        Erotic! I’d say Cristian’s article does imply this though. I think we can all agree our heart rate would increase, and we may even wonder if it’s right to do something, if operation from an erotic perspective.

        But narcissism, as I see it, is something that is almost rare and unique, because by definition it must be extreme, and that is the nature of extremes.

        Yet like you have seen, these articles are becoming common, so can we really believe that this extreme behaviour is so common?

        I certainly don’t think so, and I think it is a symptom of a society that is overreacting to things.

        I know maybe one person who I could describe as narcissistic, and to be honest I don’t even care, because I see the result of the behaviour!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed. I saw an article the other day saying people that abandoned face book altogether are frustrated “narcissises”. Lol, so there you have it. You got them coming and going. Stamped and labeled!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. The friend that drives you home (for me) is imperative. Either that, or walking away from it a few days. Many times I’ve come back wondering what the heck I was thinking. Like knowing the proper usage for their, they’re, there but my brain just skips over the error in proof readings, only to catch them 24 hrs later after publishing. 😦


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