Has our culture has become more narcissistic since social media entered our lives? This suggests ‘yes’ and several experts are now warning people about “narcissism by proxy.” Also known as “infectious” or “contagious” narcissism.
According to psychologist Dr. Jessica January Behr, this phenomenon occurs
“when people act on a narcissist's behalf, to contribute to their goals and gains, despite not necessarily being narcissists themselves.”
Psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula adds that the person taking on the narcissistic traits could either be simply mirroring the
“grandiosity, entitlement and contempt of someone else who holds more power”
or growing more ‘entitled’ themselves as their “narcissistic inspiration” gets more power.
Other than the world not being in need of more narcissists, the main problem is how toxic this relationship between these two people can become. Dr. Behr says because the victim starts mimicking the narcissist’s behavior, they lose any moral high ground to call them out since they’d have
“to face their own demons.”
And the more this goes on, the more the proxies feel like they have to defend their lead narcissist’s actions to vindicate their own. Willingly putting a veil over their eyes to block out some major red flags.